Edition #44 October 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of Community Media News

Welcome to the October edition of Community Media News. We hope that you are all continuing to stay safe and healthy.

We start by reminding CMA members of the upcoming EGM to progress the charity conversion. And in Sector News, the CMA meets with Ofcom shortly so send in your questions!

In Community Updates, there's news of the release of a fundraising charity single from Future Radio. Chapel FM has a job vacancy. Soundart Radio and other stations have been successful on the Culture Recovery Fund. Coast FM has received some grant support for its work in the community. Gorgeous FM launches on DAB in Shropshire. Skylark FM is about to launch very soon. And 103 The Eye have been given their fourth licence term.

In Strategy, Policy and Licensing, there's a reminder that applications for small-scale DAB licences close in less than a month. There's a report on Welsh Community Radio and the pandemic which cites a campaign from the CMA. And Rob Watson has surveyed the community media response to the pandemic in Leicester.

In Audio & Digital, there's a report on a 40% increase in radio listening across the board. There's another chance to hear the Radio Academy webinars on race. The BBC has a story about Una Marston, the BBC's first female black producer. There's an article on ho black Britons have contributed to the UK radio scene. And we have the latest Fatntasic Noise podcast from Terry Lee.

In Funding & Awards, we have news of the Northern Fundraising Workshop Collection - free fundraising training for charities..

In Events & Training, we have free passes for the Radio Festival up for grabs for CMA members - enter the prize draw now. We also have 3 free tickets to Radio TechCon for CMA members - enter that draw as well! The WorldDAB General Assembly 2020 is on 3rd November - tickets are free.

And finally, in Tech Corner, there is news of Jerry Padfield's ground-breaking research for community radio. Is FM radio more energy-efficient than DAB - scroll down to find out! The Chain Home radar tower in Essex has been granted listed status. And can you make Michael Bolton sound 300 times worse - scroll to the end to find out how it was done!

As usual, there's too much to cram in here so please check out the Chat Forum for more information and check out our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook) to keep up to date with more news and information.

We have also created a wiki site to try to manage the wealth of information relevant to the current situation such as advice on FundraisingBusiness Continuity, the BBC Local Radio Content Scheme, and other General Information.

Do you have a story about your community radio station or community media project to share? Email your news, press releases, event details and stories to

Community Media Association EGM
All CMA members have been invited to an Extraordinary General Meeting on Saturday 7th November 2020 from 12pm to 1pm on Zoom. A registration page will be sent to members short
The sole item on the agenda will be to accept a resolution to implement the CMA's new constitution. This is the next phase in the organisation attaining full charitable status. The new constitution keeps as close as possible to the template provided by the Charity Commission and this should ensure a smooth transition.

And stay tuned for details of the CMA AGM. This event will most likely be online due to restrictions on social distancing and updated guidance from BEIS. Details about the AGM and nominations to join the CMA Council will be announced in due course.
Sector News
The Community Media Association has a virtual meeting with Ofcom in November. The main agenda items for Ofcom will be: progress with SSDAB, analogue licensing issues, Key Commitments, and sector funding.

The notes from the last meeting are available in the Chat Forum.

Please detail any specific additional issues that you would like the CMA to raise for discussion here.
Community Updates
Norwich community radio station Future Radio has released a charity single called This Fine City to help raise funds to relocate the station to a new home. The station's previous landlord, Open Youth Trust, sadly closed its doors at the start of lockdown and like so many other stations, they have been operating remotely ever since. But in the background, the Future Radio volunteers have been pulling together to help raise funds for the move and the idea for a charity single came from the station's Future Vegan radio show producer (and local singer/songwriter) Lisa Redford.

Lisa wrote the song as a tribute to Norwich and the single was produced by Andrew Todd, a volunteer presenter at Future Radio. As the charity single idea came together, it drew in more and more musicians from the local music scene.

Lisa said “I was delighted to be asked to compose the single as a tribute to my home city, for the radio station I love. The song is a tribute to Norwich and how we’re getting through such a challenging time. Future Radio, which is facing some tough times itself, is such an important part of the life of the city, I hope people will enjoy this anthemic celebratory song and help the station to move to a new home.”

Future Radio is now the only local station in Norwich other than the BBC, so the team is eager for the station to remain rooted in the city centre, where it can be easily accessed by volunteers, guests and artists.

Christopher Remer, Income and Volunteer Coordinator at Future Radio, who pulled the project together, said “This has been a fantastic effort by Lisa, Andrew, their fellow volunteers and local musicians. We’ve been really touched by all the hard work everyone has put into this fantastic single. Although we still have a long way to go, we hope sales of the song will mean we’re able to reopen Norwich’s community radio station for our volunteers, guests and listeners as soon as possible.”

The song costs just £1 to download and all the proceeds will go towards raising funds to relocate the station to a new home. To get hold of This Fine City by Lisa Redford and Friends, visit

Chapel FM Arts Centre / East Leeds FM Radio has an open job post for a Community Arts Worker (Broadcasting). It is currently looking to recruit someone with a creative approach to community radio and podcast making who also has some experience teaching and facilitating courses with younger people (teenagers and early 20s). This is a full-time position, but they are open to potential job shares if someone has other work such as teaching or freelance projects. Visit the Chapel FM website for further details.

And if you want to get a sense of their work with young people, here’s a link to their new podcast about how young people in the North see the world in unexpected ways, RED KITE (link).

Soundart Radio Awarded £50,000 from the Culture Recovery Fund

Congratulations to Soundart Radio on being awarded £50,000 from the Government's Culture Recovery Fund. The community radio station based in Totnes, Devon is one of 1,385 organisations selected by Arts Council England because of the important work it does in providing a creative space, broadcasting new art and music, sharing research and information and supporting people to develop skills, collaborate, have fun, listen and take part.

Other award winners are listed here - and congratulations also go to Reform Radio and Reprezent!

Soundart Radio said, "We are delighted to see this recognition for the important work of community radio, in a time when independent, accountable media for all, and owned and run by the community it operates in, is more vital than ever".

Over the coming months, Soundart Radio plans to invest in the artists, continue a full-time schedule of relevant and interesting shows, support more people to learn radio skills, reach new audiences locally, nationally and internationally, develop and sustain as an organisation in response to the world we live in, improve its resources for members, innovate in what radio is, how it is made and heard.

Soundart Radio is creating a new strategy for this work, and would love your input - just click on this survey link to get started.
If you have ideas for new shows or for a feature please get in touch at They would love to hear from you!

Penzance radio station supports local community during Covid-19 pandemic thanks to council funding

Thanks to a funding boost from the local Council, Coast FM in Penzance has been able to support its local community throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Concerned by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on vulnerable people living in Penzance, Cornwall, the local Council redirected some of its Social Action Fund to support a range of community initiatives and projects in order to help and support local residents.

Penzance Council approved a £972 grant for Coast FM to enable the station to increase its on-air presence and start planning for future outdoor events.

Read more here.

Image: volunteer Coast FM presenter Nik Sanderson broadcasting from home (Image: Coast FM)

Gorgeous FM launches on DAB across Shropshire

Gorgeous FM is the brand new LGBTQ+ Radio Station broadcasting across Shropshire, the Black Country and Birmingham on DAB.

Shaun Keasey, one of the founding Directors said: “Radio plays a part in most people’s lives, whether in the car as part of your journey or in the background at home for a bit of company. There are many radio stations available but very few now broadcast from our area and none, as far as I’m aware, focus on our LGBTQA+ community. Gorgeous FM hopes to change that. Not only will we be local we’ll also be providing a platform for previously under-represented parts of our community to be heard via broadcast radio".
Read more here.

Skylark FM to launch soon!

Skylark is a unique FM radio station for Dartmoor that gives voice to the landscape. An ever-changing and continuous broadcast weaves together oral histories, new music, and live audio streams from people, animals, plants and weather, into an endless and evolving song. Skylark is currently running test broadcasts and will soon broadcast full time on 105.8 and 107.6 FM. Read more here.

Congratulations to 103 The Eye on their fourth licence term!

Congratulations to 103 The Eye in Melton Mowbray who are now in their fourth licence term broadcasting community radio.

Christine Slomkowska, Managing Director of 103 The Eye says "We're delighted with the news of our licence extension, always being the first licensee to renew. There are lots of positive developments happening on 103 The Eye with which we can proceed now that we know the licence is renewed until 2025 - and we're looking forward to some great times ahead!"

Read the original Airflash article about their launch on 1st November 2005 here.
Strategy, Policy & Licensing

Small-Scale DAB Licensing – less than a month to go!

Ofcom has invited applications for the first 25 small-scale DAB radio multiplex licences and applications for new Community Digital Sound Programme (‘C-DSP’) licences from groups wishing to broadcast community radio services in the small-scale multiplex areas being advertised.
Alongside the advertisements, Ofcom has published the relevant application forms and guidance notes on how to apply for small-scale multiplex licences and C-DSP licences. All the relevant documentation can be found on their website. The closing date for applications for small-scale radio multiplex licences in Round One is 5pm on Monday 23 November 2020.
Welsh Community Radio: Rising to the Coronavirus Challenge
Steve Johnson and Paul Atkins analyse the impact of the pandemic on community radio stations in Wales and the critical role it has played in addressing local needs:

"The UK’s community radio sector has risen to the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has presented. The hugely impressive nature of that response has certainly been exemplified by stations in Wales. Citing understandable safety concerns, many local newspapers and magazines were initially unable to get out physical publications to their respective patches.

In these early days, community radio was part of the glue that delivered vital information and kept communities informed and up-to-date with advice and guidance from both the Welsh Government and local authorities.  
The Community Radio Association’s "Rebuild with Community Radio" campaign has done a lot to pinpoint specific interventions which would go some way to alleviating the current issues. For example, there is a strong case for business rate and tax relief for all Ofcom licensed community stations.

At the moment this is patchy, given the various ways in which stations in the sector are constituted – charities, community interest companies and companies limited by guarantee are all treated differently for tax purposes".
Read more here.

Leicester Community Media Lockdown Challenges Draft Summary

Dr Rob Watson has put together a summary compiled from responses to a survey that he produced of community media and civic society groups in Leicester following the second lockdown in the city. The aim of the summary is to identify challenges associated with community communications, with respondents reporting their experiences from a range of established civic organisations, emerging civic groups and different forms of community focussed media. Read more here.
Photo credit: Rob Watson, 2020

Audio Listening in 2020

A rising tide lifts all boats... In common with what the Community Media Association has learned through contact with the sector in recent months is that radio listening during lockdown has increased by around 40%. Read more here.

Race On Audio & Radio Webinars

Earlier this year, the Radio Academy held two game-changing webinars entitled R.O.A.R – Race On Audio & Radio. The webinars – which were open to Radio Academy members and non-members alike – were hosted by Radio Academy Chair Yvonne Thompson, and Swarzy from KISS.
In her 2018 maiden speech, Dr Thompson urged the industry to “Diversify or Die” in a call for the sector to be more representative of its listeners, particularly in terms of race and social diversity. If you missed the webinars then, you can catch them again here.

Who was... Una Marson? Notes on the BBC’s first black woman broadcaster

As part of the "Your Black Heroes" initiative, BBC Careers recently shared Una Marson's story, the BBC's first female black producer. Una helped produce the legendary Caribbean Voices, giving a unique platform to black voices. Read about her inspiring story here.

How Black Britons Changed the Face of UK Radio

"If there is a space Black Britons have made their mark on over the last few years, it’s the audio space. From the podcasts started in the bedrooms of friends to the inventive audio content that reimagines the ways we share stories, audio has become a space of unfiltered creativity and authenticity led by a technological generation of cultural pioneers. In a time where new-wave audio content is flourishing,  it feels just to look back and give thanks to what was perhaps the birth of audio innovation – pirate radio." 

Tobi Kyeremateng looks back at the modern history of black audio. This fascinating article about the UK radio scene mentions a number of CMA members and other community radio stations.

Fantastic Noise podcast – Coping with COVID

In this episode of the 'Coping through COVID' series, Terry speaks with Pippa Sawyer, who at the time of recording was the Managing Director of Wycombe Sound, to explore how the community radio movement in the UK has adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic. Listen here.
Fantastic Noise is a podcast about audio production. Recorded at Terry's home, rather than in the Radio LaB 97.1FM studios at the University of Bedfordshire. Produced and presented by Terry Lee.
Northern Fundraising Workshop Collection - Free Fundraising Event for Charities 
This free event will consist of a series of core workshops, a journey, to support you and your small charity in its fundraising. Whether it's Speaking to Stakeholders, Listening to Donors, Delivering the strategy or Thanking your Supporters there will be something for you. Plus, you will have plenty of opportunity to network with fellow small charities, to share knowledge, experiences and to be inspired.

WHEN: 9th December 2020

VENUE: Online - At your home or desk (internet required)
TIME: 9:30 – 16.15 (registration 09.15 – 09:30)
COST: FREE for charities with income under £1M (deposit £50)

(Registration will close on 30th November. Limited spaces are available)

More details here:

Free passes for the Radio Festival up for grabs for CMA members!

We are delighted to announce that the Community Media Association has a number of free passes for the 2020 Radio Festival to give away to our members!

The Radio Academy Festival 2020 will explore ‘The New Normal’ for radio and audio in the UK. It will celebrate the extraordinary way radio and podcasts have supported audiences during these challenging times and supporting each other by sharing lessons learnt during lockdown.

Taking place from Monday to Friday, 9th to 13th November and starting each day at 3pm, the 2020 Festival will be an entirely virtual event. The full schedule will be released nearer the time and ticket holders will be able to pick and choose which sessions to join. Details of the Festival can be seen online here.

Speakers include Nile Rodgers, Kiss Breakfast presenters Jordon & Perri, Ken Bruce, radio historian David Lloyd, Chair of the Audio Content Fund Helen Boaden, and Chair-Elect of the CMA Dom Chambers. Fresh from organising Local Radio Day 2020, Dom will join BBC Local Radio’s Chris Burns and David Lloyd to talk about the future of local radio in the UK. Festival passes are on sale for £25 (+VAT) which covers all five days of live sessions. There will also be a 30-day catch-up facility.

To be in with a chance of winning a free ticket, fill in our form below. Let us have your entries by 6pm on Sunday 1st November. We’ll randomly select the winners and let you know that week if you have a free pass for The Radio Academy Festival 2020.

Good luck!

Provide your contact details here and you will be entered into a draw for a ticket – one entry per person.

You will need to be a current member of the Community Media Association.

Prize draw form here:

Radio TechCon 2020 will take place online on Monday 30th November this year. Radio TechCon is aimed at broadcast engineers, technologists and anyone with an interest in radio, audio, technology and engineering – including programme-makers and managers. It takes a deep dive into the technical challenges and opportunities facing the radio and audio industry, as well as celebrating technical achievements and remaining as accessible as possible to all.

The one-day online conference will feature a mixture of speakers from across audio and technical disciplines as well as mini ‘how-to’ masterclasses and case studies from real-life projects.

The Community Media Association has partnered with Radio TechCon for three CMA members to attend the conference. The tickets - valued at £99+VAT - have been generously donated by Radio TechCon.

Please complete the online form for a chance to be entered into a draw for a free ticket. This draw will close at 23:59 GMT on Monday 16th November. We will advise the winning names and Radio TechCon will be in touch directly to explain how to register for the event.

Applicants must be available to attend Radio TechCon on Monday 30th November online. This draw will close on Monday 16th November at 23:59 GMT. Please note it is one entry per organisation and you will need to be a current CMA member. Enter here.

And the amazing Radio TechCon has an Individual bursary scheme for a free ticket to Radio TechCon 2020 open to anyone who is eligible. Only one days left to apply! The closing date for the ‘individual bursary’ is 31st October 2020.

Details about the individual bursary scheme and eligibility click here

The WorldDAB General Assembly 2020 is being held online this year and the date is set for Tuesday 3rd November between 9am and 4pm GMT. The event brings together WorldDAB members and experts from across the digital radio industry for one day and is free to watch. Throughout this year of disruption and change we have seen many advances in the rollout of DAB digital radio, and this year’s event will feature the latest news and developments on DAB from around the world. The event organisers say: “Our virtual platform will deliver the same quality speakers and presentations that you expect from a WorldDAB event, featuring a mixture of presentations, 1-1 interviews and panel discussions, as well as some entertainment along the way. For more information visit the website here and Book your space here.

Community radio researcher's new home-broadcast discovery

Falmouth University researcher Jerry Padfield has made a discovery that has the potential to revolutionise current approaches towards home-radio broadcast.

Jerry has been working with Falmouth and Penryn’s community radio station Source FM on a community project since lockdown that has been exploring new methods of broadcasting from home, allowing people to broadcast radio from their bedrooms and kitchens.

After extensive research following two years of studying at PhD level, former Source FM director Jerry has now developed a new way to combine existing audio technologies that will make broadcasting from home easier and more accessible. Read more here.

How much energy is used to deliver and listen to radio

Is FM radio more energy-efficient than DAB? Do transmitters or audio devices consume the most electricity? What effect will switching off certain radio platforms have on energy use? 
The BBC has recently published its research which explores the energy footprint of BBC radio services - as it stands now and how it may change in the future.

Essex Radar Tower Granted Listed Status

The Chain Home radar tower in Essex has been granted listed status by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

The 109-metre tower, which is located at Great Baddow near Chelmsford, was awarded the status to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 1940.

Chain Home was the name given to a group of early coastal radar towers developed by the RAF.

In 1935 British radio pioneer Robert Watson Watt, and his assistant Arnold Wilkins, were asked to comment on reports of a German ‘death ray’ based on radio technology. Read more here.

Can Michael Bolton Sound 300 Times Worse?

YouTube user “Nickd2011” took an MP3 recording of Michael Bolton’s “How Am I Supposed to Live Without You” and compressed it up to 300 times, RadioWorld reports.

This exercise is a useful reminder that every time an MP3 is recompressed, some of the audio is thrown away. In his example, Nick opened a FLAC file of the song in Adobe Audition, then saved it as a 128k MP3.

He then opened the MP3 he just saved and resaved it as a 128k MP3 with a new file name. Nick repeated that process 300 times.

When you listen to the fifth generation you’ll notice artefacts in the audio. By the 10th, the audio sounds terrible. And with each subsequent compression, the audio quality only gets worse. Listen here.

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