Edition #49 March 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of Community Media News

Welcome to the March edition of Community Media News. We hope that you are all continuing to stay safe and well as recovery is on the horizon.

We kick the Newsletter off with a message from Dom Chambers, the CMA Chair.

In Strategy, Policy & Licensing, there's still a little time left to complete our short survey into the Community Radio Fund. Ofcom has awarded the first small-scale DAB Multiplex Licences and we share Ofcom's updated Evidence of Electoral Support for the May elections. Ofcom has also released its Plan of Work for 2021/22 and there is updated Guidance on Protecting Participants in Broadcasts.

In Sector News, DEC sends its thanks to the community radio sector and there is a Social Toolkit for the Community Radio Sector to support its Coronavirus appeal.

In Community Updates, we share news and stories from Calon FM, Uckfield FM, Radio Ninesprings, Diverse FM, Sunny G Radio and Swindon 105.5. A local paper sings the praises of community radio volunteers in Scotland and Jorvik Radio in York is looking for a volunteer station manager. Radio Ninesprings has also shared a radio ad for the upcoming local elections.

In Audio & Digital, we share details of broadcast content 'I have a Dream', the spike in interest in the global radio platform 'Radio Garden' and an opinion piece from James Cridland on radio's unique point of difference. There's also news of a new radio soap for community radio which launches on 29th March.

In Funding, we share information about a recent round of funding to tackle health inequalities in Black and Asian communities.

In Events & Training, we share details of the BBC Tech Meetup talks and Discovering Computer Networks, hands-on in the Open Networking Lab.

In Awards, nominations are now open for the Bro Radio Community Awards celebrating outstanding individuals living, working and volunteering in the Vale of Glamorgan.

And finally, in Tech Corner, we share details of Ofcom's simplified guidance on its new EMF licence conditions and remember Lou Ottens who revolutionised the world of music as the inventor of the cassette tape.

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

A Message from the CMA Chair

Prior to 6th March, our last AGM was 15 months ago. With all that has happened, that now seems a long time ago, almost a lifetime away.

Covid-19 has brought huge challenges to all our lives and the lives of the communities we serve. It has been amazing to see how community media has responded to these challenges. All over the UK local radio has stepped up in the national crisis to provide a crucial communications platform as well as directly intervening to help their fellow people.

Naturally, this has been a busy time for the CMA. Like so many of our members, we are under-resourced and over-stretched but we thrive on the goodwill of our volunteers and staff to make things happen. Early in the pandemic Danny and Bill responded to the needs of members by requesting the Community Radio Fund was re-aligned as an emergency fund. They were also instrumental in securing the additional £200K from DCMS to create a third round of the Fund.

This year has also seen working with BBC Local Radio enter a new stage of collaboration with the addendum to the 2015 MoU signed at the start of lockdown in 2020. This has enabled greater content sharing to the advantage of local radio audiences.

Read more here.

With best wishes

CMA Chair
Office: 01761 411222

2021 / 2022 Community Radio Fund Survey

The Community Radio Fund typically offers two rounds of funding.

The CMA would like to know if you would prefer the first round to be emergency funding, such as we had last year, or should the Fund return to its usual purpose to help develop and sustain your station.

Read more here.

            Ofcom Awards First Small-Scale DAB Multiplex Licences
Ofcom has announced the first-ever awards of small-scale radio multiplex licences. Following a competitive process, where each applicant was judged against specific criteria, licences have been awarded in five areas:

  • Derry/Londonderry to Foyle DAB Limited
  • Glasgow to Nation Digital Investments Limited
  • Salisbury to Muxcast One Limited
  • Tynemouth & South Shields to Mux One Limited
  • Welsh Valleys to GTFM (South Wales) Limited

The application submitted by Muxcast Four Limited for the Tynemouth & South Shields licence area was withdrawn by the applicant prior to a licence award decision being made, so was therefore not considered for this award.

Further licence awards for the remaining 20 areas advertised in Round One will be announced over the coming weeks.

Round Two multiplex advertisements Given the ongoing impact of Covid-19 restrictions, Ofcom now expects to advertise a second round of small-scale multiplex licences in the North West of England and North East Wales on Tuesday 1 June.

Ofcom Updates Digest of Evidence of Electoral Support for May Elections

Ofcom has published an updated digest of evidence of past and current electoral support 1. This is to assist broadcasters in making editorial decisions in relation to elections taking place on 6 May 2021. These are:

  • elections for the Scottish and Welsh Parliament;

  • English local and mayoral elections;

  • London Assembly and London mayoral elections;

  • and elections for Police and Crime Commissioners for England and Wales.

This digest of evidence includes past election results and latest opinion polls and sets out the factors Ofcom considers when making decisions on election-related programming.

Statement: Ofcom's Plan of Work 2021/22

Ofcom has published its Plan of Work for 2021/22, outlining its priorities for the next financial year.

Several stakeholders, including the Community Media Association, requested that Ofcom undertake a round of FM community radio licensing. Some of these stakeholders urged Ofcom to consider local needs, Small Scale DAB (SSDAB) rollout progress, coverage areas of SSDAB, and areas where SSDAB might not be sustainable.

Ofcom responded that they are not currently planning any further analogue community radio licensing whilst they continue the process to license small-scale DAB. “We believe that small-scale DAB represents an appropriate use of spectrum, meeting demonstrable demand from community radio, smaller commercial radio stations and new entrants for an affordable pathway to terrestrial digital radio. This, in turn, will help to ensure the continued availability of a diverse range of radio services across the United Kingdom, on a platform which accounts for an increasing amount of radio listening”.

Ofcom Updates Broadcaster Guidance on Protecting Participants

Ofcom has updated its guidance for broadcasters to help them comply with new requirements to protect people who take part in TV and radio shows.

The new measures, which come into effect on 5 April 2021, introduce two new Practices to Follow to ensure broadcasters take due care over the welfare of people who might be at risk of significant harm as a result of taking part in a programme. The provisions are designed to protect vulnerable people and others not used to being in the public eye.

The new guidance sets out how, in practice, Ofcom expects broadcasters to follow the new fairness provisions - set out in Section Seven of the Broadcasting Code. The guidance includes a suggested ‘risk matrix’ to help broadcasters assess the level of care required for participants in different types of programmes. 

Ofcom has also made some minor changes to clarify the rules on offence and due care of under-eighteens in programmes

DECs Coronavirus Appeal Social Toolkit 2021 for the Community Radio Sector

The Disaster Emergencies Committee has sent its thanks to the community radio sector for its support with previous campaigns.

As part of their efforts to continue to raise much-needed funds for the DEC Coronavirus Appeal which will remain open for the coming months, DEC has joined with their members and the United Nations to produce a report about how the pandemic is magnifying existing health and socio-economic challenges in the appeal countries.

By amplifying DEC’s message with the social toolkit below, community radio stations can enable DEC charities to help people in fragile states and refugee camps survive the pandemic.

Click here for further information on the Social Toolkit 2021.

Local community radio set to continue as former Calon FM presenters get green light to revive a station

A group of former Calon FM presenters are set to take over the former radio station’s assets in a bid to restart FM community radio in the local area.

Earlier this year it was announced that long running community radio station Calon FM was to close, with the final transmission taking place on January 20th.

The group are inviting any interested parties to get in touch with them via or visit the new site at Read more here.

Uckfield FM Expands into Crowborough

Uckfield FM has applied for permission to broadcast to Crowborough via a relay transmitter to be installed in the town. The community radio station has been granted consent by the regulator Ofcom to increase its coverage to include Crowborough, but in order to achieve the increased coverage a low power FM repeater and associated antenna is required. Currently, the station broadcasts on 105 FM to Uckfield and the surrounding villages. The radio station can be heard online via TuneIn here. Read more here.
Radio Ninesprings Thanked for Supporting Local NHS Appeal
An appeal broadcast on Radio Ninesprings 104.5 FM, the local community radio station for Yeovil and South Somerset, has helped to generate donations of 5,000 personal products for giving to local NHS workers. The ‘Nurturing Hospital Staff Appeal’ was launched in January to collect personal products for giving to NHS employees at both Yeovil and Dorchester hospitals. Drop-off points were set-up in shops and houses for people to take their donations. Products donated during the six-week campaign ranged from face cream to bath salts and included certain food items. 

Organiser of the "Nurturing Hospital Staff Appeal’, Anna Carrick-Smith said: “Stress levels in the NHS have been quite high and being able to give staff these personal items helped bring a little comfort. The public’s generosity was fantastic. We’re grateful for the support given by local businesses and to the local radio station, Radio Ninesprings for broadcasting the appeal." 

Register to vote public service ad - Radio Ninesprings

Steve Haigh at Radio Ninesprings called the Electoral Commission to ask to be sent the ad about registering to vote for the local elections that they are paying to have played on commercial radio and to run this on Radio Ninesprings.

Access the ad below which has been professionally recorded: Read more here.
Diverse FM starts campaign to fight fuel poverty during Covid-19

Luton community radio station Diverse FM has been awarded £19,960 grant from UK Power Networks to give bill-saving advice over the airwaves and create a new team of energy champions speaking various languages. The team will support people in and around Luton who might otherwise miss out on essential help.

Luton is one of the top five fuel-deprived towns in the east of England.

Read more here.

StegG in the Sunny Govan studio

Save Sunny G Radio

Sunny Govan, which once featured on an episode of The Secret Millionaire, had already been struggling before the pandemic hit. The shutters of this 20-year-old charity are currently pulled down and last December the auditors declared that the Govan community radio station would be declared insolvent unless a deficit of £30k was cleared.

When Covid-19 hit the close-knit community of the Govan Road the studios had to close and the community lost an essential hub. The station has not been able to deliver paid-for radio training, and advertising and sponsorship income is currently down by 70%

Studio Manager Steven Gilfoyle has been leading the team at Sunny G since April 2020 and has been a founding member since 2001.   He believes the station to be the best community radio station in the country.

He says: “I would challenge anyone to match us in the breadth of our community radio content and community development that we have provided over the years, considering the lack of resource we have had we always provide a high-quality service. 

Read more here and donate to the station's crowdfunder here.

Swindon 105.5 - 13 Years on Air!

At 10am on 15th March 2008, Swindon's newest radio station went live on air, officially for the first time from the stations small studios at The County Ground. 13 years later Swindon 105.5 is still serving Swindon, entertaining, informing and daring to be different.

The station marked its 13th birthday with the official opening of its refurbished Sir Daniel Gooch studio. This third studio will provide a broadcasting space for live music & discussion-based shows and a training facility when not on air. The newly rebuilt studio was visited by patron and local entrepreneur, James Phipps.

Refurbishing the studio has taken about a year to complete, the work undertaken by an in-house team of volunteers who designed, created, installed and funded the project to create a new broadcast area.
Local Paper Profiles Wonderful Volunteers Keeping Community Radio Alive in Scotland
The Edinburgh Evening News recently celebrated the wonderful community radios across the country have been bringing all sorts to their listeners throughout lockdown. Read more here.

(Image from Edinburgh Evening News: Volunteer community radio presenters from all over Scotland from the Shetland Isles to Dumfries pictures: supplied)
Jorvik Radio Looking for Volunteer Station Manager
Jorvik Radio seeks a volunteer station manager to help provide ‘hands on’ day-to-day station management and oversight for Jorvik Radio’s output. It is a pivotal and key role that will ensure Jorvik Radio broadcasts high quality, professional output as well as maintaining programme continuity. Initially, this is a voluntary part-time role that would suit an individual with previous experience in radio broadcasting, preferably in some form of oversight capacity. You will need a good understanding of how local radio works. Read more here.

I HAVE A DREAM’ features a series of honest and heartfelt conversations with young people from Greater Manchester, Midlands, and Yorkshire. Hear them share intimate stories on loneliness, their dreams, aspirations, mental health, and how COVID and the lockdowns have impacted their livelihood. The project is supported by the Audio Content Fund.

Broadcasting radio stations include Phoenix Radio 96.7FM, Bay Trust Radio, Tameside Radio 103.6 FM, Oldham Community Radio 99.7FM, Wythenshawe FM 97.2, Vixen 101, Takeover Radio, 103 The Eye, Big Hits Radio, Steel FM, Rhubarb Radio, Pie Radio and more.

The feature is available in two formats, short-form (60 – 90 seconds) and long-form (up to 3 minutes).  You will receive both versions but you decide which is best for your station. 

Please get in touch if you would like to broadcast the content:

Watch out Ambridge: Covid radio soap
Greenborne airs across UK

For 70 years The Archers has ruled the airwaves but this week a new, post-Covid radio soap opera has launched across the UK funded through the Audio Content Fund.

Set in a fictional village emerging from the effects of the pandemic, Greenborne stars EastEnders actors John Altman and Louise Jameson, along with a diverse range of co-stars, and is aiming to “reflect the reality we’re all now living in”, according to writer Colin Brake.

Twelve 15-minute episodes have been made and will be released weekly across about 50 local community radio stations as well as online on Greenborne’s website from 29 March. Read more here.
Radio Garden App Proves a Massive Hit During Lockdown
The Radio Garden App, showcased at the Community Radio Conference in 2016, has seen a huge spike in popularity during the pandemic. At the start of the year they recorded 15 million users in 30 days, a 750% increase on the visitors they normally get in a month. Radio Garden carries tens of thousands of radio stations broadcasting live 24 hours a day across the globe. It's format has ignited the imagination of millions, allowing them to experience new sounds and travel the globe by radio. Read the article on The Guardian website here.
James Cridland: Radio's Unique Point of Difference
James Cridland, radio consultant and editor of Podnews spoke at the Radio Festival in India recently. Here, James talks about what sets radio apart from other types of media and information. It's a short, passionate plea for radio programmers to remember what makes radio special. Watch on YouTube here.
£600,000 Funding to Promote Blood and Organ Donation among Black and Asian Communities
35 community projects in England have received a share of £600,000 funding as part of the Government’s commitment to tackle health inequalities in Black and Asian communities.

Recipients of the community investment scheme, led by NHS blood and transplant include Bristol African Caribbean expo (BACE) and Bristol community radio station BCfm 93.2 whose aim is to create a podcast series that will address the lack of awareness of both blood and organ donation in black African and Caribbean communities.

Altaf Kazi, head of faith and belief engagement at NHS blood and transplant, said: “Through the community investment scheme we have seen first-hand the abilities of trusted individuals and community groups to prompt conversation, tackle misinformation, educate and offer reassurance around organ donation and now blood donation.

“We are asking more people from black and Asian communities to find out about both blood and organ donation and help us to address the inequalities that many members of these communities may face. By giving your support you can help save lives.”

For more information about the Community Investment Scheme please visit the CIS webpages or contact:

If you missed any of the BBC Tech Meetup events in London, Salford and Glasgow, or the subsequent online meetups during the pandemic, you can now catch up on 18 great talks on a range of tech topics from front and backend, to product, design and data science on the Previous Tech Meetups page on the BBC website.
To keep up to date on Tech Meetup news and events you can also sign up to the BBC Tech Meetup Group

Discovering computer networks: hands-on in the Open Networking Lab - Free course

Have you ever wondered how the Internet gets into your home, school, college or workplace? How do all the computers, phones, tablets, printers and other devices connect and work together?

In this free course, Discovering computer networks: hands-on in the Open Networking Lab, you can explore how computer networks operate, discover how data is sent around the internet, put your understanding into practice using an inbuilt network simulator to create your own - simulated - computer networks.
Celebrating outstanding individuals living, working and volunteering in the Vale of Glamorgan, The Bro Radio Community Awards will return once again in 2021, highlighting those who made a difference in their area in the tough year that was 2020. Eleven awards will celebrate the best in business, the third sector, sport and the local community in an online ceremony broadcast in a virtual event later in the year.

Bro Radio's Community Awards is the only event to celebrate everything great about living and working in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Nominations are open now and will close on the 31st March 2021.

EMF Calculator

Ofcom has published simplified guidance on its new electromagnetic fields (EMF) licence condition.

On 1 March 2021, Ofcom published an update on the new condition they are proposing to apply to spectrum licence holders using equipment that can transmit at power levels higher than 10 Watts EIRP (or 6.1 Watts ERP).

Ofcom also published detailed guidance on how licensees can ensure they comply with the new condition as well as an updated version of their EMF calculator, which helps licensees assess their compliance.

This update includes tailored guidance for specific radio users designed to help them comply with the new licence condition. It also includes instructions on how to use the EMF calculator. The guidance is currently in draft form and Ofcom welcomes feedback on these documents by 16 April 2021.

Lou Ottens, inventor of the cassette tape, dies aged 94

Lou Ottens, the Dutch engineer credited with inventing the cassette tape and playing a major role in the development of the first CD, has died aged 94 at his home in the village of Duizel in North Brabant.

As product development manager at Philips, Ottens twice revolutionised the world of music, but he remained modest to the end. “We were little boys who had fun playing,” he said. “We didn’t feel like we were doing anything big. It was a kind of sport.” More here.

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