"Power to the people!" - a second Erewash Sound transmitter is set for Local Radio Day Switch On

Published on: Thursday, 1st October 2020
Robert Lindsay seen at the launch of Erewash Sound over a decade ago

On the morning of 6th March 2010, renowned actor, Ilkeston-born Robert Lindsay appeared at the now former Co-op Buildings in the town for the full-time FM launch party of the Erewash borough’s very own local radio station – Erewash Sound – ‘Wolfie’ seen sporting his Citizen Smith beret as well as a radio station T-shirt whilst raising a trademark clenched fist, shouting “power to the people!”.

The ceremony marked the start of transmissions for a much-needed, dedicated full-time, 24 hour local radio service, designed to serve the people of the borough - from those living and working during everyday life, to the scores of community groups, charities and other voluntary organisations that would go on to benefit from free publicity and increased public awareness of a type never before experienced.

But, backed by scores of local businesses placing advertising and sponsorship to this date, the switch on of the FM transmitter was part of bigger plans by the radio station to serve the borough more comprehensively, and after it had already been exclusively broadcasting online for as many as three years.

At the time of submitting a successful application for the initial FM licence, and although transmissions could be heard far and wide, the broadcast regulator OFCOM could only authorise a transmitter with limitations for some listeners wishing to do so on FM, their only alternative being to listen on-line.

Over the last decade, whilst technology has continued to evolve allowing people to listen on PCs, WiFi radios, smart phones, tablets, and more recently, smart speakers, Erewash Sound management continued to lobby for a better broadcast footprint and, with the support of the people of the borough and MP Maggie Throup along the way, in September 2019, permission for a second, more powerful transmitter was granted, particularly because the radio station had already been serving the greater borough, despite FM broadcast limitations.

After a year of planning and sourcing funding for the infrastructure for a second transmitter by officials at the volunteer-led, non-profit making radio station, a big-switch on will take place at 7am Monday 12th October 2020 – coinciding with the national initiative - ‘Local Radio Day’ when pre-existing and new transmissions will be brought together.

Whilst regular output continues as normal on 96.8FM for those in the north of the borough in particular, listeners in places such as Long Eaton, Sawley, Breaston, Draycott and Borrowash, eager to test their reception equipment will have a chance to do so with test transmissions running in the weeks prior to the big day on the new, higher power frequency of 103.5FM.

One of the founding members of the radio station, a man who had the brainchild for a radio station for Erewash several decades ago, station manager Jeff Martin, spoke about the collective delight of the organisation as the plans continued to gather pace after OFCOM granted permission for a second transmitter.

He said: "This means that we can now provide the radio station that we always wanted to in the first place, but couldn’t do so due to broadcast restrictions which applied at the time.  Although our output can also be heard online via our website, smart speakers and a smartphone and tablet application, we are excited by and are very much looking forward to more welcoming more listeners on FM, providing a service to even more local community groups, charities and local organisations through the free to air publicity they can enjoy and offering commercial promotional opportunities to businesses in the additional broadcast area."

Co-founder of Erewash Sound, press and publicity director Ian Perry said: “At a time when there is an ever-increasing need for local radio whilst we remain in the grip of a pandemic, and when the face of radio in the UK is undergoing significant change, what better time is there to launch our second transmitter for our much needed local radio station than on Local Radio Day?  We’re very excited by the prospect and can’t wait to get the message out there to the people of Erewash as a whole!”

Test transmissions for the more powerful second transmitter were due to begin on 103.5FM on Thursday 1st October, ahead of the full FM simulcast launch on the morning of Monday 12th October.  

Until then, listeners can tune into regular transmissions from Erewash Sound on 96.8FM, the free-to-download app and via smart speakers.  The radio station broadcasts from a purpose built Media Centre in Ilkeston.

In the run up, the radio station is mounting a prominent marketing strategy using billboards, vehicles, leaflets and social media as well as on corporate clothing to ensure that members of the public are in no-doubt about the new frequency for its dedicated local radio service.

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