Edition #51 May 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of Community Media News

Welcome to the May edition of Community Media News. We hope that you are all continuing to stay safe and well and looking forward to the lockdown easing.

In Strategy, Policy & Licensing, there is the latest news from Ofcom's current SSDAB licensing round.

In Sector News, we celebrate nearly 150 not-for-profit radio stations taking part in last Friday's 2021 Mental Health Minute campaign.

In Community Updates, Cambridge 105 celebrates a recent awards win and Calon FM is set to return to the air. Leicester Community Radio has helped a local church to reach its congregation. Vectis Radio on the Isle of Wight is engaging their community to share their lockdown stories and there's a new station manager for Two Lochs Radio and Lochbroom FM. A community journalism project in Leeds has won substantial grant funding.

In SSDAB, DigitalRadio UK speaks to Ash Elford of UK DAB Networks - and expressions of interest are invited for an application for the Wigan multiplex.

In Audio & Digital, a discount code for CMA members and bursaries are available from the Radio Academy to attend Podcast Day 24. An online discussion took place last Thursday on "Lessons From Community Media" and there are some reflections on the content of local radio. A group of academics have highlighted plans to monetise podcast content. And there's a new syndicated radio series available.

In Funding, we have a call from Sparklab for collaborators to make a pitch to the Audio Content Fund and there's an open invitation to make a collaborative bid to the Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund.

In Events & Training, there are details of a webinar on the arts, health, and well-being - and Creativity & Well-being week starts on Monday 17th May. There's a seminar on 'Radio in Quarantine' and The Radio Hub has an online meeting event coming up next weekend. We have details of some free BBC Academy Podcasting webinars and a date for Radio TechCon 2021 has been announced.

In Awards, the 2021 Community Radio Awards open on 1st June for submissions.

And lastly in Tech Corner, we have a quick review of upcoming audio developments and we finish with the story of the BBC's special radio programme for just 40 listeners in the Antarctic.

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

Ofcom has awarded another round of small-scale DAB radio multiplex licences for five more areas in England, Scotland and Wales.

Following a competitive process, where each applicant was judged against specific criteria, multiplex licences have been awarded for the following areas:

Further licence awards for the remaining 11 areas that were advertised in Round One will be announced over the coming weeks.

Round Two licence areas, for the North West of England and North East Wales, will be advertised on 1 June 2021.

Small-scale DAB is an innovative technology that provides a low-cost way for local commercial, community and specialist music services to take to the digital airwaves.

2021 Mental Health Minute Campaign

The Community Media Association coordinated nearly 150 not-for-profit radio stations participating in the 2021 Mental Health Minute which took place at 10:59am on Friday 14th May.

The 2021 Mental Health Minute was voiced by Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge alongside influential voices from sport, music and film including sporting legend David Beckham, chef and food campaigner Jamie Oliver, the iconic Joanna Lumley, pop sensation Anne Marie, England footballer Jesse Lingard, and Game of Thrones star Charles Dance.

Coming towards the end of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week, the message, simulcast over 500 UK radio stations encouraged everyone to keep the conversation on mental health going.

The 2021 Mental Health Minute video may be viewed here.
Awards Haul for Cambridge 105 Radio Continues with Win at SME Cambridgeshire Business Awards
Congratulations to Community station Cambridge 105 Radio on winning a Gold award for Community Business of the Year at the SME Cambridgeshire Business Awards.

The award is testament to the incredible work of the volunteers who have kept the station on air throughout the pandemic and one of several accolades that  the station has received in recent months. 

Successes include:
  • April: Gold at SME Cambridgeshire Business Awards
  • March: Volunteer for Cambridge Award from the Mayor
  • December: Five nominations at the Community Radio Awards (Gold: Arts & Creative, Sage Person Over 60; Silver: Live Event or Outside Broadcast of the Year; Bronze for Community show of the Year
  • November: Audio Production Awards, Silver for Live Event or OB
This recognition from multiple sources really brings home the vital service Community 105 Radio continues to provide.

The station has been flooded with messages from listeners saying thanks for being there when their world was being turned upside down. People grieving and alone. Couples apart wanting to hear ‘their song’. People reaching out to loved ones. Throughout, the station has been here for the Cambridge community, making lockdown a little less hard to bear.

Read more here.

Image: Breakfast show presenter and Editorial Lead Julian Clover accepts the Community Business of the Year award at a virtual ceremony on 29 April 2021.
Calon FM Set to Return to the Airwaves

Calon FM community radio station is set to return to the airwaves after being saved by a team of former presenters and staff. The group stepped in after the station's closure earlier this year after 13 years of broadcasting to the local community. Their community company, Wrexham Community Broadcasting, is in the process of securing an Ofcom licence and has plans to increase broadcasting hours from a brand new, purpose-built town-centre location.

The organisation’s first major event is an online concert featuring a fantastic range of local talent. Evrah Rose, Andy “The Duke” Duncan, Check Masses and many more acts are confirmed for the gig, which will broadcast for six hours on May 23.

Director Andy Snowden said:

“Calon means ‘heart’ in Welsh and we intend to be at the heart of the community with a new base right in the town centre. We’ll be building on our long-standing reputation with new programmes and added features. To make this happen, we’re delighted that the vast majority of previous presenters have been involved in setting up the new venture, as well as experienced former staff and community leaders."

Andy added: “We intend to launch in the coming weeks and urge everyone who’s interested to contact us at for the latest information. We’ve had to start afresh, and desperately need funds to get back on air as soon as possible. We offered a vital service during the pandemic and want to resume as quickly as we can, as well as continuing to offer work experience and career opportunities to our community. We’re also launched a crowdfunder to enable local people to play their part in ensuring the new project hits the ground running. Please go to as every donation to support this venture is appreciated no matter how large or small."

Leicester Community Radio helps
Church Reach Congregation

Like clergy across the country, Practically overnight, the Reverend Jonathan Surridge had to reinvent how his church, St Peter’s Highfields in Leicester, operated when the pandemic first hit. St Peter’s Highfields and St Philip’s Leicester initially opted to run Sunday services via Zoom and Facebook, but it quickly became apparent that many of the congregation were unable to join in because they didn’t have access to the internet.

Amid this dilemma, a local community radio station approached Father Jonathan in April 2020, asking for help. Leicester Community Radio had been offered an FM licence, but needed a prominent position to place the aerial. The tower of St Peter’s was the perfect height, and within a matter of weeks – and with the enthusiastic support of church members – the radio transmitter was erected.

It then occurred to Father Jonathan that the radio station might also provide the solution to Sunday morning worship during the pandemic.

Read more here (pages 18-19).
Sharing Stories of Life in Lockdown

Local residents on the Isle of Wight have been sharing stories about life in lockdown as part of an initiative by the local authority who joined forces with local community radio station Vectis Radio to make the short recordings.
Vectis Radio presenter Ian Mac said: “Over the past year, the way we live our lives has been impacted in ways we could have never imagined. We have been living through the days, seeing history unfold and we have all been affected in some way. Vectis Radio is keen to capture what this unprecedented time has meant to local people, so we can reflect on it for years to come.”

Local businessman Steve Young, the Rev Sue Theobald and James, an adult learner at Vectis Radio, were among the first to be interviewed. To listen to their stories, visit the Keep the Island Safe Website.

New Manager Appointed at Two Lochs Radio and Lochbroom FM

Iain Meadows has been appointed as Station Manager for Two Lochs Radio and Lochbroom FM. Two Lochs Radio is Britain's smallest commercial radio station and community broadcaster for the Gairloch and Loch Ewe areas of Wester Ross, Scotland. But the station's remote location doesn't stop it boasting listeners from the USA, Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Germany, the Netherlands, and Brazil.

Iain is a media professional with over 25 years of presentation and station management experience in commercial radio, producing, hosting and presenting radio shows over a number of years on radio stations in the south and southwest of England.

Accepting the appointment, Iain said, “I’m really thrilled to be joining Two Lochs Radio and Lochbroom FM. Their remit is very special, and I’m looking forward to being part of the team that carries that legacy forward”.

Lottery Award for Independent Community News in West Leeds

Community journalism across West Leeds has been given a huge boost after a successful National Lottery funding bid by West Leeds Dispatch. In the week the community-led independent news organisation celebrated its sixth birthday, the National Lottery confirmed the £112,000 award from the Community Fund.

The funding will be used to fund a part-time editor and a part-time business development manager to help it become financially sustainable. It will also fund the training of up to 80 new community reporters and will pay for some print editions of the West Leeds Dispatch.

Editor John Baron said: “We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. The funding is a real game-changer for us. Not only will we have more community reporters on the ground, but it is also a massive boost in our quest to become a sustainable community news organisation, run by West Leeds people for West Leeds people. It’s hoped the funding will lead to increased sharing of community news, increased engagement of the local community and reducing social isolation and increased local participation in community activities, particularly in hard-to-reach areas.”

Ash Elford, Managing Director of UK DAB Networks, in conversation with Yvette Dore, DRUK Communications Director, about the future of small-scale broadcasting in the UK.

Ash Elford speaks about the small-scale DAB roll-out

Digital Radio UK spoke to the Managing Director of UK DAB Networks, Ash Elford, about the future of small-scale broadcasting in the UK. Ash has a wealth of experience - and success - running small-scale multiplexes in Portsmouth and Glasgow which together carry over 50 local commercial and community stations.

He is now overseeing UK DAB Networks’ successful applications for Winchester and Inverclyde as well as working as DAB Platform Manager for Nation Broadcasting on their small-scale multiplexes in Glasgow and Salisbury and supporting the launch of the GTFM small-scale multiplex in the Welsh Valleys. Ash emphasised that small-scale provides an even playing field for local commercial and community stations and service diversity to listeners. Watch the interview 
Wigan SSDAB Applicant Invites Expressions of Interest

Arts At The Mill CIC is inviting comments and expressions of interest regarding its plans to bid to operate a Small-scale Digital Audio Broadcasting (SSDAB) multiplex for Wigan and St Helens.

The community-focused organisation, which operates The Old Courts Art Centre and is developing the Royal Court Theatre, Wigan Pier and The Grand Hotel, are interested to hear from existing community or commercial radio stations; new and emerging community or commercial radio projects; and community members.

Jess Rotherham, The Old Courts Development Manager, said: “Small-scale DAB is an amazing opportunity to ensure that our local radio is inclusive, diverse and reflects the wants and needs of local communities. Particularly over the past 12 months, we have seen just how important radio is to keeping people in touch and informed. We are really interested to hear from local and community radio stations who are interested in joining us on this project.”

To find out more and express your interest, visit the Wigan Radio page here.

Ofcom will start accepting applications from North-East Wales and North-West England on 1st June for Round Two. The areas for Round 3 for the rollout of small-scale DAB will be announced.

Discount Code and Bursaries for Podcast Day 24

The Radio Academy is partnering with Podcast Day 24 to offer a discount to all Radio Academy Members, plus a bursary scheme for those that might not be able to buy a ticket themselves. Podcast Day 24 brings you 24 hours of podcasting content from Australia, Europe and North America. You can stay up for the entire 24hrs, or watch a mixture of live and on-demand sessions.

The conference has podcasters giving updates on what they’re doing now, how they got there and what they’re looking forward to. Check out the full line-up on Podcast Day 24 website.

The Radio Academy is offering a limited number of Bursaries to Podcast Day 24, for people who can’t afford the ticket price themselves. Recipients must be based in the UK, and be able to show an existing level of commitment to a career in podcasting or radio.

The Bursary scheme is open for applications until Monday 17th May at 12:00 noon. Successful applicants will be informed by Monday 24th May. To find out more about the bursay scheme, click here and scroll down the page.

Tickets cost £99 +VAT. Radio Academy members receive 24% off the online ticket price - the code is only available for registered Radio Academy Members.

At its best, community media is the media we all need – a space where anyone can take part, tell their stories and learn more about themselves and others. But what does the future of community media look like in turbulent times, and what lessons can our national broadcasters take on board about how to be accountable and inclusive of the communities they serve?

This online discussion took place on Thursday 13th May and features Caroline Mitchell, Associate Professor of Radio & Participation at the University of Sunderland, and former CMA Chair, Lucinda Guy of Soundart Radio.

Live & Local v Jolly & Generic

John Collins started out in broadcasting at BBC Scotland in January 1985 as an Audio Assistant and made programmes for Radio Scotland and Radio Five.

Currently, he's on the air with a daily Drivetime show at Chris Country, a late show for the Hospital Radio Royal and occasionally for Bauer’s Greatest Hits network in Scotland.

On his blog, John reflects on the tension between making radio that is 'live and local' versus 'jolly and generic'.

Apple threatens to upend podcasting’s free, open architecture

It has been a crazy few weeks for podcasting with two major podcast platforms rolling out subscription schemes. So a group of academics, including Richard Berry of the University of Sunderland / Spark Sunderland and former CMA Council member, has pulled this article together to shine a spotlight on the plans that Apple and Spotify may have to monetise podcast content that we currently take for granted and for free.

‘Sunday…. Late and Live’ Launch

In May 2020, the team behind The Lockdown Late Show launched a special live programme running four nights per week, hosted by broadcaster Les Gunn and produced through the Pride Radio studios by Richard Kell, with contributors all based remotely. 

Using many of the original team of contributors, a new show called Sunday…Late and Live launched on the 9th May. The show livens up a Sunday evening with chat, calls, laughter and music.

Commenting on the new programme, which runs from 10pm to midnight, Les Gunn said: "Over the last year, we’ve tried to think of the best way of keeping the team together to produce an entertaining weekly programme and with the interest and feedback we’ve had so far, we believe that ‘Sunday…Late and Live’ can become a weekly appointment to listen. Technology has changed and the options for producing great remote broadcast quality output, means we can all be based at home and produced through the fantastic studio facilities at Pride Radio. We can’t wait to go live!"

Community radio stations are welcome to take the show and full details/FAQs are available by emailing

Sparklab/Community Radio Partnership Project

Sparklab Productions are looking for community radio stations around the UK, coastal and inland, to partner with for this ambitious pitch to the Audio Content Fund.

The pitch: CATCH OF THE DAY is a story of our times. Much more than a post-Brexit series, Sparklab would like 2021 to be the year in which we find out what life is really like for our coastal communities. What does the future hold for the UK fishing industry?

Read more here.

Groups Urged to Bid for Share of Loan Sharks' Confiscated Cash

Cash seized from loan sharks is once again up for grabs in the latest round of funding from the Stop Loan Sharks Community Fund.

Community organisations, charities, and groups are being asked to bid for grants of up to £5,000 from the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT). Projects must raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks, reduce crime and disorder, and have a positive impact on communities.

Collaborative bids between multiple agencies are also welcome. If any project is interested in making a collaborative bid then please contact Peni Whelan on the CMA Council.
A webinar on how the arts, culture and creativity can help people who come into contact with mental health services. The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Arts, Health and Wellbeing is holding a webinar 'How culture and creativity can support changes to the Mental Health Act' on 17 May. Book here.
Creativity and Wellbeing week is a partnership between London Arts in Health Forum and the Culture, Health & Wellbeing Alliance. The national event is growing at an exponential rate – with audiences and event numbers increasing rapidly year on year. In 2019, it had a record-breaking 50,880 attendees at 636 events which stretched all the way from Cornwall to the Shetland Islands. Creativity and Wellbeing Week takes place 17-23 May 2021. For more information on the programme and how to get involved, visit

Radio in Quarantine: Public Service Value
and the Covid-19 Pandemic 

Date: Thursday 20 May 2021 | Time: 4.30pm-6pm | Where: Via Zoom

Radio in Quarantine is a short, focused research project that explores the changing nature of BBC Radio broadcasting in the context of its public service remit.

This University of Westminster seminar seeks to find out how, in a year of sudden and extreme social distancing, aspects of the BBC's radio programming were adapted to reflect the Corporation’s commitment to bring communities together and to enhance and enrich everyday life at a time of crisis.

Researchers Aasiya Lodhi and Dr Matthew Linfoot present analysis and conclusions based on a series of interviews with senior BBC personnel from speech, arts and music in BBC network radio, local radio and BBC Sounds. The research contextualises radio’s public service value against growing concerns about the BBC’s next charter renewal and the future of the licence fee.

Will radio's popularity as a medium of intimacy and immediacy, so valorised in times of crisis, help it secure a firmer footing for the BBC's future? Please book via Eventbrite.

The Radio Hub, Saturday 22nd May, 12-2pm

The next Radio Hub Workshop will be online on Saturday 22nd May, 12pm to 2pm featuring: Ian Hickling on ‘Radio Antennae’, Carl Roberts on ‘Becoming a Dementia Friend’, and The Community Radio Awards. Free to Attend – to book, email

Free BBC Academy Podcasting Webinars

Throughout May, Production Unlocked is showcasing some great speakers and events as part of its Podcasting Festival.

Tuesday 18 May 1100  How We Find Them and They Find Us
Choosing the right words to lead listeners to our goodies – and how to keep them in the house when they’re here. Insights, tips, tricks and through lines. Keeping your listener locked in episode by episode.  Panel: Andrew Davies, ABC, Australia, Emma Conneely, BBC Sounds & more.  Host: Jon Manel. Podcast commissioner, BBC World Service.

Thursday 20 May 1430  Telling podcast stories
How new techniques and new combinations are giving storytelling a 21st century twist.  Mixing the magic of drama, documentary, playlists and audio fiction to tell compelling stories. Panel: Ella Watts, BBC Studios; Ollie Wilson and Jade Scott, Ian Wright’s Everyday People; Danny Robins, Battersea Poltergeist. Host: Rhian Roberts, podcast commissioner, BBC Radio 4.

Tuesday 25 May 1430  Opening the doors
How new voices will bring new truth, authenticity and power to our podcast offer. Do our podcasts feature and represent the full breadth of our audiences? Panel: Rubina Pabani, Brown Girls Do It Too; Damon Rose, Disability Lead, BBC News; Khaliq Meer, Diversity Accelerator Programme, BBC Sounds. Host: Miranda Wayland, Head of Creative Diversity, BBC

Thursday 27 May 1430  Future gazing
Informed predictions about the podcast world we don’t yet know. What will technology and content give us next and how will we know if it’s working? Working together and making more than the sum of the parts in a podcast world. Panel: Anna McGovern, BBC Design and Engineering; Jen Tracey, BBC Scotland; James Cridland, Pod News. Host: Anna Doble. Digital Editor, BBC World Service.

Radio TechCon 2021 is coming... 

Radio TechCon - the UK radio and audio industry’s technical and engineering event - will take place on Monday, 29th November 2021. Due to ongoing uncertainty with the Coronavirus pandemic, the event will once again take place in a virtual format. 

“Radio TechCon is vital for ensuring that the technical industry in radio and audio is able to come together to share ideas, learn and celebrate successes during these complex times,” says Aradhna Tayal from organisers TBC Media Ltd. “We strive to deliver a fully inclusive and accessible event each year, to give everyone in our sector the opportunity to get involved.” 

“While government guidelines indicate the easing of restrictions for summer events, there is still deep uncertainty about large indoor gatherings during winter. We are disappointed that we won’t yet be able to return to the IET London and meet in person. Safety is our first priority. In consultation with the technical community, we have made the decision to hold a virtual event in order to ensure everyone feels able to join the conference and enjoy the full benefits of Radio TechCon 2021.”

More details about the event will be released soon, including information on ticketing, sessions and the virtual platform. In the meantime, once again the Radio TechCon team is releasing videos from the 2020 event on their website for free. Watch the catch up videos here, Videos will be released regularly over the coming months. You can hear when they are online by signing up for e-mail alerts at

Also on the website, you can find videos from the 2019 event, videos from the 2019 Radio Technology Masterclass for an introduction to engineering, and help with broadcasting during lockdown.

The Community Radio Awards have been setup to celebrate community radio and all the hard work and time that the volunteers involved in community radio put into their stations, shows and communities. Submissions are open from June 1st, and close at 5pm on July 30, 2021.  You can head to the submission site and follow the instructions to submit your entries either as a station or as an individual from a station. For more information click here.

A Quick Review of Audio Developments
Matt Deegan reviews a number of different topics that he's covered over the past ten months. Looking back at those trends that are now starting to form, he looks forward to the next 18 months. Read more here.

BBC World Service Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast 2020

Every year, the BBC World Service makes a special programme for just 40 listeners: the team of scientists and support staff isolated at British research stations in the Antarctic midwinter.

The Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast is unlike anything else on the BBC World Service. Presented by Cerys Matthews, it features messages from family and friends at home as well as music requests from Antarctica. For decades it has been part of the traditional midwinter celebrations. The Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast from June 2020 is available on BBC Sounds.

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