Edition #46 December 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of Community Media News

Welcome to the December edition of Community Media News. We hope that you are all continuing to stay safe and healthy.

In Sector News, we have a seasonal message from the CMA Chair, Dom Chambers. And there's news of the Community Media Association's survey to gauge the potential interest of community media projects that aspire to obtain a full-time 5-year community radio licence on FM.

In Community Updates, there's news of Gateway 97.8 winning a prestigious Royal Award. Ujima Radio relaunches the Black & Green Ambassadors scheme and Unity 101 marks its 15th birthday with an online Awards & Achievements Event. Soundart Radio is broadcasting a family project running over Christmas and New Year. Maritime Radio is supporting their local hospice with a Christmas Day broadcast. Sam at Leicester Community Radio seeks contributors for a Holocaust Day Memorial production. Two Lochs Radio has attracted a raft of applicants for a new station manager. And lastly, we share a broadcast clip created by Gateway 97.8 to support the charity that 'twins your loo' to save lives! 

In Strategy, Policy and Licensing, we share the CMA's notes from the last quarterly meeting with Ofcom and an update on the 45 applications for SSDAB Multiplexes.

In Audio & Digital, we have details of the Drive to Digital 2020 Stakeholder Video Briefing. Podium.Me seeks broadcast partners for a bid to the Audio Content Fund bid. The third episode of Dom Chambers InRadio podcast looking at local radio's response to the Covid pandemic is now available online and we also share details of The Podcasters Guide to the Law by Paul Chantler.

In Funding & Awards, the virtual 2020 Community Radio Awards have announced the winners, the National Lottery Community Fund reopens, and the Audio Content Fund Round 6 is now open for bids, 

And finally, in Tech Corner, we share a range of Twitter resources to get you tweeting like a pro in the new year!

As usual, there's too much to cram in here so please check out the 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 have also created 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
Sector News

A Message From the CMA Chair

Hi everyone,

Welcome to our December newsletter. This closes the grimmest of years. In all the challenges, sadness and tragedy the pandemic has caused we can take some comfort in the positive impact on community life that has resulted and those heroes who have really helped their fellow people in the national, indeed global, crisis.

Local radio has had a strong part to play in this during the year in which local and community radio have become synonymous. I have written separately to members about this and some of the CMA’s hopes for the future (website link).

For now, I wanted to let you know that we are looking forward to our AGM on 20th February and welcoming in a new governing Council, the first under our new constitution. If anyone wants to talk to me about becoming a Council member and what the commitments are then do get in touch. I love talking to anyone involved in community media and can be contacted on and I look forward to hearing from you.

A huge thank you to everyone at the CMA, Bill, Cathy and all the Council members, who have worked so hard to support the sector during these challenging times. I hope they, and all our members, enjoy a restful and peaceful holiday.

Best wishes,
The Community Media Association is conducting a survey to gauge the potential interest of community media projects that aspire to obtain a full-time 5-year community radio licence on FM. This survey will close in early January 2021.

If Ofcom is able to consider a licensing round of short duration then potential applications might be limited to projects that are in an “advanced state of preparation to broadcast”.

Adopting this approach might mean that Ofcom has the capacity to consider running a short round of analogue licensing that would not unduly impact on the priority of progressing small-scale DAB licensing.

More details and survey here.
Community Updates
Gateway 97.8 wins prestigious royal award
Gateway 97.8 is the latest proud recipient of the prestigious Princess Royal Training Awards

The radio station, which celebrates its 10th birthday next month, triumphed following a rigorous assessment process. 

The award, which has been personally confirmed by HRH The Princess Royal, is given to those who are an exemplar of the best employee learning & development.

Gateway 97.8 which provides quality local radio to Basildon and Thurrock on 97.8FM, is already a winner of The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, and was the first community radio station in the UK ever to achieve this. It offers training to under 18s through its regular Saturday Radio Club, giving those members of the community the opportunity to become the radio presenters of the future. 

Read more on the Chat Forum.

A global celebration of diverse leadership on sustainability and climate justice at the Black & Green Ambassadors re-launch

A proven factor of the essential qualities that radio continues to bring, is its capacity to inform, discuss and take a pivotal role in sharing vital information about our environment.

Bristol community radio station Ujima Radio's Black & Green agenda, in partnership with the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, and the University of Bristol is an excellent example of how community radio has helped to bridge a racial gap by breaking the stereotypes surrounding the green agenda which is sometimes viewed as exclusively “white”.

The Black & Green Ambassadors is a city-wide programme which celebrates and empowers leadership and engagement from diverse communities for sustainability, social and environmental justice across Bristol and beyond. challenging perceptions, creating new opportunities and working towards ensuring the environmental movement is inclusive and representative of all communities.

Read more about Ujima Radio's project on our Chat Forum.
The 8th December 2020 marked the 15th birthday of Unity 101 in Southampton!

Unity 101 has spent those 15 years serving its community, connecting people, helping and being a part of the fabric that makes Southampton and the local neighbourhood.

Unity 101 thanks all who make the community radio station what it is - "all our volunteers, our partners, and our supporters – past, present, and future".
Unity 101 Community Radio celebrates its 15th Anniversary milestone with an online Awards & Achievement Event - Friday 8th January 2021

For one evening only at 7pm Friday 8th January 2021, Unity 101 will connect over 600 volunteers, partners and VIP guests.  There will be a lavish interactive presentation using the full Zoom experience.
Despite the challenging year, Unity 101 certainly has a lot to celebrate. And, with the event streaming virtually on many will be able to join in the celebrations.
With online video, filmed and edited at the Solent University TV studios and completed and mastered in Mumbai, the presentation will have an atmosphere similar to Bollywood glitzy film. There are more details about the presentation on the Chat Forum.
Ram Kalyan “Kelly” project and Station Manager said “Unity 101 has always been about community, celebrating cultures, and connecting people. Our annual awards and anniversary event has always been a special time to celebrate with all.
He went on to say: “It’s going to be really special. We have a lot of surprises planned for our volunteers and guests. It will be really interactive including a Zoom live event experience. They’ll love it."
12 Days of Christmas Family Radio Drama from Soundart Radio

Soundart Radio will broadcast their 12 Days of Christmas family making project live at 5pm everyday 25th December - 6th January!

Tune in to hear Matt Harvey's dulcet tones introducing us to each of the wonderfully creative families who have participated in the project.

Matt's guiding hand will take listeners through the wilds of the collective Totnes imagination and guide the audience towards the arrival of Twelfth Night. Tune in online here!

Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice deliver radio message of thanks

Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice’s Chief Executive, Kate Heaps, will be delivering her heartfelt thanks to Hospice staff, volunteers, supporters and the local community during Maritime Radio’s traditional Christmas Day message.

Kate’s message, which will be broadcast at 3pm on Christmas Day, will acknowledge the support of those who stood by the Abbey Wood based hospice during the most difficult and challenging year of its 26-year history.  Kate will also speak about the pride she feels for the care, compassion and respect given by the team to families in spite of the risks to the health of Hospice staff.

Duncan Martin, Director of programmes at Maritime Radio in Greenwich, London said, “Every year we like to give a member of our community a chance to reflect on their year and this Christmas, following on from a very difficult year for everyone, we’re pleased to have Kate from the hospice delivering our Christmas message.  We regularly checked in with the hospice during the lockdowns and Kate’s message will form a key part of our Christmas Day schedule".
Maritime Radio’s Christmas Message, Christmas Day at 3pm
Sam Hunt at Leicester Community Radio is looking to put together a short production that can be aired by any willing station around 11:04am on 27th January, Holocaust Memorial Day. Sam is asking for anyone that may be able to assist with content that relates to Holocaust/Genocide to get in contact via

To find out more about Holocaust Memorial Day visit the website here:

Two Lochs Radio: Queue to become boss of Scotland’s smallest radio station

Two Lochs Radio is the smallest radio station in the UK broadcasting from Wester Ross in the Highlands of Scotland and serving a scattered population of around 2500 listeners. Thanks to broadband technology it can boast listeners not only from the locality, but from West Coast USA, Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Germany, the Netherlands and Brazil.

The outfit has been running for 17 years in the capable hands of station manager Alex Gray, who is hanging up his headphones and hunting for a successor. Read more about the station and the queue of applicants for this unique opportunity here.

Charity Campaign: Toilets, Taps and Training –
A Lifesaving Trio

By donating £60 to twin your toilet, you can help to fund a project in a poor community that will enable families to build a basic toilet, have access to clean water and learn about hygiene – a vital combination that saves lives.  When you twin, you'll be sent a certificate to hang in your loo – showing a photograph of your overseas toilet twin and GPS coordinates so you can look up your twin’s location on Google Maps!

Highlight this project by playing this clip on your station recorded by Danny Lawrence at Basildon's community radio station Gateway 97.8.
The notes from the CMA's last quarterly meeting with Ofcom are now online. Discussion points included an update on SSDAB, Key Commitments and Force Majeure, Analogue Community Radio Licensing, the Complaints Procedures, and various Technical Matters. Read more on the Chat Forum.
Ofcom Receives 45 Applications for SSDAB Multiplexes

Ofcom has received 45 applications for multiplex licences for the 25 areas in Round 1 of the Small Scale DAB licensing process.

All licensed areas have received at least one application with Leeds being the most contested area with five applications and Bradford the next with four multiplex licence applications.

Dudley & Stourbridge, the Sheffield & Rotherham area and South Birmingham all received 3 applications each. Alnwick & Morpeth; Cardiff; Clevedon, Avonmouth & Filton; Edinburgh; Exeter; Newcastle & Gateshead; and Tynemouth & South Shields all received 2 applications each.

The other 12 remaining areas all received one application bid each. View the full list of the small-scale radio multiplex licence applications that Ofcom has received on the CMA website here.

The non-confidential sections of the applications have now been published here. Ofcom invites comments on the applications. Please send your representations to The closing date for comments is 31 January 2021.

The Drive to Digital 2020 Stakeholder Video Briefing, from Digital Radio UK, is a 90-minute virtual stakeholder event that provides an essential annual update on digital radio progress in 2020 and looks ahead to key developments for 2021.

Ford Ennals, CEO, Digital Radio UK, said: “Drive to Digital is back but in virtual form and in some ways is more important and relevant than ever. This has been a challenging year for our industry like so many others, and despite this we have still seen significant digital radio progress in terms of new stations, the growth of digital platforms, the shift to DAB+, the licencing plans for small-scale DAB, progress on the Radio and Audio Review, and of course key developments across retail, automotive and international. We thought it was important to acknowledge that and take a moment to reflect upon the achievements of our industry and stakeholders in this most challenging of years.”

Speakers include; John Whittingdale, Minister of State for Media and Data, on policy, and Ian O’Neill, Head of Radio, DCMS, on the progress of the Government and Industry Radio and Audio Review. Ofcom’s Peter Madry, Principal Broadcast Specialist and Jon Heasman, Senior Broadcast Licensing Executive, on the progress of small-scale DAB applications and the future plans for licensing. Plus additional contributions on small-scale from David Duffy from Niocast, and Ash Elford, Digital Development Director, Angel Radio.

The Drive to Digital 2020 Stakeholder Briefing is available free to view on Digital Radio UK’s YouTube channel in a playlist here, and can be viewed as one 90-minute video, or as ten individual sessions. seeks ACF Partners has been working with young writers under 25 from across the UK over the last couple of years and is now about to start producing the best of their short dramas. is looking for broadcast partners to join them in an Audio Content Fund bid for production. This is a great opportunity to share the stories that reflect our diverse society and younger people and move the listener to laugh, feel, understand or stand in the shoes of others. More details here.

Please contact Camilla Byk founder of Podium Me at 
The third episode of Dom Chambers InRadio podcast looking at local radio's response to the Covid pandemic is now available. Listen to COVID-19: Local Radio Responds Episode 3 on Audioboom here.
The podcast business is booming and there are now millions of podcast episodes available to download or stream.

They allow anyone to talk about anything and build a worldwide following. Some podcasts are made just for fun - but others become profitable businesses.

The ‘wild west’ nature of podcasting expansion means that some podcasters – many of whom are not trained in journalism or radio production – can end up bearing similar responsibilities to experienced broadcasters.

The Podcaster’s Guide to the Law is intended as an easy-to-understand, simple and straightforward guide to important legal matters for podcasters in the UK written by radio consultant, Paul Chantler.  Available on Amazon.

Virtual 2020 Community Radio Awards
Announces Winners

The 2020 Community Radio Awards has celebrated the best of community radio broadcasting in an online virtual event held on Saturday 12th December.

The decision to hold the event online, due to the pandemic, allowed a record number of volunteers to attend the event.

Details of all award winners may be found on the Community Radio Awards website here.

The National Lottery Awards for all (funding up to £10,000) and the Reaching Communities and Partnership schemes (larger sums) have just reopened. The National Lottery Community Fund Programme is interested in projects where people are in the lead; which means they are looking for applications from projects that involve people and communities from the start, build on people’s strengths and are connected in their community.

The National Lottery Community Fund Programmes have always funded a wide range of activities, but you can expect things to be very competitive in the early stages, so it's worth reading the application criteria very thoroughly before applying.

The National Lottery Community Fund distributes over £600m a year to communities across the UK, raised by players of The National Lottery.

ACF Round 6 now open for bids
The Audio Content Fund Round 6 is now open for bids, and will remain open until 5pm 18th January – two weeks longer than usual because of the Christmas break.

The ACF anticipates allocating around £400k in this round, meaning the opportunity to get your brilliant radio idea funded has never been better.

As ever, please ensure you read the Bidding Guidelines very carefully before bidding, and make sure you are very clear about the eligibility and assessment criteria.

When you have prepared your bid, login to the website and submit it using our online application process.

Results will be announced in late March 2021.

The Audio Content Fund is supported by the UK Government to fund independent producers making high quality, public service content for UK commercial and community radio.
Twitter Resources
We all use Twitter - but are we getting the best out of the platform?

Here are some Twitter resources to enhance your social media campaigns Earn the #TwitterFlightSchool Video Badge by scoring 80% or higher on the Video Badge Assessment. You can test your knowledge by attempting the assessment now or after reviewing the Flight School Video Badge training courses listed here.

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