Project newsletter

Audio Highlights

Our audio just gets better and better with several regular features starting to hit their stride:

Suzie Wilde has now completed six Wilde Walks. They’re short first-person accounts of Suzie’s country strolls with her labrador, Raine. Such a simple format, yet so delightful because of Suzie’s air of wonder and her way with words.

Richard Marks now provides a weekly weather outlook for the Petersfield area, drawing on his archive of local weather records and his knowledge of our town’s microclimate. He was right about the recent rain.

Thanks to our connection with Informed Choice, through Shelley McCarthy, we have introduced a weekly Money Minute presented by Martin Bamford. It’s full of information to help you manage money better, whether you have investments or simply want to keep on top of the daily cost of living.

Alan Cosh secured an invitation to a launch event at the workshop and showroom of Sheet-based Lanzante. The company holds a place in motorsport history and Alan’s report captures the sense of awe at the facility from neighbours and enthusiasts alike. Already, it’s our most listened-to report.

An absolute highlight, however, is the report by Nina Vennis from the Beltain Festival at Butser Ancient Farm. Nina’s piece conveys brilliantly all the energy and colour of the festival.

The festival organisers loved the report so much they “embedded” it on their own website…

Nina’s report embedded on the Butser Ancient Farm website

How embedding works

Any report we make can be embedded on the websites of other organisations thanks to the OmnyStudio audio publishing platform. It’s a great way to get our stories out to a wider audience so make sure you offer this opportunity to interviewees and partners.

Our podcast

Thanks to everyone who auditioned for the podcast presenter roles. What amazing talent we have in Petersfield. After a lot of listening we can now confirm that the launch presenters for the show will be Claire Vennis and Joff Lacey.

Claire and Joff performed really confidently in the auditions, demonstrating true human curiosity in the interviews and an ability to present with punch and authority in the menu sequences. We just hope they get on well together!

We discovered lots of hidden talent in the process and others will have opportunities to present too. For example, Mandy Parent will introduce our local music segment and James Robbins will host sport.

The show will be called The P Pod and it promises to be bursting with everything Petersfield.

The name came from one of the suggestions in our Ideas Magnet and it reflects the fun and freshness of our project. It also tests well around our volunteers and with the industry pros we’ve consulted. Media branding specialist Charlie Mawer says it’s “just sweet” while Richard Gaisford calls it “clever, simple and memorable”.

Fundraising and impact

The team has completed a creative brief for the graphics we need to launch the podcast. Local designers Paul Martin and Nick Pye have kindly agreed to work on the look and feel of the project with us.

The fundraising and impact team is writing a prospectus to help potential sponsors understand our project and the value it can offer to the community and to their business. This is important work to help fund our project’s ambition.

If you know of a local business owner or private individual who may like to support our project financially please email team@petersfieldradio.uk

Distribution

On one level, radio is simple: you make stuff people want to hear and then put it in a place they can get it. It’s the second part of that equation we’ve been working on recently.

As a result, you can now hear our individual audio stories in a number of popular places including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. Wherever you get your podcasts just search ‘Petersfield Stories’ or use this link from your device: https://podfollow.com/petersfield

One of the reasons for doing this now is to test ways we can distribute The P Pod, once it’s released. If you see something that doesn’t work or text that’s wrong please feed back to team@petersfieldradio.uk

Microphones

We now have four RØDE microphones and a multitrack recorder. This means we can record round-table style discussions with up to four particpants.

James Sutton, Stephen Martin, Dave Bowers, Colin Brook, Alastair Stewart and Tim Concannon spent last Friday evening learning how to rig the RØDE microphones and make recordings using the multitrack device.

Any of them can rig the kit now, so if you want to record an indoor discussion (Suzie’s book club idea springs to mind) then contact one of the gentlemen named above.

James Sutton is perfectly mic’d

We’ve also made a geeky guide to using the equipment.

Schools Audio Day

Wednesday 26 June sees our four partner schools come together for a day of audio learning, hosted by Bedales.

We’ve secured audio producer James Stodd and accomplished radio journalist Jonathan Richards. Together with our project’s Stephen Martin they will help 20 students develop news writing and reading skills and learn how to write and produce effective radio promotional trailers.

This work is central to the social gain we aim to drive in the local community. In an age of fake news, learning radio technique can help young people distinguish between disinformation and fact, and develop skills that grow their future potential in Britain’s creative industries.

The Schools Together website carries more information about our work with local schools.

Social events

TPS Quiz and Curry Night

Don’t forget to join our Quiz Team for the event at TPS next Friday. Email dave@petersfieldradio.uk if you’d like to be part of it.

Suzie’s book launch

Our talented volunteer Suzie Wilde launches her latest book this Wednesday at One Tree Books on Lavant Street. Grab a ticket if you want to be part of the event.

That’s all for now – don’t forget that everything around you is a story. Take the initiative and, like Alan and Nina, get out there and make great radio.

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Project newsletter

from Stephen Martin.

Here’s a round-up of current project activity. It’s lovely to hear the audio we’re making together but there’s much more going on besides and there are further opportunities to get stuck in.

Editorial compliance and legal training

Be grateful you can’t see what’s on the screen.

It was great to see more than thirty volunteers at the Editorial Compliance and Legal training session last weekend.

Our guest trainer, Paul Chantler, was impressed by the enthusiasm and range in our team. Indeed, he said so on Monday when he was awarded a Radio Academy Fellowship at the Radio Festival in London. I was proud to hear our town’s project mentioned in front of Britain’s radio leaders in such warm terms, especially by a respected industry figure like Paul.

If you read Ofcom’s Broadcast and On Demand Bulletins, you’ll see the number of radio stations that fall foul of regulations and can face sanctions, fines or loss of their right to broadcast. Their most recent bulletin includes several such cases from community radio stations. Thanks to Paul we won’t make mistakes like these:

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0028/147916/issue-378-broadcast-on-demand-bulletin.pdf

Paul has created two summary sheets which are attached and also available on the project website. He couldn’t bring copies of his book Keep it Legal but you can pick one up here:

I would also recommend two other radio books. How to Make Great Radio by David Lloyd is full of great broadcasting advice and radio stories, written with much affection for the medium:

International radio consultant Valerie Geller wrote Creating Powerful Radio many years ago but its principles are timeless… tell the truth, make it matter, and never be boring.

If you don’t want to purchase them, I have copies of David’s and Valerie’s books which you are welcome to borrow.

Podcast next steps

We have created an initial format for our podcast which includes weekly features such as reports made by children at our partner schools (Nina, Julian, and others), Wilde Walks (Suzie), a round up of local news, sport (James) inspiration from local Church leaders (Josh) and Petersfield’s weather (Richard).

There’ll also be Recipe Exchange (Noni), money tips (Shelley) space for local musicians to showcase their talent (Mandy and Gavin) and a regular property piece (Dawn and Alan). As the estate agents like to claim… many original features.

Of course, any one-off pieces that speak volumes about life in our town and get local people talking will always find space to cut through and we should be in a position to confirm a name for the show and presenters soon. Thank you if you auditioned.

We’ll also confirm a piloting schedule, target launch date and regular recording venue soon. Any suggestions?

Your help wanted

There are four clear areas where we need a few more offers of help. We’re always open to new volunteers but you could make a real difference if you’re able to focus some time to:

Help tell more stories

We have everything we need now to record stories and get them published. Now we can be really confident and turn our natural curiosity into great radio. Get the free app on your phone and pick-up a windshield from me or Alastair so you’re always ready to record an interview or a diary piece and get into a habit of creating audio regularly. We can never have too many stories and anyone who records a piece will receive coaching and feedback from Richard, Dave and me (whether you want it or not!). Don’t be shy!

Help to edit and produce

We need a couple more people who will regularly take raw recorded audio and edit or mix it. This means you’ll need to think editorially about the story as well as technically how it will sound. Please let me know if you want to have a go at editing. We have some great tools to use and I’ll be running some evening and weekend workshops to help you build your editing and production skills.

We also need a producer to take responsibility for pulling together all the bits that will go into the weekly podcast, check they’re ready to air and make creative decisions about the best way to fit them together. Strong production lies at the heart of every great radio show and this experience could really help if you plan a career in media.

Help to plan and fix

Dave has an ambitious plan to generate news stories for the podcast but we need a couple of people with time to help plan ahead and fix-up interviews. Perhaps you don’t want to appear on air but you’re great at organising things. If so, this is for you. Please email dave@petersfieldradio.uk to volunteer for one of these vital roles.

Help to build our town’s event diary

Our events diary at https://petersfieldradio.uk/events is shaping-up to be a great source of information about local activities. As far as possible we’re asking event organisers to input their information directly so it’s accurate and complete but we also need volunteers to build on this and ensure more local groups in the community get exposure for their events. Just an hour a week of your time will make a real difference to the diary. Please email me to get a log-in and help to get started.

Our events diary will be the source of what’s on information we feature and promote in the podcast, so there’s a real incentive to make it as comprehensive and useful as possible.

Impact and fundraising

Members of the team have been working behind the scenes on our brand, on creating a funding pack and preparing to push-out to seek the sponsorships and grants we need to fund our ambition. Now that the local elections are done we have a new batch of councillors to educate about our project.

The team will also look to everybody in the project to help spread the word and tap into sources of local funding, whether from business contacts or philanthropic friends.

For example, we have received donations from Petersfield based InSync Technology and from our own volunteer Tim Concannon in a personal capacity.

These donations mean we have been able to invest in further microphones and stands, and have purchased a six-channel multitrack audio recorder.

Together, this new kit means we can record longform round-table discussions like Suzie’s book club idea or debates, as well as produce one-on-one interviews like Tim’s Down the Pub series without having to borrow or hire equipment.

If you or anyone you know would like to make a donation to the project you can use the PayPal link on our website or contact me for more information.

Schools Audio Day

You will know that we partner with local schools to help young people share their stories. These partnerships can also help pupils learn about radio production, build media literacy and protect themselves from today’s vortex of disinformation and fake news.

Bedales School will host our Schools Audio Day on Wednesday 26 June. The Petersfield School, Ditcham Park School and Churcher’s College are all participating too.

I’ll be there, along with accomplished radio newsman Jonathan Richards and creative audio and music producer James Stodd. Together, we’ll lead students through some practical radio and promotional audio production tasks. A day at school has never sounded so good.

Technical corner

Hindenburg

Here’s a bit of luck… I run a radio promotions website and podcast called Earshot. One of my advertisers has agreed to donate software licences to our community project. It means we have six 12-month licences for Hindenburg Broadcaster software – a sophisticated editing package specifically designed for radio journalism.

If you want to edit audio for the project on a MacBook, a Windows laptop or desktop PC and would like to use Hindenburg Broadcaster, just let me know and I will assign one of the licences to you. Julian is first in the queue!

Audacity

Audacity has just released an update to its free editing software with some enhancements. Get version 2.3.2 from https://www.audacityteam.org/

Website tutorials

Our website now shows step-by-step how to set up and use the free Voice Record Pro app to record audio on your phone. That’s how Suzie is making her wonderful Wilde Walks pieces. There’s a growing selection of tutorials at https://petersfieldradio.uk/knowledgebank/ and all the useful tools for volunteers are at https://petersfieldradio.uk/volunteers/

If you’d like to help write these tutorials just let me know. For example, we need one to help explain how to share files with Google Drive and one on using the new multitrack recorder with our Rode microphones.

Quiz and Curry Night at TPS on 21 June

I hope you have seen Dave’s email. Let’s put our brains together, support our partner school and win this for radio! Contact dave@petersfieldradio.uk to add your talents to our team. It should be fun and is just £6 per person.

See you there,

Stephen

Report: Creative Day, 2 March

With thanks to Churcher’s College for hosting us in their Lecture Theatre, here are headlines from our first Creative Day which took place on Saturday 2 March 2019.

Thirty two volunteers joined us for the day which moved us from great ideas to practical implementation, and shared skills necessary for everyone to get out and start making radio content.

Turning ideas into content

Dave led us through ideas submitted to our Ideas Magnet and found volunteers to take them forward. This Wordle shows the most popular themes from the ideas submitted…

Now we’re turning ideas into actual content and some highlights include:

  • News stories. Dave will assemble a team
  • What’s on / entertainment information
  • Women’s discussion with Suzi, Mandy, Noni, Rita and Dawn
  • A cycle of weekly schools reports, managed by our schools representatives Cathy, Debs, Rob and Ian and their students
  • Walking / rambling / out of doors features – Tim, Suzie and Tom
  • Property features with Dawn, Alan and Barbara
  • Faith feature – Josh and Tim
  • Down the pub interviews with Tim
  • Money features – Shelley
  • Book club / local writers with Suzie and Laura
  • Haunted Hampshire with Emily and Ryan
  • Hard Work – job interviews with Alan
  • Recipe exchange with Noni
  • Twin Town reports with Ian

Dave is maintaining a full spreadsheet of content and owners. Let him know if you want to look through it or add your name to something.

Podcast

We want to start in June with a half-hour weekly show.

Richard proposed that our podcast could accommodate a flexible mix of different content within a fixed presenter-led format.

The longer audio features will live on the website on demand. Short clips in the podcast will encourage listeners to them.

We’ll cast a couple of entertaining presenters to link the elements together and establish a weekly production routine.

Someone must take responsibility for editorial production (the output editor) and someone must commit to the audio editing each week (the audio producer). It could be the same person. It could be you.

Production workflow

Stephen stepped us through how we’ll make things and get them to listeners. We’ll use free and open source tools wherever we can.

We also have an account with OmnyStudio, thanks to the educational radio production website and podcast, Earshot.

This is our workflow:

There are several ways to make audio recordings:

  • Zoom H1n handheld recorders (we have bought several and they’re great for indoor or outdoor recording)
  • A portable rig of large diaphram Rode microphones on stands (we have one rig so far and it’s ideal for indoor interviews, performance and presentation work)
  • Voice Record Pro on smartphones (a free app for both Android and iOS). Another way to record interviews and easily upload to Google Drive.

In all cases, we save our recorded audio to Google Drive (free up to 15 GB of storage space) and share it between volunteers from there. Sign-up for a free Google account if you don’t have one.

If you’re using a laptop or PC, this free tool helps you sync files between your Google Drive and your computer.

You can also download the free Audacity editing software for a PC or Macbook.

And you can grab Voice Record Pro from your phone’s app store. Again, it’s free.

Our Intake form lets you submit completed audio, or raw audio that you need someone else to edit.

Alastair and Ryan will work out a booking system for the portable equipment. It will be held centrally in Petersfield Museum which we hope is convenient for everyone.

We will publish some tips to help you get the best use from the portable recorders soon, and some more detail on the intake process.

Oral History

Ryan from Petersfield Museum explained the key features of Oral History and how our audio interviews can help build a permanent record of Petersfield life for future generations.

He also shared some good advice for interviewing subjects: get to know them first, get their permission, don’t lose the recording!

There’s more information at the national Oral History Society website. https://www.ohs.org.uk/

Technique workshops

We split into two groups with some volunteers practicing news writing technique, breathing and smiling and interview practice with Richard and Sarah.

Meanwhile, a parallel session with Stephen looked at the technology we’ll use, and practiced recording on portable devices, moving the audio to Google Drive and editing it on laptops before publishing with OmnyStudio.

Most volunteers were in the first group – this is quite normal for radio!

When the two groups came together afterwards it became apparent that Julian has amazing skills in both areas.

Brand update

Thanks for your initial brand and naming ideas. The Impact team will take this forward and we have some professional contacts to help us including Charlie Mawer who has developed many broadcast brand identities including the TV channel Dave because “everyone has a mate called Dave”. True.

To help this process, we discussed our values:

And some thing’s we’ll try to avoid!

Coming soon

Legal and compliance training

Paul Chantler hasn’t just written the book on this… he’s written three…

This session with Paul is confirmed for Saturday 11 May at Churcher’s College. It will run from 9am to 1pm.

It is a requirement that anybody who writes or broadcasts for the project completes this training.

Please read the Ofcom code before the day.

The BBC Editorial Guidelines are a good reference point too – considered a gold standard for independent journalists around the world.

Schools audio day

As part of our delivery of social gain in the community we’re developing an audio journalism and audio production day for students of our four partner schools.

This event is likely to be in late June and will be hosted by Bedales School. More information soon.

Knowledgebank

Several volunteers and representatives from the schools asked for an online guide to audio recording, how to use the equipment and submit audio.

Stephen is writing some guides and we will publish it on this website. If you’d like to help him please get in touch.

Report: first open meeting

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:

  1. Ask open questions: what, where, who, when, how and why?
  2. Listen closely to the answers so you can ask a good next question.
  3. 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.

Julian interviews Rita

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 team@petersfieldradio.uk or leave a message on 01730 887399.

Money

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!

What’s next?

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.

https://bit.ly/ideas-magnet

Mentors and their teams will start working together. Just like in the X Factor.

We will shortlist and test some possible names for the service, and decide by 2 March.

Please get your ideas in via the Ideas Magnet.

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

  1. Make ten minutes to go to The Ideas Magnet and share your ideas.
  2. Decide which team (or teams) you would like to contribute to. We will hook you up.
  3. Put the Creative Day in your diary. Saturday 2 March 10am – 1pm at Churcher’s College.
  4. Confirm by reply to this email whether we may share your email address with other volunteers.

NERDY THINGS TO DO IF YOU’RE REALLY KEEN

  1. Read the Ofcom Broadcast Code . 155 gripping pages.
  2. Download this free audio editing software onto a computer and have a play with it.
  3. Practice interviewing people. Remember: open questions, listening skills and lots of silent smiley nodding!

p.s.. did you leave behind a small leather bag? We have it.

Date confirmed for first Community Radio public meeting

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.

Just sign-up at https://petersfieldradio.uk