Edition #40 June 2020
Welcome to the latest edition of Community Media News. 
In Sector News, we share an article on radio thriving in lockdown and a survey on how community radio practitioners are responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

In Community Updates, Seahaven FM has some good news, and ALL FM and Vectis Radio are recognised with Queen's Award for Voluntary Service. Diverse FM has provided over 3500 meals to the local community, the former Poet Laureate of Walsall shares his poetry on Hope Radio, and Kennet Radio has a coverage increase.

In Strategy, Policy and Licensing, Ofcom has announced its plans to advertise the first small-scale radio multiplex licenses.

In Funding & Awards, we share details of the Independent Age Grants Fund and the annual report from the Audio Content Fund. You can also support the Audio and Radio Emergency Fund with the purchase of funky radio face masks.

In Podcast, Audio & Digital, we share the second edition of the Covid-19: Local Radio Responds podcast from InRadio, a video on how to improve health and safety in the studio, and an article from the New York Times on Hospital Radio

In Events & Training, there are the webinars from AudioTrain and some free digital advice to boost your digital business skills

Finally in Tech Corner, we Lawrie Hallett's Radio TechCon presentation on building your own SSDAB mux and four zoom tips for community radio.

As always there is too much to cram in here so please check out the Chat Forum, our Wiki site for more information and check out our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook) to keep up to speed 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.

Have a story about your community radio station or community media project to share? Email your news, press releases, event details and stories to
Sector News
Community Radio Thriving in the Lockdown
Community radio stations throughout the UK are reporting an increase in engagement with their audience via social media channels and online listener stats are growing across the board. Miranda Sawyer in The Guardian ran a feature last month on how radio is thriving in the lockdown which featured two community radio presenters. Jason Kavuma, AKA Scully (26), and Henrie Kwushue (25) still present on the youth-led community radio station Reprezent in Brixton. At Reprezent, they learned about production as well as presenting - Scully then went on to work as an assistant producer at the BBC – though in both cases it was obvious that they shone in front of a microphone. When nightclub promoters Jojo and David Sonubi, were seeking hosts for their new lockdown radio project, No Signal, Scully and Kwushue were obvious choices. 
Read the feature in The Guardian here
Photograph: Henrie Kwushue and Scully by Antonio Olmos / The Observer
Survey: Digital Technologies in Community Radio Production Practices
CMA member and Media and Public Relations lecturer Jo Coleman is currently conducting a survey of how community radio practitioners are doing shows and keeping stations going under COVID-19 social distancing. The findings will yield insights concerning resilience and sustainability in the sector and will inform academic publications, public talks and other collaborations to highlight the position of community radio in the UK.

All Ofcom-licensed stations have been emailed or contacted via the web. If you think the message has gone astray and would like your station team’s experiences to be represented in the survey, or if you are an independent or Internet-only community radio station, please get in touch with Jo at and she will contact you directly. N.B. The research has been approved by the Research Ethics Committee for the College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences at Brunel University London. You may request anonymity if preferred.

Opinon Piece: Community Radio Comes of Age

"When The Radio Authority licensed the first few Access Radio stations back in 2002, I wonder if they had any idea of the creativity, diversity and skills that would be unleashed.

18 years on and there are over 300 Ofcom licensed community radio stations across the UK. Not to mention those online-only stations who serve geographies and communities of interest.

Limiting transmitter power to local areas was an inspired decision, because now there are 300 glittering gems, celebrating the best their local areas have to offer.

Every station is different, individual, unique and appealing to those who want to Listen Local."

Read more from Philippa Sawyer of Love Local Radio and Wycombe Sound here.
Community Updates

Seahaven FM Extends to Eastbourne

We're delighted to congratulate Seahaven FM on the announcement that Ofcom has granted the station's request to extend its coverage area to nearby Eastbourne. Nick Mallinson - well done! Managing Director of Seahaven FM Broadcasting Ltd says:
“We’re really excited to be bringing genuinely local radio back to Eastbourne.  Seahaven FM will celebrate 10 years of broadcasting in January 2021, and long before then we hope to celebrate with our friends in Newhaven, Seaford and Peacehaven and make new friends in Eastbourne who can join in too.  

The seaside town of Eastbourne and Seahaven’s current area are both on the coast in East Sussex separated by the south downs, they have a similar demographic and Eastbourne attracts many people from the Seahaven area to its shops, theatres and entertainment centres.  Additionally in 2017, Lewes District Council which governed the Seahaven area began the process of combining services with Eastbourne Borough Council making the two areas politically connected too.  
Seahaven FM’s first application for this extension was turned down by Ofcom, but a second, stronger application was accepted and approved at the end of May 2020.  It will secure the long term future of the station and enable it to provide a more robust and focused service to the local community.”
ALL FM Receives the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service 2020
Congratulations to Manchester community station ALL FM 96.9 on being honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK. This follows on from being awarded ‘Station of the Year’ at the Community Radio Awards in October last year.

ALL FM has one hundred and fifteen volunteers producing and presenting a diverse range of shows; seven days a week. The station’s ethos is ‘by the community for the community’. Its schedule includes shows by and for carers, those with disabilities, those on the Autism Spectrum, from BAME communities, LGBT communities and six foreign-language shows, plus Drivetime, Breakfast and specialist music shows.

Ed Connole, Director of ALL FM said "this award reflects the hard work, talent and vision of our volunteers. The voices of our volunteers represent many communities in Greater Manchester. They speak for and to communities. This award recognises and celebrates this. Now more than ever it’s vital that our communities have a voice. I’d also like to thank our small staff team who has helped train our volunteers and keep the station on air. It’s a real team effort".

The Chair of ALL FM, Martin Logan, said "This is a challenging time and it’s nice to have something to celebrate. It’s not a surprise to me that so many volunteers continued to produce their shows and support communities at this time. They are very dedicated people and this award highlights their commitment".

Co-chair of the Volunteers Steering Group, Vicky Richardson is delighted; ‘As the longest-serving female presenter, nineteen years and counting, my enthusiasm and love for this station has never faltered and is something I have never and will never take for granted. I'm still learning all the time and it’s such a privilege and pleasure to be here and long may it continue’.
Vectis Radio Recognised with Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service

Congratulations also go to award winning community radio station Vectis Radio based in Newport, Isle of White, who have also been honoured with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The station launched in 2010 as an Internet-based station and celebrated ten years of broadcasting in January. The station gained an Ofcom Community Radio Licence and in November 2015 launched as a fully licensed FM station, broadcasting on 104.6 MHz.

Representatives of the station will receive the award from Susie Sheldon, Lord Lieutenant of the Island, later this summer. Furthermore, two volunteers from Vectis Radio will attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2021, along with other recipients of this year’s Award. Susie Sheldon said “This Award is well deserved recognition of the work you have all done in providing great support across the Island. I thank you for what you do for our Community.” Vectis Radio Director, Ian Mac, said, "This is amazing, we have a number of volunteers who not only go above and beyond serving our community, some of them have been superhuman in their efforts in helping Vectis Radio to survive. Our team are brilliant and I think I can safely say on their behalf they will be extremely proud. Days like these you can only dream about and today it’s a reality!”

Vectis Radio is one of 230 charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups to receive the prestigious award this year. The number of nominations remains high year on year, showing that the voluntary sector is thriving and full of innovative ideas to make life better for those around them!
(Image: Vectis Radio)

Diverse FM provides over 3500 Meals to the Community
Luton community radio station Diverse 102.8 FM started receiving messages soon after lockdown via email and on its Facebook page from concerned listeners living as far away as Australia asking if the station could help their vulnerable relatives who were self-isolating due to age or disability. Initially, one of the station's Trustees sourced and delivered food parcels out of his own pocket but it soon became clear this was too big a task for one person.

The Diverse FM team of staff and volunteers immediately started to raise funds and delivered food parcels and other essential items, including personal protection equipment to the most vulnerable members in the local community living alone or in hostels. By the end of April Diverse FM had supported 62 individuals with unique dietary and religious needs and provided food parcels and other essential items to an additional 78 vulnerable families. Many of these families were referred to Diverse FM by family workers at local schools. Diverse FM also partnered with Discover Islam Curry Kitchen, ASR and Community Interest Luton to provide food parcels and other essential items including PPE to local vulnerable people living in two Housing Association run hostels. Through this partnership, it also delivered 300 hot meals to NHS staff at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital. Several local churches contacted Diverse FM with requests to support with food parcels for a number of vulnerable people living within their parishes. Accordingly, Diverse FM delivered food parcels, which they then delivered to support more than 100 families within their respective parishes.

Mehbub Koyes who coordinated the delivery said "despite our resource constraints we have done what we could to support our local community during this very difficult and challenging time. It is shocking to hear that so many people have lost jobs and are struggling to buy basic food since the Covid-19 outbreak. Diverse FM has always stood by our local community in the past whenever the community faced challenges and this time is no exception."

Walsall Lawyer Takes to the Airwaves

Ian Henery, lawyer, playwright and former former Poet Laureate of Walsall is presenting his self-titled poetry and theatre show on Hope Radio 87.9FM every Tuesday evening after being invited to do so by station bosses. Hope Radio, which is operating on a temporary emergency COVID-19 restricted service licence is aimed at the over-50s, particularly those who might be in social isolation due to the pandemic and lockdown that followed.

Ian said: “I was just chuffed to be invited to front my own show. I got the call from Peni Whelan out of the blue asking me to be part of Team Hope. It’s a real responsibility because you have to constantly remember your listener comes first and you are representative of a community radio platform.”
Congratulations to Steve Haigh at Radio Ninesprings
50 years ago this month, Steve Haigh joined BBC Radio Leeds. Steve is now better known as the station manager at Yeovil and South Somerset community radio station Radio Ninesprings and obviously has gone up in the world. The BBC's loss is community radio's gain! Congratulations Steve, here's to many more years on the airwaves!
Kennet Community Radio is a not-for-profit voluntary organisation that currently broadcasts 24/7/365 to Newbury and Thatcham on FM.  After two years of broadcasting the station would like to expand its coverage area to embrace Hungerford. 

Several of the station's volunteer presenters come from Hungerford, and it already works closely with Hungerford Town Council and the Town and Manor on a number of events, such as the Christmas Lights Switch-on, so embracing Hungerford seems a natural progression.  Kennet Community radio has to get Ofcom to approve the coverage extension, and to do that, it has to show Ofcom it has the support of the Hungerford community. If you would like to support its application, please fill in the survey form (scroll down to the end of the page) or email, or write to Julian Swift-Hook, Kennet Community Radio, Broadway House, Northbrook Street, Newbury RG14 1BA. If you write a letter email so that they know to look out for it.

Commencement of Small-Scale DAB Licensing

Following the publication of Ofcom’s Statement in April on Licensing small-scale DAB, Ofcom has announced their plans to advertise the first (‘Round One’) small-scale radio multiplex licences on Tuesday 1 September 2020. This will also be the date from which applicants will be able to apply for a Community Digital Sound Programme (‘C-DSP’) licence to broadcast a C-DSP service on any of the multiplex services for which licences are being advertised in Round One.
In light of the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, and its impact on stakeholders, Ofcom surveyed those people who had previously expressed an interest in applying for a small-scale radio multiplex licence in one or more of the Round One locations, before going ahead with publishing the advertisements. The planned date of 1 September is a result of the feedback Ofcom received, and may be subject to change as the coronavirus situation and its impact on stakeholders and Ofcom develops in coming months.

Once Ofcom advertises the multiplex licences, applicants will have 12 weeks to prepare and submit their applications before the closing date. The list of multiplex licence areas Ofcom plans to advertise on 1 September is as follows: Inwick and Morpeth, Basingstoke, Bradford, Cambridge, Cardiff, Clevedon, Avonmouth & Filton, Derry/Londonderry, dudley & Stourbridge, Winchester, East Bristol, Mangotsfield & Keynsham, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Isles of Scilly, Kings Lynn, Leeds, Newcastle & Gateshead, North Birmingham, Norwich, Salisbury, Sheffield & Rotherham, South Birmingham, Tynemouth & South Shields, Welsh valleys. 

SSDAB in Cardiff and the Welsh Valleys
Coast Digital Radio is looking at potentially providing new C-DSP and / or community-of-interest services in the upcoming licensing round for SSDAB in Cardiff and the Welsh valleys. Liam Gough would like to make contact with any local radio groups to explore options. Please email him at
Funding & Awards
Independent Age Grants Fund - £2million to Help Organisations Working with Older People
Coronavirus has changed the lives of everyone in the UK, but this is particularly true for the older generation who remain amongst the most affected. Before coronavirus struck the nation, charity Independent Age was exploring how to strengthen collaboration with older people and local organisations with the aim of shaping a more active role in supporting communities. But right now Independent Age has released £2 million to help smaller organisations across the UK working with older people hardest hit by the virus. The Grants Fund comprises of four separate funding rounds. In each round, £500,000 is available and organisations can apply to receive up to £15,000 each. Next funding round opens 8th June.
(Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash)
Community Radio Fund Update - 81 Community Radio Stations Receive Funding
Almost one-third of UK community radio stations have received grant support from the Community Radio Fund to help them through the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Community Radio Fund Panel, which acts independently of Ofcom, has awarded grants to 81 community radio stations totalling just over £333,000. The Panel made as many awards as possible in line with the eligibility criteria and government guidance, and has set out its approach and reasoning when assessing and deciding on applications.
Ofcom will be inviting applications for a further emergency funding round in approximately four weeks’ time, with a view to awarding the outstanding funds available (£67,000). This will allow stations a further opportunity to apply for financial support, and additional time to assess their operations and financial positions.
Annual Report from the Audio Content Fund

The Audio Content Fund has published its annual report covering the first year of its operations, which has funded 25 radio projects across the 12 months to the end of March 2020 at a cost of £655,898.

60% of the 21 independent production companies who received funding to make the programmes were based outside of London. In the majority of cases, projects led to a new relationship between the production company and broadcaster – with programmes covering factual, drama, comedy, live discussion, children’s, sport and current affairs. The report highlights that 35 radio stations aired the content, which totalled 162 hours and will reach an estimated 5.6 million people.

Managing Director of the Audio Content Fund, Sam Bailey, said: “Seeing such creative and impactful ideas take shape on commercial and community stations has been a joy, and I’m extremely proud of the huge appetite I’ve seen for radio to be a force for good in what feels like an increasingly challenging world". Read the report on the ACF website here.

The Radio Academy has set up The Audio and Radio Emergency Fund (AREF) to help those who make their living in the radio and audio sector who are facing hardship because of the coronavirus crisis. The Fund was launched in April with support from the BBC, Audible and the Radio Academy’s own Benevolent Fund. Recently it has launched the 'Show You're Listening' campaign to encourage those in full-time work to support colleagues in the industry.

Chair of AREF, Dom Chambers, who is also a Council member of the CMA, is particularly concerned about what happens to new talent that has only recently turned professional. He told the CMA newsletter, “Community radio is one of the principal training grounds for people who want careers in audio and radio to get a foothold in the professional sectors. I know myself what a difficult industry it is to get into. We are offering grants to help keep working young emerging talent who are making their living in audio and radio.” Dom talks about this in a short film released by the Radio Academy here.  

The Radio Academy is keen to stress that grants are for individual professionals and not for organisations. To find out how you can get a grant, or to make a donation, go to Around !0% of grants have gone to people working in the community sector of broadcasting which is the second-highest group to benefit after the BBC.
Sounds Funky Face Masks Raise Money for Support Fund
Radio-themed face masks are on sale to help support people in the radio industry facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis.

£2.50 from the sale of every pair of masked sold by Funky Masks will be donated to the Radio Academy’s Audio and Radio Emergency Fund which is making grants of up to £1,000 to industry professionals hard hit by the coronavirus epidemic. Funky Masks was set up by Andrea Day who said 'I thought it would be a great idea to support a really important cause and raise money to help those in our industry who are falling on hard times because of a reduction in work or because they can’t access the government’s financial help'.
Podcast, Audio & Digital
“If local radio empowers people to share their stories then now is a great time for storytelling,” says Dom Chambers about the latest InRadio podcast. The second edition of COVID-19: Local Radio Responds has stories across the community, BBC and commercial local radio spectrum. Featuring Nick Bull from BBC Somerset, Gateway 97.8’s Ros Connors, Radio Academy CEO John Dash, David Harber from Andover Radio, Leicester Community Radio’s Sam Hunt and BBC Radio Leeds host Stephanie Hirst. The half an hour podcast, that regularly showcases the work of community radio, can be heard here.
The Tiny Radio Stations That Lift Spirits in Hospitals
The New York Times observes that "volunteer-run broadcasters are a British tradition" - well, we can certainly all agree with that in the community radio sector! The NYT has picked up that during the coronavirus pandemic, hospital radio stations have played an important role in cheering patients up with jazz standards and soft rock. Read the article in the NYT here

Image: Steve Coulby, a volunteer who lives near the hospital radio studio in Nottingham, England, has found himself hosting three request shows a week. Credit: Rajiv Hasan/Nottingham Hospitals Radio.
Teaching Community Radio Is 100% Dog Medicine!
Kirsty Walker teaches at a college in the North West of England and uses community radio as a form of embedded teaching to help her students learn literacy, numeracy, and IT skills. As she says " Anyone who has ever owned a sick pet will have been through the rigmarole of wrapping a pill in a piece of cheese to get a disgruntled hound to swallow it for their own good. Teaching on the community radio course was 100 per cent dog medicine". Read more on the TES website here.
Events & Training
Celebrating The Centenary of the Birth of Radio - 15th June 2020
In 1920, Chelmsford was the location of a series of radio experiments that would change the world, giving rise to the BBC and the very idea of home entertainment. Brilliant engineers and inventors at The Marconi Company carried out high power speech transmission tests in the town, which led to a number of extraordinary broadcasts.  It's the reason Chelmsford is often referred to as the Birthplace of Radio.

Chelmsford community radio station CCR 104.4FM is delighted to be working with Chelmsford City Theatres on the live broadcast of 'The Power behind the Microphone' a radio play celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first radio entertainment broadcast that took place on the 15th June 1920.

International opera star Anna Steiger will be stepping up to the microphone to recreate the concert given by Madame Melba, helping to recreate that first live radio entertainment broadcast.

Chelmsford City Theatres will stream a video feed of the play to its Facebook page where it will also be available to watch after the live event. The first part of the play, including the recreation of the Melba concert, will also be broadcast live on BBC Essex. The livestream starts at 7pm on the 15th June. For more information visit the Chelmsford Theatres FB page here

Ten Tips for the Perfect Pitch Webinar - Friday 19th June

Ten Tips for the Perfect Pitch offers practical advice that will help you work out what you need to tell others about your idea to really make it memorable. How can you deliver a pitch that will resonate with your audience and give you the best possible chance of making your ideas come to life?

This webinar is presented by Alex Dalton who is a partner at Leading Ideas and is a trainer specialising in creativity and communication, she has worked for a number of clients including the BBC, Channel 4 and the British Council. Click here to register for the free webinar on Friday 19th June, 2 - 3pm. 

Past Audiotrain Webinars are available to watch via the AudioUK website, including: Remote Recording in QualitySo How Do You Come Up With Ideas Then?Top Tips For Surviving As A PresenterLooking after your mental health.
(Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash)

Boost your Digital Business Skills
Check out the free digital advice for small businesses and charities impacted by coronavirus, provided by expert volunteers at Digital Boost.
How to Protect Your Shared Mic from Coronavirus Contamination
With the lockdown expected to be relaxed for a wide range of amenities including community facilities in Phase 3 from 4th July, what steps can you take to reduce risk in your radio studio?  Stephen Spencer of Ipswich Community Radio made this short video a few weeks ago for his station. It's part of a range of precautions they are rolling out.
Tech Corner

Radio TechCon: Building Your Own SSDAB Mux

Radio legend and CMA member Lawrie Hallett presents this week’s video from Radio TechCon. Want to build an SSDAB mux but don’t know where to start? This session is for you! Small-Scale DAB has been a revolution for community stations – but what happens if you are asked to build your own mux? Lawrie Hallett has run the Norwich multiplex since the start of the SSDAB trials and will take you through the pros and cons of doing everything yourself versus buying equipment off the shelf. Watch it here.

Cool Mic client

Cool Mic is an open-source Icecast source client. It livestreams audio captured by your Android device’s microphone or mic-in / line-in jack. It can stream to any Icecast server in the open-source audio formats Ogg/Opus and Ogg/Vorbis. It has many features and a simple, easy to use interface (see screenshots). Cool Mic aims to be the best way to livestream quality audio from your smartphone or tablet. Please check out the latest news, get it on Google Play and get involved with this great open-source audio livestreaming app.

Four Zoom Tips for Community Radio

Many community radio stations are hosting virtual meetings for board members, volunteers and staff. It is a new world for many. But how do you avoid Zoom disaster?

Stations have long flourished on the aesthetic of community, which means face-to-face interactions and groups of people gathering together. For many, video conferencing is something their stations have never done before. However, there is no reason to stress out. The etiquette of virtual meetings is not much different than what you’re used to. Check out the guest commentary Ernesto Aguilar on RadioWorld here. Two recently patched critical flaws in Zoom could let attackers hack PCs remotely by sending messages via chat – details here.

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