Internal blog post
Changes to our output and studio usage

We have decided that, as a result of developments in the last few days, we will essentially close our studios and move to home-working operations.

For many of us, this will mean that we can’t undertake normal production or presenting.  For some of us, this will mean using home studios to help keep our daytime output up to a good standard and ensure we continue to entertain and inform people in our local communities.

From Monday 23 March:

  • Our studios will be closed
  • Our daytime output will be voicetracked or pre-recorded by people with home studios
  • Almost all of our evening programmes will be replaced with music 

Why are we doing this?

We feel this is a proportionate step to ensure the health and wellbeing of our volunteers and members of the public who would be visiting us.

Other workplaces aren’t doing this

The Government has now asked everyone who can to work from home.  That includes us. There will be many reasons why individual companies will have made a balanced decision.  In our case, we believe the impact on our output can be limited and our balance of this against volunteer welfare influenced our decision.

I present a non-daytime show

These shows will be replaced by a mix of music.  We will look at how to maintain some specialist strands from previous recordings.

I present a daytime show (weekdays or weekends)

These shows will be replaced by similar or the same shows but with different presenters (drawn from those with home studios). We have a core team of volunteers who will present the daytime programmes through remote voice tracking, including the weekend breakfast and Sat morning shows. For presenters who Dropbox their shows in each week, this will continue as usual.

If you want to volunteer and create a “home studio”, let me know.  We won’t be able to support this immediately. 

I am not a presenter

Many of you in off-air roles are already working on core tasks. Please continue to speak to your team leader about volunteering from home to complete any ongoing commitments.

I have a home studio or similar

You should already have been contacted about what happens next.  If not, please contact Nick Hazell. We have arranged a rota and online training in the next few days.

What about guests?

Regrettably, at least initially, we won’t be able to feature guests on shows which are voicetracked or pre-recorded.  We’ll look at how to bring these back using things like Skype and phone recordings but we need to focus for now on keeping output lively and informative with fewer presenters.

How long will this last?

We don’t know.  It is a temporary closure and we will advise you as soon as we intend to resume normal programming. 

Will we breach our Ofcom target for original programming?

That is possible, but not certain and where we do it will be unavoidable.  We are advising Ofcom what we are doing. We will aim not to let our original programming fall below our commitment, and we think on most days that won’t be the case.

What about advertisers?

Adverts will continue as usual.  We are advising all advertisers what is happening.

What about working together outside the studios?

Wherever possible, you should use conference calls and not meet face to face to reduce risks.  If it isn’t essential to meet face to face, make it a phone call. We recommend freeconference.com (but never use it on a mobile which is expensive) and you can also use Skype, WhatsApp or Google Hangouts.

What about fundraising events?

All fundraising events scheduled until July have now been postponed and we will soon be launching our online fundraising platform. Your help in getting this out through your networks will be needed. 

If you have any questions that are not covered in the above FAQ’s, please contact me. Our intention is to continue broadcasting remotely during this period, until the government guidance states otherwise. 

During this time, please keep the communication going on our Facebook group, WhatsApp chat and email. If you hear any relevant community news or positive stories – feel free to share them. Once we have the remote broadcast underway, we will then be focused on providing important and uplifting local, community content and YOU can play a big part in that! 

Stay safe, stay well and let’s show people how community radio really is a significant part of the fabric of life.