Internal blog post
Operations Manager update #16

Afternoon everyone,

Well, the big news is – Radio Verulam has been shortlisted for two Community Radio Awards!

Sports Show of the Year, ‘Verulam Sports’

Innovation Award, ‘Not so much a website, more a community hub’ 

Congratulations to Tony Rice, Jason McKenna, Matthew Turvey, Jo Kiely, Barry Hilliard, Ian Rogers, Nick Hazell and Dave Neal. The winners will be announced on October 26 in Barry, Wales and tickets for the event can be purchased here.

You can have a look at all the shortlisted nominees for all categories here. For those that don’t know, the Community Radio Awards is a volunteer organisation founded and chaired by Martin Steers, who is not only completing a masters, but is a broadcast assistant with BBC, an associate lecturer and works extensively in the community radio sector.

I caught up with Martin during the Community Media Association conference (28-29 Sep) and this year, there were over 420 submissions. Jonny Seabrook and I were both judges of different categories and the competition is strong. Across the UK, community radio stations are doing incredible things in their local areas and being shortlisted by peers is a brilliant achievement.

My heartfelt thanks also to Bouche à Orielle, Days of Our Lives, Environment Matters, Generation Gap and Dave Neal (Sage Person over 60) for taking the time to curate their entries. Many stations I spoke to also had aspirations of their shows getting shortlisted, but the bar is high in the community radio sector.

Website, Engineering & technical faults – Nick Hazell is back Mon 7 October, however, Dave Neal is still away for another week, so please do be mindful of response times to website issues. They may not get dealt with as quickly. Your usual channels exist for logging technical or engineering faults, which is logging into RV Inside and using the form located under ‘Help’ called ‘Report a Problem’. Please see Dave Neal and the Engineering Teams blog post from Tuesday 30 July for further details.

Community Media Association conference – Clive Glover and I attended the conference held in Salford and now, over 288 community stations are in existence in the UK. As Dom Chambers mentioned, we will hit 300 stations quite soon and to me, that is pretty amazing. People came from Scotland, Ireland and every direction of the UK to attend the Saturday. Plenty of updates and conversations on SSDAB, the Audio Content Fund and Community Radio Fund, live InRadio podcast discussions, as well as DeCentred podcast recordings which look at community and social development. For me, the most fascinating aspects came from the citizen journalism workshops held on Sunday. Magazines like Clydesider are empowering local residents to create, write and run a genuinely community driven magazine, while On our Radar are taking a similar approach with disadvantaged communities and enabling people with dementia, folks in low socio-economic areas and even those in developing countries to learn how to share their stories with simple production techniques. All this shows how hyper-local content and a big focus on original, local stories is really turning the world of journalism on its head.

Funding (show me the money!) – My message last week discussed potentially looking at annual or monthly volunteer subscription fees to help cover the basic costs of a volunteer experience, including insurance, electricity and ongoing quality training. Since then, I’ve had a number of volunteers meet or contact me with ways to fundraise, events that could be held and partnerships that could be struck up. I’d like to say a big thank you to them. I’m always open to suggestions, including how you would take the idea from start to finish. A community station is about social gain and participation - so, contact me if you have something you think will work.

Radio Verulam’s supporter wall – To date, we have over 45 businesses and people on the website helping us build a virtual brick wall, to keep the station running and our programmes on air. A single brick is valued at £60 (inc. VAT) and links out to a business website, or if it is an individual their profile or message. As part of the package, we will arrange an interview, share the love through social media and on-air – it’s a brilliant way to get behind a local community station. We have a goal to reach 200 bricks by the end of January 2020, which is 8 bricks pw.

However, if each of you can ‘build’ two bricks each – we will completely smash this target!

You can help by sharing this message with friends, family, or local businesses you know:

“As business or valued community member of St Albans and surrounds, do people know about you and the great work you do? If not, here is your chance to be a part of the bricks and mortar of the local community and be mentioned:

  • To over 7,000 Twitter followers
  • To over 2,500 Facebook fans
  • Be in an interview where you could be heard by one (or more!) of half a million adults in our Coverage area (Total service area) or,
  • Be played again (locally and globally) in one of our 800 podcasts being listened to over 200,000 times a year

Need to know more? Of course you do! Sign up is easy: https://radioverulam.com/brick/

St Albans Feastival - Well done to Ren Behan, Sara Garcia Moran, Dave Adcock, Ed Barradell and Mandy McNeil. The photos from the day look great and a genius idea from Sara and Ren to have an Instagram competition. Some brilliant images! I think as a station, we are starting to show how a small, organised team of you, can make a big impact. Congrats again.

Volunteer social catch up – In October/November we’ll be hosting a social catch up for everyone. Based on availability, it'll be on a Sunday afternoon or Mon/Tues evening. Watch this space for more information, we have some big events in the pipeline for you to get involved in.

As always, feel free to drop me a line with any feedback or suggestions: leona.fensome@radioverulam.com