Since it's formation Rhondda Radio has undergone many changes. Firstly having to move locations and secondly it's structure. Initially formed as Radio CwmNi as part of the Welsh Assembly governments digital inclusion programme, the statio was set up under the CwmNi, Treherbert Communities First umbrella with help from Euorpean and National Lottery funding.
The station was based in an old empty shop on Bute street, Treherbert at the top of the Rhondda Fawr.
The radio station then, like now, broadcast over the internet. For 28 days, three times a year Rhondda Radio broadcast on the 87.8FM wavelength, a shared radio band with other community radio stations.
With grants and funding drying up and bills for licenses, broadband and rent mounting, some tough decisions had to be made to keep the station broadcasting. Many of the small community stations set up at the same time as CwmNi radio had already folded under increasing pressure and debts.
In order to survive the decision was made to restructure the station. In 2011 Rhondda radio changed it's structure from a committee run station with charitable status to a not for profit company led by a board of directors.
The first call was to move to cheaper premises. Rhondda radio resumed broadcasting after a few days down time due to the relocation. The newly formed company were delivered a hammer blow in December 2011 when the landlord informed the directors they had other plans for the building and gave them notice to quit in February 2012. Frantic searches were made for new premises and the Community lodge in Treherbert became the new home. However a lot of work had to be carried out before the station would be able to broadcast again. The down time was longer than expected and Rhondda Radio was off air for tthree months. With work completed by a band of volunteers the new purpose built studio was finished and broadcasting resumed in May 2012.
For a few months it looked as if Rhondda radio had a new long term home but disaster struck in October when a band of heavy prolonged rain caused the new studio and office to flood. The shows continued around the flood and repairs were made without going off air. However in November more rain caused a further three floods and the decision was made to remove the expensive equipment out of the flooded area. Once again Rhondda radio was forced to go off air. The break this time was longer than ever before.
Several emergency meetings were called to discuss the future of Rhondda radio and at one point it seemed inevitable that Rhondda radio would become another community radio casualty. At this point the station was homeless. Theresa Parsell, the stations chairperson who had secured the lodge came up trumps again. The Tynewydd Labour club, itself going through difficult times offered the station a large room which was no longer being used. The directors attended a site meeting at the club and saw the potential. An agreement was instantly made but once again several months of work needed to be carried out before the station could begin broadcasting again. The work began in February by the volunteers and some of the clubs committee men and by March 2013 the radio was once again broadcasting.
With the generosity of the Tynewydd Labour club and dedication of the volunteers and against all the odds Rhondda radio survived but not unscarred. Several volunteer presenters decided not to make the move and left the station. A recruitment drive to bolster the numbers is currently taking place and new members are always welcome.
A further blow to their ambitions is the fact that Ofcom are no longer issuing FM licenses in the area. The dream of becoming a full time FM radio station was dashed but not to be defeated again the members are looking at the positive aspects of broadcasting over the internet: No restrictions on area coverage as with FM, internet radio is global. No loss of FM signal in cars, internet radio can be streamed through your mobile phone and tablets and if your audio system has it you can plug your mobile devices into the aux input.
Internet radio, the future of broadcasting and Rhondda radio is right there.
Fate once again dealt a cruel blow with the closure of the Tynewydd labour club. It seemed that again, Rhondda Radio would be homeless but with the kindness and generosity of two organisations we have again been thrown a lifeline. We cannot say thank you enough to Too good to waste for helping with storage and to Treorchy & Cwmparc Boys & Girls club for giving us a new home. This means that for the first time Rhondda Radio has left Treherbert but hopefully, the move to a larger town will only benefit us in our long term plans. As for broadcasting on FM? Who knows, only time will tell.