In this update… the P pod becomes our most popular production, Schools Audio Day brings together students from four local schools plus lots of geeky data and more great ways you can join in and help us grow.
the P pod
the P pod is our flagship show and our most popular audio.
It shares the best of the community radio project and provides an open platform for local news, discussion and debate.
Claire Vennis and Joff Lacey host the programme and have now made nine weekly editions in locations around Petersfield.
Claire Vennis and Joff Lacey, presenters
the P pod graphic design is created by designers Paul Martin and Nick Pye of Agent8 design on the High Street.
We’ve learned: listeners love a personality-led local show. You can: propose interesting locations where you can help us record it.
Here’s the latest show – enjoy listening as you read through the rest of this newsletter.
One of the benefits of our digital platforms is we can measure the audience and see how our content is used.
We’re a learning project so the data helps us learn about the audience and what works best for listeners. We’re also an open project so we can share the numbers with you.
Our audio has been enjoyed more than 4,700 times. It took us four months to reach the first thousand. The latest one thousand have been added in a month. We’re growing and our growth is accelerating.
More than half of all listening is done on a mobile device:
Our decision to extend distribution to podcast platforms like Spotify, Apple and Google Podcasts has paid off handsomely with around 25% of all listening taking place. That has grown to 40% in the last three months:
Attention is precious
Some pieces of audio hold listeners’ attention better than others. For example around 50% of listeners stayed with this piece to the end…
…but this piece held 80% of listeners right through to the end…
We’ve learned: good subject matter, strong storytelling, attractive production and the right duration all help to retain listeners’ attention. You can: attend our next workshop to learn more.
What works best?
We’re starting to understand what stories are most popular with our listeners and what we can do to help more people find them.
Not everything we do has to be big, but covering group events and linking with other community organisations appears to help us us boost awareness of our project and get our audio heard.
These are the most popular audio stories we’ve made so far. You’ll see that community group stories and personal human stories perform particularly well, as well as our regular series that build loyal audiences who come back time and time again.
Our top 30
We’ve learned: we should make more weekly / fortnightly / monthly pieces. You can: share your ideas for regular series – you could be making our next hit show.
Distribution and podcasts
In June we started to share our audio content as podcasts via Apple, Google and Spotify, among other platforms.
These channels have grown. In the last three months they delivered 40% of all listening. Our audio is now available on all these podcast apps:
In November, the P pod entered the most popular UK places and travel podcast chart published by Apple, peaking at number 31.
We now publish six podcast channels, each of which we update regularly:
Petersfield Community Radio
All our audio
Suzie Wilde’s Wilde Walks
Suzie’s weekly walks
Petersfield Weather with Richard Marks
Dawn & Rob’s Bod Pod
Fitness, health and wellbeing
Money Moment with Martin Bamford
Useful finance stories
the P pod – everything Petersfield
Our flagship magazine show
We’ve learned: podcasts build listening for our audio. You can: encourage your family and friends to search, subscribe and listen to our audio on their favourite podcast app. If they like what they hear, it would be helpful if they rated and reviewed our podcasts. Five stars*****are always nice to see!
With more than 6,000 users (individual browsers) and 16,000 pageviews our website at https://petersfieldradio.uk remains our biggest shopfront.
Most use of the website is from mobile devices and a lot of people find us from Google searches and links on Facebook.
We are also learning some tricks that drive additional listenership and make our audio look great online:
1. Post on social media
Share links to our audio stories on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re a member of a relevant Facebook community page it makes a big difference to post them there, as well as on your own timeline.
2. Make radio look great
Take photos when you record. Strong images further boost the number of people who will click and enjoy your audio.
3. Use your contacts
Let your interviewees know when their piece goes live. Send them the link and pictures to share on their website and/or social media. They can even embed the audio on their own website. As with Meon Valley Travel (below) they can even embed the audio on their own website.
Thanks to you if you answered our call for production support.
Barry Baseley, James Sutton and Alice Payne have all dived in to edit and mix audio and several others are helpfully on the production group email.
If you record a story and it needs some editing or mixing just email email@example.com so one of the team can help you make it sound beautiful.
If you like the idea of editing audio and want to learn more about audio production this is the team for you. We still need more volunteers to edit, produce and publish audio.
See later in this newsletter for some specific opportunities.
Schools Audio Day
Our first Schools Audio Day brought together twenty students from our four partner schools for a day of practical learning about audio.
Bedales School hosted the event and the training was led by radio news editor Jonathan Richards and station sound producer James Stodd. Our own Richard Gaisford and Stephen Martin also appeared at the event.
The students spent half the day reporting original news stories for a “live” edition of the one o’clock news, working to a real deadline and presenting the news in front of their teachers and peers.
In the afternoon the students created a radio advertising campaign for the Open Air Swimming Pool. Members of the Churcher’s College team produced the winning ad and each earned their prize of ten free swims at the pool.
We’ve learned: a day at school has never sounded so good. You can: help us find a sponsor so we can do more of these events in 2020.
More ways you can help us grow
1. Make some radio
Record an interview, cover an event, come-up with a regular feature idea. It doesn’t matter if this is new to you. Other volunteers, including media professionals Richard Gaisford, Dave Bowers and Stephen Martin, can help you make it happen.
All you need is your brilliant idea, commitment to learn and enthusiasm. See the list of specific openings below.
2. Tell your friends
Share our audio on social media, including any relevant group pages you’re on. If you know a local business owner let them know they can promote their business with us. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if someone you know wants to sponsor us or advertise their business.
3. Add to our events guide
If you’re a member of a local organisation that runs events make sure they have a logon to our database so they can get their events promoted in the P pod and on our website. Email email@example.com
4. Bring in some money
You can help fund our project ambition and get the word out.
Join our fundraising and marketing team that applies for grants, invites local businesses to sponsor our work and promotes the project in the community.
Tell people who work in or run local businesses about our project and how they can sponsor us.
We have a sponsorship pack you can use to help raise funds. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a copy and join our fundraising drive.
We have some specific openings for volunteers at the project:
We are looking for a volunteer to fill an editorial role which would suit a retired journalist – or similar. To find out more, email email@example.com
We require more volunteers to publish our content on Omny Studio and our website; we’ve established a good level of quality control and have set the standard but now is the time for more people to take on the responsibility. Basic knowledge of a CMS is all you need or it could be learned quite quickly. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We have openings for genre-specific editors, who would take on responsibility for producing content in a category, such as business, arts, music, etc. If you have a particular interest and are keen to play more of a role within the project, please email email@example.com
We want a brilliant administrator who can help Stephen, Richard and Dave keep on top of organisation and paperwork. If you know someone with superb attention to detail, good communication skills and ideally some experience of bookkeeeping please put us in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
We are still keen to recruit more volunteers, so please encourage friends and family to join in. It’s a lot of fun, no experience is necessary and all ages are welcome. Email email@example.com or just sign-up on our homepage at https://petersfieldradio.uk
If you’ve supported our town’s community radio project in any way during 2019 thank you. We’ve come a long way in a short time and could not have done it without you.
If you have signed-up to the project but have yet to contribute in a practical way this is a great time to fulfill your commitment.
We believe that Petersfield deserves its own radio station and the next year will be a critical time to make our case and fund our ambition.
Meanwhile we’re working towards another workshop day in the New Year when all of us can learn new radio skills together.
Please let us know what you’d like to learn at the event and what you need to help you maximise your contribution to the success of the project.
Thank you for listening, Stephen, Dave, Richard, Sarah and Jake
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…
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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!
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 email@example.com to add your talents to our team. It should be fun and is just £6 per person.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.