Community Media News - August 2021
Edition #54 August 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of Community Media News

Welcome to the August edition of Community Media News.

In Strategy, Policy & Licensing, Ofcom has announced new digital radio stations and the latest small-scale radio multiplex awards.

In Sector News, the application window for short-term restricted service licence (SRSL) applicants for Ramadan 2022 opens next month and Ofcom is looking to appoint a non-executive member to the Community Radio Fund panel.

In Community Updates, Riverside Radio turns a new chapter and Calon FM regains its licence to broadcast. Local MP Maria Miller visits HHCR Basingstoke Community Radio and Erewash Sound is nominated for a Media Innovator Award.

In Audio & Digital, we have a report from the University of Bath on Community Radio & Public Engagement, Matt Deegan's views on Ofcom's Media Nations report, a project that is capturing the sounds of the workplace, some tips on how to get people to listen to your podcast, and some international radio news from James Cridland.

In Events & Training, we share podcasting masterclasses from BBC Sounds Audio Lab and details of upcoming sessions from Audiotrain.

In Awards, the deadlines for the Creative Lives Awards and the Radio Academy 30 under 30 Awards are fast approaching and we have a call for judges for this year's Community Radio Awards.

In Funding, we share a useful guide to writing successful funding applications, news of podcast support from BBC Sounds Audio Lab, information on the latest recipients of the Audio Content Fund grant, and details of the next round of ACF funding.

And lastly, in Tech Corner, we have news of how spatial audio will transform music and we share three catch-up videos from Radio TechCon.

As usual, there's too much to cram in here so please check out our 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 also have 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
Thousands of listeners across the UK are set to enjoy a richer and wider range of radio programming thanks to the innovative new technology called small-scale DAB. Pioneered by an Ofcom spectrum planner, small-scale DAB provides a low-cost way for local commercial, community and specialist music services to take to the digital airwaves. 

Since February, Ofcom has planned the airwaves and awarded small-scale DAB licences in 25 areas across the UK. With the first round of awards now complete, these licences have the potential to allow the launch of over 500 new local radio stations

Some of the hundreds of new stations set to launch on small-scale DAB are existing analogue community and small commercial radio services. Many others will be completely new – ranging from grass-roots community services to boutique specialist music stations, and services aimed at minority groups and other under-served audiences.

Kevin Bakhurst, Ofcom’s Group Director, Broadcasting and Online Content said: “The rollout of this innovative technology will give listeners across the UK an unprecedented choice of locally produced content – serving communities and audiences across the country in a way never seen before. The UK’s commercial and community radio industry continues to go from strength.” Read more on the CMA website here.

Small-scale DAB Multiplex Licence Awards

The final small-scale radio multiplex licence awards of Round One have now all been made - congratulations to all the successful licensees. Please click on the links in the first column of the table below to view the award statements:
Alnwick & Morpeth   UK DAB Networks Limited
Bradford   Bradford Digital Media Limited
Exeter   ExeDAB Limited
Isles of Scilly   Like DAB Limited
North Birmingham   Switch Radio
South Birmingham      South Birmingham Digital Radio Limited

Non-executive Member
Community Radio Fund Panel

Ofcom wishes to appoint a member to the Community Radio Fund with a starting date in the Autumn of 2021. This is a voluntary position.

The Community Radio Fund is allocated by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to support community radio stations in the delivery of social gain. The Fund provides grants to help support the core running costs of Ofcom-licensed community radio stations. The money is distributed by Ofcom in the form of grants, following a formal application process, to existing community radio licensees. The Community Radio Fund Panel reviews these applications and decides which to fund. Ofcom wishes to appoint a member to the Community Radio Fund with a starting date in the Autumn of 2021.

The deadline for applications is 23.59 on Sunday 15th August 2021 - more details here.

Short-term Restricted Service Licensing High Demand Window

On Monday 13 September 2021, Ofcom will open an application window for short-term restricted service licence (SRSL) applicants hoping to broadcast on any dates between Wednesday 30 March and Tuesday 3 May 2022. This window is slightly earlier than anticipated due to the implementation of a new system at Ofcom.

This is of particular importance to those wishing to broadcast during Ramadan 2022.

The application window will remain open until 5pm on Friday 17 September 2021. Applicants should ensure they are familiar with the application criteria detailed in the guidance notes and must use the current version of the application form. The guidance notes explain what will happen after the application window closes.

New Chapter for Riverside Radio

Riverside Radio is an award-winning digital community radio station covering the boroughs of Lambeth, Wandsworth, Richmond, and Merton in South West London. Launched in 2015, it has broadcast continually – first as Wandsworth Radio – even in pandemic times. 

The latest news is the surprise move to spacious premises, also in Battersea, courtesy of Wandsworth Council.  Available now on DAB radio and Smartphone, as well as the internet, Riverside Radio boasts more than 40,000 listeners per month, evidence of its high standards and attractive programmes, has 15,000 social media followers and clocks up 17,000 website views a month. Read more about the move here.

Calon FM Regains FM Licence and Thanks Supporters

Volunteers at Wrexham’s community radio station Calon FM are delighted that they have regained the licence to broadcast once again.

The community radio station was taken off air in January after 13 years by the previous board. The 35 volunteers who ran the station along with station manager Amy Hughes and supporters were keen to re-establish the service and immediately started the process of applying for the licence with OFCOM.

The group also established a community interest company, Wrexham Community Broadcasting, to oversee the new station and have recently been informed by OFCOM that the licence would be granted to WCB.

A virtual concert featuring more than a dozen local musicians and bands raised over a thousand pounds to help ensure the success of Calon FM and local high-tech company Mediafields also offered its support with free computer equipment to help the volunteeer-led station set up a brand new studio in a brand new town centre location.

WCB Chair Conrad Anderson said: “It’s been a difficult process, to say the least, as we regrouped and looked to get Calon FM back on air. The support we’ve had from the volunteers, the wider community and supporters has been critical to us getting this far.

Arran Hodges, one of the station’s presenters and technical director of Wrexham Community Broadcasting, said it was very heartening to have ongoing community support for the station: “We’re really grateful to Simon Aston of Mediafields for their kind donation to the station. There’s been a period of uncertainty due to the station being off air but the new community company running the station is gearing up for a return to the airwaves.

Calon FM is currently broadcasting online at

MP visits HHCR, Basingstoke Community Radio

Local Conservative MP Maria Miller was delighted to visit the Award Winning HHCR Basingstoke Community Radio this summer. HHCR is an online radio station, playing the best mix of music as well as providing some great local information, broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from its local studio in the heart of Basingstoke, at The Roger Morris Centre.

Maria commented; “ It was great to meet with the radio presenters Charlotte, Graham and David and hear about plans for the future of the station. Community radio stations are a great way of boosting local community pride, sharing local events, celebrating diverse communities and positively promoting Basingstoke and the surrounding areas."

HHCR, Basingstoke Community Radio, is managed and operated by Helping Hands for the Blind and helps volunteers find their voice through the power of community radio. You can find more information and how to get involved here.

Image: Local MP Maria Miller was delighted to visit the Award Winning HHCR, Basingstoke’s Community Radio.

Erewash Sound Nominated for Media Innovator Award 2021

 Erewash Sound has been selected by Corporate Vision Magazine as a nominee in the Media Innovator Awards 2021.

The nomination for the comunity radio station comes after a three month process for organisations to submit nominations. Officials at the Cotmanhay-based radio station have to wait until October to find out whether there is a chance to add more accolades to those already collected.

Ian Perry is the Press and Publicity spokesperson for Erewash Sound said: "Having already had as many as nine successes for our presenters at the annual Community Radio Awards, and receiving the 2020 award for Local Radio Station of the Year in the ‘Innovation and Excellence Awards’, we are absolutely delighted to be nominated as a possible recipient of a Media Innovator Award.

A great deal of hard work is put in by our volunteer team - particularly under very challenging circumstances during the pandemic - to provide a genuinely local 24-hour radio station, on our website, social media and on-line broadcast services in addition to our two FM frequencies. Our achievements would not be possible without the support of local businesses, and of course, our many listeners and we thank every single one of them, past, present and future. Our fingers are crossed for good news in October."

Condolences to Family and Friends of Speyside FM DJ

Condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of David Thomson of Speyside FM radio in Aviemore who passed away in June. David was an inspirational headteacher who late in life became a community radio presenter. A former pupil wrote a touching obituary to David in The Herald newspaper here.

Image: David Thomson at work in his Speyside FM radio studio in Aviemore © The Herald

Community Radio and Public Engagement with Research - Report from the University of Bath

As a broad definition, community radio is a space for people to make radio in their own way, talk about meaningful issues in their lives, and connect with others through respectful discussion, listening and collaboration. Community radio is characterised by having community ownership, control, and participation and is almost exclusively volunteer-run. It is oriented towards being non-profit with activities that are centered around community development.

There are two other radio forms in the UK: privately owned commercial broadcast stations and public service broadcasters (British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Most higher education institutions view media engagement as a subset of corporate communications, marketing, press, and public relations. As a result, community radio’s community development approach is poorly understood and often overlooked by researchers when thinking about engaging public groups with their research. Download the Report from the University of Bath here.

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Audio Use in the UK - Looking at Ofcom's Media Nations Report

Matt Deegan shares his views on Ofcom’s Media Nations report, an analysis of media consumption and trends in the UK. This is Ofcom’s fourth annual Media Nations report, a research report for industry, policymakers, academics, and consumers. From Ofcom's Report:

Consumers continue to listen to radio and audio content on a wide range of devices. Although listening to live radio on a radio set has been in decline for the past few years, for adults overall it continues to account for much of their audio consumption. Conversely, consumption of digital audio services, including online live radio, music streaming services and podcasts, has grown over time, especially among adults aged 15-34 for whom live radio on a radio set now accounts for less than a quarter of listening.

The Media Nations Report sets out to review key trends in the media sector and set out how audiences are served in the UK. Read Matt's analysis here.

Capturing the Disappearing Sounds of the Workplace

The sound of workplace hustle and bustle is something that's been missing from many of our lives since the start of the pandemic. And with the way we work changing all the time, some of these sounds could soon become a distant memory. A new project has been launched in Dundee, inviting people to send in the noise of their offices, factories, labs or shops for an archive that will preserve these evocative sounds for future generations.

Song Work has already collected about 50 workplace sounds, including a printing press at Dundee Contemporary Arts and noises from the city's Michelin tyre factory, which closed in 2020. Read more about this fascinating project on the BBC website here.

Image: © BBC Siôn Parkinson recorded the sound of jute machines at Dundee's Verdant Works

How to Get People to Listen to Your Podcast

It’s easy to start your own podcast. They’re as ubiquitous now as personal blogs were in the early 2000s. But they present their hosts with the same issue bloggers had back then: You can overshare or create (what you think is) brilliant content—but is anybody listening? Find out how to get people to actually listen to your podcast with these starter tips from LifeHacker here.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Switzerland: To FM or not to FM?

Switzerland will be the next country to turn off FM, in favour of DAB+ and online. Unsurprisingly, there’s a campaign going on to save FM, by 76-year-old Roger Schawinski, who’s the CEO of Radio 1, a radio station based in Zürich. 

Read James Cridland’s International Radio Trends article - Switzerland: To FM or not to FM? here and his views on the future of radio in Africa here.
Listen to all the BBC Sounds Audio Lab virtual Podcast Masterclasses in the series for key insights and the tools you need to become a podcaster. These events are supported by BBC Academy Fusion. Live sessions are running throughout August and previous sessions are available on-demand.

Autumn Sessions from Audiotrain

Visit the Audiotrain website here for more information and how to book on the Autumn Sessions from Audiotrain. 

And in the meantime, why not catch up on some of the FREE video recordings of previous Audiotrain webinars. Follow the link below for the full list of what is available to watch. (If you find them useful, please consider making a donation to Audiotrain, which is a not-for-profit programme).
The Creative Lives Awards are an annual celebration of the achievements of voluntary and community-led creative groups across the UK and Ireland. 

This year, they are looking for applications from (or nominations for) groups and projects in your community that have shown resilience and imagination during the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic. The activity must have taken place between March 2020 and March 2021, or be ongoing. 

The 2021 Awards will include the following categories:
Resilient Group Award | Local Hero Award | Diversity Award | Peer Award for Excellence | People’s Choice Award

The awards are open until 31 August 2021 (11.59pm) and are free to enter.
For more information and how to submit your nomination or application, visit the Creative Lives website here and watch the short video on YouTube here.

The hunt has begun for the UK radio and audio industry’s latest Ones To Watch, as the ReelWorld Radio Academy 30 Under 30 opens for entries.
Each year, the 30-Under-30 list highlights people who The Radio Academy thinks will lead our industry into a bright and bold future, demonstrating passion, skill, tenacity, and a proven trajectory in radio and audio.
Being included in the list has become established as one of the great honours of a young radio professional's career, with many alumni going on to senior leadership roles in the industry. People on the list represent all areas of the sector, from production to presenting, engineering to live music, station sound to journalism.

Entry for the ReelWorld Radio Academy 30 Under 30 is open until 1pm on the 31st August 2021, and people can put themselves forward or be nominated by another Radio Academy Member. Entries are via the Radio Academy website, where you can also find answers to commonly asked questions, and lists of all previous 30 Under 30 alumni.

Community Radio Awards - Call for Judges

The best of luck to all who have entered the 2021 Community Radio Awards. The important job of sifting, sorting, and evaluating entries is about to commence and there is now a call for judges. Anyone who might be interested, who has worked or volunteered in radio (community, BBC, or commercial), should register via the online form here.

How to Write a Successful Funding Application

Writing a successful funding application is like a good recipe - it depends on a few ingredients coming together well.

This briefing talks you through all the things you should consider when applying for funding to give yourself and your creative group the best chance of success.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash.

Can your Podcast Get the UK Talking?
Funding for Audio Creatives

The BBC is giving six audio creatives the funding and support to make the next podcast everyone needs to hear. BBC Sounds Audio Lab is a podcast accelerator programme, the first of its kind from the BBC. The package includes:
  • Bespoke training and mentoring
  • Award-winning production and commissioning support
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Funding to turn your idea into a podcast for BBC Sounds & major podcast platforms
This is a paid development opportunity for creatives passionate about behind-the-scenes production which can include presenting and hosting. The application process closes at Midnight on 29th August 2021. Applications received after this time will not be considered. Find out more and how to apply here.

Audio Content Fund Awards £272K to 13 New Projects

The Audio Content Fund has announced the recipients of grant funding for 13 more public service radio projects that will be broadcast across commercial and community radio in the UK.

Each project will be produced by a different independent production company, eight of which are based outside London. The fund, which is financed by the UK Government, has allocated £272k to the projects, and estimates the content will be heard by 3.8m listeners.

The bids come with commitments of broadcast on at least 44 different radio stations, and the ACF as announced it will be working with distribution company The Local Media Network for the first time, to expand the reach of the community radio projects to even more stations.

Recipients include:

Fear of Missing Out – BoldFace, for Community Radio
A series all about what we wish we’d learnt at school – from the Highland Clearances to Empire Windrush – illuminating misunderstood British history to contextualise life today.

Catch of the Day – Sparklab, for Community Radio
A series of five features about the state of the fishing industry in the UK today, aiming to find out what life is really like for our coastal communities and what the future may hold.

Would Like To Meet – Exeter Phoenix, for Community Radio
The pandemic was rubbish for dating. But for disabled people, the dating game has long been something of a twilight zone. Goz Ugochukwu, comedian and wheelchair user, is looking for love, updating friend Lucy Bell on progress in this six-part documentary series.

For more information and details of the 13 recipient projects visit the Audio Content Fund website here.

Next ACF Funding Round Opens on 6th September

The next Audio Content Fund funding round opens on 6 September 2021 for projects to be broadcast in 2022. The ACF expects to allocate approximately £330k in each round.

The Bidding Guidelines have been carefully prepared to tell you everything you need to know about the bidding process. They outline the application process, the evaluation criteria, and details about eligibility. Please make sure you have downloaded and read the Bidding Guidelines thoroughly before you apply.

Please note that:
  • Bids must come from independent production companies that are separate from their broadcast partners. The ACF does not fund radio stations directly.
  • Bids must come with a guarantee of broadcast on one or more Ofcom-licensed radio stations. The ACF can’t fund content for podcasts or online-only radio stations.
  • If a bid is for small stations or community radio, networks of multiple broadcasters should be formed to maximise audience impact. These networks would normally be five stations or more.
For more information and how to bid visit the Audio Content Fund website here.

How Will Spatial Audio Transform Music?

First there was mono, then stereo, and now there’s Spatial Audio. Spatial is an immersive experience with sound moving around you in different directions. We have only had that kind of experience before in cinema.

Spatial Audio launched on Apple Music this Summer. Zane Lowe, the streaming service’s co-head of Artist Relations and radio host, explains here what the new technology will mean for music fans and artists.

Photo by Nikolai Chernichenko on Unsplash
Audio DNA: Next Generation Tools for Next Generation Audio
Next Generation Audio (NGA) is like the DNA of audio, as it helps you make the best use of your station’s metadata. So, what is it? And how do you get different Next Generation Audio systems to work together? The EBU’s Paola Sunna explains all in this catch-up video from Radio TechCon.
Luffing Your Workflow
You may know the theory of LUFS and EBU R128, but how do you incorporate loudness in your production processes and working practices? How do you get your studio output to conform with EBU R128 and what’s the advantage?
Wolfgang Rein shares the lessons he learned from SWR in Germany in this catch-up video from Radio TechCon
DAraBic - Updating the ETSI standards of DAB and DRM
The ability to display station names, programme types, and dynamic text is very much part of the appeal of DAB and DRM as a modern digital radio technology. But what happens when your programme isn’t in English and uses a different script? If DAB and DRM are going to become truly global and ubiquitous, then they will need to be fluent in more than just Latin script.

The BBC’s Abdallah al-Salmi explains the complexities of Arabic script display and how the ETSI standards of DAB and DRM have been updated in order to support the growing requirements of broadcasters across the world in this catch-up video from Radio TechCon.

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