Ofcom has sights fixed on troubled Castle FM

Donny Hughes was a broadcaster at the station. Picture: Jon Savage
Donny Hughes was a broadcaster at the station. Picture: Jon Savage
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TROUBLED radio station ­Castle FM is being investigated by Ofcom following reports of failure to comply with the terms of its licence.

The news is the latest in a ­series of blows for the once well-loved community broadcaster, after it emerged last month that the station, formerly Leith FM, had been evicted from its ­studios at Leith Dockers Club over alleged non-payment of a “substantial” amount of rent.

But according to the station’s website and Facebook page it has now set up shop in Leith Business Centre on Marine Esplanade – despite not having settled its debts with Leith Dockers Club. A spokesman for the club said: “We’ve not heard anything about the rent, no-one has gotten back to us and it hasn’t been paid since last February.

“We’re not sure what to do with the space now, it can’t lie empty forever. I suppose we’re really hoping that the licence can be put back in to the hands of the Leith community. Radio licences are very difficult to obtain and it’s frustrating to see things going so far downhill with what was once a great community resource.”

It is not clear whether ­current broadcasts are actually ­originating from the Leith ­Business Centre.

A spokesman for the office space provider said: “The radio station has moved some things in but may not be broadcasting from these premises yet as we are still ensuring that we have the requisite 24-hour electrical and broadband support that they will require.”

At the time of going to press ­Castle FM appeared to be broadcasting a continuous playlist punctuated on the half hour with a recorded message encouraging listeners to sign up to the station’s Facebook group. According to the terms of Castle FM’s licence agreement, between the hours of 8am to 7pm the station output should be generally split 70/30 between live or pre-recorded music and live chat.

A spokeswoman from broadcasting watchdog Ofcom said: “We are investigating ­Castle FM with regards to ­provision of its service.”

No-one from Castle FM ­was available for comment.

Former employees and board members of the station have previously claimed that managing director Mike Templeton contravened station guidelines by ignoring a call last year for a committee to be established to help improve the company’s financial situation – and a vote which called for him to step down.

Police Scotland confirmed that an investigation into ­alleged financial irregularities at the station is still ongoing.

One former Castle FM member, who did not wish to be named, said: “This is supposed to be a community station, that was the terms the licence was granted on. Now it seems like one person has ­hijacked it, which they have no right to do. I’d also be very interested to know what ­equipment they are using to broadcast.”