Lottery award signals boost for community radio station

OUTSIDE BROADCAST WKR in Tonbridge for the 2022 Christmas lights switch-on

WEST Kent Radio (WKR) has received National Lottery funding for the second time in two years, in a clear signal of the community station’s value.

The funding body put up the original grant to help WKR buy its two FM transmitters in Tunbridge Wells and Bidborough, and is now providing another £8,000 to further boost the FM signal with upgrades and a third transmitter.

The trustees of the station said: “We are delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has once again recognised our work in this way.”

WKR received its broadcasting licence from the regulator, Ofcom, in March 2020, but did not start broadcasting until October 2021.

A spokesman involved with the project told the Times that WKR would have to apply for planning permission for the third transmitter, but that ‘we hope to finish everything within six months’.

The programming is aimed at listeners aged 45 and over in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Southborough and surrounding areas, but the volunteers and presenters who run the station are of all ages and backgrounds.

As well as allowing airtime for local charities to put out the word about their good causes, it also provides showcases for local musicians and their work.

The trustees added: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we will be able to improve our service on FM, expand our coverage and provide quality programmes, news, entertainment, sport and good advice to a wider audience. We hope we can continue to enrich the lives of our listeners in West Kent.”

Since it began broadcasting in 2021 it has supported local events such as the Bidborough Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the Southborough Lions Gala Day, and the recent Christmas light festivals in both Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells.

Presenter Alex Hake, was shortlisted in the Speech and Journalism category at the 2022 Community Radio awards, for her feature on the Tunbridge Wells Ukraine Refugee Support Group.

West Kent Radio is on air at 95.5 and 106.7 FM, online at and on smart speakers.

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