NORTH Devon radio enthusiasts are taking their case for a truly local station to the capital. Former Lantern and Heart FM DJs Ian Starling and Paul Hopper are meeting Ofcom chiefs in what they see as a crucial face-to-face meeting in London on Monday, S

NORTH Devon radio enthusiasts are taking their case for a "truly local" station to the capital.

Former Lantern and Heart FM DJs Ian Starling and Paul Hopper are meeting Ofcom chiefs in what they see as a crucial face-to-face meeting in London on Monday, September 20.

The Barnstaple DJs will be appealing against the Government media regulator's decision to reject an application for an 84-day FM licence. They will also be hoping to present their case for the viability of a second full-time licence in North Devon and are appealing to more people in North Devon to add their support to an already growing movement.

"We need to take with us real proof of the feelings and wants of North Devon's community and its businesses," said Mr Starling.

"I have received a letter from North Devon Council backing the bid and our MP Nick Harvey is building a campaign too to help with our bid to get local radio back in the area.

"But it'd be great to take 1,000 emails from members of the public and 100 letters of support from local businesses, preferably on headed company note paper. They don't have to commit to advertising; all we ask is that they support the station and agree to back the campaign.

"I'm not knocking Heart; what they do, they do well but the new Exeter-based service is not local to North Devon. Around 75 per cent of what they broadcast is produced in London with the remaining 25 per cent produced in Exeter. If 75 per cent of the North Devon Gazette content was national news, would you call it a local newspaper?"

Mr Starling launched internet station Network North Devon in July following news that Heart owner Global Radio was to close its Barnstaple studio.

He has since successfully applied to the Ofcom for a 28-day Restricted Service Licence (RSL) but was refused the 84-day licence on the grounds that North Devon was already being served by a local radio station. The temporary station will go on air for 28 days from November 10. The frequency will be announced September 20.

"We need people to email us with the reasons why they want a radio station in North Devon, to hear local issues such as traffic and travel bulletins and school closures during bad weather.

"Please email me at ian@network1radio.co.uk or send me a letter to 29 John Smale Road, Barnstaple, EX31 2HR. If people want to email, please can they also include their address as this adds weight to the email.

"It would take just five minutes of your time to do this and that five minutes could make a big difference.