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The RSL, Ultra Local Radio

The RSL, Ultra Local Radio

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The RSL, Ultra Local Radio

By Janey Gordon

Publication date: 2000
Total pages: 128
ISBN: 1 86020 578 X
Price: £ 15.00


A Restricted Service Licence radio station may run for a maximum of 28 days. It has a very limited range, usually about a three mile radius. They are used for a variety of purposes, for example as a test bed for a permanent licence, as a community function, or as a teaching aid. Since 1991 almost 3,000 licences have been issued for RSL radio stations, which have involved an estimated 20,000 RSL broadcasters.
The RSL, Ultra Local Radio uses the group of Millennium RSL stations, which ran over the Christmas and New Year period 2000, to assess the value of RSLs in terms of the satisfaction of the organisers and their audiences and in relation to broadcasting more generally.

RSLs provide information and entertainment, which is unavailable in the mainstream media. As commercial radio becomes more homogenised by the big players, are RSLs are fulfilling the role of the minority audience broadcaster?
This book looks at current practice but reflects on how the RSL developed and speculates on what may happen in the future. RSLs may be viewed as part of the community radio movement and this role is explored.

The RSL system has made running a radio station available to almost anyone. The second part of The RSL, Ultra Local Radio, gives some down to earth guidance on running an RSL, based on the practices of the sample stations and the author’s own experience.Above all this book seeks to show the pleasure, and enthusiasm that RSLs bring to their broadcasters and their listeners.


Janey Gordon is a senior lecturer at the University of Luton, teaching radio and broadcasting. She runs an annual RSL with her students, Luton FM. Her background is in BBC radio, first as a studio manager and then in local radio production.

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