As part of Nevis Community Radio Limited’s on-going commitment to becoming more sustainable, a joint project has been undertaken with GFG Alliance, the new owners of the aluminium smelter in Fort William, to relocate one of their four transmission sites .
The main transmission site responsible for the signal in Fort William and the surrounding area used to be located at Treslaig, across Loch Linnhe from the town. It was expensive to rent the site, hard to access for maintenance and had limited opportunities to expand the signal, so Nevis Radio approached what is now GFG Alliance, about the possibility of relocating from the Treslaig site to the Surge Chamber above the waterpipes on their property.
The move has been several years in planning, as a move in transmission site requires a huge amount of planning and co-operation from engineers, volunteers and staff at both sites to make sure disruptions in the signal are kept to a minimum whilst one mast is turned off and the new one starts transmitting. With the support of the team at the smelter, Nevis Radio managed to successfully move transmission sites in April of this year.
Simon Abberley, Sustainability & Development Manager at Nevis Radio said “We hope this is a start of a great relationship between Nevis Radio and Liberty. The move has made the signal in the Kinlochleven/Glencoe area stronger and, for the first time ever, we are reaching some of the Locheilside area which is great news. A big thanks for everyone’s patience”. Esme Leitch, who also works at Nevis Radio as Sales and General Assistant, added “This is such great news for everyone at the station; we couldn’t have done it without the support of the Liberty Aluminium Lochaber Limited, Ofcom, Thistle Access, Our engineer Martin Hobson and Forestry Commission Scotland
John Weller, Chairperson at Nevis Radio said, “without this move, the future sustainability of Nevis Radio was a big question. Our biggest expenditure next to the two staff wages are our mast site rental fees. It is a very complicated and expensive task to move sites as it has to be approved by our broadcasting regulator “Ofcom” who have to agree to every step of the transition including who we use as an engineer, what riggers we use, and what equipment is installed. Ofcom eventually visit and carry out on site tests before giving the green light for us to broadcast from that site. From my very first meeting with the smelter staff, Nevis Radio was made to feel very welcome. We are very grateful for all their co-operation and support so that we can continue to provide our service for the foreseeable future. As a registered charity, and not for profit company, we are thrilled to be included in this large company’s community project. Nevis Radio has undergone major changes this year, including new staffing structure and a major business review. Our organisation now feels revitalised and our aim is to work far more for and within the community to keep them entertained and informed 24hrs a day”.
Since the transmitter move, there are on-going engineering works to address the temporary poor service being experienced in some parts of the broadcasting area which are due to the geographical landscape of the area. These works are costly for an organisation such as Nevis Radio- if you would like to provide any support for this project, please get in touch with Simon Abberley on 01397 700007.
The Board of Directors, staff and volunteers at Nevis Radio cannot thank GFG Alliance enough, as without their support continued broadcasting of Nevis Radio would not have been possible.