Internal blog post
Our survival

 

I hope that you are OK at this difficult time.  As part of the Radio Verulam family please don’t hesitate to contact me or any Director if you need help.

I want to talk to you about our future and what we need to do together to ensure we have one.

Our revenue is made up mostly of money from local businesses (advertising and sponsorship).  We have carefully managed our finances over the last few years and built up reserves of cash, but they are not endless.  Thanks to careful management, we are in a better position than many community stations – some of whom are appealing for funds to keep them operating beyond the next few weeks.  However, we are not likely to be able to continue beyond the end of this year unless our income rises substantially.

As we all know, businesses have closed and those which are open are struggling.  Businesses and local people are conserving their cash.  We don’t expect that to change for at least the rest of 2020, and we may be well into 2021 before our fortunes change.

Our income has fallen over the last few months and we do not expect our existing advertisers to renew.  Some may cancel existing contracts.  We also expect very little or no new business until certainty returns to the business outlook.  Therefore, we are looking at a huge reduction in our revenues.

Our planned fundraising with a £12,000 target for the new equipment has all been postponed as a result of Covid-19.  None of that money has been raised.

The Board met last week and identified that at our current rate of depletion of reserves, we will be unable to continue to operate beyond November.

Although we can take some steps to reduce our costs, this might only result in a relatively small improvement, with perhaps operations continuing into January or February next year.

If we don’t take steps now, we will be facing certain closure.

Grants and donations are a possible source of revenue but in both cases, we have to be realistic that our chances of success are low, given the competing demands at this time, such as for example domestic abuse and homeless charities and the fact that funders and individuals are facing huge challenges themselves.

We have already:

  • Sought a reduction in our rent and secured at least a 50% reduction
  • Listed some equipment for sale
  • Formally asked both Ofcom and the Performing Rights Society to waive our annual licence fees
  • Applied for two emergency grants, one of which has already been rejected.
  • Suspended payment of commissions on advertising revenues received
  • Made an appeal to Herts County Councillors for funding
  • Written to local MPs asking for their help and for Government help for the sector as a whole

We do not expect all of these requests to be granted.

We are considering cancelling our application to the Charities Commission to become a charity because of the additional workload it could create at a time when we are fighting for survival.

In addition, we are sorry to say that we have served one month’s notice on our contract with Leona’s company to provide operations management.

There are some implications to the ending of Leona’s contract which I will cover in a separate message.

If you want the radio station to survive, we need you to be raising revenues NOW.  All options are open for consideration, including volunteer fees, a big crowdfunding, selling vouchers for future events or experiences, finding an online experience we can offer and charge for now, or any ideas you might have.  Local businesses have been really innovative in changing their business models so let’s hear your suggestions as to how we could too.

Don’t forget, people are listening even more to radio right now.  You might know a business who would be interested in advertising with us.

If you are part of a team which had a planned event which we’ve had to cancel, please get EVERYTHING ready so that the moment we are sure we can schedule things again, we can get going straight away.  It might not save us, but it would be a shame to waste time when things return to something more normal.

We need your help.  Let me know how you can help please.

 

Nick Hazell