Welcome to Issue #25 - April 2019
Welcome to Issue #25 of Community Media News. In this edition, we have details of the Citizen Journalism workshop in Penryn this weekend, Ofcom's Annual Plan, and a community media consultant opportunity. We have three significant updates from the community radio sector. Rob Watson's been busy with the Decentered Podcasts. There are some interesting items in Events & Campaigns. In Funding & Awards, there is news of the Community Radio Fund and the Audio Content Fund. In the Technical Section, we look at verifying online information and a look at the next innovations in radio. In International News, there are a couple of items on low-power FM from the US. And lastly, in Techie Corner we take a look at the strange machine used for measuring audiences in the 1930s.

As usual, there's so much going on, so head over to the Chat Forum for details of podcast training in Bristol, a look at community radio in New Zealand, and news of the latest coverage improvements from Ofcom. There is news of the forthcoming launch of the MeCCSA Local & Community Media Network on 30th April and a report from the Artworks Alliance meeting in Cardiff last week. 

Email your news, press releases, event details and stories to
Strategy & Policy Updates

Exploring Citizen Journalism Workshop - 13th April

The Community Media Association is delighted to partner with the University of Exeter to programme this event for the community media sector which is free to attend with refreshments and light lunch provided.

This workshop will address themes around citizen journalism and community reporting which will be relevant to all broadcasters looking to increase and improve their local news output. Free to attend – booking here.

This project is supported by The National Lottery Community Fund.

Ofcom publishes 2019/20 Annual Plan

Ofcom has published its 2019/20 annual plan and has responded to a number of submissions from the Community Media Association.

Ofcom aims to make communications markets work for everyone. To help achieve this, Ofcom’s priorities for the next year include:

• Better broadband and mobile – wherever you are;
• Fairness for customers;
• Supporting UK broadcasting; and
• Raising awareness of online harms.

The Annual Plan follows consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and consumers. Ofcom has also confirmed its budget and programme of work for 2019/20.


A3.92 The Community Media Association requested that Ofcom adds to its work plan research into the Community Radio Fund to demonstrate its impact and how community radio stations use grants from the fund to leverage access to other funding.

A3.94 We are committed to engaging with DCMS about the Community Radio Fund and are actively discussing the fund with them as part of our work plan on Small Scale DAB.

Review of spectrum for analogue radio
A3.217 The Community Media Association requested that Ofcom reviews the research available in the public domain/supplied to Ofcom to ascertain whether spectrum for analogue radio continues to be managed effectively to support the maximum number of stations that can be licensed on analogue. It invited Ofcom to look further into opportunities for continuing to expand capacity for analogue radio broadcasting as well as developing the case for small-scale digital radio broadcasting.

A3.218 We continue to review our technical planning parameters to make optimal use of spectrum and avoid harmful interference. We intend to do some further technical studies over the year to support this aim, for both analogue radio and DAB.

Transmit-Transform- Strategy Development Consultant Opportunity

Transmit-Transform (TT) is a collaboration between Internews Europe, the Community Media Association and the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust which aims to support community media organisations to improve their editorial offer and their financial sustainability.

As part of this project, Internews seeks a consultant to develop a five-year strategy which can guide this sector to realise its potential. These terms of reference set out our requirements.

Community Updates

How a Muslim, Pakistani, single mum, managed to become Scotland’s First Asian Female DJ

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Sonia Aksi hosts a drive-time show every Tuesday on Glasgow Community Radio Station Awaz FM but she is also known for being Scotland's first female Asian DJ - a tough career choice for a single Muslim mum. Sonia did not let her gender, religion or societal expectations stop her from pursuing her dreams. Her love for music, coupled with her sheer drive and determination also led to her being recognised in 2013 when she won a Scottish Asian Women’s award for her contribution towards Asian society. Read Sonia's story on the news website 'The Glasgow Sloth' here.

Paisley FM: 'Radio for Renfrewshire and beyond' launches

Ofcom has granted a licence to Paisley FM to start broadcasting on 107.5 from 1st March and is the first community radio station in the area in 18 years.
Paisley FM – dubbed 'Radio for Renfrewshire' – was awarded a community radio broadcasting licence last February, following a competitive application process.
And director Bob McWilliam is raring to go after a long wait to get things up and running.
Bob said: "We are really looking forward to providing a genuine service to the residents of Paisley and Renfrewshire. The station is going to have a good mix of music, local information and involvement with the community."
More here from Barrhead News.

12 years since first FM broadcast and Angel Radio still going strong

Angel Radio Isle of Wight

Although the station began in 1999, the first FM broadcast was twelve years ago this week. Angel Radio is still going strong and hope to still be around in another twenty years.

On 24th March 2019 the Isle of Wight’s first community radio station, Angel Radio will have been broadcasting full-time on FM for 12 years.

Congratulations to Angel Radio Isle of Wight and here’s to the next 12 years!

More here from On the Wight.

Witney Radio receives coverage improvement from Ofcom

Witney Radio 99.9FM has expanded its reach from 15,000 people to 58,000 after Ofcom agreed to increase its signal power.

The move is good news for listeners from across the district, who previously battled with poor reception on the traditional FM frequency outside the town boundary.

They called for the station to apply for a power boost and the station's director and founder, Barry Clack, was happy to oblige.

He said: “We started to receive several emails a week from listeners asking us why the station dropped off when they drove a couple of miles out of town.

Witney Radio can be streamed online and via smart speakers, but the majority of listeners still use FM radio.

More here from the Witney Gazette.
Podcasts & Other Audio

Decentered Podcast 023 - Community Media & Community Development

Dr Rob Watson met with Russell Todd who is a founder of Indycube and the producer of the Community Development Podcast. They discussed the limits of mainstream media and the potential benefits of using a more deliberative and social approach to community and civic development. They also discussed how their experience with podcasting has developed and how podcasts support a more open and reflective approach to civic engagement.  Listen here.

Decentered Podcast 024 - Why We Need to Talk

Why do we need to talk more? That is the question put by Yvonne Murphy who is an independent theatre producer with Omidaze Productions working in Cardiff and South Wales. Yvonne believes that a more direct engagement between arts and culture organisations and the communities that they serve can only be enhanced by providing public spaces that allow people to talk and listen to one another. Listen here.
Events & Campaigns

Stand-up... for Journalism?

Standup For Journalism is a new comedy night designed to help start a conversation about the job of journalism in a digital society.

It’s been created by journalist Kirsty Styles to see whether journalists making people laugh with them can help us all talk more about what we want journalism to do.

With help from the highly successful Bright Club academic comedy network, the Standup For Journalism pilot will train people that work in journalism to tell jokes, ending with a live performance.

If you work in the journalism industry (even if you’re not ‘a journalist’), you can join the Standup For Journalism programme by applying below by Monday 15 April.

Training will take place in the evening in Manchester between 22 and 24 April. Gig is Wednesday 8 May. Hold your nerve!

Community Business Weekend 16th to 19th May 2019

There are nearly 8,000 community businesses in England but few people know what they are, or how they are improving life for many communities across the country. So in 2016, Power to Change launched Community Business Weekend to shine a light on them. Last year saw more than 17,000 people visit 225 community businesses to learn all about the impact they are having, and how to get involved.

Now in its fourth year, Community Business Weekend will run from Thursday 16th May to Sunday 19th May, with people across the country encouraged to visit a community business near them and find out what they do. This year’s theme is #CommunityBusinessMatters.

Power to Change is asking people involved in community businesses and local people to share why #CommunityBusinessMatters to them. This toolkit has lots of ways for you to support Community Business Weekend 2019. It’s very easy to get involved but if you require further information then email or visit

Show your support
Add the campaign logo to your website to show your support. Follow the campaign and spread the word on social media (and remember to use the hashtags
#CommunityBusinessMatters and #CBwkd19):

Funding& Awards

The first round of the Community Radio Fund 2019-20 opens for applications from eligible stations on 9 April and will close at 5pm on Tuesday 7 May 2019.

The application form and guidance notes are available online and prospective applicants are advised to read the issues of note arising from the last Panel meeting and the advice for applicants. The awarding Panel will meet in June 2019 to consider the applications.

For further information, please contact Ofcom's community radio team at:

Act for Change Fund

Act for Change Fund: young people leading social action is a £3.6 million partnership for organisations supporting young people working for change. The Fund provides resources for young people to challenge social injustice, find ways of overcoming inequality and give voice to issues they are experiencing.

The Act for Change Fund promotes the potential of young people with experience of disadvantage to devise and develop activities and programmes to shape the world around them. It aims to create a more diverse group of social, cultural and political leaders for the future.

Click here for more information.

Nominations for the Young Arias Announced

The Young ARIAS are the UK awards for 8 to 18-year-olds and schools who love making audio. Check out the nominations for this years Young Arias Awards here

Audio Content Fund: First Round Now Open

Bidding is now open for the first round of Audio Content Fund funding. The round is open for four weeks, closing on 29th April at 12 noon.

Producers interested in bidding should download and read the Bidding Guidelines document before applying. The document contains all of the details about eligibility and how bids will be assessed.

All bids must be via this website – visit the How To Bid page for details of setting up your account. The Bidding Guidelines contain a full breakdown of all the information you’ll need to submit during the application process.

Eligible bids will be assessed by the independent funding panel in June, with decisions announced shortly afterwards.

Radio & Audio Funding Award (RAFA)

The Radio and Audio Funding Award (RAFA) is awarded annually to an emerging audio producer based anywhere in the world to produce an original radio or audio documentary which fulfils the core criteria detailed below. A main award of £7,000 is awarded to an audio documentary-maker to produce a feature-length programme. £3,000 goes to the runner-up.

Applications are now open. Deadline: Midnight BST 8th May 2019.

Verifying Online Information: The Basics

In the age of the Internet, rumours and hoaxes quickly spread during breaking news situations. As a result, there is an increased need for journalists to sort real, authentic content from the fakes. This free course will provide the basics on how to get started with verifying online information.

Malicious content on social media: what journalists and civil society can do about it

Malicious content on social media: what journalists and civil society can do about it
Could global alliances of civil society and journalists finally hold social media companies accountable for curtailing malicious content in emerging economies? Recorded at the International Journalism Festival on 4th April, Rafiq Copeland is a Program Manager for Internews in Myanmar, and Myles Smith is a Senior Director for Global Programs and leads US Programs. Broader contributions from other examples of cross-border partnerships between global and local journalists will be asked to join the panel and be focal points for the networking activity that will follow.

Dear Radio: Finding the Next Radio Innovations

Radio is a stable and solid industry, and one of its core reasons for being so popular in the face of so many threats over the decades is down to that fact. Nothing sheds listeners quicker than rapid and constant on-air change, and sometimes that safety blanket causes us to be too slow to move and too inward-looking to really disrupt ourselves. More here from Paulo Dias.
International News

In The Big Media Era, Some Communities Turn to Alternative: Low Power FM Radio

A view from 'across the pond' but relevant to the situation in the UK.
"For those who support a diverse and independent media, the last few decades have not been kind.
In 1996, antitrust restrictions were relaxed on radio ownership. During the last 20 years, the FCC has cracked down on, and closed up hundreds of “pirate” radio stations. The current FCC head has left no stone unturned in repealing any remaining antitrust or local accountability regulations for commercial media.
But there has been one bright spot. The rapid growth in low power FM (LPFM) stations has taken off, despite the “dereg-mania” policy toward commercial media. It is a trend that has been decades in the making."
More here.

Community Broadcaster: A Time to Give

Your local non-commercial radio station contributes to your city’s culture in ways you may not always think about. Sometimes, it is doing so by providing incisive journalism and conversation. You do not have to look far to find local stations engaging residents around ideas and issues.

Other times, stations give your town something to be proud of through music, live performances and boosting a regional scene. These organizations provide tangible benefits, by serving as a pillar for local arts.

More from Radio World here.
Techie Corner

The Strange Machine That Measured Radio Audiences in the '30s and '40s

In the early days of radio broadcasting, there was no easy way to tell how many people were listening to the soap operas and prestige crime dramas, and, subsequently, how many were actually hearing the radio ads for tooth powder and name brand coal for your furnace - information that advertisers desperately wanted. Enter the Audimeter - more here.

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