Radio Deeside is coming home

Thirty three years after the trailblazing station launched from Deeside Leisure Centre, it is returning to its Queensferry base.

The man who was there for the launch in March 1980 – Roy Norry – will again be a key part of the team which plans to make the station a vital community asset.

Radio Deeside will launch on-line on Good Friday, March 29, but before that there will be an important drop-in day, on March 16, to formally establish a Radio Deeside management team and, in the afternoon, to welcome any volunteers who want to get involved in their own community radio.

Prospects for Radio Deeside seemed bleak after broadcast regulator Ofcom said there were no FM frequencies spare.

“They tried directing us towards DAB but that was much too expensive,” said Roy, of Hamilton Road, Connah’s Quay, who has been involved in local broadcasting all his life.

“Then out of the blue they wrote to us and said we could apply for AM frequency. AM of course is where the original Radio Deeside started and it was fine then. They are planning a big push to revive the AM network.

“There has been a certain resistance against DAB and FM frequencies have disappeared so it has left something of a hole for local broadcasting. In the meantime our engineer Martin Ellett came up with the idea of Deeside Leisure Centre where we had started originally.

“We wrote to the centre manager Geoff Shields and he was very keen and we had good support from Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant, other civic dignitaries and community leaders.

“One of the first things we have to do on our drop-in day on March 16 is to establish our group formally, elect a chairman and treasurer and secretary, and make a formal application to Flintshire.”

But all being well Radio Deeside will be based in a huge mobile office which is very securely based at the rear of the leisure centre in Queensferry.

On its launch on March 29 it will stream pre-recorded material on line (

“We want to record this material over the next four weeks. We will have local dignitaries who have supported us talking about the community, features, youth groups and community based groups such as Quay Watermen’s Association who have recently won lottery funding to turn the old Sea Cadets HQ on Dock Road int their own base and they have plans for a Deeside museum there,” said Roy.

The other big development has been a link-up with the Welsh Assembly Government funded programme, Communities First. This group is tasked with getting local people involved in their communities to make sustained improvements and has more than £1m in funding up to March 2015.

“I’ve been involved in a Communities First course in Flintshire for entrepreneurs and we also approached them to see if they could help.”

The result has been that Communities First will share the station’s brand and the station will probably be known as Radio Deeside – Communities First.

“Our next step is to hopefully make a formal application to the leisure centre, and then move in and build the studio – we already have a donor who is helping with equipment.

“Then we need to recruit volunteers, we need everyone from people making tea to those who want to go out and interview and we will be providing training. We will be a not-for-profit group and will be looking for advertisers and sponsors to supplement any grants.

“It’s nice to be going back after 33 years and to be right in the heart of Deeside. It’s ironic that this area once boasted a tremendously strong local media presence but gradually it has fallen away.

“We want to reflect the vibrant community of Deeside and I’m sure when we have our studio and our AM broadcasting frequency and licence we will be able to engage with the local community and do just that,” said Roy.

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