TAUNTON'S community radio station Apple FM is to close later this month, bring an end to 50 years on air.

Directors made the announcement after failing to find "a satisfactory solution to a number of operational issues".

The station has been his by a loss of funding and struggling to retain staff in key areas of the business.

Apple FM, which has around 50 volunteers and is based at Musgrove Park Hospital, will close down at the end of its broadcast on 6pm on Friday, March 29.

A spokesman for the station said: "This is so desperately sad for our listeners and team of loyal volunteers.

"The directors sadly couldn’t find a way around the ongoing issues that the station had and opted to go out on a high rather than watch the station decline slowly.

"We are immensely proud that we achieved our objectives to bring a different radio experience to Taunton Deane.

"This was recognised when we were awarded the Queens Award For Voluntary Service, the MBE for volunteer groups. It’s a tragedy that we aren’t able to continue”

Apple FM started life 50 years ago as a hospital radio station and went on to become a medium-wave station Apple AM before becoming Apple FM in May 2013.