Community Radio in 2017
By Steve Haigh
Posted 29 December 2016, 8.25am est
Let's make 2017 the year we put LOCAL back into local radio. Very few stations deliver news and information that can genuinely be called 'down the road ' 'round the corner'.
The gap in the market is hyper-local and community radio is ideally placed to fill this gap.
How about we encourage more local papers to partner with community stations? We should also encourage local councils to do more to support community stations.
People will always choose to listen to the local radio station that is closest to them. For community radio, that is the opportunity.
2016 has been a sad year for Community Radio with so many closing down.
I volunteer for Ridgeway Radio at Dorset County Hospital hopefully this year they apply for a license to have output beyond the hospital.. we're into our 51st year
That is great to hear! Unfortunately, a lot of Stations are finding it increasingly hard to find enough Volunteers, not only as Presenters but also as back room staff to help with the technical side of things. It is not always just a question of money, it is sometimes just a lack of staff.
I agree Finn. We do have plenty of great people giving up their time for free and we are still attracting more. Several are in training and we have an excellent tech guy who keeps us running smoothly so we're in good shape should the possible transition happen.
Well said Steve.
I have to say here in Swindon we are particularly lucky and successful (although tough and challenging at times).
We have strong links with our local council, the station is in one of the town's council run library's plus the council's housing department has a fortnightly show and were know for interviewing and chatting to all our elected officials and cover as many council meetings as possible.
We, again luckily, have good ties with the local daily newspaper and its reporting team, often sharing stories and contacts.
We are also becoming known as a reliable and credible news source. In the past month, I've personally broken one major news story - the last bank in Highworth (a town just north of Swindon in our catchment area) is closing and updated another important story for the town live on air during an interview with one if the Town's MPs which other outlets have then picked up (and holding down a full-time job I may add outside of the station).
So Steve's vision is certainly alive and growing here in Swindon.
Hi Dave, I used to live in Purton!
It sounds like Swindon has an excellewnt Community Radio Station with excellent links to other Media and the Council. It takes an enormous amount of time and energy to prove that you are a credible source and Station and that takes time. Without these local contacts, it is very difficult to keep a Station going.
Gettingthe right Volunteers is also crucial nad not all Stations run their own or subscribe to Training Programmes.
I broadcast (in English!) on a Station in Germany and the amount of feedback and training we get is zero!
Here in Yorkshire we do still have LOCAL radio both provided by commercial radio as well as community radio.
While there are parts of the county have stations provided by the large commercial groups such as Capital Yorkshire & Capital UK, Heart Yorkshire & Heart extra and Smooth Extra & Smooth UK we also have many commercial radio stations that broadcast their output from local studios.
It must be something in the DNA of Yorkshire folk that we can have such a wide variety of stations including BCB 106.6, Beverley FM, Coast & County Radio, Dales Radio, Great Yorkshire Radio, KCFM, Minster FM, Phoenix 96.7 FM, Radio Sangam 107.9, Sine FM, Stray FM, West Hull FM and Yorkshire Coast Radio as well as the Aire FM, Hallam FM and Viking FM from Bauer.
So I would say that there is not a loss of real local radio broadcasting where there is still a great sense of local identity and where the radio stations have names that somehow relate to their broadcast area.
We already do in Southampton. Both community stations I'm involved in, and helped setup work very closely with local council, businesses, and organisations. It's a shame we lost so many stations in 2016, I only hope we don't loose any more this year.
Happy to report that Cambridge 105 Radio is going from strength to strength. It takes time - but if you consistently provide a good local service and something that the ILR and national stations don't offer in your area - the listeners (and advertisers) will come....
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