Digital radio station decides to pull the plug one last time

Croydon Radio is to close this Friday.

Having been shunted out of its original town centre home, Matthew’s Yard, when its rents were hiked by 150 per cent last year, the digital radio station run by volunteers has spent the past few months narrow-casting from Airport House, by the Purley Way.

But that arrangement came to an end last month, prompting an appeal for premises.

Efforts to find a more suitable, longer term base for its studios appear to have come to nought.

With an audience more often measured in dozens, rather than hundreds (never mind thousands), and little in the way of commercial income, it appears that the radio’s founders have given up the struggle.

For a short period, the station’s best listener figures came when it took on the task, at no cost to the public, of broadcasting council meetings from the Town Hall chamber (after the previous Tory administration had taken such webcasts off-air). But that run of success came to an end in 2014, when the new Labour administration committed to webcasting council meetings.

And despite recently doubling the amount of funding available through councillors’ ward budgets and opening a digital innovation centre at TMRW, in the council-owned Davis House, there appears to have been no help available from the Town Hall for Croydon Radio.

Tim Longhurst and Tracey Rabbetts, who founded the station in 2012, published a statement on the radio station’s website over the weekend.

“We would like to thank everyone who has supported Croydon Radio over the last four and half years. We hope you have enjoyed the output,” they said.

“Running Croydon Radio without the benefit and security of a fixed location from which to broadcast has been a challenge and a limiting factor on how we hoped to grow and develop.

“Since leaving Airport House we have looked at various options. We have made the difficult decision to cease Croydon Radio for good and not pursue another location for our studio. We know this will come as disappointing news.

“We will stop broadcasting and close our website at the end of this month.”

With Croydon Radio gone, the Sadvertiser down to fewer than 7,000 weekly sales and now based in Guildford, and the Croydon Guardian being run by a skeleton staff from Sutton, it means that – apart from Inside Croydon – the council is now subject to less media scrutiny than at any time in the past half-century. Which is probably how Jo Negrini, the council CEO, and the pliant council leader, Tony Newman, prefer it.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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