12th February 2015

Alderney gets its first full-time radio station

Quay FM, Alderney‘s only radio station, was long coming. Founded in 2000, it had broadcast on a temporary licence each August. From 2004, it added the Christmas period to its schedules. Even so, it still had to close down after a few weeks on air. The process of applying for a new temporary licence would then repeat.

It broadcast on 87.7FM from studios above Central Garage, but moved about for the first few years. It took empty shops and spare rooms, depending on what was available, but now has permanent premises at Braye Harbour.

Run by volunteers and a handful of paid staff, Quay FM won its full-time, low power community licence in 2014. It launched on 12 February the following year on 107.1FM. The first voices went out across the island at 7am.

Previously, Alderney’s only “local” coverage was provided by BBC Radio Guernsey and Island FM.

A community radio licence for Alderney

Community radio licences are awarded to non-profit organisations and limit a station’s range. They limit a station’s broadcast area to around 5km, although only the frequency they’re assigned. There’s there’s nothing to stop Quay FM broadcasting the world online. It does exactly this through its website. Quay FM’s licence runs for five years. After this, it would need to apply for a renewal if it wanted to continue broadcasting.

Broadcasting regulator, Ofcom, had advertised the 50-watt community licence in December 2013. It could cover any location within the Channel Islands, and applications remained open until March 2014. Quay FM’s owner, Alderney Broadcasting Company, was the only one to put in a bid.

There’s no way of knowing why nobody else applied for a licence, but it’s possible to guess why the only interest was from Alderney. Guernsey already has Island FM and Jersey has Channel 103. Herm and Sark are too small to make broadcasting viable. Alderney, with a population of around 2000 and no station of its own must have looked like the only sensible option.

Alderney, home of Quay FM radio station


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Other events that occured in February

Mail ship wrecked on Black Rock 1st
Oil rig stranded at Grandes Rocques
Birth of Generaloberst Friedrich Dollmann 2nd
Death of Sir Charles Hayward 3rd
St Martin’s parish church consecrated 4th
Guernsey suffers its worst storm in 35 years 5th
Guernsey watchmaker helps Stone of Scone manhunt 6th
Guernsey Language Commission formed 7th
Queen Mary executed while wearing Guernsey stockings 8th
Guernsey gets its first postbox
Guernsey Society celebrates its 70th anniversary 9th
Guernsey’s last execution didn’t go according to plan 10th
The last issue of GUNS was distributed 11th
Alderney gets its first full-time radio station 12th
Guernsey’s last duel 13th
Specsavers’ Mary Perkins was born 14th
Blue Islands takes to the skies
Guernsey gets its own flag 15th
Birth of concrete poet Dom Sylvester Houedard 16th
HMS Guernsey launched in Aberdeen 17th
Guernsey’s first Methodist minister arrives 18th
Aurigny Air Services founded 19th
Guernsey Railway Company runs its first services 20th
The Channel Islands were cut off from the outside world 21st
St Sampson was ordained a bishop 22nd
Death of Thomas Fiott de Havilland 23rd
Murder inquiry ends with suicide 24th
Death of occupation resister Marie Ozanne 25th
Guernsey’s first banker dies 26th
Release of Reverend Harry Samuel 27th
Plans for St Sampson power station approved 28th
Second World War bomb detonated 29th