Connect Magazine - June 2022

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2022 Regional Networking Event Dates & Venues




Welcome to the third edition of Connect, the magazine focused on the Community Radio sector.

In this months edition, we look at some of the latest sector news, including long standing Community Media Association Member Bill Best leaving the organisation, Zoe Ball opening Ashdown Radio and Riverside Radio's Queen's Jubilee project, which sees young people interview 70 local people over the age of 70 about the Queen's reign.

With entries for the 2022 Community Radio Awards now open, we look at the categories for this years awards and hear about a new report, which shows UK Government support has helped support local radio across the UK.

We always love to showcase those from Community Radio going onto bigger and better things, hearing from Nicola Lashley, who has gone from Express FM to hosting Viking FM Breakfast in Hull.

As always, if you have something you'd like to share with the sector in our next edition, then please do not hesitate to get in touch.



Community Radio Network Update

The UKCRN provides an update on its work, including a recent visit to Parliament, a new member of the UKCRN team and its upcoming regional networking events.


Sector News in Brief

Including Bill Best leaving the Community Media Association, Ofcom advertising for Community Radio Panel Members, a unique collaboration connecting Cape Cod to Cornwall, Zoe Ball opening Ashdown Radio and the first round of Voice FM grants opening.


Community Radio Awards Open

Entries are now open for the seventh national Community Radio Awards, sponsored by PlayoutONE.


New report shows success of local radio through funding

A new report commissioned by DCMS shows the success of local radio through government support


Community Radio productions feature in last Audio Content Fund round

17 small-scale DAB multiplex licenses have been awarded in North West England and North East Wales.


What's Next - DCMS Broadcasting White Paper

Dr Rob Watson shares his view on the DCMS Broadcasting White Paper and what it could mean for the future of the Community Radio Sector

N e x t i s s u e d u e A u g u s t S u b m i t y o u r C o m m u n i t y R a d i o s t o r i e s v i a u k c o m m u n i t y r a d i o o r e m a i l h e l l o @ u k c r n . r a d i o T o e n q u i r e a b o u t a d v e r t i s i n g i n a f u t u r e e d i t i o n o f C o n n e c t M a g a z i n e , p l e a s e e m a i l h e l l o @ u k c r n r a d i o CONNECT MAGAZINE | 1


Community Radio: Real Local Radio

Steve Tandy, Managing Director of Copmedia shares his love of Community Radio and why he believes it's the new local radio


Erewash Sound Training Academy

Following their presentation at the UKCRN conference in Dudley, Erewash Sound's Jeff Martin and Paul Stacey share details of the success of the stations training academy and how it's helping develop the future of local radio talent in their community


Black Country Xtra - A new "hyper local radio station"

Black Country Radio share their concept of a new "Hyper Local radio station" delivered by local people and what it aims to achieve


From Express FM to Viking Breakfast

We talk to Nicola Lashley following her move to Viking FM Breakfast, where she's began cohosting alongside Alex Duffy.

Do you have a story to share?

Connect Magazine exists to promote, celebrate and inspire Community Radio, right across the United Kingdom.

Whether you have a story to share about your station, have launched a new project, expanded your reach or found new ways to connect with your community, then we'd love to hear from you.

Submit your stories, along with an image to to be featured in a future edition of Connect Magazine.

Deadline: 1st August 2022


Saturday 18th June

Sound Women SW Present - Women on the Airwaves with Livvy & Chrissie

Join Sound Women SW, Livvy and Chrissie for this online event. Find out how they became Award-winning broadcasters, authors and producers

Purchase tickets via Eventbrite

Saturday 2nd July

Connecting Communities UKCRN Regional Event - Southampton

Join the UKCRN for our second Regional Event at the home of Awaaz FM and Fiesta FM in Southampton. We'll be joined by speakers from within the industry, funders and supporters, to collaborate, share ideas and learn from each other.

Booking shortly available via ukcrn radio

Saturday 3rd September

Connecting Communities UKCRN Regional Event - Wrexham

Join the UKCRN for our final Regional Event at the home of Calon FM in Wrexham, North Wales This event will be the last regional conference, ahead of the National Community Radio Conference towards the end of the year. Booking shortly available via

Wednesday 7th September Radio Academy Festival

The Radio Academy Festival will return as a full in-person, one-day conference at a brand-new home, The Royal College of Physicians. Early bird tickets are available via radioacademy org

Follow UK Community Radio Network on Social Media Search for @UKCRN on Facebook or Twitter


It's been a busy couple of months for the UK Community Radio Network.

In April we held our first Connecting Communities Regional Networking Event at the home of Black Country Radio in Dudley.

Attendees enjoyed a tour of Black Country Radio's studio facilities, heard from the National Lottery about the funding available to community stations, an overview of a recent report into the impact of local radio and the story of how closure helped Calon FM to reconnect with its community.

The event was also an opportunity for stations to come together, network and share ideas.

We are delighted to announce two further Regional Networking events for 2022, ahead of a National Conference, alongside the Community Radio Awards towards the end of the year.

On Saturday 2nd July, join us at the home of Awaaz FM and Fiesta FM in Southampton.

On Saturday 3rd September, join us at the home of Calon FM in Wrexham

Both events will see us joined by a number of speakers from within the industry, funders and supporters, as we look to continue collaborating, sharing ideas and learning from each other.

Full details of the National Community Radio Conference and Awards will be announced in the next edition of Connect.

Elsewhere, the UKCRN UK has presented written and oral evidence to the DCMS Select Committee on the sustainability of local journalism.

The Committee opened its inquiry into the topic in February to examine the challenges facing local news organisations and what support should be put in

place in order to maintain their democratic function.

The DCMS Select Committee invited us to attend the inquiry in person to give evidence, as a representative of the sector, to hear about what Community Radio Stations do local journalism-wise, and understand the issues that may impact its future.

Co-founder Martin Steers attended an oral evidence session on Tuesday 17th May, alongside Owen Meredith, Chief Executive of News Media Association and David Powell, Chair at Local TV Network.

Following the Select Committee hearing, UKCRN also took the opportunity to meet with a number of MPs, including Shadow Minister for Media, Data and Digital Infrastructure, Chris Elmore MP, as it continues to strengthen its links with the UK Government.

You can watch the session via the DCMS Select Committee section of



The session follows the UKCRN welcoming Switch Radio Manager Dean Kavanagh onto its Board, as it looks to continue its growth and development of digital projects.

UKCRN Co-founder Barry Clack said "Dean's technical knowledge is unrivaled from successfully adapted unique websites and content to fulfillment of programme delivery."

"He's an asset not just for the UKC Community Radio Network but the community radio sector"

On joining the UKCRN, Dean Kavanagh said "I'm delighted to join the UKCRN team and to help push the cause of Community Radio in the UK. The last few years have shown us the importance of local services and relationships, and I'm relishing the opportunity to work with the team to help drive community radio forward into this space in the future."

As the UK Community Radio Network continues to grow its work, events and Connect Magazine, its looking to speak to individuals within the sector, who may be interested in supporting our work.

If you'd like to expand your written portfolio, then we are looking for individuals to write content for future editions of Connect Magazine.

As we grow the number of regional and national events held, we are also looking to work with individuals with experience in delivering networking events.

Interested parties should send an introductory email to

Dates for your diary

Connecting Communities Regional Networking Events are set to take place across the UK in 2022 - 2023.

Saturday 2nd July Southampton

Join the UKCRN for our second Regional Event at the home of Awaaz FM and Fiesta FM in Southampton

Saturday 3rd September Wrexham

Join the UKCRN for our final Regional Event of 2022 at the home of Calon FM in Wrexham, North Wales

Booking shortly available via

Fancy hosting a future event? Get in touch!




Bill Best, the Community Media Associations long-standing Operations Manager is set to leave his role this summer He first joined the association in 2000 and leaves to take up a new position of Technical Solutions Manager at Radioplayer

During his time, Bill has become a key point of support for Community Radio stations, including providing internet streaming and online solutions under the Canstream brand

The news of Bill's departure came shortly before the 2022 Community Media Festival, taking place in Luton on Saturday 7th May.

In 2020, The Radio Academy recognised Bill’s contribution to the radio industry by awarding him a Fellowship of the Academy.

The UKCRN wishes to thank Bill for his support to the sector and the best of luck in his new role.


Industry regulator Ofcom has begun advertising for an External Panel Member to join the Community Radio Fund panel commencing officially in April 2023

The Community Radio Fund is allocated by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to support community radio stations in the delivery of social gain The Fund provides grants to help support the core running costs of Ofcom-licensed community radio stations.

The money is distributed by Ofcom in the form of grants, following a formal application process, to existing community radio licensees. The Community Radio Fund Panel reviews these applications and decides which to fund They wish to appoint a member to the Community Radio Fund with a starting date in the Autumn of 2022.

The successful applicant will act as an observer to the Panel until April 2023, at which point they will formally take up their new role as a Member of the Panel. In addition, the role of Chair will become vacant in March 2023. The successful applicant for this role, together with existing Panel Members, will be eligible for consideration for appointment to the role of Chair The Chair is expected to have a track record of performing a senior leadership role and the ability to achieve consensus through balanced discussion.

Ofcom is welcoming applications from candidates with a variety of experience, backgrounds and industry knowledge.



One of Celtic Music Radio’s longest-serving presenters is back on air, presenting his late-night Friday show, Singers and Songwriters from the station's new studios in the Braehead Centre.

An earlier heart attack in 2020, Covid lockdown and then a more serious health scare in September 2021 had kept him off air for two years.

Now he’s about to get back behind the microphone, saying "It will be great to be broadcasting the show every Friday again. The new studio is excellent so it is going to be a real pleasure to be at the mic to bring listeners a wide range of singers and the most prolific songwriters of our time "

Mike hopes the story of his recovery can help and inspire other people who have serious heart problems saying "People should never give up hope of living a normal life again after having a heart problem if they listen to what the doctors tell them."


Two mirroring coastal communities on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean, who even share some town names, including Falmouth have come together to produce hour-long programs.

In Cape Cod, USA, CAI is the local public radio station for the region, located in the town of Falmouth In Cornwall, UK, Source FM is a community radio station staff primarily by volunteers and also located in the town of Falmouth

Through their collaboration, they've discovered that the two communities share specific challenges, including coastal environmental impact from climate change; big problems with affordable housing as both tourist-friendly locations are increasingly dominated by short-term rentals, whilst young people move away for opportunities elsewhere.

Whilst focusing on key issues, the programs also share many positives; including the renowned natural beauty, with histories of seafaring and farming, and home to energetic, engaged communities.

The new colloboration aims to link to the two regions through direct conversations between residents.



More than 1,700 Easter Eggs have been distributed to good causes across the North East, through a partnership including community radio station Radio Northumberland.

The station was joined in The Good Egg Partnership, with Bedlington charity Leading Link and Lodge Temperance from Northumberland Freemasons.

Karen Goldfinch, from Radio Northumberland, said: “We know that Mel’s important role is to reach out into the community to engage with people from all backgrounds to ensure that their views on health and social care are heard so that improvements can be made for all ”

“It’s been a cracking Easter with around 1,725 eggs distributed to 37 good causes. We’d like to thank the 19 individuals, businesses, lodges, supermarkets and others who have donated cash or eggs to help us put so many smiles on so many people’s faces this Easter."


Radio 2 Breakfast presenter Zoe Ball joined volunteers as Ashdown Radio, the new name for Uckfield FM as it launched on air, following its extended coverage area.

Ashdown Radio now covers Crowborough and surrounding areas on 94 7 and 105FM

The station was officially launched at 11am on April 1st with Ryan Millns and Gary King, before Zoe Ball joined Peter Suter on air for an hour as part of the official launch at 1pm During which she unveiled a plaque celebrating the occasion and spoke with the Mayors of Uckfield and Crowborough.

The station’s Chairman, Ian Smith, said: “We are chuffed that a radio presenter with Zoe’s status in the world of entertainment is supporting our station.”



The Voice in North Devon has opened its first round of application for The Voice Lottery Grant Scheme

When the lottery began, The Voice said "Running a radio station doesn't come cheap and The Voice Lottery is your way of showing support to help keep our service of local news and information on the air "

The Lottery began in January and takes place every Friday with those taking part given the chance to win a weekly prize of up to £1,000

The lottery gives money to support local good causes, with not-for-profit or charitable groups or organisations in North Devon able to apply for a grant of up to £500

Applications for the first round are open until 30th June 2022.


Industry regulator Ofcom has reminded community stations to adhere to their Key Commitments after finding two stations in Breach in recent weeks.

Both stations were found in breach for not delivering enough local content, with the licensee providing evidence of extenuating circumstances, including in relation to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, as an explanation for its shortfall.

Ofcom says: “We would like to remind Licensees that they must meet their Key Commitments at all times, as a condition of their broadcast licence.” The regulator has also asked any community radio station finding itself having trouble meeting its obligations, to communicate these difficulties with Ofcom at the earliest opportunity.



Beyond Radio volunteer Mateo Sanderson has received a royal welcome from Kate, Duchess of Cambridge at a Buckingham Palace garden party

Mateo met the Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Sophie, Countess of Wessex during his visit to the palace on Wednesday, to celebrate our Queen's Award for Voluntary Service

The royals stopped to talk to Mateo about his voluntary work at the radio station, where he presents the Beyond Mateo show on Saturdays Mateo was accompanied to the garden party by Duncan Moore, volunteer co-ordinator at Beyond Radio.

Mateo's mum Sharon said: "What a fantastic day, it was so wonderful to be at the palace with Mateo and Duncan and amazing that members of the royal family stopped and took time to chat to us.


Community radio station Burgess Hill Radio has rebranded to

Mid Sussex Radio

The station, based in Burgess Hill, has been broadcasting to most of Mid Sussex since October 2018 on 103 8FM and station bosses say the change of name better reflects the area they cover

Programme Director Steve Bird said: “The sound of the station won’t change, apart from some new jingles, because our listeners tell us that they like our current mix of music, they like our presenters and they don’t want us to change.”

The station will continue to broadcast on 103 8FM and will still be available through smart devices and via its website at



Riverside Radio has embarked on a new project to interview 70 local people aged 70 and over across south west London about their lives during the Queen’s long reign

The interviews are being broadcast by the radio station throughout the Jubilee month of June, each day to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Riverside Radio was successful in gaining National Lottery Jubilee Community Funding for the Platinum People project which is being conducted by the Riverside Radio Club

The club consists of a number of local children of secondary school age who come into the Riverside Radio studios every Saturday morning to run their own radio show while gaining a nationally recognised qualification in radio and picking up vital media skills.


Kirkcaldy Community Radio has announced plans for an extension of its provision of services, with the creation of a community space within the Mercat Shopping centre, in the heart of the town centre.

This soon to be opened location will allow the award-winning local radio station to host further community engagement activities and events. The ambition is to also create a truly accessible broadcast environment for those with any disabilities or mobility issues and a wheelchair friendly environment for all

The early phase of this project is nearly completed, with a usable “blank space” for planned activities to commence through June and July, this will see the space used by K107fm and supporting stakeholders through various projects.



Entries are now open for the seventh national Community Radio Awards, sponsored by PlayoutONE.

This year there are two changes to the awards, following the launch of CDSP licenses

Any station holding a CDSP is now entitled to enter the awards, with a special category to mark how community stations have responded post COVID with the rebuilding of their communities and themeselves.

Martin Steers, awards Founder and Chair, said: “It’s great to be gearing up to open the seventh community radio awards, it doesn’t seem that long ago that we were celebrating last year’s winners at our face-to-face awards in Coventry and here we go again!"

“As ever it’s always exciting to see the fantastic range of submissions from across the sector, we cannot wait to start receiving them.

“We are also proud to be expanding the awards as we look forward to seeing the sector growing digitally.”

The deadline for this year’s Honours, the separate awards to honour those who have made an outstanding contribution to community radio is also the 30th of June.

The judging panel is made up of more than 70 volunteers from charities, community radio, commercial radio, and BBC radio, who give their time to help recognise and reward our sector.

2022 Award Categories

Station of the Year – Sponsored by PlayoutOne

Community Development Project – Sponsored by UK

Community Radio Network

Digital or RSL Station Of The Year

Male Presenter

Female Presenter

Community Show

Live Event or Outside Broadcast

– Sponsored by In:Quality

Entertainment Show

Arts & Creative Radio

Speech & Journalism

Specialist Music Show

Sports Show


Young Person (Under 25)

Sage Person (Over 60)

Newcomer (new to radio in last 12 months) – Sponsored by The Radio Hub

Innovation Award – Sponsored by Hippynet

Podcast – Sponsored by AutoPod

Covid and Community Rebuild

Entries to the 2022 Community Radio Awards close on 30th June, with the winners to be announced at a special event towards the end of the year, following the Community Radio Conference.

To find out more about each category and enter your station, visit



A new report commissioned by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport has shown the success of local radio through government support

The Community Radio Fund (CRF) was established in 2005 to help to fund the core costs of running Ofcom-licensed community radio stations

The CRF evaluation report, published on 21st March, demonstrates how the community radio sector has grown and annual income streams have increased due to the grants received.

Its reported that after receiving a grant from the CRF, a station’s income increased by more than a third on average

Over a third of stations have been able to employ more staff due to their grant award and nearly 60 per cent of stations said their grant funding has enabled them to recruit more volunteers. Thanks to the CRF,

more than half of grant recipients have been able to develop a new fundraising strategy or business plan.

The Fund has also given life and voice to smaller radio stationssuch as Salford City Radio - that were on the brink of closure. Now, thanks to CRF grants, they have transformed into self-sustaining stations and some have even been able to expand their coverage. Salford City Radio now has ambitions for expansion, including onto DAB so they can reach even wider audiences.

In the past two years the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has also given an extra £400,000 to the Fund, in recognition of the sector’s significant contribution to reducing loneliness and helping to level up communities.

Media Minister Julia Lopez said: The Community Radio Fund has been a lifeline for local radio, benefitting listeners across the UK. We’ve been able to target this

funding at local stations that need it most and once again we’ve seen the valuable role the radio industry plays in being responsive to connect with its listeners."

The CRF has been instrumental in allowing the sector to bring in people with the skills and experience to grow their commercial income streams.

The research also shows the impact of law changes in 2015 that allowed smaller radio stations more opportunities to secure income from advertising and sponsorship. In the months to come, DCMS will carry out further work with Ofcomwho administer the Fund - to help it become even more efficient and benefit communities as much as possible.

Your views:

We would would love to hear your views on the Community Radio Fund and its future. You can share your views with us via



The Audio Content Fund has awarded £385k to 20 projects, in its final round of funding

The projects will all be produced by independent production companies, 13 of which are based outside London, with six indies receiving funding from the Audio Content Fund for the first time

The fund, which is financed by the UK Government, has allocated £385k to the projects, and estimates the content will be heard by 4m listeners.

The bids include commitment to broadcast on at least 70 different radio stations, including a range of community stations across the County.

This round – the final one in the original three-year ACF pilot –brings to £3 35m the amount distributed to 91 different independent production companies, to produce 165 projects, which have been heard on at least 350 radio stations.

Sam Bailey, Managing Director of the Audio Content Fund, said:

“As we reach the end of the ACF Pilot, it’s hugely gratifying to bring our tally of indies to more than 90, and to reflect on how much incredible content the fund has supported. We look forward to working now with DCMS on an evaluation process to determine the future of the Fund, and hope to continue our good work in the near future”.

The projects which will feature on Community Radio are:

Stormy Weather: Britain’s Coastal Sailing History – Belle Media, for Times Radio and a Community Radio network

An entertaining and informative bilingual series celebrating Britain’s maritime history. From Scotland’s West Coast to the Tidal Thames, the series explores our attachment to the sea through the stories of some of Britain’s bestloved ships In English on Times Radio and Gaelic on Community


Hidden In Plain Sight: The story of lost Inverlael – Adventurous Audio, for a Community Radio network

A bilingual series of vibrant and engaging short dramadocumentaries telling the story of a lost Highland community. Eight characters from Inverlael are brought back to life to tell us how their lives and livelihoods were decimated through a brutal Highland clearance in 1820.

BFBS eSports Live – Audio

Always, for BFBS

12-part series feeding a passion for gaming and eSports, by uniting passionate gamers with leagues across the Forces, and featuring some of eSports’ biggest stars.

On The Water –Upperhurstdotcom, for a Community Radio network

A series of five half-hour radio documentaries in the tradition of


Charles Parker’s Radio Ballads, describing in their own words the experiences of working people who spend their lives on the water.

Toy Boy – Opportunity Knox, for a Community Radio network

A 20-part fictional audio drama written by Anthony KD, about dealing with divorce, and moving on with life. Toy Boy deals with stigmatised relationship issues for people in urban, multi-cultural communities, including divorce, depression, poverty, morality and tradition.

The Easts – Trevor Dann’s Company, for a Community Radio network

Eight one-off dramas, examining the changes experienced by one family in the East of England across the seven decades since

1952. Broadcast on radio stations throughout East Anglia as part of the week of celebrations marking the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

The Butterfly Effect – Smoke Trail Productions, for a Community Radio network

A series of hopeful, sound-rich features bringing inspirational people into the incredible natural world on their doorsteps, then following the positive change that unfolds.

Iron to Iron – Inkslingers Media, for a Community Radio network

Follow Doc series that documents 17 cyclists riding a 6-day, 320-mile route from Devon to Derbyshire, culminating on The Iron Giant – a Grade II listed viaduct in the East Midlands.

Green Wings – Smoke Trail Productions, for National Prison Radio, and a Community Radio network

Taking the Climate Crisis inside British prisons for the first time, revealing the unlikely stories where criminal and climate justice intertwine. Green Wings follows the journeys of six exoffenders as they seek to put the planet’s and their own mistakes behind them.

An Open Letter has been recently published calling on the Government to provide continued public funding for the ACF following the end of a threeyear contestable fund pilot. You can sign the letter via


The Radio Academy Festival will be returning as a full in-person, one-day conference, at a brandnew home in Central London –and discounted tickets are on sale now.

The Festival is The Academy’s annual day of celebration, debate and discussion, where delegates can hear from the movers and shakers in UK radio and audio –the bosses, the presenters, the politicians, and the leading creatives in our incredible industry. It’s the biggest gathering of radio and audio people in the UK, and a fantastic opportunity to network and make new connections.

This year’s Festival will take place on 7 September at The Royal College of Physicians – a stunning Grade I listed modernist building located on the edge of London’s Regents Park. And, for the first time in a decade, the Festival will be spread across two auditoriums, offering delegates a choice of two concurrent programmes of talks.

Festival tickets include lunch and an evening drinks reception, plus 30-days exclusive online catch-up access, so you can watch any sessions you missed on our website.

Early bird tickets are now on sale

at the discounted price of £119+VAT, with 100 available, before the price goes up to £149+VAT once the early bird tickets are sold out.

Details of speakers and guests will be released throughout the summer, and the Academy will also be running a Bursary Scheme for people who feel the Festival will benefit their career, but who can’t afford to attend.

For more details visit



Listeners from Warrington to Wrexham will soon be able to tune into a wider choice of ultralocal digital radio stations, with Ofcom awarding 17 small-scale DAB radio multiplex licences in North West England and North East Wales.

Eight of the areas only had one applicant, meaning the winning applicant was the only bid, excluding Southport where the single bidder did not win the license.

Those eight areas are Wrexham, Congleton & Leek, Cheshire Mid, Cheshire East and Buxton & Glossop.

One of the suprises, was the applicant currently running the Trial Manchester multiplex (Niocom Associates) has not been granted a permanent license.

The winning licence holders are as follows:

Blackburn, Burnley and Darwen: BBD Digital

Blackpool: Fun Coast Digitial CIC

Bolton and Bury: Bolton and Bury DAB Radio Ltd

Buxton and Glossop: High Peak

One Digital Ltd

Cheshire (east): Cheshire East


Cheshire (mid): Cheshire Radio Ltd

Congleton & Leek: Moorlands


Crewe, Nantwhich & Whitchurch: South Cheshire

DAB ltd

Liverpool: Liverpool DAB ltd

Manchester: M&S Digital

Oldham & Rochdale: Credible Focus Ltd

Preston: Preston DAB Ltd

Southport: No Licence Awarded

Stockport: Stockport

Community SSDAB Ltd.

Stoke & Newcastle-under-Lyme: Alternative Broadcasting Company

Warrington, Widnes & Runcorn: Warrington, Widnes & Runcorn


Wigan: Wigan and St Helens

Community Media CIC

Wrexham: Wrexham DAB Ltd

Ofcom says the roll-out of smallscale DAB will enable the launch of around 200 multiplexes, covering all four UK nations. The awards bring the total number of multiplex licences awarded to 42.

Ofcom announced its future licensing plans and review of smallscale DAB roll-out.

Ofcom published the 32 applications it has received for the third round of licence advertisements and confirmed that applications for Round 4 will be open in the Autumn, when the areas for Round 5 will also be confirmed.

Ahead of Round 4, Ofcom confirmed that Ludlow, Cleobury Mortimer & Tenbury Wells have been added to the list of licence areas. It says it will advertise these licences in the autumn, along with the list of areas they plan to advertise in Round Five.

A progress report on the smallscale DAB roll-out is also available via the Ofcom website.



Rob is an independent researcher and advocate for participative community media, with over twenty-five years experience training and supporting people to create media for themselves for the purpose of social gain

The launch of Next Up, the DCMS White Paper on the future of UK broadcasting, throws up many concerns for those of us who believe in the social purpose of community radio

He writes for Connect Magazine on the recently released DCMS Broadcasting White Paper and what it could mean for the Community Radio Sector ----

Next Up will have a long-term impact on the way community radio is delivered and supported, particularly the proposal to switchover all forms of radio broadcasting to digital platforms

As this is a White Paper, what is included will quickly become law, with no opportunity to change public policy again for a generation.

So, as advocates of community radio, I’m hoping that we can start an open an informed fact-finding discussion, well in advance of the promised DCMS review of community radio in 2023.

I’ve got a number of concerns about digital switchover that I feel need to be considered and worked out before we go too far down the path of imposing a media model that may be unsuited, unwanted and unneeded. To be a problemsolver, one has to be a problem finder first, and digital switchover has many, many potential problems.

In the Next Up White Paper DCMS is proposing that analogue radio services will be shifted over to digital platforms by 2030, regardless of consumer demand, producer needs, or even the

availability of alternate platforms such as AM and FM. The BBC has already announced that it will start to switch of its AM transmitters from 2025. No doubt FM switch-off will follow not long after.

While national and regional DAB coverage is growing, it remains patchy in some places, and is far from being the universal solution to the problem of broadcast scarcity we’ve been promised

I’m concerned that many parts of the country will remain outside of the reach of DAB at a local level, and that SSDAB will only fill some of the gaps in coverage. SSDAB is fine for well populated urban areas, but it’s expensive to install in less populated areas, and just getting a licence ties up stations in long-term contracts and layers of company shareholdings.

Moreover, SSDAB isn’t suitable for many areas because local spectrum is blocked anyway. My question, then, is how will new community radio providers get on air if there


are no accessible and affordable DAB coverage options in their area? Likewise, how will community radio broadcasters stay on air if existing coverage on FM/AM is not matched by DAB?

Next Up takes many of its policy proposals for broadcast radio from the flawed DCMS review of audio and media services.

now available on AM, and will be available on FM as the large stations switch off their transmitters.


Let’s face it, none of the analogue radio spectrum has a commercial use, and it will only lie fallow if it is not used for radio broadcasting Similarly, do we really want a national policy that forces everyone who wants to receive radio programmes to be forced to buy a digital device?

by Dr Rob Watson, robwatson@decentered co uk

This review failed to consider that DAB radio in countries like Norway, Sweden and Finland, aren’t viewed as a success, and that analogue radio is still valued by listeners With many millions of analogue radio sets still readily available, and high levels of public demand for local radio services in these countries In Ireland DAB has been switched off because of lack of demand.

It’s worth noting that in Ukraine there has been a massive switchon of AM radio services, as the digital communications infrastructure has been made vulnerable to Russian attacks

The analogue radio systems are proving to be resilient, cheap and independent of central control. Millions of AM and FM radios are still in people’s houses and cars, and despite the hype, analogue radio isn’t going to fade away soon, so the talk of switchover by 2030 is fanciful.

We’ve not even started thinking about 5G, broadband and IP radio. So, rather than concentrating on analogue switch-off, I believe that we should focus on digital moveover, where commercial and national broadcast radio services are moved to DAB, and upgraded to DAB+, while local and community radio services should gain new freedoms by using the ample spectrum that is

Do we really want a DAB Tax? People who want to listen on analogue radio should be free to do so, if there are services being broadcast that they want. After all, the government doesn’t force you to listen to music exclusively on streaming platforms, stopping you from buying vinyl albums!

Next Up doesn’t give much detail about these proposals, so there is a lot to be ironed out. It’s unclear what the specific proposals for community radio will be My concern is that we need to protect the distinctive social purpose of community radio, which means questioning the suggested changes that will muddy the water between commercial and community radio

The proposed changes to the funding of community radio could become policy and law without meaningful discussion and evidence from across the public and civic sector more generally. The Community Radio Fund has been limited in its scope for many years, with successful community radio stations looking at diverse social value funding models, where they commit themselves to working with many different public authorities and civic partners, to provide services for training, access, support as well as information and entertainment for the people and residents that they

The distinctive role for community radio could be lost if market deregulation forces community radio to act like commercial stations. The two should be entirely separate, with commercial operators free to take the risks of being in the free market, and community operators supported and protected to provide services that the market can’t. Many community radio stations service communities that are entirely noncommercial, and don’t want to ‘monetise’ their on-air content.

There’s a lot to discuss, and it is important that representative groups with the stature of the UK Community Radio Network are heard and included as the proposals in Next Up are fleshed out.

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Steve Tandy is the Managing Director of Copmedia, a regional radio promotions company.

Steve has worked as a regional radio and TV plugger since 1989 and formed Copmedia in January 2009, with a focus on Regional radio & Television promotions for both new and established artists of all styles, and large and small record companies. Steve has won many awards over his 20-year career and consistently delivered top for both Independent and major music companies across the UK and Europe, as well as establishing one of the first pioneering regional radio promotions companies Station II Station (Technotronic, The Farm, Rose Royce, Cookie Crew, Right Said Fred-1989-1993) and then Intermedia (part of the Gut records Music Group 1993-2008) which rose to become the leading independent Regional Promotions company.

Steve writes for this edition of Connect Magazine.

I started regional radio promotions in 1989, as a junior at Station II Station, after a failed pop careerha ha. Then I was lucky enough to work Technotronic, The Farm, Rose Royce and the BIG one that took everyone by surprise Right Said Fred! However, In those days I used to have to first convince labels to do regional promotions, as at that time it was really just about Radio 1, TOTP, Smash Hits Magazine and Saturday kids telly.

Fast forward through the 90's 00's and regional commercial radio explode and I did not have to convince labels to do regional radio promotions any longer. I founded in 1993 Intermedia, part of Gut Records We will not dwell on the 2nd RSF album- ha ha- but we went on to do Tom Jones (Duets Album), Space and the annoyingly brilliantly successful Crazy Frog with Gut. In addition Intermedia worked regional radio & TV for many artists and labels such as Ministry of Sound, Positiva, EMI, V2, Warner Music, Sony, Universal, Mushroom the list goes on.

In those days all regional radio stations (with the exception of GWR ones), were separate and did their own playlists and local output and was full of independent stations and groups- happy days!

Well that bubble had to burst one day and sure enough with Ofcom relaxing the rules on networking and station locations in the past 12 + years, we have seen regional commercial radio consolidate into fewer groups and become a fraction of what it was locally and into what we have today. There are still some great stations and independent groups that we still deal with and are excellent but back in 2019 (when Bauer went on its spending spree of buying 4 of the main commercial radio groups plus some independent stations), I started to look around to see who else was coming up. We had always had some community stations we worked with, as community radio has always been around but I noticed (after a trip to Barry Docks for a conference event


on a wet Saturday I October) that there seemed to be real growth and still the same fundamental passion within and for community radio,- REAL LOCAL RADIO, which is what I have always loved about regional promotions.

Last year I attended the community radio conference in Coventry, which was excellent and again heard and saw the passion from the community radio sector. I was delighted to see Rebecca from Kiss do the key note speech and talk so passionately about community radio, as well as hearing tremendous speeches and workshops from the community radio community. It proved my hunch in 2019 was right and now with the ever developing local DAB platforms becoming available for more and more community stations to either run / join, it seems that maybe we are starting to see the return of real local radio

as I plugged as a junior radio plugger in the 90's.

So Copmedia is adding more and more community stations to our mail outs (for free of course!) and also offering artist interviews as much as possible, although promo time is always tight, especially with the bigger known artists. With that in mind, I am starting on a mission to find a way that we could work with you all on syndicating one interview for our bigger artists, which I think would make great music radio for your stations and listeners, and enable me to carrying on building the community radio area of Copmedia, which I believe so much in

Ideas welcome and let's make this happen, please do get in touch about this idea and also if you want to be on our music mail outs.

Steve Tandy is available via or visit


During the recent UKCRN Connecting Communities Conference, Erewash Sound's Jeff Martin and Paul Stacey, shared details of the success of the stations training academy

Following their session they spoke to Connect Magazine's Gareth Joy.

Jeff you're a founder of Erewash Sound - How did the training academy come about?

Well, it came about out of realizing that very soon after we came in here and that our standards are very inconsistent. So we had really good presenters and not so good presenters, and that was down to the fact that we hadn't trained them And although we did put in our application that we would be doing some training, we'd never given that any thought until then. So that was the beginning of the training academy, or certainly the training program right there.

Paul, you explained that the academy has gone on to achieve such tremendous results. Well over 20 people finding paid work in media?

Yeah And it's a real success story for the training that we deliver in the academy is that obviously we want to train our own volunteers to come and present and deliver for us. But actually, if they're with us for a short period of time, it's not a big worry if they're helping out for us, because actually it has to build onto their career going on into the media. So we talked about a couple of people that we highlighted, but over 20 people have now gone into employment, many of those in the professional media sector

In terms of the station itself, is it sort of a way of applying a quality control on how it sounds to the listener?

It's quality control because at the end of the day, as a radio station, we obviously want lots of listeners We also want to deliver on our

goals to entertain and inform and connect with the community. We need people that are skilled to do that in a way that the station is successful. This is what we find early on that I just actually pretty much let everybody just go for it, then the inconsistency means that people will not stay with us as listeners So it's really important that anybody who actually goes on the air is at least skilled to a particular standard

What does the future hold for the Erewash Sound academy?

Expanding and just delivering more people, but also in making sure because one of the things we do with all our training programs, we tweak them every time we deliver them, we try to make sure that we're across the way that media is changing So whether that is we change a particular training session or whether we add something completely so, for instance, we've just introduced a podcast course. So we just have to change with the times, I guess



When the concept of a ‘hyper local radio station’ was thrown around the office, a lot of us questioned what that service would hope to achieve? On the face of it, the purpose of a licensed community radio station was to provide just that – and I think we’d become blind in many ways to the organic way in which Black Country Radio had evolved over time, in much the same way you don’t see your kids getting taller because they’re under your feet 24/7.

It’s fair to say that any community station needs to have a commerciality and familiarity to them in order to survive. Whether that’s to encourage advertisers, attract grants or simply to remove hurdles to encourage people to listen and this became even more relevant in the area that Black Country Radio broadcasts to.

The Black Country (which, for those who have never visited, is broadly speaking the stretch between Birmingham and

Wolverhampton) is a part of the UK with a very proud heritage of ILR stations over the years.

From Beacon Radio to BRMB and The Wolf, it became abundantly clear that we’d slowly moulded our playlist and our style to fit a gap that was lost when those names disappeared from the map In a lot of ways, we’d lost some of the things we really wanted to do in favour of the things we had to do to pay the bills.

We could try and change things, but that risked alienating a loyal audience we’d built up over the years and a ferociously opinionated one at that. We’d become the people who posed the questions and developed listeners who offered a response. We’d forged relationships with local authorities, PR companies, theatres and advertisers that were based on the way we currently worked, and we needed a plan B to attempt to get the best of both worlds.

What we knew was that any new

service needed to be markedly different and offer something that not only Black Country Radio didn’t, but that none of our competitors did either. Ideas were thrown around and we quickly realised we didn’t have the people power to run and manage two full-scale operations and so ‘Xtra’ needed to work differently. Arguably, it needed to break the mould of commerciality and the constraints of format to work in a way that goes against every principal of radio as we know it.

Back in 1951, an American called Todd Storz established a concept for ‘Top 40’ radio. His structure said that no individual is bigger than the station and defined the concept of moving away from a ‘Light Programme’ collection of individual shows and work towards a brand focus where a listener chooses to tune in to a station as a whole. What we were proposing would have Todd rolling in his grave, however we persisted and we think we’ve created something pretty unique.


Black Country Xtra is just what (according to the text book) radio shouldn’t be – a collection of individual shows with little or no continuity between them that switch from discussion about local town centres to two hour programmes focusing on fly fishing. In essence we, as a broadcaster, are a conduit to give communities not only a platform to be heard but the tools to have those conversations themselves.

At the beginning, we reached out to people with a passion and organisations with a message. They could be charities, local community groups, people with a story to tell or someone with an idea or a passion that they want to tell others about. Whilst we’ll give them a level of production support, this is about those individuals creating radio. It’s certainly not polished and, at times it’s quite radical, but that doesn’t matter to us. For our team, Xtra is an avenue that doesn’t restrict ‘community voice’ to a six second slot on Drivetime; it empowers them to get their message out themselves.

It’s fair to say that a few of our initial uptake have dwindled or found that they don’t have the resources to commit to something regular.

In some cases, we’ve been able to merge similar shows together but from time to time we’ve seen some great contributors drop off the radar Whilst that’s sad, it’s also opened up a passage to get other voices on air – some of whom have been recommended by the outgoing show

What Xtra has led to, however, is some ‘wow’ moments Things like the opportunity for Alcoholics Anonymous members to tell their stories about addiction, or the chance to have a local group of adults with learning disabilities smiling from ear to ear at the experience they’ve had in a studio. One thing we have learnt is that those moments – however raw, rough around the edges or less than ‘polished’ are real and valuable In many ways, capturing that content is as important as a slick segueway between two of the biggest hits of the 80s

This isn’t something that’s going to have tens of thousands of people tuning in throughout the day. This is a venture that very much seeks to have small, loyal audiences for every show. By its nature, Xtra is predominantly voice tracked; partly because it’s a new platform and people need to find their feet and partly because it gives us the ability to check the content that’s

going out before it does. However, one day, the idea of putting it totally live and giving those groups and those stories the chance to interact with their public would be the dream

Xtra is a concept we’d urge any station to take up It’s hard work and, at times, it’s frustrating. You have to get over your desire to have the perfect product because (initially, anyway) that’s not what you’ll get and resist the urge to rerecord things to get them sounding clean. More importantly than that – save everything. You never know when you’ll drop on something golden.

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At Connect Magazine we love to shine a light on those from within the sector, who have gone onto bigger and better things within the industry.

This month we catch-up with Nicola Lashley, who's gone from presenting Breakfast on Community station Express FM, to co-hosting alongside Alex Duffy on Viking FM Breakfast in Hull

How did you first get involved in radio?

I was actually quite late to the party when it came to radio in that it was never what I thought I'd end up doing. I'd grown up performing and I always thought I'd end up in the arts in some way, maybe like in writing. Then I had a bit of a mid 20s meltdown and I just kind of threw everything to the wind and I went to Uni and I did a combined degree Half of it was English Lit and the other was film, radio and TV And when I started it, I was like, do you know what? This is

actually getting something going and I kind of had the moment where I thought, well, if I'm going to go for it, I'm going to need to go for it and I'm going to have to do it properly.

So I kind of said to myself, if I'm going to do it, I need to make sure I know exactly what I'm doing, I need to make sure I'm savvy on everything around me. And I just kind of threw myself into any studio that would have me to get as much experience as I possibly could

Prior to Viking FM, you've been at Express FM, was that where it all started?

Yeah, I literally went straight back from Uni, reached out to Express. I have a really good reputation in the area in Portsmouth, and also, to be honest, pretty much within the region, and they have such a high standard of production and the presenters there are great, but I didn't really know about it. One of my friends, I think it was that recommended them to me and I

was a little bit hesitant at first and I just thought I'll just go for it.

Then, of course, lockdown happened, which kind of threw everything, but somehow during that lockdown I ended up taking on quite a few shows, like on a cover basis. So I was getting to kind of try my hand at everything, making all the mistakes, any mistake you can make, I made them probably every single time I did a show, but I quite liked that. I liked that I had a bit of a test, not a test ground, but I could be playful and I could try things and find my way through it. After a good couple of years, I got offered breakfast and that was when things really started changing for me.

How important was that freedom in you finding your voice and your style?

I cannot put into words how important it was. There is no way that I would be able to have this job here or would have been able to have even attempted a professional career if I hadn't have


done the countless hours of volunteer work in community radio at Express FM because the team is so good With radio, I think it's so easy to get sucked up into the kind of showbiz aspects of it, which is where it looks really cool and you're a personality and everything that comes in between But actually you should be able to take all of that away and still have really good radio So the freedom that you have in community radio to just try and fail and try again, you do not get anywhere else

It blows my mind that more people don't try it because it's such a good opportunity and it's pretty much there on everyone's doorstep

You're a couple of weeks now from that move from Portsmouth to Yorkshire, how are you settling in?

Viking and in the area, the move happened very quickly. It's true what they say about Northerners

they are very friendly and it's been exciting more than it has been scary.

I do the show with Alex, who is so well respected in the industry and he's known for being so creative and slick and just genuinely one of the good guys, one of the nice guys you enjoy being around He's made it ten times easier. Being able to talk into a studio for the first time, literally a couple of days after they were nominated for an Aria was a lot of pressure, but it was made so much easier because of how nice everybody was. So I never felt like I was having to jump through Hoops at the first hurdle It was literally a come in. Let's see what we can do.

How would you say your work at Express FM, has helped build your skills and confidence?

I did student radio at Uni when I was in Canterbury at CSR FM That was cool It was the first time I ever properly sat behind a desk and got to experiment with faders and beds and top of hours and stuff

like that Coming to Express where the production has been taken up a notch. I always think of it as you have to know what's in front of you so well that it becomes second nature. So having the time at Express, meant I was able to walk into my first cover show at Hits Radio, so nervous like shaking nervous but confident that I knew the software, I knew the desk and having that little peace of mind meant that I could then just actually focus on the content and enjoy myself most importantly.

If someone reading this, has the same dream as you, what tip or one piece of advice would you give them?

I got my paid gig in radio at 30 years old, which by all accounts is very late. There were times when I thought that the ship had passed and I won't be able to catch-up. If you're passionate about it, if you feel like you have something to contribute, love radio and what it can do for people - because its an amazing thing, then do it

"There is no way that I would be able to have this job here if I hadn't done countless hours of volunteer work in Community Radio at Express FM"
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