Country rock musician Stuart Rolfe has acquired Chippenham FM for an undisclosed sum from its former owner Andy Thatcher, who has retired.
Mr Rolfe, 50, has been Mr Thatcher’s right-hand man for the past eight years since joining the station in 2015.
“We’re now applying for grants to relocate and expand our service to the local community,” said Mr Rolfe, who has been operating from his living room at home in Chippenham.
The station broadcasts to the local community 24/7 but has only PRS and PPL licences for music and phonographic performances.
“We don’t need a broadcasting licence for the internet,” says Stuart, who is recovering from a kidney tumour.
“We broadcast information about what’s happening locally, feature local artists, and have about eight presenters working part-time.
“We try to cover all genres of music and produce some specialist shows covering music from the 1970s to the present.
“We will be expanding the station and moving it from my living room. We are looking to move into the town centre so that we can attract young people in and learn how to become presenters.
“We want to get more people involved as presenters for the town.”
Mr Rolfe is applying for £80,000 worth of grants from the National Lottery, the Arts Council, Wiltshire Council and organisations that support people with special educational needs.
The station has already been booked to support several community-based events taking place in Chippenham and the surrounding area this year.
He is also the event coordinator for the Chippenham Pride Festival taking place on Saturday, June 17, from 1pm-10pm in the Island Park.
The event will kick off with a Pricde Walk at 1pm and music on the main stage as well as a speaker stage at the Angel Hotel.
As well as Chippenham FM, Mr Rolfe is also working on a new country rock album with his group of musicians, including lead guitarist Dylan Smith from Trowbridge, singer Becky Lawrence, drummer Oliver Wylde, and bass guitarist Julie Wilson.
He said: “I have written around nine songs and we’re going to Dylan’s studio next week to record the new album, which is still untitled.
“We hope to put it out in the summer,” added Stuart, who sings and plays acoustic and rhythm guitars.
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