A NEW community radio station for Winchester has moved a step closer after plans for its broadcasting mast were approved.

The new FM radio antenna will be at Royal Hampshire County Hospital at the Nightingale wing.

The station will be run by charity Winchester Radio with a 5km radius, reaching across the city and to nearby villages.

Anna O'Brien, chairwoman of Winchester Radio said: "Winchester has a large and growing older population. Within our predicted coverage area, there are approximately 56,000 people and of these, 20,000 are aged over 50.

"Our team of volunteers are really passionate about providing a hyper-local radio station based in Winchester to meet the needs of older people. We hope the community will get behind us and help make radio for Winchester, from Winchester, by Winchester a reality."

The service will launch later this year once the charity have received an available frequency from Ofcom. The group's priority until then is fundraising to build and kit out their new studio.

Winchester Radio will play a variety of pop, rock, jazz, easy listening, country and classical music.

Requests and dedications will form a major part of the schedule, and alongside the music will be features – voices from the community talking about subjects close to their heart.

The station also hopes to highlight local volunteering opportunities and offer a platform for grass-roots community groups to highlight activities they run.

The charity have launched a fundraising campaign – Radio for Winchester, from Winchester, by Winchester.

Winchester Radio currently operates from a single studio and a larger space needs improvements costing around £117,000.

The project will cost around £163,000 including new studio equipment, computer systems and software and installing the new antenna.

Around £57,000 has already been raised, including a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Awards for All programme, and smaller grants from the Hospital Broadcasting Association and Winchester City Council’s Community Projects Fund.