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102.5 FM - Caithness F.M.  

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Caithness FM > History of Caithness FM

In mid 1992, during a chance conversation between then local MP Robert McLennan and Thomas Prag, Managing Director of Moray Firth Radio the idea of community radio in Caithness was born. So in December 1992 some public meetings were held to gauge public interest. The interest was positive, so the seed where sown to get a radio station!

Fast forward to Autumn 1993. Links formed with Moray Firth Radio in Inverness, with whom we share a frequency, and a restricted service licence (RSL) was applied for to enable a temporary broadcast in this area. After a couple of frantic months, in October 1993 the first RSL took place! The station was broadcasting from a portacabin in the garden of a local councillors house, Caithness Community Radio Association took to the airwaves for the first time.

November 1993
The RSL was judged to be a success and it was agreed to apply for a second RSL for spring of 1994.

July/August 1994

Slightly later than anticipated the second RSL took place, this time for two months. A temporary studio was housed in Thurso's Scapa House - using equipment borrowed from Highland Council and Moray Firth Radio.
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September 1994
It was agreed that the RSL had been a success and a decision was made to go all out to go on air permanently instead of wasting resources funding temporary broadcasts.

October 1994
Premises were secured at Murkle near Thurso

October 1995
The premises at Murkle proved to be unsuitable and the lease was terminated.

March 1996
Business plan and funding package put together for submission to various bodies including the National Lottery.

Autumn 1996
With our support Moray Firth Radio applied for the broadcasting licence for the Caithness Area.

November 1996
Moray Firth Radio began broadcasting on 102.5 fm - the frequency which would become Caithness FM's.

January 1997
A lease on a piece of land in Neil Gunn Drive, Thurso was secured through the local enterprise company.

January 1997
UKAEA Dounreay donated a large "temporary" building for use as a studio.

March 1997
The licence application was submitted to the Radio Authority's office in the Docklands, London. This application was lost when the IRA bombed the Docklands and a further application was submitted.

August 1997
Our building was delivered and work began to turn what was basically a large derelict portacabin into a radio station.

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January 1998
Second lottery application refused - whole project began to look doubtful due to lack of funding

February 1998
Funding secured! Third lottery application successful, grants from local council and the local enterprise company together with generous donations from local groups, companies and our own crazy fundraising efforts meant that the necessary amount was raised.

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February 1998
Caithness Community Radio Association ceased to exist - and was replaced with Caithness FM Ltd - a company limited by guarantee (charitable status not available for community radio in Scotland)

March 1998
The mast was raised in what would eventually be the station car park

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April 1998
Interior building works were completed to a standard that the building could be used. Electricity and water were connected.

20 April 1998 - 7.00 pm
Caithness FM took to the airwaves with Hugh Manson's "Strathsounds" again using borrowed equipment but with champagne to celebrate!

June 1998
New studio equipment purchased and installed.

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June 2000
An extension to the building allowed a new studio and record library to be opened.

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