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St Helena Online

The St Helena report and the gap in media

Saint FM ‘wins backing from councillors’

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The team attempting to revive Saint FM radio station appears to be close to success.

But a government press release announcing the “launch” of the state-funded SAMS Radio 1 makes no mention of the bid, despite it apparently winning support from executive councillors.

St Helena Online understands that councillors pushed to approve a licence application for Saint FM in the face of reluctance from senior officials, following public pressure.

Julie Thomas, chairman of the group behind the bid, reports that some legal formalities still need to be sorted after it failed to meet the requirements for charity status.

A push for people to sign up as members of the new broadcasting organisation is being held in Jamestown on Saturday, 16 February 2013.

An advert has also been placed for an assistant station manager. Mike Olsson, who founded the station in 2005 and closed it on 21 December 2012, will not be a part of its management committee, though he will supply news bulletins.

In a message to supporters, Julie Thomas writes: I would like to thank the general public for their constant support; it is certainly inspirational during these testing times.

Failing to become a registered charity caused apprehension, as this was one of the reasons our application had been delayed initially.

I am pleased to report however, that our application was considered by Exco on Monday of this week (11 February 2013) and the correspondence advised that the outcome was favourable but we would need to address a few issues in relation to the legal status of our association, due to the charitable status not being successful.

The letter advised that the Governor is willing to summon the council to meet again at short notice, pending our response.

Our preferred way forward was to establish a company limited by guarantee, to avoid an individual member of the management committee taking on the full responsibility of the broadcasting licence. This is a democratic structure and the incentive for members to become involved is not profit, but commitment to the objects of the organisation.

The application to register our company, Saint FM Community Radio (Guarantee) Limited, was submitted on Tuesday. A timely response was received on Wednesday suggesting a few changes, and more detailed explanation in relation to the association restricting its undertaking to one that is of an educational nature.

We have been busy defining our Articles of Association to take into account the advice given and it is hoped that this will be submitted today (Friday, 15 February).

If approval of our application is received, this should result in ExCo meeting once again, to finalise their decision.

In the meantime, to boost momentum we are advertising for the position of assistant station manager; and on Saturday from 11.30 am, the management committee will be in Jamestown, outside the New Horizons centre, giving a preview of what we hope to stand for, and the opportunity to register as a member.

Annual membership will cost £5 for employed citizens and £1 for the unwaged.  Membership is optional; however for Saint FM Community Radio to achieve its objectives, we need your support.

  • NOTE: No details have yet been given of ways to give support from overseas.
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