Edition #43 September 2020

Welcome to the latest edition of Community Media News

Welcome to the September edition of Community Media News. We have in Sector News the long-anticipated invitation for applications to apply for small-scale DAB licences. There are also the results of the CMA's survey into the sector's delivery of Key Commitments.

In Community Updates, we share the news of BCfm's new local oral history podcast, Hot Radio's drive-in cinema broadcast, there are new presenters at Erewash Sound, and Bletchley Girls - a new radio play about Bletchley Park. We highlight the fundraiser for Ian at East Coast Radio and we have a blog post from Pippa at Love Local Radio.

In Strategy, Policy and Licensing, the Notes from the CMA's last meeting with Ofcom are published and the news that the temporary COVID RSLs have been extended,

In Podcast, Audio & Digital, the Fantastic Noise podcast makes a welcome return, Radio 1's Christmas presenter search is now open, and we share how the i newspaper doubled its Instagram followers. Local Radio Day is on 12th October and Gresham College has a series of interesting lectures about how BBC Radio has helped to shape musical taste.

In Funding & Awards, the Audio Content Fund is open until the end of this month, the deadline for the Audio Production Awards is coming up, Radiophrenia has an open call for submissions, and there is some funding news.

In Events & Training, there's news of the Creative Access Audio Masterclass and the BBC is running a free online conference called Sounds Amazing 2020.

Finally in Tech Corner, the WorldDAB General Assembly 2020 event is gong online, there is an article about car radios and the future, and we finish with a crowdsourced library of tools, services and resources relating to the pandemic.

As usual, there's too much to cram in here so please check out the Chat Forum, our Wiki site 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

Applications are now open for Small-Scale DAB Multiplex Licences

From 1st September, Ofcom invited applications for the first 25 small-scale DAB radio multiplex licences – offering a low-cost route for local commercial, community and specialist music stations to broadcast on digital radio. Small-scale DAB is an innovative technology that will expand local digital radio coverage and ensure listeners will be able to tune into a wide range of radio services across the UK.

In April this year, Ofcom set out how they will license ‘small-scale DAB’. The initial round of 25 licence areas are spread across the UK, and include several areas where small-scale DAB multiplexes have already been operating on a trial basis. Ofcom is also inviting applications for new Community Digital Sound Programme (‘C-DSP’) licences from groups wishing to broadcast community radio services in these small-scale multiplex areas.

Ofcom has published the relevant application forms and guidance notes on how to apply for both small-scale multiplex licences and C-DSP licences.

The CMA held an online session on small-scale DAB on Friday 11th September. Ofcom has also organised two online events for 29th September for those intending to apply for small-scale DAB multiplex or C-DSP licences in this first licensing round. The deadline to apply to attend the Ofcom events was 14th September but the details to apply remain on the Ofcom website.

The second round of multiplex licences will be advertised next year and will cover areas in north-west England and north-east Wales.

Community Radio Key Commitments Survey

Due to the significant challenges that broadcasters have faced due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, Ofcom has recognised that these extraordinary circumstances will have a prolonged impact on broadcast schedules and production.

Where broadcasters have been genuinely unable to meet the programming and production requirements set out in their licence, because of the disruption due to the coronavirus, Ofcom has invoked the force majeure condition in the broadcast licence and licensees will not be liable to enforcement action as a result.

The current approach to enforcement is in place until the end of 2020 and Ofcom will review the position again at the end of the calendar year in accordance with the published procedures.

The Community Media Association (CMA) has undertaken a survey to gauge the difficulties that community radio broadcasters have faced in keeping up their broadcast commitments and meeting their key commitments. The survey questions were devised in collaboration with a number of respected voices in the community radio sector including some members of the CMA Council, the elected Board of Trustees of the Community Media Association.

Starting the week commencing 27th July, the CMA circulated details of an online survey in order to capture a wide range of views. 50 responses were submitted to the CMA's online survey.

Read more on the Chat Forum here.
Community Updates

BCfm Launches New Local Oral History Podcast

Bristol is more than Brunel, balloons and toppling statues of Edward Colston. BCfm, Bristol’s first and multi-award wining community radio station, has now announced the launch of of  ‘12 Communities 1 Bristol’ - a new local oral history podcast from Marcus Smith, presenter and producer at BCfm in partnership with Bristol Museums, Bristol Archives, UWE Bristol and funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Each of the 12 episodes will focus on a particular Bristol neighbourhood – Barton Hill, Knowle West, Lawrence Weston, Easton, Fishponds, Hartcliffe, St George, Hillfields, Southmead, Eastville, Stockwood and Avonmouth. The announcement follows over a year of training and recording with a mixed pool of more than 40 volunteers and students from across the city.

Speaking about the podcast Marcus Smith shared “There are stories of an old man in Hartcliffe who eats snails and calls them wall-fish, funny tales of a female rugby team based in Avonmouth, plus hip-hop from Knowle West and bee conservation in St George. Many of these areas are often overlooked or stigmatised. So we have created something to change perceptions and share unique local stories. This new podcast is for Bristolians, welcomed newcomers and future generations to come".

Patrick Hart, station manager, BCfm Radio said “The last 12 months have been a difficult year for the station with a major fire destroying our studios and just as we thought things were getting back to normal – then coronavirus happened and hit us all. In the midst of this, Marcus and the team have managed to put together some simply amazing pieces of audio that really do represent those 12 communities of Bristol - I can’t wait for the city to hear them".

Cllr Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor, Bristol City Council adds “I’m delighted to see the launch of a local podcast that will shine a light on the lives of people from across Bristol’s diverse and vibrant communities. Each community has its own stories to tell, and I’m looking forward to hearing about the uniqueness of each community and the things that tie us together as a city.". '12 Communities 1 Bristol’ will be available from 17th September on BCfm Radio, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and all mainstream podcast providers.

Hot Radio Hosts Drive-In Cinema Music Event

Poole community radio station Hot Radio was delighted to be invited to warm up the crowds at one of the first Dorset COVID-safe events, Flix Drive-In. The drive-in cinema event took place recently and was supported by the Hot Radio team.

The Hot Radio team was privileged to entertain the crowds who were safe in their bubbles inside their cars with the music playing into their car stereos.

The radio presenters entertained the crowds with music and interaction And food and drinks could be ordered and delivered to the cars making it the first event of its kind, even the WCs had an attendant to sanitise them.

Jo Jones, presenter and events manager for Hot Radio, organised the team’s attendance and commented “The events went so incredibly well and we were delighted by the turn out and the crowd reaction to the new normal at this inaugural outside event. We are working to bring a new kind of entertainment and events to our listeners and supporters whilst keeping everyone safe in line with current guidelines".

More on the Chat Forum here.

Dino, Pete & Tyles Are On Air at Erewash Sound

Three familiar voices have returned to local radio as part of a new look Sunday schedule on Erewash Sound in Derbyshire. Dean 'Dino' Weatherbed, Pete Allen and Anna 'Tyles' Tyler, well known for their seven year run on Capital Breakfast in the East Midlands and the Ram FM breakfast show in Derby, were last heard on-air in 2019 before being replaced by a national breakfast show broadcast from London with Roman Kemp as the host.

This is the first in a series of exciting announcements from Erewash Sound as the radio station is due to announce news of an expansion to its FM coverage area in the coming months. Lewis Allsopp begins the new evening line-up at 5pm including Erewash’s Big Quiz, before handing over to Dino, Pete & Tyles at 7pm.  Local talent Harry Briggs continues the fun at 9pm before Dan Martin rounds off the weekend with the Late Night Wind Down from 11pm.

Speaking about the programme changes and new presenters, station manager Jeff Martin said “We are delighted to welcome Dino, Pete and Tyles to Erewash Sound.  They will bring their special brand of chat, fun and banter to our new look Sunday schedule and will be playing some great songs too".

Pete Allen said: “We are all buzzing with excitement to be back on the radio, especially on Erewash Sound - a truly local station that serves the area really well.  We are looking forward to connecting and getting to know the people of Erewash.  We can’t wait to get back on the air".

Listeners can tune into Erewash Sound on 96.8FM, the free-to-download app and via smart speakers.  The radio station broadcasts from a purpose built Media Centre in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.
Bletchley Girls

Bletchley Girls - a radio play

Inside Bletchley Park, Dilly Knox enlists a small team of girls to crack some of the enemy’s toughest codes. Whilst Margaret Rock is a trained statistician, the newest recruit is Mavis Lever, 19 years old and a student of German Romantic Poetry. A friendship develops between this unlikely pair as pressure mounts on them to decipher intercepts which will impact the course of the war. It’s a phenomenal task - “We must know what Hitler knows” - and they work against the clock – and the odds. But it’s not all night shifts and Enigma machines; there are dances, pranks, and even a touch of romance.

Jenny Wren Productions presents this brand new radio drama based on the untold true story of two female codebreakers at Bletchley Park at the height of World War II.

Bletchley Girls is a stage play that was due to be performed in May and June 2020 at a number of Gloucestershire venues. The coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that for now, and so the creative team adapted the play for the radio. The finished product will be broadcast as part of the Gloucester History Festival on 17, 18 and 19 September.

The radio play will be distributed via the Community Media Association and the Hospital Broadcast Association. It will also be available on Jenny Wren Productions’ YouTube channel. The play may also be heard via the Gloucester Cathedral website here.

The audio files are now available. Go to and complete the registration/licence form to be able to download them for broadcast. Further details on the Chat Forum here.

Help Get Ian Mobile - Station Manager GoFundMe

Ian Robertson, Station Manager at East Coast FM in East Lothian has had a lower limb amputation following an accident while on holiday in Greece last year. Although the initial cut to his toe seemed minor and it was tended to by a medical team, over the following months a serious infection developed and it was decided that Ian needed a below-the-knee amputation to stop the infection spreading. Despite his ordeal, Ian continued working without a break - even from his hospital bed - managing ECFM with a small team of committed volunteers to ensure the station continued to reach out to the community and local businesses throughout the pandemic.

Unfortunately, after the surgery Ian was stunned to find out that he was not entitled to any mobility or disability benefits because of his age. Ian said: “I couldn’t apply for help because I am retired and not entitled to any. The UK Government decided that if you become disabled, severely or not, after retirement age you do not qualify for any benefits except Attendance allowance. They consider you not to require transport for work any longer, hence no Mobility Allowance. A shocking fact and in my view a disgrace that at retirement age if you become severely disabled that you simply don't count. I am 69 and hold two jobs, an unpaid position in community radio and a paid session support worker for St Joseph's Service, helping others".

Unfortunately Ian's right leg had to be amputated and he now requires hand controls for his car which needs to be converted at a cost of over £2500.  This conversion is extremely costly, not one to bear lightly and this is why a friend of Ian's set up a GoFundMe page to help cover these costs and help Ian to continue his important work as the volunteer Station Manager at East Coast FM. The fund reached its target but extra support is more than welcome. To make a donation to help Ian get mobile, visit the GoFundMe page here.

Radio Impact Beyond Numbers – Part 1

"Local radio isn't in competition with our national brands, it plays a different role altogether" says Pippa Sawyer of Love Local Radio. "Local radio rarely offers the grilling of cabinet ministers, the world’s biggest DJ sets, or tickets to world famous music festivals, but it can change people’s lives in other ways. Local radio makes a difference.  And your client or their brand can be a part of that too. At LLR Media, we work with you to create your own stories just like this". Read more here.
Strategy, Policy & Licensing

Ofcom CMA logo
Ofcom Quarterly Meeting: September 2020 - Notes

The CMA met with members of Ofcom’s Broadcast Licensing Team on Thursday 10th September via Microsoft Teams.

The agenda was as follows:

  1. Matters arising from the last meeting

  2. Update from Ofcom on the Community Radio Fund

  3. Key Commitments and Force Majeure Research

  4. Community Radio Licence renewals

  5. Analogue radio licensing – discussion

  6. Update from Ofcom on Small-Scale DAB licensing

  7. Supplementary questions from the sector

  8. Update from the CMA and the Radio Hub

The Notes from the meeting may be downloaded from here: Ofcom_Notes_100920.pdf (989.9 KB)

Temporary Covid-19 Short-Term Restricted Service Licences - Extensions

Temporary radio stations providing news and information about the coronavirus pandemic have the option to continue to broadcast beyond 5 September, in areas which are subject to additional lockdown restrictions.

Ofcom introduced the new temporary Covid-19 “short-term restricted service licence” (SRSL) at the start of lockdown in March. Licences were granted to stations to broadcast temporarily during the pandemic.

Recently the UK Government has moved to introduce localised lockdown measures to help control the spread of the virus. Radio services holding temporary Covid-19 SRSLs in affected areas will be able to extend their licences to continue to provide important services to local people. The extended period will be sixty days.

Ofcom will continue to accept applications from new applicants for this type of licence, if the area they wish to serve has additional restrictions in place.

Podcast, Audio & Digital

YouTubing To Podcasting (with Maddie Moate)

Fantastic Noise is back. In this episode of the podcast Terry speaks to Maddie Moate talking about how popular YouTube content creators are turning to podcasting. Over lockdown Maddie and her fiancé Greg Foot produced 'Let's Go Live' - live daily content for children on YouTube. Her channel has tens of millions of views. Maddie is also well known for her work on 'Maddie's Do You Know?' on CBeebies. She has recently published 'Maddie's Sound Explorers' - a podcast series aimed at children supported by Magic Star. Listen here.
BBC Radio 1 is once again looking for new aspiring radio presenters from community radio and student, hospital and local radio stations, to broadcast on the network between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve 2020. The station describes the initiative as a chance to showcase ‘the best in new and emerging talent by offering an incredible opportunity to broadcast on the UK’s biggest youth radio station’. Last year 35 new voices were selected from over 1000 applicants, so if you are passionate about youth culture and music, and have experience hosting a show, upload your demo and apply via the BBC Radio website here. Applications close at midnight on Sunday 20th September. Check out the presenters from last Christmas here.
The i Newspaper Doubled Its Instagram Followers in a Year
Instagram is expected to overtake Twitter as a source of news in the coming year. This is the prediction made in the Reuters Digital News Report 2020 that showed that across all age groups, the use of Instagram for news had doubled since 2018. Since then, the social media platform has also launched Instagram Reels (its answer to TikTok as a platform for short social videos).

Earlier this month, print and online newspaper i announced it had doubled its Instagram following in the space of a year. emailed social media editor Tash Salmon to learn how she did it and her future plans for news distribution on the platform. Read more here.

Local Radio Day: Monday 12th October

Local Radio Day returns for its fifth year on Monday 12th October 2020 to highlight the value of local radio to communities and to celebrate the unique relationship between local broadcasting and listeners. The Local Radio Day website is now live and the CMA is a partner organisation. The theme for this year is Community making waves: turning the tide on isolation. The day, organised by Local Radio Alliance since 2019, is an occasion to not only celebrate but also strengthen the connections that local radio brings to communities, to industry professionals, and to individuals. UKRD created Local Radio Day in 2015 to bring together local stations at a national level.

Gresham College was founded in 1597 and has been providing free lectures within the City of London for over 400 years.  Over the coming months Gresham College in London will be delivering a series of lectures on how BBC Radio has helped to shape musical taste - first by the music that it has broadcast, and secondly by the orchestras and choirs that it has founded and run. This three-part series looks at the success of the BBC’s efforts to educate, inform, and entertain, and asks whether such an approach can continue in the future.

Radio in the 78 Era (1920–1948)
Thursday, 17 September 2020, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Online Lecture with Professor Jeremy Summerly
Radio in the LP Era (1948–1982)
Thursday, 28 January 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall with Professor Jeremy Summerly
Radio in the Digital Era (1982–)
Thursday, 15 April 2021, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall with Professor Jeremy Summerly

The College has been recording its lectures since the 1980s and we live stream all lectures for those unable to attend in person. There are now over 2,000 lectures freely available on its website and on YouTube.

Funding & Awards
Audio Content Fund

Audio Content Fund Round 5 is Open to 28th September

Round 5 of the Audio Content Fund is is now open for bids until 28th September. They're looking for brilliant, creative, public service radio ideas, with a guarantee of broadcast on a Ofcom-licensed radio stations. Round 6 opens 7 Dec, closes 18 Jan. So far this year, the ACF has allocated £398k as part of the Coronavirus Support round, and £197k from Round 4 (March 2020). Round 5 and Round 6 are expected to allocate a further £200k each. Bid here.
Entries are now open for the Audio Production Awards 2020 and include a new 'Life in Lockdown' Award. The closing date is 12pm Friday 18 September 2020 aand the winners of all awards will be announced in an online event on Thursday 26th November. The Awards will reflect the challenging and rapidly changing circumstances of the times. This year, the ceremony will be online and included in the entry fee - which has been capped at the same level for the third year running. Entry for the Grassroots Production Award is free in order to support the important contributions made by organisations in this field and recognise the particular challenges they face at this time.
The Social Enterprise Support Fund provides grants to support social enterprises during COVID-19. Social enterprises are encouraged to apply for the final round of The Social Enterprise Support Fund, which closes on Thursday 17th September 2020. If you are not eligible for the Social Enterprise Support Fund, don't worry there are other funds to consider.

Arts Councils National Lottery Grants Open For Applications

Arts Council England has reopened the fund with a budget of £59.8 million available until April 2021. They have prioritised reopening this programme to help fund independent organisations, creative practitioners and freelancers as quickly as possible. Read more here.
Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash
Radiophrenia has announced an open call for sound and transmission artworks for their upcoming broadcasts in November 2020. Radiophrenia is an artist run FM radio station broadcasting in Glasgow and online.
Radiophrenia is seeking soundscapes, spoken word pieces, radio experiments, found sound, innovative approaches to drama and documentary, and radical and challenging new programme ideas. The station will be housed in Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts with a broadcast schedule including live shows, pre-recorded features and a series of in-studio performances (Covid permitting). Examples of the range of work broadcast in previous years can be heard here Find out more and how to submit on the Radiophrenia website here. Deadline for submissions: 20th September 2020. Broadcasts will take place from 9th – 22nd November 2020.
Events & Training
Radiocentre and Creative Access are hosting a free virtual masterclass on all things audio on 17th September at 5pm. Young people from all kinds of backgrounds and across the UK are invited to hear from experts and well-known presenters all about how to make a career in the media industry, what their top tips are for young audio lovers and how young people from all kinds of backgrounds can find a career in the media industry. Sign up here.
Sounds Amazing 2020 is a free online conference running from 14th-16th October to celebrate the most exciting and innovative developments in audio, both creative and technical. This event is a co-production between the BBC Academy and BBC Research & Development and follows on from the highly successful Sounds Amazing event that ran in 2018.

Register for Sounds Amazing 2020:
Tech Corner


WorldDAB General Assembly 2020 event goes online

The WorldDAB General Assembly 2020 is being held online this year and the date is set for November 3rd between 9am and 4pm GMT. The event brings together WorldDAB members and experts from across the digital radio industry for one day and is free to watch.

Throughout this year of disruption and change we have seen many advances in the rollout of DAB digital radio, and this year’s event will feature the latest news and developments on DAB from around the world.

Event organisers say: “Our virtual platform will deliver the same quality speakers and presentations that you expect from a WorldDAB event, featuring a mixture of presentations, 1-1 interviews and panel discussions, as well as some entertainment along the way. Book your space here.

Car Radios & The Future

Radio Today recently reported that DAB digital radio will be installed as standard in all new passenger vehicles by the end of this year following new regulations passed through Parliament. The first mass-market car radio premiered in June of 1930, but due to a second World War it wouldn’t be until the 1950s that car radios became common. With the evolution of self-driving cars, you can expect that more and more vehicles will come with video capabilities as well as audio, and also that the competition for who can provide the best in-car entertainment will be fierce and passionate. Understanding how these changes will impact the future of your media enterprise is critical. Read more here.
The Coronavirus Tech Handbook is a crowdsourced library of tools, services and resources relating to COVID-19 response. It is a rapidly evolving resource with thousands of expert contributors.

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