Highlands and Islands Regional MSP Donald Cameron has written to the Scottish Government urging them to provide financial support to community radio stations which have been affected by the loss of advertising revenues as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Cameron wrote to Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes after being contacted by representatives of Fort William-based Nevis Radio, which broadcasts across Lochaber in the West Highlands.
Mr Cameron said: “Stations like Nevis Radio play a valued role in their communities and are often the first news providers that local people go to if they are seeking information on matters like school closures or, in the case of Nevis Radio, whether there are problems with the A82 trunk road which is very vulnerable to traffic delays.
“These stations are also invaluable to people who lack access to the internet and are, perhaps, isolated and take comfort from the sound of a friendly local voice.
“In short, Nevis Radio performs an important public service and deserves to be supported.
“Even a relatively modest sum of money would help stations like Nevis Radio over this difficult period to secure their future.”
Simon Abberley from Nevis Radio said: “Due to the pandemic many of our sources of advertising have dried up as they have had to cease trading and we other potential sources, such as the charitable sector, have been over-subscribed.
“We have been operating for 27 years and, for some communities, are still the only radio station they can receive at home.
“Even temporarily closing is not really an option, as the nature of the broadcasting regulations means that we may well be unable to restart, leaving our listeners without any service at all.
“What we are looking for is just some modest support so that we can plan ahead with some security and get through to the other side of the pandemic."