A truly local station on way

People do appreciate good local radio, and the way it helps define and reflect a community. It may not rank as highly with people as the local post office or local pub, but try to take it away and watch the protests burst out.

Do you remember the huge fuss when Radio Sussex disappeared into Southern Counties? The BBC insisted this was the way forward, but some time on and with audiences falling, that decision has been partly reversed and the BBC is better for it.

We are fortunate that the BBC's local radio option has to some extent found its feet again, and for my constituents in Polegate, they can also pick up the Hailsham-based commercial station, Sovereign Radio, which I think turns out a pretty good product.

The really exciting news, however, is the decision by radio regulator OFCOM to allow Seahaven FM a full FM licence.

The station, which covers the coast from Seaford through to Peacehaven, and which can also be picked up elsewhere such as in Lewes, has up to now been only on the internet (at www.seahavenfm.com) and sporadically on FM for a month at a time, but will occupy a permanent place on the dial from early next year.

The radio station's studio is bang in the middle of Seaford town centre, near the bottom end of Broad Street, and is run by local resident Nick Mallinson, whose commitment is extreme. He seems to live in the place (don't tell the planning department). Already the station has attracted a wide number and range of volunteers and is proving a great way of bringing people together.

I think the arrival of the station is really good for Seaford and Newhaven, particularly when FM broadcasts start, and will be a boost for the two towns.

I do hope that local people will support what is a brave venture, both by tuning in and by advertising on the station if they have a local business.

In the meantime, if you want a flavour of what's to come, do listen in on the internet. I can particularly recommend the show that broadcasts jazz, country and anything else that comes along every Sunday morning between 10 and 12!