Wednesday 5th August 2015
We are so incredibly grateful to the community in Skye and Lochalsh and our listeners even further afield who donated recently to our campaign to raise the money required to renew Cuillin FM's broadcast licence for a further 12 years. Once everything is finalised, this will allow is to carry on broadcasting through until 2028, which is absolutely fantastic.
However, as many listeners will be aware, we have not been broadcasting at full power on 102.7FM since the middle of last year. To give you some detail - we suffered extensive damage from not just one but multiple lightning strikes to our main antenna on the mast we use at Skriag at the beginning of 2014 during the winter storms. We were initially unaware of the extent of the damage, and managed to raise funds to replace damaged transmitters etc housed at the base of the mast. However, during an inspection later in the year, our engineers realised that underlying unresolved problems to the antenna itself must exist and consequently we had to turn down the power output to avoid further damage to our transmission equipment. It wasn't until this Spring that we were able to raise the money required to commission the engineers to make an actual climb of the mast to assess the full extent of the damage and what would be required for a full repair.
Besides our antenna being seriously lightning damaged, they discovered additional issues with the mast itself (which we rent space on) to do with lightning conductivity, etc. These issues are outside our own immediate control, but have to be resolved before the engineers can provide us with a final quote for full repairs. These other issues are being worked on by the masts owners and our engineers are liaising with them every day on our behalf to move things along. Unfortunately we can do nothing to speed up the process which is very complex. An initial verbal estimate of £35,000 has been mentioned for our repairs, half of which we have been promised from various sources and the rest of which we have applied for funding for in the hope that we can immediately commission the repairs as soon as a final quote is received.
The situation is also holding up our expansion into Staffin and Sleat. We have been given the go-ahead to ready a new transmitter to allow us to broadcast into Sleat, however because the transmission is dependent on a strong signal from 102.7, we are unable to move things along until Skriaig’s issues are resolved.
An interim solution has been offered by our engineers to get us broadcasting to a better degree, while the main repairs are ongoing, however the cost is several thousand pounds which we do not have but which we are trying to find funding for.
We are so aware of the frustration of those who cannot tune in on their radios but please be assured that we are doing absolutely everything we can ourselves but are at the mercy of other people. You can of course listen in and around Portree on 106.2FM and online, though we know that many of our older listeners are unable to listen this way. We can only apologise and assure everyone that we are doing all we know to do. The problems will be resolved but we're just sorry that we can’t provide you with a definite timeline.
Please feel free to get in touch via the office email address (on the Contact page) should you feel the need.