Connect Magazine - February Edition

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From Somer Valley to Radio 1: Meet Seb Bailey BROUGHT TO YOU BY UK COMMUNITY RADIO NETWORK





elcome to the second edition of Connect, the magazine focused on the Community Radio sector.

NEWS & EVENTS 3 Community Radio Network Update The UKCRN founders provide an update on the network's plans for 2022.

Firstly, we'd like to say thank you to everyone who has sent messages, shared photos and feedback about our first edition in November 2021.

5 Sector News in Brief

This magazine was created to continue the conversations, learnings and sharings of our first Community Radio Conference in 2021 and from your feedback has certainly helped to do just that.

7 HRH Prince Charles visits Sheppey FM Prince Charles met with station volunteers during his visit and even requested a track by his friend Jools Holland.

In this edition, we look to inspire future generations, with stories of Community Radio alumni going on to work at BBC Radio, whilst also looking into the importance of speech content and outside broadcasts. We also hear about a number of social gain projects, which are helping improve the prospects of young people in communities in Scotland and Northampton, whilst also celebrating the launch of Mux One and the roll-out of S-SDAB. If you have something you'd like to share with the sector in our May edition, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Barry Clack Nathan Spackman Martin Steers Co-Founders UKCRN

Next issue due May 2022 Submit your Community Radio stories via or email To enquire about advertising in a future edition of Connect Magazine, please email

8 Switch Radio wins grant to improve democratic interest The Birmingham-based station has received support from the Public Interest News Foundation. 10 Community Radio Leader recognised by Prime Minister Daniel Lawrence BEM, has been recognised as one of the Prime Minister's 'Points of Light'. 11 MKFM recognised for getting behind Captain Tom His family have thanked MKFM for being the first media organisation to get behind his fundraiser. 12 Community Radio Awards: Honours Scheme The scheme recognises those who have provided outstanding or exceptional service to Community Radio. 13 Audio Content Fund not renewed The Audio Content Fund will not be renewed beyond the initial pilot project, following talks with DCMS.


14 Simple ways to add Resilience to your Online Audio Stream Connect Magazine supporters Hippynet look into the importance of resilience for online audio streams

PROJECTS & SOCIAL IMPACT 16 NLive Radio - engaging young people NLive Radio share details of their latest project to get more young people involved. 17 Highland station helps kickstart radio careers Nevis Radio tell Connect Magazine about their project helping to inspire future radio stars and its impact on their education.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT 19 Why use an insurance broker for your community station? Insurance Broker JL Morris explains why stations should consider using a broker. 21 Using Twitter Spaces Learn about how Twitter Spaces have helped increase interaction and awareness around the K107 Saturday Sports Show. 23 Source FM: our love for outside broadcasts Simon Neil shares the importance of Outside Broadcasts in establishing the station in the community.

ON AIR INSPIRATION 25 The importance of speech content Former Spark FM head of speech - and Community Radio Award winner - Megan Hayward shares why speech should be an important part of every station's output.

27 From Community Radio to BBC Radio Wales Breakfast Tom Phipps tell us about the vital part Community Radio played in cementing his love of radio and how it kickstarted his journey to BBC Radio Wales Breakfast. 29 From Somer Valley FM to BBC Radio 1 Community Radio presenters played an integral part in BBC Radio 1's Christmas schedule. We hear from Seb Bailey, who'll be returning to Radio 1 in April to takeover the Friday Early Breakfast slot.

EVENTS SCHEDULE Saturday 19th March Radio Hub Virtual Session Paul Chantler will present a session on legal and compliance as part of this virtual Radio Hub Event. To book a free place, and receive a Zoom link, please email Saturday 9th April Connecting Communities UKCRN Regional Event - Black Country Radio Join the UK Community Radio Network for a weekend of learning, networking, and development at the new home of Black Country Radio this April. To find out more and book your place, visit or email


AN UPDATE FROM THE UK COMMUNITY RADIO NETWORK It may be a little late to say, but Happy New Year. We say that as we look to what we believe will be one of the most exciting years for Community Radio here in the United Kingdom. During a recent meeting with OFCOM, it was confirmed that there are currently 315 Community Radio services on air right across the United Kingdom, with 16 services licensed and waiting to go on air before the end of 2022 At the end of 2021, we saw the launch of the UK's first permanent SSDAB multiplex Mux One - which has lead to a sharp increase in the number of applications for CDSP licenses. As we went to press, 32 CDSP licenses have already been awarded, whilst Ofcom is about to assess further applications, with more licenses due to be issued in the months to come.

This shows a bright, positive and digital future for Community Radio in the UK. UKCRN is a registered Community Interest Company, aimed at celebrating, supporting and developing the sector, and as Covid restrictions ease, we can now comfortably look ahead to face-toface meetings of our network in 2022. We begin on 9th April as we invite members to the home of Black Country Radio for a weekend of networking, celebration and inspiration, whilst also having a look around the station's first class broadcast facilities. With funding from the Ofcom Community Radio Fund, we are keen to hold more regular regional meetings and to hear from stations who wish to host a meeting in 2022. Working in partnership with the Community Radio Awards, the back-end of 2022 will see a Community Radio weekend take

place, bringing together the sector and wider industry. Alongside face-to-face meetings, we continue to bring together our members on a monthly basis via Zoom. Our meetings are a place to listen, learn and share ideas and direct the future of the UKCRN and our work. You can join us on Zoom at 2pm on the first Tuesday of each month for more details, visit Finally, we are here to help should your station need support or assistance in 2022. To date, we have helped with coverage extension and improvement requests, technical issues, funding applications, SSDAB queries and more. Should you need support or assistance at your station, then please do not hesitate to get in touch via

Representing, Supporting and Developing Ofcom Community Radio Peer support & networking for managers, including monthly online meetings New Regional Connecting Communities Events & National Conference Weekend Representing the sector to Ofcom, DCMS and key stakeholders Quarterly 'Connect' magazine sent to over 315 Community stations Sector news at


NEWS IN SHORT MUX ONE LAUNCHES FIRST PERMANENT SS-DAB MULTIPLEX The first permanent SS-DAB multiplex has officially opened in Tynemouth and South Shields. Launched in December 2021 - just nine months after being awarded a license for the area - the network sees a range of new radio stations going live on DAB for the first time. On Air Services: Angel Radio (nostalgia) Dance Revolution Durham OnAir First Choice Radio Frisk Radio GlitterBeam Radio Memory Lane Radio Nation Radio (UK, 70s, 80s and 90s) Pride Radio Radio Shields (South Shields) Sun FM (Sunderland) The Angel (mental health / well-being) XRhythms (religion)

APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR THIRD ROUND OF SSDAB MULTIPLEXE LICENSES Ofcom has opened applications for the third round of small-scale DAB radio multiplex licences in 25 areas across England, Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland. The small-scale DAB programme will enable the launch of around 200 multiplexes, covering all four UK nations. The regulator expects these to broadcast a range of radio services, ranging from grass-roots community services to specialist music stations, and services aimed at minority groups and other underserved audiences. The areas in Round Three are: Bedford, Belfast & Lisburn, Coventry, Darlington & Bishop Auckland, Dundee, East Hull, Leicester, Lincoln, Llandudno & Betws-y-Coed, Middlesbrough & Redcar, Milton Keynes, North Aberdeen, Nottingham, Oxford, Rutland & Stamford, Shaftesbury & Blandford Forum. South Aberdeen, Swansea, Swindon & Marlborough, Taunton, Warminster, Devizes & Trowbridge, West Hull. Wetherby & Harrogate, York and Yorkshire Coast. The closing date for applications is 5pm on Monday 25 April 2022, with full guidance for applicants on the OFCOM website. In addition, OFCOM has announced a further 27 areas for Round 4, which include Bath & Midsomer Norton, Bristol North, Derby, East Fife, Newport & Chepstow, North & South Pembrokeshire, Northampton, Southampton, Torbay and Wolverhampton.



Poole and Bournemouth's Hot Radio has appointed Alan Smith (ex-2CR, Fire Radio, Spire FM and Greatest Hits Radio) as its first commercial director. The station has also signed up to RAJAR and will receive its first official listening figures in October. Director Kevin Scott said it "was the right time to join RAJAR and appoint a seasoned professional." “The commercial side is the area we’ve left to the end, but we had to get everything else right before really going out to the business community. I am absolutely ecstatic that Alan has decided to join us. In fact, I’m over the moon. Within two days of joining us, we’re putting new advertisers on air thanks to Alan." Alan added: “I’m back where I feel most comfortable on a local radio station, which has its heart in the community. There’s massive potential here and I love the feel and ethos."

FROM COMMUNITY RADIO TO PRODUCING STEVE AND KAREN AT BAUER An ex-volunteer at Sunderland's community station Spark has landed a job as producer for Steve and Karen's Breakfast Show on commercial stations Metro Radio and TFM. Liam Milburn started his radio journey at the age of 14, joining Spark on work experience - returning to Sunderland four years later to study a Media Production degree, before completing his MA. A long-time listener to the show, Liam's job involves getting callers on-air, editing audio, facilitating competitions and developing new ideas. Liam said "Being part of Spark has been massive in my development. Working in an encouraging and collaborative environment with like-minded talented people really helped to push me on. You have to go the extra mile to make sure things get done to a high standard, but it’s also a place to make mistakes, learn, experiment, and grow confidence and self-esteem.” Two-thirds of Bauer's breakfast team in the North East is now made up of Sunderland graduates – co-host Karen Oxley also studied at the university, graduating with a Media and Communications degree in 1998.



Prince Charles made a visit to Sheppey FM during a recent visit to the island. HRH visited with the Duchess of Cornwall, upon the recommendation made by the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, after the station’s registered charity, ‘Sheppey Matters’, was nominated for the Queen’s Award. Their visited began in the Healthy Living centre, speaking with various projects locally, including a men’s mental health group, a support group for families affected by ADHD and autism, women who enjoy Nordic walking, and others who meet to share their love of crafting and sewing, before a visit to the Sheppey FM studios. Along with civic dignitaries, which included the Lord Lieutenant of Kent, the Lady Colgrain, the High Sheriff of Kent, Mr John Weir and MP Gordon Henderson, their Royal Highnesses were greeted by

members of the Community Choir.


Ahead of the visit, presenters at the station based in Sheerness, researched some of Charles's favourite songs. Tracks played during the 46-minute royal tour included Givin’ Up, Givin’ In by The Three Degrees, La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf, Upside Down by Diana Ross, and Charles Trenet crooning La Mer. When asked if he would like a request, Charles responded “I’ll tell you what, do you have something by Jools Holland, as he’s a personal friend of mine.” Julie Nicholls of Sheppey Matters and Sheppey HLC told Connect Magazine that ''The Royal visit has been a huge moral booster for the Isle of Sheppey, Sheppey FM community radio and all of our presenters. It’s a historic moment for all Community Radio stations to share.” Prince Charles also took great interest in an environmental

project by Sheppey FM's youth presenters, called War on Waste, which they were extremely excited to talk directly to him about. The royal tour ended with a visit to the Community Chef’s food truck, where Prince Charles was presented with a Gypsy Tart whilst the Duchess was presented with a posy by 13 year-old Freya Turner.

Have a story to share? We welcome stories from right across the Community Radio sector. If you have something you'd like to share, email or submit your story via to be featured on our website and in a future edition of connect magazine. Next deadline: 1st May



Switch Radio in Birmingham has won a news grant to cover Castle Vale news in a bid to measure its specific impact on political engagement in residents. Switch Radio is only one of five independent news providers across London and Birmingham who won the award to report on local news. The Public Interest News Foundation (PINF) Impact Fund will investigate the impact of different types of news on key factors like voter turnouts and public attitudes towards the local council in local wards. The Foundation was launched in November 2019, with trustees having experience in different aspects of the media and civil society. PINF works in partnership with colleagues in the UK and around the world to understand the unique contribution that independent news providers make to society.

The City of Birmingham’s budget in 2021 was £3.2 billion and ward elections are often a stepping stone for local councillors to establish their careers, with responsibility for huge amounts of public spending. Executive Director of PINF, Jonathan Heawood, said, “This is only a pilot programme, but there’s so much that we’d like to do. This isn’t just about defending the old values of journalism; it’s also about developing new forms of journalism that are rooted in the democratic needs of communities up and down the UK.” The award recipients will produce politically impartial content, and use a varied approach such as distributing free newspapers and holding focus groups to generate story ideas. The PINF can then compare these to discover their impact on issues such as the positive impact of local journalism on democratic engagement.

Dean Kavanagh, Station Manager at Switch Radio said, “Reliable and independent local news is vital to developing healthy communities.'' ''We’re delighted to be working with PINF on this project, and we’re looking forward to working alongside the local community to deliver something we’re really passionate about - local news that matters.” The Neal and Dominique Gandhi Foundation has backed the PINF to launch the Impact Fund to examine the relationship between news and democracy in local wards. To find out more about the Public Interest News Foundation and upcoming grants visit


COMMUNITY RADIO LEADER RECOGNISED BY PRIME MINISTER Community Radio Leader Daniel Lawrence BEM, has been recognised as one of the Prime Minister's 'Points of Light'. Points of Light are outstanding individual volunteers – people who are making a change in their community. Every weekday, the Prime Minister recognises an inspirational volunteer with the Daily Point of Light award. Daniel Lawrence BEM, from Basildon, is a local councillor and community radio host who created a free radio scheme during the pandemic, distributing over 15,000 radios to help older people and those at risk of isolation. His work was recently recognised when he received an honour at the Community Radio Awards. Daniel has been a champion for community radio for over 40 years, and is a former Chairman of the Community Media Association (CMA). He is also the

founder of "The Radio Hub" a networking group for community radio stations across the UK which hosts regular workshops, shares best practice and industry developments, and provides guidance on routes to grant funding and other support. At the start of the pandemic, Daniel realised that radio could provide a vital form of connection and voice of comfort for people isolating at home, particularly vulnerable older people who may struggle with accessing other forms of digital communication. After initially giving out free radio sets through local station Gateway 97.8 to residents aged over 70 in Basildon, Daniel soon scaled up the scheme nationwide through ‘The Radio Hub’ network, working alongside charities such as ‘Age UK’ to ensure thousands of isolated older people could benefit from access to a radio.

Daniel said: “I’m delighted that ‘The Radio Hub’ has been recognised. Like a lot of groups we had to adapt during COVID-19 and help tackle people in isolation across the UK, helping so many during these difficult times. “I’d like to thank Ros Connors, founder at Gateway 97.8, for helping us be the pilot and to all groups who took the project on.”

Have a story to share? We welcome stories from right across the Community Radio sector. If you have something you'd like to share, email or submit your story via to be featured on our website and in a future edition of connect magazine. Next deadline: 1st May



The family of Captain Tom Moore have thanked MKFM for being the first media organisation to get behind his fundraiser. In early April 2020, during the first few weeks of the pandemic, a retired Army officer was walking laps around his garden at age 99, in an attempt to raise an £1,000 for charity. With help from his walking frame, he aimed to complete 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday. One morning, Darren and Lia from the MKFM Breakfast Show received an email about the man named Tom Moore. Within an hour, the story, 'Local man is celebrating his 100th birthday by walking for the NHS' was on MKFM's website and social media pages, along with an interview. Hours later, Tom had reached his target with more money coming

in for the NHS. Three days later, the story went worldwide. In the months following, the donations kept going, and on the morning of his 100th birthday, he had raised over £30million for the NHS. By the the end of the campaign later that day, he reached a total of £38.9 million including Gift Aid. Captain Tom was knighted at Windsor Castle, in the Queen's first engagement after the initial lockdown. Sadly, Captain Tom passed away at age 100, after contracting COVID19 in February 2021. He received a guard of honour at his funeral and his family have since created a charity in his legacy. On 1st January 2022, MKFM CEO Darren Dorrington met Captain Tom’s family and was presented with a special gift, thanking the station's team for their

work, along with thanks for being the first media organisation to get behind him. Hannah Ingram-Moore, daughter of Sir Captain Tom Moore, told Darren: "We couldn't have done it without you and we certainly couldn't have done it without MKFM. We sent out a couple of messages, we thought maybe our local paper would take it in, but MKFM was behind us. From that story, it led to people around the world wanting to spread the message. Darren Dorrington MKFM CEO said "Sir Captain Tom and his family have been on an incredible journey since his story went viral during April 2020 - we can’t begin to tell you how much it means to the MKFM team that Hannah and family came to Stadium MK and acknowledged that MKFM were the very first to interview Captain Tom and publish his story. MKFM is very much looking forward to working with the Captain Tom Foundation on a number of exciting projects."


COMMUNITY RADIO AWARDS: HONOURS SCHEME By Maxine Trick Jones, Director - Community Radio Awards

The Community Radio Awards' honours programme was launched early in 2021 to honour those who have provided outstanding or exceptional service to Community Radio. As a director of the Community Radio Awards, it had been a vision of ours for some time to recognise those who have made a significant impact in the community radio (CR) sector and to say thank you to those who may not usually be recognised. We decided against the Honours being a lifetime achievement type award as we didn’t want to exclude younger members of the CR community or those who were relatively new but had still made a significant contribution. We welcome nominations of any age, or experience in community radio. They may have worked within or be connected to the wider sector; they do not need to have been directly associated with a particular station.

The process involves a written nomination and additional letters of support from the community. We were looking for people who have displayed outstanding or exceptional service, who have - for example - implemented change, demonstrated innovation and entrepreneurship, sustained selfless voluntary service, or brought distinction to the sector. We were delighted with the number of nominations for the inaugural awards, and after several rounds of secret voting and judging, the final recipients were chosen. We treat all nominations in strict confidence as we welcome unsuccessful nominees to be renominated in the future. All the nominations were of an exceptionally high calibre so a decision was made to present six awards, there will usually only be two or three.

The inaugural set of honours went to Audrey Hall, Danny Lawrence,Graham Laycock, Nathan Spackman, Soo Williams and Tony Smith. Those receiving an honour were invited to the Community Radio Awards ceremony at Coventry Transport Museum. They were each presented with a special trophy and certificate to celebrate and recognise their hard work and dedication to the sector. The inaugural awards were a great success, and it was a privilege to acknowledge and celebrate these very deserving people as part of our hugely successful Community Radio Awards programme. The 2022 nominations are now open with a deadline of 31st May. I’m looking forward to this year’s ceremony and the opportunity to recognise yet more deserving individuals in the CR community. Visit for more information.


AUDIO CONTENT FUND WILL NOT BE RENEWED FOLLOWING PILOT The Audio Content Fund will not be renewed beyond the initial pilot project, following talks with DCMS. The announcement comes following negotiations between the DCMS and the BBC over the Licence Fee settlement. It means that Round 9 of the Audio Content Fund, which closed on 31st January, was the final funding round of the original pilot. ACF has said it will not introduce any further funding rounds for now, but it will look for ways to keep the initiative alive. Managing Director Sam Bailey will continue in his post parttime to oversee the delivery of projects. Following the announcement, Sam said “We are grateful to DCMS for the grant that enabled us to deliver this extraordinary portfolio of content for tens of millions of listeners. We will now move to an evaluation stage and explore alternative sources of funding.”

Following the announcement, UKCRN asked members about their thoughts on the Audio Content Fund: "I'm disappointed by the news, but hope this is a chance for the sector to come together to look at a more sustainable model for content in the future. I'd really like to see opportunites for funding of content that is more locally relevant to the communites we serve as a sector." "There have been some great productions - however some have been pitching for the support mainly on the basis of "free content" and dicating when, where and how often to play. In all, ACF projects highlighted the power and value of radio - community and commercial working together and I'd love to see more cross sector collaboration." "I think it's a good incentive and we've agreed to be broadcast partner for a couple of them, but sadly, they never got the grant. My main issue with the fund is that applicants often go to a number of CR stations and don't end up being that local." "Unfortunately many of the companies awarded funds were aiming simply to make a profit and then aiming push content on stations which was not local. It is a good idea, but would be better awarded to individual Ofcom licenced stations, who could bid for the money to make audio features tailored to their needs - and involve production companies if they don't have the talent, skills or time etc." "It seems to have funded some very over-inflated productions that not that many people actually listened to. They started to accept some good curve ball applications in the last few rounds, but too little too late." Want to share your views? If you're a manager or key decision maker of a Community Radio station, join the UK Community Radio Network Facebook group.


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SIMPLE WAYS TO ADD RESILIENCE TO YOUR ONLINE AUDIO STREAM by Oliver Wilkinson - Broadcast Engineer, Hippynet Streaming radio to the internet is reliable, versatile and has a low barrier to entry. 99.9% of the time, everything works without hitch and is not something that needs to be worried about. When things do go wrong - for example, Amazon Web Services has an outage or a tractor cuts through your internet cable - it can feel like there is nothing to be done other than wait for things to start working again. This is especially frustrating if you use the stream to feed transmitters and can lead to a total station outage for an unspecified amount of time. No one is able to guarantee 100% uptime for any service, but there are ways that we can mitigate against major outages such as this and protect your output in emergency conditions. First up, if you have two internet connections at the station, make use of fallback mountpoints. Fallback mounts within servers

such as Icecast let you automatically pass listeners to a separate stream if there is a failure.

same audio URL. This protects against external provider issues, such as the occasional data centre outage.

There are loads of different ways to configure this, but we like to recommend encoding two separate but identical feeds of your output (one from each internet connection) broadcasting to two mountpoints on the same server. The first mountpoint ‘/primary’ and the backup on ‘/secondary’ with listeners connecting to ‘/stream’.

The backup server needs identical configuration to the primary server and you can setup DNS health checks to catch issues and automatically redirect listeners.

Using a setup like this means that if your main internet connection at the station fails, your listeners will be passed to the backup mountpoint automatically without interruption. This is a feature of almost all streaming providers and can usually configured for free using your existing control panel. For the rare occasions that there is an issue with a streaming server itself, it is possible to configure health checks to pass listeners to a backup server - in a different geographical location, using the

Used in tandem - a main and backup server, each with two fallback mountpoints - these techniques provide multiple levels of protection against both internal and external internet issues. This is a very basic overview on how this could work. For free advice and ways to optimise your streaming configuration, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. HippyNet offers ‘Stream Machine’ as a product to assist in this, but a similar setup can be achieved with more or less any streaming provider.


NLIVE RADIO RUNS YOUTH PROJECTS THANKS TO #IWILL FUNDING by NLive Radio - Northampton NLive Radio was lucky to receive some #IWill youth action funding in 2019 to launch a pilot youth radio project, with the aim to engage young people in becoming active citizens, more aware of social action and issues of their community, and also encourage young people to take up volunteering. It was due to start in September, but due to Covid and lockdowns, the project was delayed until the Spring of 2021. The name, Nexus Youth, was chosen in discussion with the first group of young people, and the logo was designed by a participant of the first group this was an example of young people being involved in the development of the project, which is quite often a key to youth funding now and is part of the principles of the youth charter. There was also consideration given to the name being project vs “youth club” because of the

way we wanted to engage with young people and the kind of culture we wanted to develop. At launch, the project was weekly (Saturdays), for around 3 hours. It had originally been planned for a full year in termly cohorts (4 x 12 week groups of around 15 young people). But again, due to Covid and its late start - the funding had to be used by December 2021 - we ended up running 2 x 12 week courses, along with two 5 day (9am – 4pm) summer projects. Across the cohorts, the young people were taught about the radio industry, media, social media and journalism, including skills in presenting, producing and editing. In addition, they were encouraged to consider social issues, especially issues that mattered to them as young people. They were then encouraged to work together as a group to produce a radio show about a particular topic, ideally including interview content, consideration of music choice etc. Topics that were

broadcast included the benefits and harm of social media, careers and ambitions, and greener living and the environment. The project saw the young people interview local councillors, members of the public and discussions with each other. Overall, the project was a great success. We had a diverse group of young people participate, and based on feedback, we saw development of media skills, communication and team working, confidence and engagement with social issues. We’ve applied for further youth funding from the local council with the aim of launching a weekly youth project, and if successful, plans to develop different content outputs, including a weekly youth show and podcasts.



Finding the next generation of “radio people” has been an ongoing concern since way before The Buggles sang “Video Killed The Radio Star” back in 1979, but, thankfully, the longevity of the pop classic has been matched by that of the radio industry, and dedicated people continue to work hard to inspire and enable new, young people to take up the medium. Now, Simon Abberley, of Fort William, located at the foot of Ben Nevis in the Scottish Highlands, has well and truly picked up the mantle with Nevis Radio and a new, fully-accredited course for young people in the area, giving them the opportunity to discover, experiment and flourish within a radio studio environment, without having to travel over 100 miles away from home. Nevis Radio serves Lochaber, a reasonably large but sparselypopulated geographical area, made up of rural, mountainous land.

Like any community station, Nevis Radio exists to serve its community, which totals approximately 25,000 people, but its location brings with it certain challenges and extra responsibilities. Giving examples, Simon told Connect Magazine that, should it snow heavily, Nevis Radio could be the only link to the outside world that some residents in the very rural areas have for days, maybe more, so it is extra important to keep the community connected through the station. The challenges don’t stop there when it comes to serving a large, rural and isolated community. A big part of being able to ensure a good service for your listeners is having a team to provide it, and when it comes to finding people to fill those roles, Nevis Radio has some fresh ideas. In his time at the station, Simon has long been working on a project to open the radio studio door to young people, developing an

approachable, five week experience to open eyes as to what the radio industry is all about. Simon told Connect Magazine: ”Our current project is more educationbased. I would say that's quite critical in terms of what we do here in a sense of wanting people to understand what we do and our content to get it properly.” ”But, also, it's been an educational thing. It gives people a bit more of a wider approach to what the sector is all about and what can be done within it, and obviously, the span and careers that it can take on as well. I see it kind of helps us out from a perspective of it makes us more approachable.” ”Most people, I don't know what it's like for yourself or others who talk to you, but most people see this as quite a closed off sector. “We're funded by the BBC”. “We've got loads of money”. “We don't need other people to help”, but we've managed to sort of break down that stigma and get people through the door and see what it's all about.”


”It's not just a little cupboard with the microphone stand. We have studios and content and we're able to do different things, and it has kind of opened up the eyes to what is available through a radio station.” The basic premise of the course to get young people in the studio and to have a go – is something that Nevis Radio have been doing for some time now, but the pandemic gave Simon the opportunity to look deeper into making sure those who participated could not only take new skills and a potential passion from the course, but also a qualification too. Working with West Highland College, where he already ran a course in audio production and DJ’ing, Simon was able to curate a new Radio Skills NQ course for high school students. Simon explained that over the course of the five weeks, it was sometimes, possible to notice a “physical difference” in someone as they grew from being very nervous about the whole thing, to somebody who could competently put together a radio show. ”A lot of the kids that came through were maybe the ones that maybe didn't socially integrate as well as maybe others. And, because, obviously, they were in a studio or in a controlled environment, they felt calm and they were able to communicate with kids maybe they weren't communicating with before.” ”We actually found, over the space that five weeks, all the barriers were then being sociable with other kids within the school were gone because the other kids would be less then requesting songs, getting a shout out and

from being the kid that nobody wants to speak to.” Furthermore, Simon has received feedback from teachers and schools on the positive impact the course has had on the young people in other aspects of their life as well: ”Their time management of organising their tasks like a school kid have been infinitely better because, obviously, they're working to prioritise certain things or maybe plan ahead like you would if you're on air.” ”The communication aspect has generally been better, because obviously, they're trying to plan and work with what they're doing, and they're able to sort of work with that and communicate themselves better, because they've had that experience.” Simon is quite clear that he believes projects like this are not only vital in terms of giving young people a chance to discover radio, but also for community radio as a way of discovering and generating new talent. ”I was probably one of the youngest people here by maybe a couple of people when I started as a manager here about five years ago, and I'm sort of mid-to-late thirties now, and I didn't think that was right. I thought, we need young people. There's only so long you can go without young folk.” Off the back of the project, Nevis Radio has gained a volunteer who joined aged 16. The individual liked the project so much that he wanted to join straight away and is now their drive time presenter, working both remotely and in the studio. Simon said: ”It's starting to show it does work.”

”We are starting to get people through the door and sort of present. I guess it's just a matter of just trying to keep that development going and sort of shape and wherever they go on to do other stuff or not, I don't know. That's up to them, I suppose.” "The benefits of a course such as this are clear for both sides. Young people in the area of Lochaber now have an opportunity to discover a passion for radio and develop all of the skills associated with the medium, without having to travel all the way to Glasgow, for example, which is over 100 miles away, and Community Radio has its latest way of attracting the next generation of stars to ensure The Buggles’ tune remains a great choice for an hour opener and not a fulfilled prophecy." For stations looking at how to engage better with young people, Simon told Connect Magazine that a good relationship with a local place of education was vital for him and that kids like tech and kids like music so "if you can relate music and technology and say, ‘Well, actually, this could be a job and you get paid for it and have some fun with it’, all of a sudden you've got their attention."

Do you have a project you'd like to share? At Connect Magazine, we are keen to bring the sector together, share ideas and learn from each other. If you have an exciting project which you'd like to share witht the sector, email or submit your story with us via Next deadline: 1st May


WHY USE AN INSURANCE BROKER FOR YOUR COMMUNITY STATION? by David J Morris David J Morris ACII is a chartered Insurance Broker, an experience broadcast band DX'er, and contributes monthly to a club radio magazine. He writes for Connect Magazine about why he believes Community Radio stations should use an insurance broker. The ill-informed would say choosing insurance is easy as all policies are the same, and all insurers are difficult when it comes to a claim, so the only difference is the price! We all know that is nonsense, and in the simplest terms, your insurance broker will source the best cover known to them from an insurer that pays claims quickly and efficiently - and these will include insurers who do not deal directly with the public. The insurance broker does this every day and has the current experience of which insurers are providing cover for your requirements.

If you were to do this yourself, as you only do this annually, it is easy to acquire the wrong policy.

These claims have been weather related in Scotland, and damage and theft in the Midlands.

As it happens, for community radio station insurances, it is highly probable that there is only one insurance broker that has the knowledge of broadcast radio in general and your sector in particular.

Advice is freely available at all times, based on not only the scope of cover provided by the policy concerned, but also from across the wider insurance market.

It is recommended that your policy includes defamation – libel and slander – as well as “All Risks” cover for the antenna, transmitter and so on at the broadcast site. A community radio station was forced to close because of what was broadcast and the story of Jcom (London) and George Galloway can be found online. By including cover for defamation, which starts at around £50.00 a year, the radio station would have their defence costs covered as well as the value of the award. Lightning, storm, vandalism and theft are all claims we have handled for broadcast sites.

Once the correct policy has been effected, a situation may occur where you will wish to discuss whether to claim, and how you go about claiming. The insurance broker has daily knowledge as to how to present the claim, which helps any payment to be swiftly made. The way to look at the services provided by an insurance broker is to make an analogy with your accountant and solicitor. You could deal directly with the HMRC and your lack of relevant experience and knowledge will not help. You could carry out your legal affairs yourself. To find out more about J L Morris Insurance Brokers, call 01202 642 840 or visit


TWITTER SPACES – THE NEW WAY TO ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE? by Alex Airnes & Ben Dain-Smith The rise of social media has brought with it plenty of new opportunities for radio stations to connect and interact with their audience in new ways, and K107FM’s Saturday Sports Show is a prime example of this, using Twitter Spaces to score new listeners and hit new heights. The show launched successfully in 2020, gaining a loyal following of local listeners, especially amongst the fans of Scottish Championship team Raith Rovers. Quickly, interviews with players and club staff became a fixture of the show, and it continued to grow, acting as an alternative prematch build up in its 1-3pm slot, with regular community engagement and on-air contributions. The return of fans to stadiums on match days, once Covid-19 restrictions were eased, necessitated change in the making of the show, and for the first time, segments, or whole shows, needed to be recorded in advance.

But host Graeme Kilgour didn’t want to lose fan interaction, and so turned to Twitter’s new “Spaces” function for the first time. Twitter describes Spaces as a "place to come together, built around the voices of the people using Twitter” and Graeme was able to utilise the feature to do just this, having live conversations with fans on a Friday evening, prerecording chats for the Saturday show about recent performances, potential signings and upcoming games. During these sessions, Graeme has occasionally spotted the club’s CEO and management listening, as well as current and former Rovers players, and, once, even a player from an opposing team ahead of an upcoming match. The use of Twitter Spaces on a prerecorded basis was so successful, that the station made the decision to take them live on-air on January 8th, making them one of the first to use the platform in this way.

Now, K107FM’s Saturday Sports Show uses the social media feature as a vital part of the broadcast, with the show being likened to a “traditional football phone-in”, as fans can have their say and contribute. And as Spaces are transparent in terms of who is in attendance, the show has gained credibility amongst listeners due to the regular participation of club personalities. The use of Twitter Spaces is going to continue to be a feature of K107’s Saturday Sports Show due to the popularity and positive impact it has had. Could Twitter Spaces be the new way for you to increase interaction and engage with your audience? You can hear Graeme Kilgour and the Saturday Sports Show on K107FM each Saturday at 1pm.

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SourceFM is the community radio station serving Falmouth, Penryn and surrounding areas and has been broadcasting for over 12 years.

Come lockdown, it became impossible to do these shows so we decided to do them virtually! We live streamed 6 shows on Facebook on the usual days.

We realised very early on that the best way to build our audience was to put ourselves out into the public eye.

We are blessed with a great technical crew, who not to be beaten by Covid, thrashed out a plan as follows.

We did this in two ways. The first was our free music festival called Parklive. 9 years ago, we were asked if we could help find musicians for a fund raiser in the local park, which we did.

We setup a central ‘control room’. Each of the artists would produce a live stream - with support from the team - which would be received in our control room (one of the crew's dining room!) and retransmitted to YouTube using the OBS software.

The event was so popular that we decided to not only do it on a regular basis, but to produce it six times a year, April to September. The success of this event inspired our local council to build a bandstand in the park for us and others to use. Parklive is a great community event and even generates sponsorship, helping to keep SourceFM on the air.

We also played a variety of short local interest videos during each show, and even, a cooking demonstration. The videos we either played into OBS or captured from the artist’s stream. We used Zoom for talkback, between the various locations including the presenter’s home from where he introduced each act.

The performers had a ‘phone buddy’ which the producer spoke to, preparing them and cueing them for their performances. It was a great success and can be seen on We have done many outside broadcasts over the years, including live music shows, broadcasting from the International Shanty Festival, the Street Food and Craft Ale Festival and most recently,, streaming and broadcasting the Falmouth Remembrance service. One of the most memorable is our annual award-winning SourceFM Christmas party. We take-over a pub with two rooms, and then book eleven musical acts to perform. The acts all give freely of their time as does the crew - all being massive supporters of community radio. The show goes up live at 5pm and then stays on air until 11pm with no interruptions. To do this, we have two sound engineers, one for each stage, who setup two PA systems.


These in turn are linked back to a broadcast studio end. During the show, we have four presenters who take shifts, one manning each stage. They have radio mics which are connected to both PA systems and the broadcast mixer. Each presenter has headphones giving them the broadcast feed and the ability for the show broadcast engineer to speak to them. The shows run well and are very tight, always just managing to stick to time. These are very popular with the audience. For example, the Falmouth Remembrance Service received just under 2000 views as did one of our Christmas Party broadcasts and there were lots of positive comments. On the live OBs, we get people turning up to the events saying they heard it on the radio and wanted to enjoy the fun first-hand! When we did the first Parklive, our audience reach on the internet stream doubled and doubled again after the second one.

As with other stations, it is expensive to judge the FM reach because of the cost of surveys. We now have access to an Outside Broadcast vehicle owned by a private company, who generously allow us to use it free of charge. We have also developed a small portable OB kit comprising an Allen and Heath broadcast mixer, a dual CD player, microphones, headphones and a laptop to link back to the studio. We have recently installed the In:Quality XLR SIP code box, which significantly ups our broadcast game! We were lucky to win this last year in our third award for outside broadcasts! People ask how we achieve these. It is all about planning (and maybe some luck!) The crew meets to discuss the event, each member knowing their responsibility. The show is only as good as its weakest link, which is usually the broadband, hence we always do a site survey, and where possible, try to wire directly to the venue’s

router. 4G works well, but you must be aware of the event. For example, during the G7 summit, we had two broadcasts to do, and on the main day, the mobile network was cut right back due to the number of people in the area. Fortunately, one of our team had access to the priority network, so we got away with it. As the producer, I always say I could not do it without the team, and I am privileged to work with an amazing one! We have some big and ambitious outside broadcast projects coming up which I will share with you once we have completed them. We would be very happy to share ideas and technical specifications with any community station who wishes to reach out to us! So, in summary, if you want to build your audience, enjoy a challenge and most importantly, have a lot of fun, get into outside broadcasting!



Megan Hayward is the former head of speech at Spark FM and picked up Gold at the 2021 Community Radio Awards for her piece, Down on the Farm. She's written her thoughts on why speech should be part of every stations output. The radio is simply an essential part of life - the lightness that got me through lockdown, the companion every evening as I cook and the exposure to other’s experiences that I would never know about otherwise. Whilst someone sharing their passion for a particular genre of music or providing entertainment on the school run have their rightful place on the schedule, radio is such a powerful medium, it would be a mistake to never utilise its full potential. Being Head of Speech for Spark during my MA in Radio at The University of Sunderland this last year has shown me just

how important it is to provide the opportunity for opinion and a platform for stories to get heard. From weekly chat shows covering women’s issues, trans rights and performing arts to occasional dramas and documentaries, being able to engage in meaningful conversations and put those voices out in our programming simply feels right. You should do it for your audience, but also for yourself. I have learnt so much about the world as well as myself from these different forms of storytelling. As The University of Sunderland's station, Spark’s volunteers comprises of those from the community, but also of students from all over the nation and beyond! Because of this, every year, new stories and experiences are brought to us and put on air. As a farmer’s daughter stranded in a city 200 miles away from the countryside I call home, I knew I wanted to make a documentary that connected me with my rural upbringing and a story that mattered to me. Even though our

audience isn’t made up of those in the agricultural industries, that is why Down On The Farm needed to be made. The piece, which explored the high suicide rates among farmers, may not on the surface appear to be relatable, but with men’s mental health an ever-important topic to discuss, the programmes themes and messages needed hearing by our audience, and as a country that relies on our farming communities, those in our cities need to hear their stories too. If you don’t know where to start with making a documentary, then I recommend thinking about the people that mean the most to you and what stories they have that are worth telling. I was intimidated at first by the concept, but soon found my style through poetry and creative audio to showcase verbatim interviews. Listen to the world around you and don’t be afraid to dip your toes into the sea of storytelling.


FROM COMMUNITY RADIO TO BBC RADIO WALES BREAKFAST At the age of just 29, Tom Phipps is an integral part of BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, but he picked up the bug for radio at his local community radio station. After being announced as one of the Radio Academy 30 under 30, he spoke to UKCRN about how important community radio has been in kickstarting his career. Tom, your radio journey started off fairly early on at Brynmawr based community station BRFM, which was at the time running as an RSL? I was probably about 13 or 14 at the time and I ended up getting involved in that through a friend and I didn’t really mean to be doing it, but once I started, I found that I really enjoyed it and I really liked radio and once the bug bites you, that’s it isn’t it – it's got you. I did a bit of that with them for a couple of years, whilst I was still in school and applying to go to Uni. I did things with Voice FM in

Caerphilly and that was great having two shows a week on different stations and just putting time into that and it became my main hobby through my teens, planning stuff for the shows and prepping for it – as I was applying for University, that journalism thing started to kick in and thinking how can I combine radio and the other stuff I’m interested in, news and politics and that’s how I ended up doing a journalism course. So you studied broadcast journalism at Nottingham Trent University, tell us about your time and the skills you learnt there? I knew from doing Community Radio that I wanted to do something in radio and being interested in politics and music, it seemed like a good fit to do a journalism course. Through that time, I did student radio and I just really enjoyed that. It cemented that I knew what I wanted to do. So you finished University and

you were struggling to get a job. Why did you choose to volunteer at a community station and what would you say you learnt during that time? I still wanted to do radio, so being able to spend time with Bro Radio was really helpful. I really missed doing radio once I left University and when you're applying for jobs, that you know you can do and would love to do, I knew I wasn't quite there in terms of the skills. I was being turned down and it was knocking my confidence. Being able to do a bit of community radio with Bro Radio at the time, meant that I could practice a bit more, build my confidence back up and just keep practicing. I think if you take a gap out and stop doing shows or you stop working on news, you do loose those skills. It’s like riding a bike, you get back on and it doesn’t go, but you feel a bit rusty and your confidence isn’t


quite there. So, just keeping it going just helped me to keep ticking over until I did start finding work, and being able to read news bulletins just gave me the confidence to apply for jobs, but also it meant that I had show reels, demo bulletins and things. So when I was going to an interview and they said are you capable of doing this, I had an example from a station that was broadcasting to people, not just something I’d done in my bedroom at home, which from an employer's point of view, does make a difference. Would you say there were any opportunities at BRFM or Bro Radio that you look back on and think that you still use and benefit from today in your role? For me, the biggest thing was it just cemented the fact that I wanted to work in the industry, but being able to do it in an environment, where there is a bit less pressure, that really helped for me. Obviously, work as hard as you can to be professional, but at that point, I just didn’t have the skills or experience, but everyone doing that together and it being a collaborative approach. I think it's really helpful because it lets people build up their confidence and that is the biggest thing. But also to just have a bit of fun and be part of a community of presenters – that was the biggest help, in terms of turning it from what was a hobby into something I actually get paid to do now. There are a lot of people in a similar position to you, who love what they are doing and want to make a career of this. What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow In the same footsteps as you, as they look ahead?

The biggest thing is to understand that every sector of radio is a little bit different. I’ve done student and community radio before I came into commercial radio, and then, worked in the BBC, but everyone has different perceptions of them. It's translating your experiences, because you may think you do the best programme in the world for your particular area - whether that be geographically like the Vale of Glamorgan or a community of interest, like a LGBT station - that would be a very different audience for a commercial station that serves half the country. It’s just tailoring what you do and understanding the conversations, when you are talking to people. Make sure this is what they’d be interested in. Since your time in Community Radio, you’ve had opportunities at various commercial groups, before moving to BBC Radio Wales in 2019 as part of the new weekday breakfast show – how exciting of a role is that for you, especially looking back to see what you’ve achieved in such a short space of time? I hadn’t really thought about it until I was going through the 30 Under 30 list and looking at it thinking I've achieved a lot, had lots of opportunities, but there is a sort of prestige about working for the BBC. I think, when I got that job in 2019, when we relaunched the breakfast programme, as proud as I was of everything I’d done, there is just something about getting a job at the BBC that makes you feel as if you’ve “made it”. That was great, but I know it wouldn’t have happened had I not done Community Radio, because you need somewhere to experiment and just find your style of presenting, just find your voice and build your radio confidence.

At the back end of 2021, you were announced as part of the Radio Academy 30 under 30. Has that helped to cement your achievements in your career to date? It is nice to just stop and reflect on the things that you’ve achieved, but it all goes back to Community Radio, because if I hadn’t done that I don’t think I would have got the opportunities to work in commercial radio and had I not worked in commercial radio, I don’t think I would have ended up working in the BBC. It all kind of plays back to Community Radio for me really, but it's nice to be recognised, because we are an industry that is very competitive. Stations compete for audience and we don’t always like to praise each other, so it's nice to just stop sometimes and for people to say, you’re doing well and just recognise that you have achieved something. The list doesn't feature many from a Community Radio background - what would you say to someone considering applying? The biggest thing is not to undervalue your experience of community radio. The fact that the industry has got less of a budget than commercial radio and the BBC, means sometimes it goes unnoticed, because you can’t spend the money on marketing that others can. Trust in yourself - you know what you are doing in Community Radio is good. Use that as confidence and a springboard to move on, but just sell what you are doing. You can hear Tom Phipps as part of BBC Radio Wales Breakfast each weekday morning from 6am.


Photo by Vincent Lo

FROM SOMER VALLEY FM TO BBC RADIO 1 In late 2021, BBC Radio 1 announced its next batch of Christmas Takeover presenters a number of which came from a Community Radio background. One of those was 24-year-old Seb Bailey, a presenter at Somer Valley FM in North East Somerset. Following on from the success of his Radio 1 Anthems slot, he's now been invited back to host the Early Breakfast show on Fridays in April. Seb caught up with UKCRN a few days after BBC Radio 1 confirmed the opportunity. I got into radio through a love of drum and bass. I came to Somer Valley FM got to thrash out some bangers. We eventually worked out that there wasn't anyone really listening to the station who loved the genre like me, so I got into the idea of more daytime style presenting - it was still a Saturday night, but more dancebased, and then, I started doing Friday drivetime.

Thanks to connections of Pete Helmore, I managed to get an internship with Sam FM in Bristol, which taught me a lot about the programming side of radio and I'd still give eight hours a week working here, just because I enjoyed it. It sounds odd, but in a weird way I'm really thankful for coronavirus, because lockdown at the start resulted in me being furloughed from my job, which meant I had loads of time. After a few weeks of just relaxing, I was really bored - so the station manager, Richard Burges, asked me to come in and do a couple of afternoon shows and that turned into five shows a week for, I think, a solid nine months. That time really helped me build up my confidence in presenting, along with the various bits of feedback and that drove me to realise my love for this type of presenting and putting something together for BBC Radio 1's Christmas Takeover.

Would you say those ninemonths where you could focus on radio and your style gave you time to improve and develop your style and individuality as a presenter? A million percent. I very much came to doing drivetime as a specialist presenter. I was used to crunch and roll links, in and out in under 50 seconds every time. So I knew with the programme, I had to get my personality in there and take listeners on a story, instead of just talking about the music. That was a massive challenge for me, and without the last 18 months of being forced to do that, I don't think I would have got to the standard where I have been able to had this opportunity not come about. Radio 1's Christmas Takeover is a great opportunity that's been around for a couple of years, what made you want to be a part of it?


THE FACT THERE IS A COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE WITHIN THE STATION, LET ALONE THE PEOPLE WE BROADCAST TO, HAS BEEN SO IMPORTANT TO ME I entered pretty much every year, but previously it's been kind of specialist content, which is real niche. I actually just entered the audio from my Community Radio Awards entry and thought let's give it a go. I know that my best work is what I've done on air here at Somer Valley, so I just took the audio and somehow it worked. I guess there was enough of my personality showing through there or me being stupid enough that made them like me. How did it feel to receive that call and be told you're going to be on Radio 1? I couldn't believe it. I didn't know what to do. I very politely said to them "can I swear?", just to express what I was feeling at that moment. I rang my mum and told her it was as if I was listening to a competition winner on Heart of something. It felt weird, because I never expected it.

How did it feel to go from Somer Valley to Radio 1? It was a real shock. I get quite anxious about things, and was very anxious because I was going from thousands, to potentially millions. I was so out of my comfort zone, but all I did between links was imagine I was in the Somer Valley studio, closing my eyes, deep breaths and just be like right, I'm at Somer Valley FM and that's how I did it. I still can't get over the opportunity. The station, as a collective here, was so over the moon - it was all anyone talked about. Off the back of your Christmas Takeover slot, you've been invited back to present Early Breakfast. How good is it to be invited back? It's exciting, but I'm honestly bricking it. Instead of it being anthems content which is all about the music, it's a normal show about

having a good time. It's a challenge I had here 18 months ago. So yeah, it's just mental and absolutely insane. The Radio 1 Takeover is a great opportunity for presenters like you at stations across the country. What tips and advice would you give to anyone considering applying? That's really difficult to say, because I never really thought about what I did differently. Which is probably the answer in itself. Don't do anything different to what you'd normally do. Check yourself, get station management or presenters to give you pointers. But ultimately, you know when you've done a good link on air. Note it down when you've done a good bit of content, same as you would for the Community Radio Awards. Show you can do the key skills, show off your personality and what make you...well, you!

Connecting Communities Regional Networking Event Saturday 9th April - Black Country Radio Managers and those working within UK Community Radio stations are invited to the first in-person Community Radio event of 2022. The event is a chance to network, learn and discuss the sector. Topics include SS-DAB, funding and journalism.

Book your place via

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