Galashiels is set to become the first town in the Borders to be served by a non-profit making community radio station broadcasting over FM airwaves.
A launch date of March 30 has been set for the new era at TD1 Radio, which has been operating as an internet-only service in the town since 2008.
In 2013, station manager David Henderson and his team of volunteers were granted a community radio FM licence by Ofcom to broadcast for a minimum of 10 hours a day.
The company was given two years by the communications watchdog to meet the technical requirements of that permit and start broadcasting.
That meant relocating from its present home – in Mr Henderson’s house – to a new fully-equipped studio, and purchasing and installing a transmitter, antennae and cabling.
The station began a major fundraising drive which was successfully completed last week when Scottish Borders Council’s executive unanimously agreed to make a £5,000 grant to facilitate the move.
Councillors heard that a bid for £9,991 to the lottery’s Awards for All scheme had been successful and would be officially announced next month.
“We’re all thrilled and relieved that the council funding has come through in time for us to meet the Ofcom deadline,” said a delighted Mr Henderson.
TD1 Radio has already signed a five-year leasing deal with Galashiels Golf Club to create its new studio in what was once the visitors’ changing room at the Ladhope course – high above the town. And it has received planning permission for a small 50-watt transmitter to be installed on the roof.
The FM signal will not only be picked up in Galashiels, but also in Tweedbank and parts of Selkirk. In his funding submission to the council, Mr Henderson said his station intended to broadcast daily from 6am till 10pm and would have a minimum 80-20 split between music and speech.
As an example of the community function performed by TD1 Radio, Mr Henderson cited a recent one-hour documentary to mark the 30th anniversary of the Borders LGBT group, featuring interviews with past and present members.
“TD1 Radio aims to enhance the area’s identity by including the wealth of local businesses, charities and community groups which currently struggle to have their voices and opinions heard,” he explained.
“There are a large number of OAPs and others who are retired and we provide output for this often-forgotten demographic.
“We will also cater for youngsters, school leavers and the unemployed who get little or no representation on existing local radio services.”
Meanwhile, Ofcom has confirmed the station’s new frequency – 106.5FM.
Anyone wishing to get involved in TD1 Radio, either as a presenter or volunteer, is urged to make contact through the station’s website.