Wycombe Sound launched in October 2016. With a team of 100+ volunteers, from all walks of life and aged 17-77, we serve a target audience aged 35+. In less than two years on air, we have become a recognised and trusted brand putting the buzz back into High Wycombe, as recognised by our Gold award for Station of the Year 2017. Over the 20 months since we launched, Wycombe Sound has gone from strength to strength. We get lots of feedback and engagement, however, there is nothing like being face to face with listeners. An Outside Broadcast is a fantastic opportunity to engage and be directly involved with the local community that we serve as a station. Wycombe Sound strongly believes in the importance of Outside Broadcasts - everything from having a volunteer in the High Street with an i-Rig, to a full studio set-up. Local Radio Day 2018 was no exception; it was clear that we had to do something bigger and bolder than the previous year. The only question we had is where we would go and how we would achieve it. Wycombe Sound targets an audience of 35+ and we know we have a lot of older listeners tuning in, as well as some younger people and children along for the ride. It was important that our LRD solution was accessible and engaging to these groups. Relying solely on fancy social-media-led ideas wouldn’t be suitable for our local demographic. A number of our volunteers happened to know of a local heritage bus organisation that maintains and operates a number of red Routemaster buses; their owners are also keen broadcasters. With a Routemaster bus and a community radio station that liked to aim big, it was inevitable that Local Radio Day would be a great day for local broadcasting - the only danger was giving Wycombe Sound a set of wheels! Wycombe Sound would travel around the town of High Wycombe on the Routemaster, stopping at a number of pre-determined destinations with our ‘request stop’, broadcasting along the way with the team. The Breakfast Show would start the day of travelling, with Drivetime bringing the day of roaming around the town to an end. We would have a complete studio aboard the bus which would work simultaneously with our main Studio 1, allowing for full control wherever we may be in the town. In the build-up to Local Radio Day, our directors had discussions with key members of the Wycombe Sound team to decide on the best places to visit; the aim was to cover a number of key locations in the town to have the biggest impact in the sense of raising the profile of the organisations that we’d speak with throughout the day and reinforcing the brand of Wycombe Sound as a local station within the town.
Planning involved getting agreement to visit the planned locations, organising a space for the bus to park, and provision of power where available. We asked the managers at locations to help us spread the word via social media. For the day, we wanted to have lots of prizes, so that involved contacting our key partners and getting prizes together. Finally, we had to organise logistics so that we had cars in the right place en route to take team members back and forth to the studio, or to be ‘ahead of the bus’. Promotion was organised using the visual and audio production elements provided by UKRD (the founders of Local Radio Day). We had these well ahead of time which gave us the opportunity to slowly build up over a two-week period.
The live GPS tracker of the route on our website
Local MP Steve Baker on air from the bus
The Route 7:30am - Wycombe Sound Studios 8.00am - Hills Cafe (a popular community cafe, built from lottery funding) 9.00am - Wycombe Leisure Centre 10.00am - Booker Garden Centre 10:30am - Wycombe Air Park (air strip for light aircraft and helicopters) 11.00am - High Street - Wycombe Market 4.00pm - The Wycombe Swan (theatre) garden roof terrace 7.00pm - Wycombe Sound Studios
The Technical Challenge Every outside broadcast is different and comes with its own unique set of challenges, both technical and logistical, that have to be overcome. While an old Routemaster bus may visually look stunning, it creates its own unique dilemma when it comes to the lack of modern features such as on-board power or the ability to use an inverter as power is very limited. The way around this was to use a UPS to power the broadcast equipment as we travel, plugging in at our various stops where power was easily available. As with all technology, environmental factors can make it unpredictable at times. In case of a hitch, some of our volunteers took it in turns to man our main studios on Bridge Street. On The Day The day came around very quickly; the excitement could be felt in the air by all of the volunteers as many gathered at "WycSo Towers” on Bridge Street, in the centre of High Wycombe. At 7.30am the team boarded the bus outside the studios and we went to our first stop. Carefree Karaoke (a regular Breakfast Show feature) was done live outside Hill’s Cafe with the whole team singing together. The Workplace Workout was completed outside Wycombe Leisure Centre with members of their team and their mascot. Videos of both these features were uploaded to our social media channels. A regular Friday Breakfast feature is the Krispy Kreme Hero. At 10am our presenter Andy B went off to collect the prizes and deliver them to our three winners (there’s usually one winner but we wanted to make LRD special). Andy called into the broadcast throughout the day with live Doughnut Deliveries. Wycombe Youth Action (Youth support charity) receiving their doughnuts from Andy B
After quick stops at the Garden Centre and Air Park we parked next to our gazebo in the High Street where the market was in full swing. We conducted interviews with stallholders, shopkeepers, local charities and our local MP. We also spoke to Wycombe Shopmobility to promote their service, Thames Valley Air Ambulance to raise an awareness of their fundraising and a local hair salon ran a competition. In between these interviews, we talked to lots of members of the public. The bus left us at 4pm when we The Workplace workout video on YouTube - this was also live moved to the roof of the Wycombe streamed on Periscope https://youtu.be/-eGJtuFEltU Swan Theatre for Drivetime. Traffic and travel was presented with a live view of Marlow Hill, a notorious traffic hotspot. Background noise was provided by Wycombe Fire Station (friends of WycSo), as we heard their alarms going off and the vehicles being despatched 30 seconds later. At 7pm the OB team handed back to the studio for a Jukebox Special where we played out lots of requests that had been gathered throughout the day, and gave away some prizes donated by the Theatre. Summary We had a very healthy level of interaction with listeners on the day and new followers on our social media channels. The Town Centre Management, Local Council and Market Management have all provided positive feedback. Here’s a quote from a hair salon owner who was interviewed live in the High Street: "We had Wycombe Sound on the radio all day and it was thoroughly enjoyable and very well put together, there was a real buzz in the High Street with you guys here! Please send my thanks to Mimi - she is great and went above and beyond to keep me up-to-speed with timings etc." Michael Vitulli, Vitulli Hair Salon It’s always great for our volunteers to do something different and work with colleagues they only see on social occasions (due to schedule/work commitments). One volunteer, who shall remain nameless, said “once again thank you for this opportunity, it has helped me more than you know.” Programme Director, Philippa Sawyer, says "Large scale events like this are always well attended by our volunteers, with some booking a day off work to join us. It's lovely for team members to interact with the public and receive great feedback face-to-face.” "Our Local Radio Day coverage has been the most ambitious OB to date, including broadcasting on the move from a doubledecker bus. Our technical team relished the idea, taking it in their stride, and delivering great quality from 7.30am right through to 7pm when we returned to the studio. I am so proud of them and look forward to setting a new challenge for next year!"
Some key social media stats