Welcome to Community Media
News #38 April 2020
Welcome to the April 2020 edition of Community Media News. We start this months newsletter with Sector News where we share news of support for the sector from DCMS and Ofcom. The situation facing community radio stations was featured in The Guardian and trade press last week. This is a very challenging time for the sector but also an opportunity to show just how crucial community radio is to the communities served across the UK. 

In Community Updates, we have the news of the next #RadioFromHome campaign which takes place on Friday 1st May and the campaign wants your video clips by Wednesday 29th April. Radiocentre is launching a new initiative to support the nation's mental health during the pandemic. And there's news of fundraising for the NHS and two projects donating radios to the isolated. Cambridge 105 will broadcast a virtual version of Cambridge's Strawberry Fair in June. Last in this section is a partnership of community radio stations broadcasting radio made by the over 70s for the over 70s.

In Strategy, Policy and Licensing, we report on a range of activities from Ofcom.

In Funding & Awards, we highlight the Audio & Radio Emergency Fund from the Radio Academy. And more funds are available to support audiences during the coronavirus epidemic from the Audio Content Fund. We also have a number of links to resources for charities and other third sector organisations in response to the crisis.

In Podcast, Audio & Digital, we highlight the work of Rob Watson of Decentered Media who is still managing to keep up his output of podcasts. There are tips for better home recordings and an edition of the latest Wireless Flirt programme.

There are some online resources and event news from Radio TechCon in Events & Training.

And lastly, in Tech Corner, we have some tips for recording remote audio interviews and advice on proper microphone hygiene,

As always there is too much to cram in here so please check out the Chat Forum and our new Wiki site for more information

And as always, do check our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook) to keep up to speed with more news and 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
As reported in The Guardian and Radio Today recently, the CMA had talks with DCMS and Ofcom last week about getting some emergency support for the community radio sector.

DCMS is looking at using the Community Radio Fund to provide emergency support for stations facing immediate hardship. This makes sense in the short-term as it is immediately available and ready to be used. Ministerial sign-off has been requested this week in order to repurpose the Community Radio Fund as an emergency support fund.

The emergency support is expected to be formally announced this coming week and we expect applications to open the following week.

So some immediate support will be available soon. However, we need to continue our campaign to urge DCMS to call on the Treasury to release funding to provide much more substantial support on a par with the funding that appears to have been offered other industry sectors. Additionally, there are the continuing efforts to get public information advertising onto community radio.

We ask that all community radio stations, their volunteers and their supporters continue to write to their local MP using the template letter that can be downloaded from our website here. These letters are definitely making an impact.

We received the amazing news this week that 25 MPs drawn from Labour Party, the SNP, DUP, and the Green Party have signed an open letter sent to Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport. This was a direct result of Alex Airnes at K107 in Kirkcaldy sending our template letter to his MP, Neale Hanvey. We've also received reports of other MPs being contacted by the Minster of State. And some community radio stations based in Essex, using our template, received a direct reply from the Minister himself.

We need to keep the pressure on and the letter-writing campaign is something that we can all do to make an impact.
Community Updates

All You Need is Community Radio

To promote the next #RadioFromHome campaign on Friday 1st May we'd like YOU to record YOUR studio from where you are currently broadcasting.

You'll need a copy of the song "All You Need is Love" by The Beatles which can be obtained via the Community Radio Awards.

Record a video on your mobile phone, landscape NOT UPRIGHT singing along, having fun and maybe even hold up a sign at the end, handwritten will do, saying #Yourstationname #SupportCommunityRadio #radiofromhome

Save the video file as: Name - Station - Location. For example, Nathan Spackman - Bro Radio - Vale of Glamorgan

Send your one-take video with audio (we won't be using audio from you but we need to sync it up and no need to edit, we'll do that) including muck ups (which might make it to a blooper reel!) to by NO LATER THAN 12 noon on Wednesday 29th April. The video will be produced and uploaded online and YOU will get a broadcast-quality copy to send to your local newspaper and television station. With you can send files up to 2GB in size for free.

The #RadioFromHome campaign takes place at 9:15am on Friday 1st May.

Following the previous #RadioFromHome initiative on Monday 30th March, which apparently trended on Twitter at #21 in the UK, we are going to give it another go but this time with the aim of getting #RadioFromHome and #SupportCommunityRadio trending to get politicians, Ofcom and Government to recognise the work of the sector during these unprecedented times.

At 9:15am on 1st May, we are asking every station, director, trustee and volunteer to tweet the same message with a photo of them in their home studio, or continuing to broadcast during the crisis. Please share this project with your team so they can take part too.

The message to tweet is below:

Right now 100's of #communityradio stations like @INSERTSTATION continue to deliver local #RadioFromHome. It's vital that our communities, politicians, government & business owners help #SupportCommunityRadio in our area /cc @DCMS, @Ofcom @JWhittingdale @OliverDowden

If you have room (280 characters maximum), we also suggest that you also tag in local MPs or Assembly Members in the devolved Nations. Along with this, it would be great if stations can play The Beatles - "All You Need is Love" at 9:15am as this will be the mechanism for some fantastic publicity which we can push to the local, regional and national press following the campaign.

If you have any questions please email

Radiocentre offers initiative to support audience’s mental health during pandemic

Radiocentre has created a new initiative, '60 Second Support', which will offer listeners across the UK advice, tips and activities to help them look after themselves and their loved ones during the coronavirus pandemic. '60 Second Support' is supported by ten of the UK’s biggest mental health charities.

The series, commissioned by the Audio Content Fund, consists of 20 x 60-second spots and will be made available to all commercial and community radio stations.

The spots will air over the next four weeks starting on Monday 27th April. The audio series is produced by Somethin’ Else and Audio Always.

If you and your station would like to be involved in '60 Second Support ' you should email Stuart Morgan who will send over all the information.

Please note that Radiocentre is once again working on a special #MentalHealthMinute for 2020 to bring the radio industry together in these challenging times. More information about that in the coming weeks.

Support 24 Radio Stations In 24 Hours Fundraiser for the NHS

Uckfield FM, Seahaven FM and Hailsham FM presenter Ryan Millns is aiming to be the first radio presenter to present on 24 radio stations in 24 hours to raise money for the NHS Charities Covid-19 Appeal.

Ryan suffers from a life-limiting rare autoimmune disease called Churg Strauss syndrome and is currently on 3 months isolation due to his medical conditions. Like many people, he said he owes his life to the wonderful NHS and in the spirit of giving something back, Ryan will be presenting non-stop from 7am on Friday 8th May to 7am on Saturday 9th May from his home studio and broadcasting out to the country.

To donate towards Ryan's sterling efforts to support our NHS visit his Just Giving page here.

Gateway 97.8 Gives Local Care Home Free Radios

Gateway 97.8 FM has launched a special project in partnership with Basildon Round Table, called ‘On The Radio’ to help vulnerable local residents.

The radio station will be distributing radios to residents who are over 70 and isolating. The free radios will have the station, on 97.8FM, as a saved pre-set.

This comes as millions of people have been asked to stay in their homes and self-isolate. Gateway 97.8 recognises that radio is a vital source of news information and companionship in these times. 

Station Director, Danny Lawrence, said:

“Gateway is delighted to run this project for the people of the borough. It is a lovely idea to reach so many more people. I would like to thank Basildon Round Table for making this possible”

As part of the initiative Gateway 97.8 has given a local care home, the Anisha Grange Care Home, ten FM/DAB radios. The scheme runs until 30th April or until the station runs out of its limited supply.

Black Cat FM Raising Funds for Radios for the Isolated

Black Cat Radio in Cambridgeshire will be dishing out free FM Radios to people so they can keep in touch with what is happening in their local area and to request help if they need it.

Due to the latest Government advice on lock-down, the radio station, based in St Neots, is now broadcasting from 20 remote stations at the homes of volunteers.

Black Cat Radio says it will need to raise at least £2,000 to be able to provide just 100-200 radios for people who are isolated from their community. 

The "Black Cat FM Radios for the Isolated" appeal can be found here

'Virtual' Strawberry Fair Broadcasting in June
This year's Strawberry Fair arts and music event which attracts up to 50,000 people to East Anglia has been cancelled due to Coronavirus. Not to be deterred, community radio stations Cambridge 105 is broadcasting music, poetry, drama and material for children and faith groups on Saturday 6th June as part of a virtual festival.

Julian Clover, editorial lead at Cambridge 105 Radio, said: “Strawberry Fair is one of the highlights of the year for Cambridge and is one of our most popular outside broadcasts. While we won’t be able to make it to Midsummer Common we hope that our Virtual Strawberry Fair is able to give a taste of summer to Cambridge 105 Radio listeners.

The 'virtual' Strawberry Fair will be produced by Trevor Dann, Executive Producer at Folder & Co and parts of the coverage of will be heard on neighbouring stations Star Radio, HCR104fm and Future Radio. Strawberry Fair 2020 has received funding from the Audio Content Fund: 'Supporting Audiences During Coronavirus

Image: Strawberry Fair 2019 / Keith Heppell

The Isolation Support Broadcasts made
by the over 70s for the over 70s

A partnership of community radio stations is broadcasting a series of programmes made by over 70's for the over 70's giving advice on what to do during self-isolation.  'Prime Timers', made by the SWSW Network (Ujima Radio, All FM, Radio Verulam, Winchester Radio, Radio Tyneside, Soundart Radio and Unity 101) in partnership with AgeUK, is a weekly 15-minute programme featuring content on technology, health, keeping fit, book and film recommendations, and include messages from listeners around the UK. The project has been funded by the Audio Content Fund: 'Supporting Audiences During Coronavirus'.

Photo by Peter G on Unsplash

Ofcom’s Making Sense of Media Panel and Network, has collected a set of resources to help provide people navigate news and information about Covid-19. The 'Cutting through the Covid-19 confusion' webpage provides tools to navigate news and information about Covid-19 and includes links to:

  • sites that debunk common misconceptions or harmful claims about coronavirus
  • dedicated fact-checking services
  • tips on how to seek out reliable content, tell fact from fiction, and find out who is behind particular claims, so that people can share information responsibly
  • resources to help parents support their children’s critical understanding during this time.

Ofcom said it was proud to say that many of the resources it has included were developed or are run by Network Members.

"We couldn’t have done it without your help, so thank you for your support. We hope you find it useful, and share it via your networks."

Ofcom Research on Covid-19 News and Information Consumption

Ofcom has published its first set of findings from its new weekly online survey about how people are getting news and information about Covid-19. It hopes this ongoing research will be useful in helping you develop and target your own activities to promote news and information literacy and critical skills. The research was collected during the first week of ‘lockdown’ in the UK. It sheds light on:

  • where people are getting their news and information from
  • which sources people trust
  • how often people are coming across misinformation
  • what people do as a result
  • the extent to which people are following government advice.

It was found that:

  • Almost half of UK adults have been exposed to false claims about the virus. 
  • Many people are finding it hard to know what is true and false about the virus. 
  • Almost all online adults are getting news about the crisis daily but a significant minority is actively trying to avoid news about the crisis.
  • BBC services are the most-used source of information about the virus by some margin and people are relying heavily on broadcast television to keep up to date. 
  • Official sources of news are the most trusted. 
  • The crisis is widely thought to have shown positive sides to society.

For more information on Covid-19 news and information: consumption and attitudes, click here

Ofcom Decisions on Programmes featuring Icke and Holmes
Ofcom has sanctioned ESTV after an interview with David Icke on its local television channel London Live included potentially harmful content about the coronavirus pandemic. Separately, Ofcom has carefully considered complaints about comments made by Eamonn Holmes on ITV’s This Morning about misinformation around Covid-19 and 5G technology and guidance has been given. 

Ofcom stresses that there is no prohibition on broadcasting views which diverge from or challenge official authorities on public health information but if you broadcast something that is unchallenged and is without the support of any scientific or other evidence you risk causing significant harm to listeners who may be particularly vulnerable at the time of broadcast. And Ofcom will act accordingly, as a number of high profile sanctions they have imposed recently on broadcasters have shown.
Funding & Awards

Audio & Radio Emergency Fund - Open for Applications

The urgent need to provide support for freelancers and other individuals who are the lifeblood of radio, podcasts, and audiobooks, has brought together the Radio Academy, AudioUK, the BBC, Audible and Reelworld to create the Audio & Radio Emergency Fund.

The scheme will give grants of up to £1,000 to individuals who need extra support during the COVID-19 pandemic, such as those in hardship who are receiving no government assistance; people who need help with radio or audio development projects, or those who need new equipment or software.

The Radio Academy is administering the fund and has appointed an independent panel to distribute the much-needed support. It will be chaired by Dom Chambers, a director of the Community Media Association, and will include: Aradhna Tayal, director of Radio TechCon; Ahmed Hussain, BBC producer; Camilla Byk, founder of; Cathy Fitzgerald, documentary maker; and Stuart Morgan, managing director at Audio Always. As a priority, the new Fund will be engaging with the freelance community, to ensure it fully reflects the diversity of the whole podcast, audiobook and radio sector across the UK.

Dom Chambers said: ‘As society works out how best to meet the challenges of COVID-19 what has clearly emerged is the need for connection and community and those trusted voices and content makers who bring us information, news and entertainment. It is essential that those who communicate are able to do what they do best.’

Funding will operate on a rolling basis that means it will have a new round every week. It will open every Monday at noon and be open for a week at a time. As soon as one round closes, the next opens straight away to keep the rolling fund going, and distribute funds as quickly as possible to meet immediate needs.

The first round funding opened for applications on Monday 20th April. The second round opens on Monday 27th April and so on.

Applications will be assessed based on need and if you do not receive funding in the first funding round, you are able to re-apply in subsequent rounds. The Radio Academy may also make partial funds in any given round so you can apply again if needed. For information on how to apply click here

ACF Coronavirus Support Round Increased to £400k
The Audio Content Fund announced that it has doubled the budget of its special Supporting Audiences During Coronavirus funding round from £200,000 to up to £400,000.

The fund launched a special rolling round three weeks ago with a minimum grant budget of £200,000. So far 11 projects have been approved, with over £134,000 already distributed. The fund has now confirmed that it will allocate up to £400,000 of its annual budget to this round, in response to the level of interest, and the high standard of ideas being submitted.

The round asks bidders to identify and fill gaps that have been caused by the huge disruption in people’s lives, with an emphasis on cultural, social, music and artistic material.  So far, projects have included comedy sketches, live music recorded in artists’ homes, late-night radio for older people, and kids’ sport and fitness content.

In the absence of a timeline for the lifting of restrictions, the ACF is recommending that bidders focus on content to be broadcast up to mid-June. In addition, the regular ACF Round 4 remains open until 27 April to ensure funding is available for standard content as well, for turnaround over the next year. For more information and how to apply to the fund click here
Free COVID 19 Funders & Response Toolkit 
The Charity Excellence Framework has developed a free COVID19 Funder & Response Toolkit to support charity trustees and management to increase their social impact and secure more charitable funding.

Download the COVID19 Funder List and other toolkits, as pdfs, by clicking the links below.

Responding To The Crisis: Building Sustainability: They have also created a free COVID19 funder database. The searchable database has 545 funders and four toolkits. For more information on all these free resources visit the website here
Podcast, Audio & Digital

The Decentered Media Podcasts

The indomitable Dr Rob Watson published 6 podcasts in April and a briefing on the Broadcast Code to Ramadan Radio in Leicester. Catch up with his work here.
Community Broadcaster: Tips for Better Home Recordings
If you are a community radio producer or DJ, how exactly do you create your weekly radio show without a studio and minimal technology? Radio World offer a few useful tips and advice on getting great radio sounds from home here

Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

Wireless Flirt Programme #41 (April 2020)

In the April 2020 edition of Wireless we hear from British radio activist and journalist Chrissy Brand about how radio in the UK is dealing with COVID-19 and also about the hobby of DXing. We hear a perspective on community radio in Ireland from almost 40 years ago from the Irish pirate radio audio archive and we learn about research on ‘entangled media histories’ and how it can be applied to audio. Read Programme 41 on the Wireless Flirt website here.
Events & Training
Radio TechCon Committed to Go Ahead in 2020
Radio TechCon - the UK radio and audio industry’s technical and engineering event - will take place on Monday 30th November 2020. The Radio TechCon team is committed to ensuring that the technical community is able to come together to share ideas and celebrate engineering success. The one-day conference is planned to take place in central London as usual. However, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the event may take place in a virtual format if necessary.

“Radio TechCon is the one day in the year where engineers are able to share their ideas and meet others who work on the technical side of radio,” says Ann Charles from organisers TBC Media Ltd. “We spoke to engineers from across the industry, and they are all keen to ensure the event still happens.”

“Safety is our first priority. We hope to be able to run the event in London as normal, but if social distancing rules are still in place, we will produce the best virtual event you have ever seen as an alternative,” she added. “Although we can’t yet confirm where Radio TechCon will be, we can confirm it is happening - mark your calendars for the 30th November!”

The Radio TechCon team has also released videos from the 2019 event on their website for free. The first video available is ‘The Technical Future of Radio’ on which teams debate which platform is better - DAB+, 5G or IP. 

Videos will be released regularly over the next few weeks. You can be the first to hear when they are online by signing up for e-mail alerts at

Image credit: Vincent Lo / RadioTechCon
Tech Corner

Recording Remote Audio Interviews Using the 'Simul Rec' Technique

When many of us are working from home, some broadcasters might be wondering how to record their interviewees when they are not face-to-face with them. Here's some good advice:
  • Talk to your interviewee on a video or voice call platform, like Skype or Google Hangouts
  • Record both sides of the interview using a local device such as a mobile phone or computer
  • The interviewee sends their audio to the host
  • The host syncs and edits both pieces of audio together
Read the full article on how to record remote podcast interviews here.

Proper Microphone Hygiene

Mics are often used in situations where germs can spread easily such as in broadcasting with many different users using mics held or placed close to the mouth. In all situations, cleaning your mics regularly is a good idea for everyone.

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Community Media Association · The Workstation · 15 Paternoster Row · Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2BX · United Kingdom

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