More than 50 people attended the inaugural meeting of the new Petersfield community radio project, at The Petersfield School, on Saturday.
The chief correspondent for ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Richard Gaisford, welcomed everybody to the event and explained how he had taken his first steps in the media in community radio. He was followed by the project’s Stephen Martin, who explained the opportunities of radio as a medium before outlining the benefits for the town and the ambitious timeline of the station.
Martin said: “We were contacted in advance by more than 80 people who expressed an interest in volunteering for the project; more than 30 confirmed they would attend the meeting, yet on the day we had around 20 ‘new people’ turn up. That’s great news for the project and so typical of this town.
“It’s our intention to launch initially with a podcast, probably in June, which will then lead on to an internet stream and then, hopefully, a spot on local DAB or an FM frequency. It’s our ambition to be streaming content 24/7 from the autumn.
“That is obviously dependent on our having sufficient volunteers to cover all aspects of the project, from production right through to marketing. And we also need to ensure we are able to fundraise the minimum amount required to cover all the initial expenses.
It’s an ambitious schedule but we saw on Saturday the enthusiasm already present in the potential volunteers who attended the meeting.”
Martin, who has worked in the media sector for nearly 30 years, has christened the approach the team are taking an ‘open radio model’. It’s totally local in that it is produced by volunteers from the community, for members of the community. It is a completely not-for-profit project which has been constituted for social gain and will be supported by donations, grants and support from the local business community, both large and small.
Another volunteer, Dave Bowers, added: “Radio is still the most trusted medium out there and it reaches 90 per cent of the population on a weekly basis. We’re merely looking to reach the 15,000 people who live in this town of ours.
“We already have the support of The Petersfield School, Bedales, and Churcher’s College, and we will be using our contacts to recruit experienced media professionals who can help in providing training for pupils keen to take their first steps in media. In addition, we have also partnered with the Petersfield Museum, with whom we will be undertaking a comprehensive aural history project.
“It is our aim to make Petersfield community radio a soundtrack to the town’s festivals and public events; we will illuminate the creativity that powers our local arts scene and will be a public service to share opinion, ideas and experience. It’s a really exciting time for the town and its community.”
To illustrate the inclusive nature of the project – and after some coaching from the experienced Gaisford – one of the youngest volunteers, TPS year-eight pupil Julian Slusarczyk, interviewed one of the elder attendees, local author Rita Greer. His first attempt at interviewing may be heard on the project’s website.
The team behind Petersfield Community Radio would still like to hear from anybody who feels they would like to be part of the project or those who believe they have some of the key skills required to take it to the next stage.
The next meeting will be a Creative Event at Churcher’s College on Saturday 2 March. Further information can be found on the website at petersfieldradio.uk or by calling 01730 887399.
On Saturday morning (26 January 2019), around fifty of us attended our first open project meeting. Here’s what happened.
Richard explained how his media career started in radio and how radio is still very much part of his life now.
He set-out the three project themes : Community, Creativity and Connection and how they will benefit local life while making great radio everyone can enjoy making and listening to. Richard also said that “everybody has a story” and encouraged us all to find the stories in our community and share them through the project.
Stephen spoke about the unique qualities of radio. It’s the most trusted medium, the most democratic medium, and still as popular as ever with 90% of the UK population listening to live radio every week. Sir Paul McCartney made us laugh. He loves radio too.
I’ve got skills, they’re multiplying
Dave encouraged us all to share our skills and passions. What an amazing collection of experiences in our team – from historians to voice artists to marketing people to wine producers. Around a dozen volunteers have existing radio experience, either professionally in the UK (or in one case New Zealand) or through hospital or community broadcasting.
We discussed the things we’d like to learn together. Several of us want to learn production skills, others want to present for the first time or get into radio journalism. Some want to develop their interview skills. One volunteer wants to share her passion for music, others want to get up to date with modern ways of making radio using today’s digital technology. A great mix – we can do it all.
Get on your feet
Sarah got everybody active with listening and vocal exercises. The owner of the best mouth stretches was Ian Crossman who won a huge bar of chocolate. It’s so big he’ll need a stretchy mouth to eat it.
Richard gave his tips for getting a great interview in any situation:
Ask open questions: what, where, who, when, how and why?
Listen closely to the answers so you can ask a good next question.
Nod and smile silently while your interviewee gives an answer to encourage them to say more.
One of our youngest volunteers, Julian, learned from this and interviewed one of our oldest, Rita. Listen to their interview.
Let’s do it, do it, do it…
Stephen shared the work done so far, explained how we’re constituted as a not-for-profit organisation, named our first five community partners and began the conversation about how we plan to develop our service together.
We’ll start with an online audio-led offer which will include a regular podcast. We’ll build a continuous radio stream and then plan to add DAB and/or FM broadcast, subject to Ofcom approval.
Each stage brings extra opportunities to learn but also means additional work and costs.
An aural history project in partnership with The Petersfield Museum will run throughout and, we hope, leave a lasting legacy for future generations.
Smells like team spirit
Dave encouraged all of us to think about the kind of teams we would most like to work in. They’re not set in stone but we’re starting with:
Two editorial teams; Stories and Information: Mentored by Richard and Dave.
Programming team: presentation, scheduling, music and imaging. Mentored by Stephen.
Fundraising team: grants, sponsorship and commercial connections.
Impact team: brand, marketing and promotion. Mentored by Stephen.
Tech team: engineering, facilities and digital infrastructure. Mentored by Colin.
Operations team: team and partner comms, events management, audience feedback.
If you’re experienced in Operations, Tech or Fundraising and would like to mentor one of these teams please email firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message on 01730 887399.
To deliver our ambitions we will all need to take some responsibility for fundraising. After the meeting a couple of volunteers offered their help with a prospectus.
Cllr Julie Butler representing East Hampshire District Council and Cllr James Deane of Petersfield Town Council explained how we can apply for grants from their respective organisations.
We will encourage donations and commercial sponsorship too but, unlike some community radio stations we’ve researched, we do not plan to charge a fee to volunteers.
However, any of us can donate directly to the project account:
Name: Petersfield Community Radio Sort code: 60-83-71 Account number: 22320207
Please share this with your philanthropist friends!
We’re gathering and sharing everybody’s content ideas, brand name ideas and more via our Ideas Magnet . All ideas are helpful, whether fully-formed or not. Your nebulous thought could trigger someone else’s spark of genius so get stuck in.
Several volunteers asked for contact details of other people at the event. We can share this information, but only with your agreement so please confirm whether you’re ok for us to pass on your email address.
FOUR THINGS TO DO THIS WEEK
Make ten minutes to go to The Ideas Magnet and share your ideas.
Decide which team (or teams) you would like to contribute to. We will hook you up.
Put the Creative Day in your diary. Saturday 2 March 10am – 1pm at Churcher’s College.
Confirm by reply to this email whether we may share your email address with other volunteers.
You may have noticed that one of the phone boxes in The Square no longer contains a telephone.
Jackie Predith of the charity Saving Lives Together explained why to Petersfield Community Radio’s Stephen Martin.
Other public defibrillators are available at The Festival Hall and at The Swan Surgery on Swan Street.
This is one example of the type of local story the Petersfield Community Radio project will share through its team of volunteers. It’s published here primarily for team training purposes but it’s a great story nonetheless!
Our first public meeting is confirmed for Saturday 26 January at 10am.
At the event, radio volunteers will share information about their unique life experiences and expertise, learn more about the project proposals and assess what training support is necessary to help us create the most compelling radio content from the skills of the team.
Dozens of local people from a wide range of backgrounds have expressed an interest in volunteering opportunities with the radio project.
If you would like to join them and be part of the project there is still time to sign-up ahead of the first meeting. In return you will receive further information about the meeting and details of the venue.