A community radio station hopes to expand its listenership when it launches on digital radio for the first time.
Mearns FM, which recently celebrated its 10th year on air, will broadcast on DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) from July 27 after it successfully applied to Ofcom for a licence.
The station is in the process of setting up a new studio in Portlethen Church Hall with help from the National Lottery Awards for All initiative.
Mearns FM chairman Peter Greig said: “At the moment, we cover an area from Montrose to the Charleston Flyover and we can get anywhere between 25,000 and 30,000 listeners. We also get around 20,000 online listeners every month.
“When we go digital, we will be covering an area right up to Fraserburgh and my hope is that the listening database will skyrocket.
“After NECR radio station closed the north-east missed out on a lot of local radio programmes so it will be good to cover that area again.
“Currently we are broadcasting on FM and we will be switching to digital, but people can still listen on FM if they don’t have digital which is great.
“We will soon become the only community radio station in Scotland on a regional digital multiplex and hopefully others will follow too.”
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Mearns FM was officially opened on June 6 2009 by Sir Robert Smith MP at Stonehaven’s Feein’ Market.
Since then, Ofcom has renewed its licence to broadcast twice and the station is able to keep broadcasting until at least 2024.
Peter added: “We’ve come a long way since 2009. In that time we’ve built ourselves up, we’ve got a good bunch of presenters and a huge variation of programmes.”
The majority of the station’s presenters have been working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Peter said: “Out of 25 presenters, we only have around five going into the studio at the moment.
“We will need to put measures in place to allow visitors and guests to come back into the studio and we’re waiting on a delivery of a screen which will separate the presenter and the guests.
“Working from home has been different because you don’t have the atmosphere of being in the studio but hopefully within the next few weeks we can look at getting back to normal.”
To find out more about Mearns FM, or to listen online, visit https://mearnsfm.org.uk/