It is all systems go for the FM launch of Galashiels community radio station TD1 Radio.
The final technical adjustments to the station’s new studio – high above the town at Ladhope Golf Club – were made on Friday when the transmitting antenna was installed.
And on Tuesday, the TD1 team received the seal of approval from communications watchdog Ofcom whose representatives visited the site and officially commissioned the station.
“The transmitter, which cost £1,400, is arguably our most important piece of kit,” said David Henderson, who founded the station seven years ago.
Since then it has built up a loyal following of listeners online.
“It was that support and the demand for airtime from more and more community groups that convinced us that an FM licence was the way to go,” recalled Mr Henderson.
The licence bid was granted in 2013 and, since then, Mr Henderson and his team of volunteers have been raising funds to meet the strict broadcasting criteria laid down by Ofcom. The major breakthrough came in January, when the station received a £5,000 grant from Scottish Borders Council which, in turn, released £10,000 in lottery funding to purchase the required equipment. As a result, this has allowed Mr Henderson to relocate the station from his home in Galashiels to the former visitors’ changing room at the golf club, under a five-year lease.
Friday’s installation saw Mr Henderson call on the expertise of Geoff Ruderham, who heads the technical team at Black Diamond FM in Midlothian, and the station’s resident engineer, Jim Keddie, along with Alastair Kirk, a rigger with A1 Aerials which supplied the kit.
“We did a test broadcast on Friday and drove around to discover if the signal was up to speed and I’m happy to say it was,” reported Mr Henderson.
“Not only is reception crystal clear in Galashiels and Tweedbank, which is our target area, but also in Selkirk and Stow.”
TD1 Radio will begin its FM era at 6am on Monday when Mr Henderson will host a breakfast show.
The station is committed to offering a minimum 80-20 split between music and talk and will broadcast daily from 6am till 10pm on 106.5FM.
“In recent weeks we’ve recruited another six volunteers to help with production, which is very encouraging.
“Our aim is to enhance and promote the TD1 postcode’s identity by including the wealth of local businesses, charities and other community groups who currently struggle to have their voices and opinions heard on the radio.”