Community Radio Unites in Rally Cry
Written by Gavin on 30th April 2020
Community radio stations across the country have united on social media and in song to raise awareness and support for the sector.
Over 50 stations have written to John Whittingdale MP, Ian O’Neil at DCMS and Dame Melanie Dawes at OFCOM, following the announcement of changes to the Community Radio Fund, which stations say doesn’t go far enough to sustain the future of the sector.
GTFM was founded in 1999 as the first community radio station in Wales with a series of RSL’s, becoming a full time station in 2002. The station has been a massive hit with it’s audience across Rhondda Cynon Taf with a weekly audience of 30,000 people tuning in making it the most popular radio station in the area it serves and broadcasts a mix of news and information for the area as well as playing the music of your life. Since January, the station has clocked up a combined post reach of over 3 million people and it’s looking forward to expanding it’s FM coverage later this year to reach the Cynon Valley as well as improving signal in Tonyrefail and Porth/Ynyshir.
On Friday May 1st, at 9.15am, stations across the country took to social media to promote the work the sector continues to deliver and request more support from the Government.
The posts showcased how this essential pillar of communication is continuing to deliver local news, information and entertainment to communities, either from home, or from studios, in compliance with social distancing rules.
Stations united to play The Beatles ‘All You Need Is Love’, at 9:15am on Friday morning with an accompanying video shared online.
Nathan Spackman, operations director at Bro Radio in South Wales, is one of those leading the calls.
He said “The announcement of the repurposing of the Community Radio is welcome and I praise OFCOM, DCMS and the Community Media Association for their work in turning this over so quickly. As welcome as the announcement is, with almost 300 stations on air we estimate that only 40 radio stations will benefit from the fund, based on a grant of £10,000 per station. We are calling on DCMS and MP’s to review the fund, to support more stations during these challenging times.”
Barry Clack, founder and director of Witney Radio in Oxfordshire, said: “Supporting Community Radio is a vital campaign to the nearly 300 licensed OFCOM community stations in the UK. The stations broadcast to the hyperlocal communities in the country and during these horrific times of crisis, all the hard work is heard by listeners, keeping them informed and entertained during this period of lockdown. Community Radio has never been more important than now in delivering content to its listeners and so we ask people to #SupportCommunityRadio.”
Martin Steers, manager of NLive Radio in Northampton, added: “I’m passionate about raising the profile of Community Radio and all the great work these stations are doing all over the country for the communities they serve at this time. I hope this campaign will raise awareness that Community Radio stations need supporting, locally and nationally.”