Isles FM could be back on the air in a matter of weeks, reveals managing director David Morrison.
The Stornoway-based community radio station, which is run entirely by volunteers, has been off the air for more than eight weeks after a series of problems plagued the main mast at Eitchal on Lewis.
The mast requires three separate repairs, estimated to cost the station more than £8000 and which forced it to launch a public fundraising appeal.
An online crowdfunding bid to raise the monies required for the repairs has now seen the station “hover around the target required” says Morrison.
And he hopes engineers will be on site at Eitchal to fix the problems and return Isles FM to the airwaves sooner rather than later.
Stornoway’s Tesco store has helped push Isles FM towards its target with a £1000 donation this week, which staff raised through an ‘80s -themed disco they organised in the Stornoway Sea Angling Club and via a tombola in store.
Kirsty Maclennan and Stella Frampton from Tesco are pictured above presenting the cheque for £1000 to Isles FM volunteers Kathleen Maciver and Carl Easton.
Isles FM is also discussing the possibility of hosting a 24-hour on-air radio special when it returns to broadcasting.
Nothing has been confirmed as yet but Isles FM also hopes to run a series of on air auctions when it returns.
David Morrison added: “We would like to say how delighted we are with the community response to our fundraising and all at the station are incredibly grateful to all.”
Speaking to the Gazette last month, Morrison explained the mast at Eitchal was already in need of repair when a power surge on Christmas Eve caused further damage and finally forced Isles FM off the air.
“We have being going from one disaster to another and then eventually off-air,” Morrison said.
“This is the longest we have ever been off the air.
“The good thing is Eithcal has had that much damage over the years, if we get the three repairs done it will be practically new kit.
“The old kit has been there for 20 plus years so it should last us for a long time once it is fixed.”