FM radio service changes name to cover whole city

COMMUNITY radio station Leith FM is set to relaunch as 98.8 Castle FM in a move aimed at taking on the airwaves across the whole city.

The station, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in April, has just completed a £10,000 project to create new studios at its Academy Street premises.

Leith FM will officially go off air tomorrow at 11am, with music being played until the official launch of the new station at 1pm on Friday.

Entrepreneur and “Leith statesman” Sir Tom Farmer, will press the button to mark the switchover to the new rebranded station.

The launch event will also involve the studios being named the Sir Tom Farmer studios and feature Leith Michelin star chef Tom Kitchin.

Donny Hughes, business development manager at Leith FM, said: “Leith is still our base but we want to move the station away from being perceived as only serving those who live in the Leith area and position it as an outlet for people from all over the city will want to tune in as 95 per cent of Edinburgh picks up our signal.

“On a business level we hope the rebrand will generate exposure and attract more advertising revenues as the perception that we are solely concerned with those in Leith may have hampered our opportunities of attracting businesses.”

Leith FM was first established in 2007 and remains almost entirely run by volunteers, broadcasting a mix of music throughout the week and specialist music shows in the evening and at weekends. It also has broadcasts in Polish and Chinese and works with local schools and community groups.

The station achieved its highest ever online monthly listening figures recently, with more than 200,000 people a month tuning into the station.

The new studio facilities, paid for through fundraising and private donations, will allow the station to feature more guests, as it can now accommodate six people. The previous studio only had room for two.

Mr Hughes said the relaunch would be taken to all parts of the city. “As well as guest speakers and a reception, we’ve booked a double-decker bus with cheerleaders and speakers on board to race through the city and get our voice out there,” he said.

“These stunts are great fun and will definitely attract attention and hopefully get the Edinburgh community excited about tuning in and hearing our new sound.”

The right frequency

THE Rebranding of Leith FM will finally bring Castle FM to the Edinburgh airwaves – at least in name – more than a decade after the station was first suggested in 1999.

Then it was the brainchild of Kwik-Fit founder Sir Tom Farmer, Andrew Neil, then publisher and editor-in chief of The Scotsman Publications, broadcaster Sheena McDonald, Sir Angus Grossart of The Royal Bank of Scotland and former Lord Provost Eric Milligan.

And in 2004 it was among 12 bids to Ofcom for a new FM licence being granted to the Capital.

When it came to the crunch, however, judges selected the bid by Dunedin FM, led by former editor of The Sun Kelvin Mackenzie.

This launched in 2006 as Talk 107FM, but closed two years later.