A group of community-minded media professionals from the Petersfield area – including Richard Gaisford, ITV Good Morning Britain’s chief correspondent – are aiming to create a community radio station for the town, and hope potential volunteers will join them at a launch meeting in January.
Petersfield-based media executive Stephen Martin is also supporting the not-for-profit Petersfield Community Radio project and believes the station – which would be manned entirely by volunteers – would celebrate both the town and its residents and would sit comfortably alongside existing
He explained: “Community radio can serve an area like no other form of media and there’s a superb opportunity in Petersfield for people from all walks of local life to get involved. A community radio station, initially broadcast via the internet, would complement the newspapers and magazines already serving the town.”
“We’re very excited about the potential here in Petersfield because it’s a town with a fabulous community ethos and we hope we can tap into that energy and utilise the various talents of people who will volunteer to make a real success of the project.”
“We’ve had a very positive response from community groups, other media and schools – including both TPS and Churcher’s – we’ve approached and we are planning to move forward with the project in early 2019.”
Gaisford began his career in hospital radio before spending the last 19 years on breakfast TV, reporting on major conflicts, natural disasters and political turmoil around the world. Having lived in the area with his family for more than 16 years, he was keen to throw his weight behind the project.
He explained: “I think it’s a great idea for the town and the emphasis on ‘community’ and ‘social good’ can only be beneficial all round. I’m keen to help out with the project whenever my schedule would allow, particularly as it will help bring all ages together with a common goal.”
Martin has already utilised his extensive contacts book to secure the services of a team of professional broadcasters and producers who will help develop skills – such as interviewing, editing, production and story treatment – in the station’s broadcast volunteers.
But, as he added, there is a lot more to be done behind the scenes as well as on the microphone. He said: “The actual broadcasting is just the part of the project of which the listener is aware – there is a lot of other work to be done that will enable us to launch and maintain the service, such as graphic design, web design, equipment, promotion, sales etc.”
“We already have a local accountant and a lawyer who have volunteered their services to help with the legal and financial side of things – but there are many roles to be filled by people who have no intention of getting behind the mic.”
“It’s something residents can really get involved with, enjoy and witness the benefits themselves; it will be created by volunteers from the local community, for the community, and everyone is welcome to become a part of it.”
As well as a source for ‘What’s On’ information to support the town’s own events and social activities, the station will aim to provide entertainment, community reporting, and a daily connection between people from all walks of local life – all for social gain. It will also act as a public forum in which to share opinion, ideas and experience.
Martin would like to hear from anybody interested in participating in the project in advance of the meeting, for which a time and place is yet to be finalised. To register interest in becoming a part of Petersfield Community Radio, simply email Stephen Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact details and area of interest.