Aircheck UK - Ross-shire, Cromartyshire & TThe Western Isles

UPDATED: 14/05/2003

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BBC LOCAL RADIO BBC 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.   


ISLES FM: This station provides a mixture of speech and music for the bilingual English and Gaelic speaking communities of the Western Isles from studios and a transmitter at Stornoway on the Isle Of Lewis.  It came to air on 7th March 1998 using a 4kw transmitter on 103.0FM.  Locally produced and presented music is a mix of current hits and gold reaching a possible audience of over 15,000 people.  In January 2002, the station claimed a broadcasting first: the airing of a previously unreleased Frank Sinatra performance - an 11 minute high-quality recording of 'Soliloquy' from the musical 'Carousel' which had been received from a Sinatra fan who attended the live show on Sinatra's 73rd birthday in the US.  The recording went out at the beginning of February 2002 on the station's Drivetime show.  


LOCHBROOM FM: Serving Ullapool and surrounding areas, this is a station reflecting the culture and heritage of north west Scotland on three frequencies: 102.2 & 96.8 (Ullapool) & 101.6 (Gairloch).  The station launched 23rd May 1997 and, although it originally came from an old tin roofed building with no toilet, but great views over Lochbroom, it now broadcasts from studios at Radio House on Mill Street in Ullapool to areas from Cape Wrath to Kyle Of Lochalsh and across the Hebrides.  There's a wide range of programming offered by this community service with most popular music genres catered for - with presentation from the young and old.  Original features include items from visiting artists, poetry and the 'Midge Count' which is easy to predict what it's about without necessarily being correct.  The latter is a highly renowned feature by all accounts.  The station's launch on-air was promoted locally as a race between them and Isles FM.  Lochbroom the victors in getting to air.  The station has received superb levels of support both financially and otherwise, getting 100,000 to build and equip new studios post launch.  The station is run by a team of directors, and on a not-for-profit basis.  There is a great deal of community spirit amongst the locals and individuals who run the station - and it has been known for donations to be sent in the post to help support the station as well as locals supporting the station at fundraising events.  For 5 per year, anyone can become a member of the station, which entitles the individual to voting rights at the group's AGM.  Also, the station runs activity holidays which feature a five morning training course on radio presentation, followed by an appearance on air at the end of the week!  The station's website explodes into life with 'FLASH' animation and dramatic music and there's also archived press releases on the station's history - plus more details about that legendaryy 'Midge Count' - visit at  


(Logo used with permission - (C) of Wester Ross Radio Ltd)

TWO LOCHS RADIO: run by Wester Ross Radio Ltd have been announced as the winners of the new eight-year local radio licence for Gairloch and Loch Ewe in Ross-shire, West Scotland.  They were the only applicant - and propose a community-orientated service with a broad music mix and a large amount of talk-based programming in both English and Gaelic.  

The station is a non-profit making group dedicated to providing a local community based community-based independent radio station for the Gairloch and Loch
Ewe areas.  It has possibly one of the smallest potential audiences, a population of just over 2000 residents, and is therefore the smallest licenced broadcaster in the UK according to the Chairman of the group Alex Gray.  

"This licence award comes after years of voluntary work by many people fundraising, lobbying the authorities, building a studio, training, planning, and most recently preparing the licence application.  Gaining the 8-year broadcasting licence is a major milestone for the group, and is a testimony to the perseverance and professional approach of all who have been involved with the project over the years.  We believe that a truly local radio station will become a real asset to our remote and scattered communities, particularly for those who are house-bound or living alone, and also provide a valuable service to visitors and tourism businesses."

Two Lochs Radio is particularly grateful for the support it has received from Ross & Cromarty Enterprise, Highland Council, Awards for All and the Community Economic Development Fund.  Work is now underway on the next stage of the project, which is to obtain and install the transmission equipment, and to rally volunteers for programming and presentation.  Two Lochs Radio plans to provide broad coverage of the area with two transmitters, one located on the south side of Loch Gairloch and one on Cliff Hill overlooking Loch Ewe and Loch Maree.

Anyone interested in working with Two Lochs Radio or wanting more information about it should call 01445 712712 or e-mail: .  The station hopes to be operational by August 2003.  

The service area is in the far north-west of Scotland in the heart of the Wester Ross National Scenic Area.  The population density is about 2 people per square mile, and the total population of the area is under 3,000.  The subsistence economy of the area is heavily dependent on tourism, crofting and seafood fishery.  Close to one of the last remaining wilderness areas in northern Europe and with the cleanest air, mountains and beaches, it is very popular with walkers, climbers and other outdoor
activity enthusiasts.  Inverness, the nearest large town, is some 70 miles away by road.  A significant proportion of the population is Gaelic speaking or has a keen interest in Gaelic culture, and Two Lochs Radio will be producing programmes in and about Gaelic in addition to regular English output.  The station has an open door policy towards everyone in the area, and will actively try to encourage participation by all.  Visitors to the area will be welcome to call in at the station, and even perhaps get the chance to try their hand at broadcasting.




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