MKFM is a local radio station for Milton Keynes and North Buckinghamshire on FM, DAB Digital Radio and online. The station started in 2011 with trial broadcasts, launching on DAB on 14 February 2013 and on 106.3FM on 7th September 2015.
|Broadcast area||Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire|
|Slogan||The Beat of MK|
|First air date||July 2, 2011|
MKFM was founded by some of the former management team of Horizon Radio. The station started broadcasting on 2 July 2011 on 107FM in Milton Keynes as part of a 28 days restricted service licence. A campaign was launched with the slogan 'On a mission to bring local radio back to Milton Keynes' with listeners asked to support the station's bid for a full-time FM licence. The station continued the campaign with further trial broadcasts in December 2011, July 2012, December 2012, May 2013 and December 2014 on 107FM.
MKFM began test transmissions on DAB Digital Radio across Herts, Beds and Bucks on 14 February 2013, before launching as a full-time service in May of the same year. MKFM was part of the launch of the local DAB multiplex when Milton Keynes Dons chairman Pete Winkelman and MP Iain Stewart switched on the transmitter in a ceremony at Bletchley Park.
MKFM applied to Ofcom for a full-time FM licence during December 2014. This followed a debate in Parliament by local MP Iain Stewart in May 2014 asking the broadcast regulator to speed up the application process for local radio stations to broadcast on FM. The station's licence application was announced to be successful on 19 March 2015.
On Saturday 27 June 2015, MKFM announced that it would be moving into new premises at intu Milton Keynes. The new studios will mean more space for the stations operations and will enable them to train even more volunteers, run radio workshops and coach presenters. The existing MKFM Pod will remain at Stadium MK and will be used for regular outside broadcasts, coverage of sports and arena events.
Transmissions were switched from the Pod at Stadium MK to the station's new studio on Monday 17 August 2015 at intu Milton Keynes. On the same day, MKFM launched its new Breakfast Show with John Cove from the MK Dons being the first guest in the new studio.
MKFM officially launched on 106.3FM at 6am on Monday 7 September 2015. Since the FM launch, the station has provided a range of local travel, news, weather and local information on a daily basis.
The station is also the official media partner for many large local events including the Midnight Moo, MK Dragon Boat Festival and MK50.
The station broadcasts a mix of hits from the last 25 years, mainly current and recurrent. The station also broadcasts special features including Old Skool Anthems weekdays at 9am and '10 in a row', where ten songs are played uninterrupted by commercials, at 9am, 1pm and 7pm each weekday.
Programming highlights also include a weekly local music show on Sundays at 9pm, featuring tracks from local bands, singers and producers, interviews with artists, a gig guide, gig reviews and regular ‘live session’ recordings. The show also covers larger musical events, for example, in the past it has covered festivals such as Download Festival and AmpRocks, broadcasting interviews and tracks from the festivals.
The station also provides a weekly local arts and culture show on a Sunday night showcasing the cities wide variety of theatre, artists and authors.
As a locally focused radio station, MKFM greatly assists many local charities and not for profit organisations in fundraising. Some past examples of this have included a 'superhero taxi' taking to the streets of the city to pick up passengers and raise money for local charity Leo's Appeal. The station has also supported The Henry Allen Trust by taking part in a charity bike ride to Paris, with live updates from the team broadcast exclusively on air.
In total, the station has supported over 500 local events since it launched by offering free Publicity on air, online and on social media. The station also attends events whilst hosting music stages, selling raffle tickets, facepainting, handing out sweets or balloons and providing a free inflatable slide. Event organisers can also add their own events to the station website for free and have them promoted online.
In 2017, the station set itself a 'community challenge' to collect 50,000 tins of food for Milton Keynes Food Bank. Following the success of this challenge, MKFM set a new community challenge for 2018, again benefitting the local Food Bank. This challenge was launched on 6th April 2018, where it was announced that with the help of listeners, the station was looking to collect 10,000 items of toiletries in three months.
- Community radio station MKFM goes on DAB - RadioToday
- Ofcom - Community Radio Licence Applicants – Region 8 East of England (with Northamptonshire and Milton Keynes) Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
- Hope for MKFM as Iain debates FM licences - Milton Keynes Citizen
- MKFM & 3 others win community radio licences - RadioToday
- MKFM New Studios - MKFM
- MKFM Application Form - Ofcom Archived 2 April 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
- Skyline Taxis and MKFM raise money for Milton Keynes Hospital - MK News
- MKFM organise charity bike ride to Paris - RadioToday