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|First air date||6 August 2007|
Future Radio is a local community radio station serving the City of Norwich in Norfolk and based in the disadvantaged West Norwich suburb of Earlham. The station is part of Future Projects (formerly the NR5 Project) a local development and educational charity. The station is run by two full-time staff and dozens of volunteers from across Norwich and focuses on delivering community-based information, services and training opportunities. Future Radio contributes to the overall vision of Future Projects - which is that of a local community which has equality of opportunity and the education, skills and confidence to overcome its social or economic disadvantages and contribute fully to society.
Future Radio began broadcasting in May 2004 with its first 28-day Restricted Service Licence (RSL). Six such short-term RSLs were broadcast in total, each on the station's former frequency of 105.1FM.
On 6 August 2007 Future Radio launched its full-time permanent service on 96.9FM (25 Watts, stereo, mixed polarisation) using an improved transmitter site providing improved reception across much of Norwich, albeit with a directional coverage restriction towards the city centre. The full-time community radio service is broadcast from new purpose built studios on Motum Road, Norwich. The station's first song was Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads.
Using the tag line 'The Community Alternative', Future Radio carries a wide variety of programming output, including speech-based local material, such as interviews and features. The station also broadcasts a diverse range of specialist music programming to cater for the wide range of different musical tastes found within Norwich. Minority language programmes in Lithuanian and Polish are also currently broadcast, with the possibility of other languages being added in the future.
The station has helped launch the careers of several public figures including BBC Radio 1's Greg James.
In 2009, the station was awarded an extended Norwich-wide licence which it launched in the summer of 2010. The station then moved to a new frequency, (107.8 MHz) which is less subject to incoming interference and is without the previous city centre coverage restriction. For comparative purposes, the Ofcom coverage map of Future Radio's early 96.9 MHz FM transmissions is available from here http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/radiolicensing/mcamaps/cr027.pdf while details of the current 107.8 MHz transmissions can be found here http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/radiolicensing/mcamaps/cr192.pdf
In May 2010, the station began to implement plans to improve its coverage in preparation for the switch to its new Norwich-wide service later in the summer on the new frequency of 107.8 MHz. Once this change was completed, the old 96.9 MHz transmitter was switched off. The new frequency and revised antenna system provides improved coverage of East Norwich in particular.
In addition to its FM transmissions, Future Radio also streams its output over the Internet, using the facilities of the Community Media Association's Canstream service.
In May 2013, independent research stated that Future Radio had a regular weekly audience of 21,000 people, with 42,000 estimated to listen at least once a month.