Aircheck UK - Dunbartonshire

UPDATED: 24/01/2003

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BBC LOCAL RADIOBBC Radio Scotland provides a national service on FM frequencies 92-95FM & 810 MW.  The Gaelic service BBC Radio nan Gaidheal broadcasts on 103.5 - 105FM.  


CASTLE ROCK FM 103 provides Dumbarton and the Vale Of Leven with classic oldies and 'today's better music mix'.  But don't get too concerned - the tag line is the only similarity.  Launched on 30th May 2001, and based at Pioneer Park Studios, Unit 3, 80 Castlegreen Street in Dumbarton, this is an independent station with it's very own sales team.  The founder and MD of the station is Alan Timmins, who first lit the spark for a local radio station for the area back in 1985 - at this time, unlicenced stations were prevalent and the community wanted it's own voice - that feeling was clear.  Changes in broadcast legislation by the Radio Authority (themselves formed in January 1991) led to a short-term Restricted Service Licence in 1993 - Alan realised that such licences can lead and have led to full-time licences elsewhere in the country.  He contacted the Dumbarton Festival Association with a proposal to operate DFR - Dumbarton Festival Radio - local DJ Jack Bennie joined Allan and a team of volunteers to run the service - but together, they were sowing the seeds of something bigger.  

With their less populated service area, the RA granted them a 25 Watt FM licence to broadcast in July 1994.  Transmissions came from a temporary building at the Knowetop Community Farm in the hills over Dumbarton.  Response to this broadcast from listeners and advertisers alike led to the second broadcast in July of 1995, broadcasting on 107.2, this time from two temporary buildings on Carman Hill overlooking Alexandria.  By 1995, there was a clear pattern being established, and therefore a need to be organised.  In House Radio Productions Limited was formed to operate future broadcasts, and a decision was taken to locate a permanent studio site.  

And so, the move to present facilities happened, with support from a local bank - and in November 1995, refurbishment work started.  By the summer of 1996, facilties were complete ready for the third DFR broadcast in July of that year.  Allan and Jack subsequently decided to submit a Letter Of Intent to the Radio Authority to operate a full time SALLIE (small scale alternative local licence) for the area.  DFR took to the air again late in 1996 for a pre-Christmas broadcast, and then again in July 1997 to cover the next Dumbarton Festival.  This was to be the final broadcast for DFR.  

A new name of Castle Rock FM was created - this name synonimous with Dumbarton Castle on the top of a 240 foot rock face near the River Leven and Clyde.  Whilst the name changed, the frequency did not - and 107.2 was lit up with a new name, new jingle package, new advertisers but some familiar voices along side some new ones.  Another pre-Christmas 1998 broadcast raised 1,000 for a local hospital, with the team switching on the local Christmas lights.   With the success at such high levels, further contact was made with the Radio Authority in early 1999 to advise them on the station's prominent activities.  The RA respond by placing the station's broadcast area on the 'Working List' for new services.  The final RSL broadcast as Castle Rock FM came in July 1999 - the group's eighth time on-air - with 42 separate advertisers.  

A report commissioned by the station concluded that 87% of locals interviewed had heard of the station and 67% had tuned in during the last RSL.  It signed off for the last time on a short term basis at Midnight, Tuesday 27th July 1999.  In February 2000, the RA advertised the licence and the Castle Rock team put their application together.  High ranking business people were invited to invest, and a partnership with Radio Investments Ltd was forged.  Thirty copies of the application were delivered in person to London by the station founders on Tuesday 30th May 2000 prior to the 2:00pm deadline.  There were also 200 supporting letters and other papers.  The wait began.  

The 'call', so eagerly awaited, comes early if you're successful and later if you aren't.  In the case of Castle Rock, Chairman John McFall received his call, late in the afternoon of Thursday September 7th 2000. Castle Rock had won...and after the celebrations came the task of getting on-air for good.  Existing studios needed to be upgraded and an immediate launch was not applicable as the Radio Authority would take some time to allocate and clear a frequency for full-time use.  Legal and recruitment work was also required.  

It launched full time at 1:03 on 103FM on May 30th 2001 with 100 Watts, as opposed to the previous 25 Watts for RSL use.  




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