THE first new full time local radio station for 24 years is about to launch in Milton Keynes.
MKFM is preparing to bring a full community radio service to MK on the new DAB Digital Radio multiplex.
The switch-on, which will cover Beds, Herts and Bucks, will take place between 8.15am and 9.30am on Thursday – Valentine’s Day – at The National Radio Centre in Bletchley Park.
The new signal comes from Bow Brickhill.
BBC Three Counties Radio and Heart will be broadcasting live from the National Radio Centre.
The change will mean Three Counties Radio, Heart, Capital and Gold will be available on local DAB digital radio for the first time.
Milton Keynes Dons chairman Pete Winkelman and MP Iain Stewart will switch on the transmitter at 8.45am.
MKFM will be among the stations which will take to the air as a result.
Programme Director Chris Gregg and his team have been campaigning for the return of dedicated local broadcasting for two years and the new technology means the station can now launch on digital.
The station said it will bring a mix of news, travel, weather and sport, alongside music and community information. All its programmes will be presented from studios in Milton Keynes, including the iconic ‘pod’ outside Xscape.
Mr Gregg said: “With the support of Milton Keynes Council, our MP’s and the community, MKFM will continuing to campaign for a local FM license which will be available next year.
“However, DAB Digital Radio brings the opportunity to provide a true local service up to 18 months earlier than FM.”
Sets cost as little as £15 and 22 million adults currently own a digital radio.
Mr Gregg added: “We are very excited to have the opportunity to bring local radio back to Milton Keynes on Digital Radio.
“Our test transmissions are now on air and we’ll be launching a full service at the end of April”
And commercial director, Darren Dorrington, added: “Milton Keynes is one of the fastest growing places in the UK.
”Recent statistics show the business community in MK is thriving and has substantial increase in commuters and visitors.
“We will be supporting local business, good causes and our community as a whole. The benefits of broadcasting via DAB to Beds, Herts and Bucks are fantastic for us to promote everything that Milton Keynes has to offer.”
Milton Keynes Mayor, Councillor Catriona Morris, who opened MKFM’s new studios in Northfield in November last year, is already a fan.
“I have seen MKFM everywhere across Milton Keynes,” she said.
“It’s absolutely fundamental that Milton Keynes has its own radio station in this growing city. There’s lots going on in the city, lots to be proud about.
“It’s really really important we have our own local radio station.”
To find out more about MKFM and to volunteer visit www.mkfm.com