Edition #52 June 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of Community Media News

Welcome to the June edition of Community Media News.

We start this months newsletter with an invitation to the CMA Members' Meeting on Saturday 12th June looking at the SSDAB application process with Lawrie Hallett.

In Strategy, Policy & Licensing, we have details of Round 2 SSDAB licensing which is now open for applications from North West England and North East Wales.

In Sector News, three community radio stations receive the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service and in Community Updates, DCMS Minister John Whittingdale visits Gateway 97.8 in Basildon. Croydon FM relaunches with an FM licence, in Poole there's a sponsor partnership between Yellow Buses and Hot Radio, and Heckington Living Community Radio is hosting a show acros trhe Atlantic with radio friends in Massachusets.

In Audio & Digital, we share the latest Wireless Flirt podcast and there's a talk from RadioTechCon 2020 about what visually impaired audiences can teach us about voice control system design.

In Funding, Round 1 of the Community Radio Fund 2021-22 is now open for applications.

In Events & Training, we share details of two upcoming events from Audiotrain and there's a link to previous Audiotrain webinars.

In Awards, entries are now open for the 2021 UK Social Enterprise Awards and the 2021 Community Radio Awards.

And lastly in Tech Corner, we share details of a workshop looking at developments in 6G. And lastly, you can learn C++ by building an audio plugin.

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

CMA Members' Meeting - June 2021

Round 2 of licensing for Small-Scale DAB opened on Tuesday 1st June for North-West England and North-East Wales. And the details of the Round 3 licensing areas were also announced.

The June Meeting for CMA Members will feature experienced community radio practitioner Lawrie Hallett from Future Radio, Future Digital Norfolk, and North Norfolk Digital.

Lawrie will give useful and helpful advice on Ofcom's application form for an SSDAB licence and the licensing process for prospective multiplex operators and service providers.

This session on SSDAB will start at 12pm on Saturday 12th June and we expect to finish by 1:30pm.

This session will be useful for anyone thinking of applying for a multiplex operator's licence or a C-DSP licence in Round 2 - but also anyone considering applying in subsequent licensing rounds. Additionally, anyone who applied in Round 1 is also welcome to join this session to share their knowledge.

Please put the date in your diary and we look forward to seeing you in the call.

More local listeners will be able to tune into new digital radio stations, as Ofcom continues its roll-out of small-scale DAB.

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. Ofcom has:

  • announced five further multiplex licences from the first round of awards;
  • advertised multiplex licences for 22 areas in northwest England and northeast Wales in the second round of awards;
  • and published the list of locations for the third round of licence awards later in 2021.

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

Decisions for awards in the remaining six areas advertised in Round One will be announced shortly.

Round Two now open for applications: all applicants intending to apply for a multiplex licence in one of the 22 areas in northwest England and northeast Wales should refer to the updated application forms and guidance notes. Applications must be submitted to Ofcom by 1 September 2021.

Round Three: pre-announcement of areas: multiplex licences will be advertised in the following 25 licence areas as part of the third round of awards, likely to begin towards the end of this year:

Bedford; Belfast & Lisburn; Coventry; Darlington & Bishop Auckland; Dundee; East Hull; Leicester; Lincoln; Llandudno & Betws-y-Coed; Middlesbrough & Redcar; Milton Keynes; North Aberdeen; Nottingham; Oxford; Rutland & Stamford; Shaftesbury & Blandford Forum; South Aberdeen; Swansea; Swindon; Taunton; Warminster, Devizes & Trowbridge; West Hull; Wetherby & Harrogate; York; Yorkshire Coast.

More information on the licensing process and rollout of small-scale DAB is available here.

Three radio stations receive the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
The efforts of three community radio stations have been honoured in the 2021 Queen's Award for Voluntary Services. The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen's coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.

Black Country Radio provides a community radio service to the people of Dudley and the surrounding Black Country. The community radio station has no paid staff and is run by 85 volunteers who go above and beyond to provide an excellent service 24/7. Last year, it rose to the challenge to offer a vital support service to its listeners and connect with people. A helpline was established which supported 500 listeners, some vulnerable and lonely.

Dave Brownhill, station director, said he was delighted Black Country Radio has been recognised in this way. He said “I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved. It’s a lot of hard work, and the past year has been a challenge to us, as a station, as as people."

In Fort William, Nevis Radio is celebrating as the team has been recognised for its work with local high schools and West Highland College in supporting the next generation of radio presenters. John Weller, chairman of Nevis Community Radio, said: “It is so pleasing to be recognised as a valued service within our community and even further afield around the globe where we have regular listeners tuning in to hear music and the interaction they like.”

North Lancashire's Beyond Radio, run by a group of volunteers based in Lancaster, is a community FM radio station and is the only local station covering Lancaster, Morecambe and Carnforth.

Launching full time in 2016, the station has grown to become a respected community resource, providing a platform that celebrates and promotes the area's broad and diverse cultural mix. Local groups and charities are featured on-air to provide a voice in the local community and provide listeners with information relevant to them and their needs. Managing Director Steve Normyle said: "We are honoured to have been awarded what we consider to be the pinnacle of recognition for the hard work of our incredible team. Giving local people a service that keeps them informed, entertained and engaged on the things that matter most to them is at the heart of everything that we do." Steve added: "Without the dedication of volunteers across this country, we simply would not be able to live the lives that we do. Volunteers are the backbone of our nation, and we are proud to play our tiny part."

Two volunteers from Beyond Radio will also attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May 2022 (depending on restrictions at the time) along with other recipients of this year's award.

Ministerial Visit to Gateway 97.8
The Rt Hon John Whittingdale OBE MP – Minister of State for Media & Data visited Gateway 97.8 to congratulate Danny Lawrence and the Radio Hub on its successful On the Radio project, distributing 15,000 radios across the UK by using community networks. Mr Whittingdale was taken on a guided tour of the station by some of te station's young Radio Club members, who told the minister what Gateway 97.8 means to them. The Minister said: “I was delighted to hear about the success of the On The Radio project - a fantastic initiative, which I’m sure will have brought a great deal of pleasure to many listeners across the UK during these difficult times. Keep up the good work!”

"This project started whilst Danny was Chairman of the CMA and we congratulate him and the many stations who took part in this great project. Radio has been a lifeline for so many during this challenging time." - Bill Best, Operations Manager, Community Media Association.

Image: Minister John Whittingdale and Danny Lawrence, Station Director Ros Connors and Radio Club members.

Croydon FM To Relaunch on FM

South London radio station Croydon 97.8 FM is gearing up to relaunch after being granted official FM status by Ofcom. In 2018, the station was set up as an online-only service by local resident, Clive Campbell, and has gone on to become a massive part of the community; providing opportunities in employment and youth training as well as supporting local events. Croydon FM also assists young people in getting into production and broadcasting and has helped many local youngsters get involved with operations at Boxpark Croydon and The Ends Festival.

Yellow Buses partners with Hot Radio and Hot Gold
Yellow Buses have partnered with community radio station Hot Radio, and their new brand station, Hot Gold Radio to deliver an innovatively designed bus promoting the stations on the roads of Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. David Squire, Managing Director of Yellow Buses explained, “We are delighted to support Hot Radio and Hot Gold with this tie up between Yellow Buses, the areas locally owned and locally operated bus company. We are sponsoring the Hot’s On guide and we have our commercial bus rap playing on the station, plus we will be running competitions and partnering outside events”. Kevin Scott of Hot Radio said, “Hot Radio and Hot Gold are delighted to partner with this locally owned company that shares a community focused attitude that mirrors ours. These two brands working together makes total sense and means we can reach more of the community. I believe we can actively support each other and our wider community long into the future and we both endeavour to make the BPC Conurbation better for all.”
From New England, to England - A Radio Partnership Across the Atlantic

Heckington Living Community Radio (HLR) is an Internet radio station, set up, owned and managed by Andy and Patricia Mellett Brown in Heckington, Lincolnshire. HLR is affiliated to and supported by Heckington Living, the voluntary group that publishes Heckington’s village magazine. Andy and Patricia established the station in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The idea was that by keeping connected with each other, families and friends, they could help to mitigate some of the effects of social isolation and loneliness caused by ‘lockdown’.

Since its launch HLR has expanded its offer so that today there are 11 live presenters and live programmes every day. The station also broadcasts a wide range of voice and music programmes 24 hours a day, every day. As well as music, there are dramas, documentaries and church services, all made in or around Heckington by local people. There is also a ‘Live Lounge’ where listeners come together, especially during live shows, to chat with the presenters and each other. The HLR ‘Live Loungers’ have made connections well beyond HLR, extending the hand of friendship and goodwill across the country and, indeed, the world. The station is run entirely by volunteers, on a not-for-profit basis. They exist solely to serve the community, friends and families and to help keep us all connected.

In one unique presenter relationship, a musician in the northeast USA, had been reaching out to various college and community radio stations, looking for support for his original music. Heckington staff were kind enough to accept and air one song, and then another, and then another. Dan Kirouac from Westminster, Massachusets became an active listener and contributor to the station and their music programmes on Sunday and Thursday afternoons.

After several months Andy asked Dan if I would be interested in hosting his own programme. After several weeks of shaking off my fear of technology, and with the support of my friend and local musician Sean Fullerton, they developed The Massachusetts Experience - a 90-minute programme on Thursdays which showcases music with songs about Massachusetts; as well as any song by artists who were born in or currently live in Massachusetts.

The results are surprisingly well-known and varied, and they mix in local/unsigned artists in the mix as well as showcasing the Aerosmiths and the James Taylors. It’s truly a unique station, in a unique arrangement, whereby  two countries connect over the many miles while retaining the community spirit. “From New England, to England” you can hear The Massachusetts Experience at Live Shows – Heckington Living.

Wireless Flirt Programme #53 (June 2021)
In the June 2021 edition of Wireless on Flirt FM, there is the challenge of geoblocking for online streams of Irish radio stations with station manager and CRAOL member, Paula Healy. Radio watcher John Gartlan reflects on the closure of the last high-powered AM transmitter in Ireland, BBC Radio Ulster from Co. Antrim. Ray Burke of Wired FM tells us about the 25th anniversary of the Limerick student station. And Ciarán Murray of NEAR FM describes a new Irish language podcast now being heard on community radio stations. Listen to the podcast here.
VIP Voice Control - What Visually Impaired Audiences Can Teach You About System Design
The RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) has developed all kinds of innovative technologies to allow visually impaired audiences to access content on smart speakers. Visually impaired users are experts at voice control – so what can smart speaker skill designers learn to make their apps more navigable? Senior Innovation Manager Robin Spinks reveals all in this latest video released from Radio TechCon 2020.

Catch up on all the videos from Radio TechCon 2020 here and don't forget the next Radio TechCon returns in November!
Applications Open for Community Radio Fund 2021-22 – Round 1

Applications have opened for Ofcom-licensed community radio stations to apply for Government funding to help them meet their core costs. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has provided £400,000 in grants for the 2021-22 financial year, and Ofcom is responsible for administering the Fund.

In 2020-21, grants were provided as emergency cash funding to support community stations facing severe financial difficulty due to the Coronavirus outbreak. For 2021-22, the Fund will return to supporting the core costs of running Ofcom-licensed community radio stations, as set out in the guidance notes.

Details on the eligibility criteria and information on the application and award process are available.

Community Digital Sound Programme (C-DSP) licensees are now eligible to apply for the Fund if the station is broadcasting on a digital radio multiplex at the date of their application.

Applications must be submitted to Ofcom by 5pm on Friday 25 June 2021.

Trade Secrets of a Sound Designer with Award-Winning Eloise Whitmore 

Managing Director of Naked Productions and award-winning sound designer Eloise Whitmore shares her tips on bringing programmes to life with sound design, and how to make an ordinary programme extraordinary.

Eloise has been in the business for over 20 years, working on a range of programmes, but specialising in radio drama and features.

She’ll be talking about the art of building soundscapes, the importance of silence, recording and editing techniques, and why there should be more women in sound design. And now that she also produces, how that brings a different dimension to her work. Eloise will be answering your questions so sign up now.

Date and Time: 10th June, 6 - 7:15pm
Cost: Pay what you can: £5 + VAT, £10 + VAT, or £15 + VAT. (Audiotrain maintains the low fees through the generosity of its supporters so please give what you can)

Book this AudioTrain event here. (NB you will need to register on Zoom as well to access the webinar. Note that this session will not be recorded for future viewing).

Meet the Indies - The Inside Track on Independent Audio Production

This is your opportunity to ask the questions you have always wanted answered about the Independent audio production sector. How does it work? How do you get a job and what should you put on a CV? Podcasts, radio programmes – what ideas are they looking for? Which companies specialise in what types of output? What are the roles in the organisation and what should you be paid?

To answer your questions from a range of award-winning indie companies are Mel Harris, Managing Director of Sparklab Productions; Bernard P. Achampong, Founder and Director of Unedited and Richard Berry, Director of Loftus Media. You can send questions in advance to or just ask them on the night. Joining details will be sent on sign up.

Date and Time: 23rd June, 6-7pm
Cost: Free
(Voluntary donations of either £5 + VAT, £10 + VAT, or £15 + VAT are also available – Audiotrain maintains the low fees through the generosity of its supporters so please give what you can if you are able).

Book this Audiotrain session here. (NB you will need to register on zoom as well to access the webinar).

You can find free video recordings of previous Audiotrain webinars here.

Applications are now open to the 2021 UK Social Enterprise Awards! The Awards are the biggest celebration of the year in the social enterprise calendar, recognising the best in the sector - both organisations for their business excellence and contribution to society, as well as the incredible individuals who work at the heart of the social enterprise movement. 

We recognise that the last year has seen disruptions for a lot of social enterprises, and the 2021 Awards are looking to celebrate the resilience, the values and the entrepreneurial spirit of the sector as much as those who have pivoted, grown and thrived in these most unusual and challenging conditions.  
There are 15 different categories at this year’s Awards. All are open to social enterprises and there are specific categories that investors, corporates, public sector bodies and charities may enter. There are also 2 new categories:

1. Social Enterprise Team of the Year
2. Building Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Check out all of the categories here where you will also find the eligibility criteria for each category and how to apply online. More details on how to apply and the eligibility criteria for each category can be found here.

Applications close on 2 July 2021.

2021 Community Radio Awards NOW OPEN

Entries are now open for the sixth national Community Radio Awards. The awards, which are sponsored by PlayoutONE for the second year running, celebrate stations up and down the country at the heart of their communities. There are also categories that reward and recognise the off air heroes keeping stations going, especially during this difficult year.
Martin Steers, Awards Chair, said: “The Awards launch comes around quicker and quicker every year – this is the sixth time we have organised the event, and the standard and diversity is stronger than ever.” “We’re hoping and planning for a face-to-face event later in the year. Although the virtual event was well received, we know that stations up and down the country are excited to meet each other and celebrate successes, after a tough, and busy, year.”  A new category has been launched to recognise the community support stations have given throughout the past year in the Covid-19 response, and as a mark of respect and reward, this category is free to enter.

Submissions are open from June 1st, and close at 5pm on July 30, 2021.  You can submit your entries either as a station or as an individual from a station here
The submissions are £5 per entry, which aims to be accessible for Community Radio, for those stations that want to fund the awards for their volunteers, or for those volunteers who are happy and able to pay themselves. Entries are open to stations or presenters at stations of Ofcom-licenced stations currently on air (with the exception of the Digital/RSL, and Podcast categories). Station of the Year and Digital or RSL Station Of The Year are both free to enter categories. The awards have been designed so that stations and individuals from stations can submit as many entries into any of the categories as they like. There is no limit as to how many submissions they can make, and stations can administer it how they wish.
Martin added: “Some stations may send out the information to their presenters and volunteers or some may decide to centrally organise and submit entries in one go. We want everyone who is involved in community radio to feel in a position to enter, and we hope that there is a category for everyone with our awards.”

Entries will be checked and sorted in August when the judging process starts. A shortlist of 5 for each category will then be produced and published prior to the ceremony, based on our independent judging process. The judging panel is made up of nearly 100 volunteers from charities, community radio, commercial radio and BBC radio, who give their time to help recognise and reward our sector. No community radio judge scores an entry they have been involved in, and several judges will listen to each entry. For more information and to enter head to
2021 Categories

Station of the Year sponsored by PlayoutONE | Community Development Project | Digital or RSL Station Of The Year | Male Presenter | Female Presenter | Community Show | Live Event or Outside Broadcast sponsored by InQuality | Entertainment Show | Arts & Creative Radio | Speech & Journalism | Specialist Music Show | Sports Show | Volunteer| Young Person (Under 25) | Sage Person (Over 60) | Newcomer (new to radio in last 12 months) sponsored by The Radio Hub | Innovation Award | Podcast | Covid and Community Response
Forget 5G - they're working on 6G now
This University of Surrey led workshop, supported by DCMS and UK SPF, will focus on energy efficiency, spectrum efficiency and coverage. The workshop lead is Professor Rahim Tafazolli FREng, Head of the Institute for Communication Systems (ICS), Regius, FREng, FIET, WWRF Fellow, University of Surrey.
Date and Time: 1 July 2021 | 09.30-16:00
For more information on the full program and to book visit: Radio Access Network Techniques for 6G

For more information on all three workshops in this series, click here.

Learn Modern C++ by Building an Audio Plugin
A lot of C++ courses teach you how to build toy projects with no real-world application. But it can often be more helpful to write programs people would actually use.

Here is a 5-hour C++ course that will teach you how to write modern C++ code by building an audio plugin using the JUCE framework.

This course was developed by Charles Schiermeyer, known as Matkat Music. Not only is Charles an experienced programmer, he is an excellent musician and has been nominated 3 times for a Grammy. Read more here.

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