It has been a couple of months since the last communication, and a lot has been happening.
In the last two Board meetings, we have been considering our strategic priorities:
- DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting)
- Volunteer Experience
- Leveraging Local Goodwill
We have made some decisions on how to proceed on each. Our much improved financial position over the last two years gives us some options to grow. I am delighted that we have been able to manage our finances well and extend my thanks to everyone who has helped us raise money.
We believe that one of our biggest issues is the ability to provide volunteers a place where they can work together. This just isn't possible in our current space. Therefore the Directors have agreed that we should seek to find space if we can which costs up to £12,000 per annum (our current space is very inexpensive at £2,000) and with a footprint of 500 to 1,000 sq ft. This will include looking at options within the existing building. If you know of possibly suitable space - given the limited budget this might be church or community space, please let a Director know.
There is the realistic prospect within the next two to three years of DAB being available to smaller stations like us. Given that radio listening is moving from FM to online and to DAB, especially now that DAB is more available as standard in cars, this is important to us but brings both money challenges and the prospect of local competition (we would go from having a monopoly as a local station to the possibility of up to 8 or 12 local stations on DAB).
This is a complex area, but we have decided to take an active role in understanding the capabilities and issues and costs. The initial estimate is that this might be very costly (up to £50,000 in the first year and possibly £10,000 per annum thereafter) so we will be both watching and learning and seeking to influence the rules which will govern this new DAB capability. Given that this is a strategic option we must keep open, there can be no let up on revenue!
A lot is happening behind the scenes now, and Denise has taken both the Board lead and operational role here. The main activity will be to improve volunteer induction and allocation to buddies and roles and to tighten up some of our record keeping, processes and policies. More to come on this area as Denise starts to roll out the new initiatives but a lot has already been done and new volunteers are being met and allocated more quickly. We are also defining clearly roles and advertising for specific vacancies, following CVS guidelines and advice.
Leveraging local goodwill
This project has determined some initial target parts of our community where we could work to become more integrated. We want to build on the success of community partners, get closer to local businesses particularly in the food and drink sector where we have already made inroads, and encourage more people to become members of the company. The Directors feel that the widest possible community representation in our membership base can ensure we reflect better the needs of our community in the way we run the company and the station.
The first practical step we have taken is to reduce the company membership fee by 40% to £30/£15 and we will be undertaking a marketing campaign to encourage new membership.
We will also be exploring possibilities around the food and drink festival with the Council. We have secured a position on the steering committee of this major event following our work with the Council last year.
None of this happens without a lot of hard work...if you want to get involved, let me know! My thanks to my fellow Directors for spending the time to work on and debate these areas fully and reach some initial conclusions and a tactical plan