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Licence Number CR059
Station Name Cross Rhythms Plymouth
Launch Date 28/03/2007
Web address where you will publish this report www.crossrhythms.co.uk/plymouth/communityradioannualreports/
1.2 Key commitments: programming
Daytime output will typically comprise 75% music and 25% speech (‘speech’ excludes advertising, programme / promotional trails and sponsor credits). Between 19:00 and 07:00 (evenings and overnights) the proportion of speech may be lower
Daytime (peak) music output will typically be comprised of Christian music from a variety of genres, some of which will be play-listed to provide a coherent station sound. Outside of peak hours, and particularly at evenings and weekends, station output will also include a variety of specialist music output
Speech output will include news, interviews, audience interaction, topical features, public service announcements, weather and travel information. It may also include other types of spoken word output as considered appropriate
Output will be broadcast primarily in English, although the occasional use of other languages is permitted
The service will operate 24 hours a day, typically broadcasting live from 07.00 to 22:00 on weekdays. Live output at weekends will be depended upon the availability of volunteers, but is initially planned to operate for approximately six hours per day. However, it is hoped that eventually capacity will be sufficient to provide live output between 07:00 and 20:00 on Saturdays and Sundays. A sustaining service will typically be provided b the Cross-Rhythms network, although the use of automated output to provide such a service is also permitted.
In our last report, we stated that we were starting an afternoon drive time show, and an evening show. Both of these successfully launched and improved on our previous year’s performance.
The new 3 hour afternoon ‘City Drive’ show followed the format of mainstream afternoon drive time shows, with a mix of music, audience participation, local news and travel information. This show is currently suspended as we are looking for a new presenter to fill the gap left by a departing volunteer.
The regular evening show, 7-9pm 3 days a week live, is popular with listeners and contains regular movie guide, sports and local audience participation features.
Live output from April – December averaged 91 hours per month. (This changed in Jan with the loss of the City drive presenter, but the start of the live Breakfast Show Mon – Friday, from April 2010 is beginning to redress the balance. We are still looking for a replacement for City Drive.)
In addition, other locally produced programming averaged a further 93 hours per month, (including repeat broadcasts, not including the live shows listed above).
We are now building up a significant volunteer group which we are training to take on more live programming in the reporting year 2010/11, which means we expect to continue to grow live and original programming on the station.
The station’s output is entirely in English.
The station has strived to maintain a balance of music and speech content in keeping with its key commitment, however speech content is less than 25%.
Musical content is entirely Christian music from all genres, and specialist shows for BME audiences have a regular prime time slot on Friday evenings
Local news and ‘bulletins’ on topical features is researched, recorded and presented by volunteers and broadcast hourly, and a local events guide is also researched, recorded and presented by volunteers and broadcast 4 times a day.
The live shows encourage audience interaction with phone in quizzes, email correspondence and text messaging. Live shows also contain weather and travel info.
Interviews with representatives of local Police, Local Authority, charities and community organisations take place regularly (Community Matters show). The station has received a number of letters of appreciation from Public Service bodies and others represented on the show. Film reviews and local sports information feature regularly on the Evening show.
The station is on air 24/7. 2009 saw a change from using an internet link from studio to transmitter, which was replaced by an analogue ESP8 link which is much more stable, maintaining 24/7 output much more consistently.
The station’s level of live programming is undergirded by high quality programming from our collaborative relationship with Cross Rhythms in Stoke on Trent – this programming meets (and exceeds) many of our Key requirements for content, speech, and features etc and is an excellent provision for our listeners while we build up our own output This relationship works both ways, in that CR Plymouth record the Cross Rhythms Experience show and share this with CR Stoke (and CR Stockton), and also in 2009 recorded a series of ‘Close Encounters’ programmes which were similarly shared.
Going forwards The station has appointed a highly motivated co-ordinator of volunteers, who is now able to manage and nurture its growing number of volunteers. This means the station will build on the excellent foundation of production values that has been laid and will increase live programming during 2010. This growth will be sustainable because the right foundations are in place.
Successful locally produced shows during the year Half hour ‘Community Matters’ shows, which are pre-recorded interview shows, interspersed with music, are broadcast daily (typically two shows per week rotated through the week). These shows profile the work of local community organisations and charities. Through these interview shows, the station has improved the access given to these organisations and also developed good links with public services such as Police, Citizens Advice, and Plymouth Community Health Care Team. The reason these shows are pre-recorded is to enable them to be re-broadcast giving substantial exposure to the key messages of organisations that are often targeting the more vulnerable members of society who are likely to be radio listeners, helping them deliver their services to a wider audience and thus making their own services more accessible. A key relationship for Cross Rhythms which is featured on the show regularly is with Gilead Foundations, a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre based near Okehampton, which has a significant success rate with Clients. The station has received letters of appreciation from Police, local Public health, charities and Christian organisations following their involvement with these shows.
In the Spring of 2010, a new live ‘Breakfast Show’ was started, broadcast daily from 8am – 9am. The young couple who present the show are also involved in outreach ministry to youth through schools work, and the aim of the collaboration between their ministry (Oriel) and Cross Rhythms is to enable the station to engage with that younger audience on a number of levels and also to resource the work of Oriel with publicity and profile in the city.
The Cross Rhythms Experience, a one hour music programme presented by CR founder Chris Cole which explores the ‘message in the music’ is locally live-recorded and broadcast 6 times a week. (This programme is also provided to the two other Cross Rhythms Community radio stations)
The Worship Warehouse, a one hour contemporary worship music programme which plays a mix of music that is positive and spiritually uplifting, is presented by CR co-founder Kerry Cole, and is also locally recorded and re-broadcast 4 times a week.
The Art of Living, a one hour interview/music programme, presented by Chris Cole, interviews primary church leaders from the city, giving an honest appraisal of the state of the church and making it more accessible to the general public as well as those who have a Christian faith.
The station also produced a series of ‘Close Encounters’ programmes, which have a ‘desert Island Disc format where interviewees, all members of the public who share a Christian faith, tell their story of their journey of faith and select contemporary Christian music tracks that have impacted their lives in some way. These shows are shared with other stations.
Local Events Guide is produced and presented by volunteers and aired 4 times daily, Mon-Fri.
The local news feature is produced and presented by volunteers and aired hourly 8am – 6pm
The station’s volunteer afternoon ‘City Drive’ presenter secured full time employment in December 2009 and had to leave the show. (He is currently preparing a pilot ‘specialist show’ for young people, which will be able to be produced out of hours). We continue to seek a new presenter for the show, and recent improvements in the management of our increasing number of volunteers will provide the answer to this need.
1.3 Key commitments: Social gain objectives (a) The provision of sound broadcasting services to individuals who are otherwise underserved
According to the National Census of 2001, nearly three quarters of the people living in the proposed broadcast area describe themselves as Christian; however, existing broadcasters in the area provide only limited amounts of output having a specific Christian perspective. This lack of specifically relevant broadcast material highlights the need for a service which provides information and entertainment for the Christian community in the Plymouth area as well as including feature material which is of relevance to specific sub-groups within this community. This is particularly true for the younger members of the target community who perhaps find it harder to engage with traditional Church structures.
The Christian community in Plymouth is well-served by Cross Rhythms, with 100% of its musical content being Contemporary Christian Music, all of the highest standard covering all genres available in the mainstream. This music is the most up to date and features a sufficient range of styles to cover a wide audience requirement.
Regular Christian events guides promote events of interest to the audience, as well as the wider community.
Regular Art of Living interview shows with primary church and ministry leaders, explore in depth the strengths and weaknesses of the church from all expressions (or denominations) of the Christian faith.
All age groups are informed of relevant Christian news and events, and entertained with good quality programming and music. Sub-groups within the community (eg BME churches) are served with specific music shows, and the younger population have regular shows in the evenings that are especially relevant to their cultural and spiritual needs. These shows are sourced through our relationship with CR Stoke. Many young people nowadays have a spiritual ‘hunger’ but are culturally averse to going to any kind of church – through lyrical content of songs, and shows exploring young people’s issues, the station is connecting with them and giving them access to a spiritual message that helps them make their own informed decisions about faith.
The station’s output is also broadcast on the internet at www.crossrhythms.co.uk/plymouth. This makes the station and its Christian content accessible to an even wider audience using this increasingly popular medium.
1.4 Key commitments: Social gain objectives (b) The facilitation of discussion and the expression of opinion
Cross Rhythms Plymouth intends to provide a range of opportunities and mechanisms to enable discussion and expression of opinion to take place. A primary way of achieving these objectives will be through inviting guests with a range of opinions on issues to share their views. This will be achieved through interviews, phone-ins and, where appropriate, through the use of live studio discussions with representatives from relevant groups being invited to take part
The station will encourage participation by the target community at all levels. This will include the ability for listeners to send SMS text messages, e-mails and to telephone the radio station to express their views and comments
The station's core team will maintain regular contact with local church leaders which will provide a further avenue through which the opinions of members of the community may be channelled through to the station, ultimately helping shape and contribute to the overall content, sound and style of the station's broadcast output and other activities.
Opportunities for discussion and expression of opinion are presented in the programmes, especially the Art of Living which provides a platform for views from all through the wide spectrum of the Christian tradition, and all denominations.
Community Matters also enables guests from a diverse cross-section of third sector organisations and community groups, to promote their activities and express opinions relating to their own particular field of expertise.
Phone-ins on the live shows are another means of providing this platform.
Listeners are encouraged to text, email and phone in to the live shows.
The Trustees are represented on the Enabling Group of the Churches Together in Plymouth (CTiP) forum, which is a cross-denominational body that represents most of the churches in the city.
Local church leaders are regularly contacted for the Art of Living show, and also for events information. In this way the local churches have a part to play in the station’s content, sound and style.
A collaborative relationship has been well-built over the last year with CTiP, who are now finalising a major research project covering faith involvement in the community (Plymouth Faith Action Audit). This project is in partnership with the Trustees of the radio station, Plymouth University and Cornerstone Vision (a local media and publishing company that works closely with Cross Rhythms). Through this project, interaction with local churches and ministries is being achieved.
Local church leaders are also mailed twice a year with the ‘Communicator’ newsletter which keeps them informed of the station’s progress and gives them the opportunity to contact the station, support financially or in prayer.
1.5 Key commitments: Social gain objectives (c) The provision (whether by means of programmes included in the service or otherwise) of education or training to individuals not employed by the person providing the service
Cross Rhythms Plymouth will engage with a wide range of local educational establishments at a variety of levels. It will provide access to the radio station for students, and, in particular, will work closely with those involved in placement provision and work experience
A number of significant community initiatives are currently under-way in Plymouth, including a major regeneration programme for Devonport (one of the city's more deprived areas). A city-wide Plymouth Growth Strategy, funded by central Government is also operating locally. These initiatives are designed to promote entrepreneurship and business start ups and, in conjunction with them, the radio station will seek to engage wherever possible to provide a variety of training and education opportunities for members of the local community. Such involvement may take a variety of forms, including workshops sessions on such topics as on how to market businesses through the broadcast and other media and direct work experience opportunities for individuals
Plymouth has a strong maritime tradition and the station intends to reflect this through aspects of its programming, for example by engaging with the younger generation who will be able to participate in broadcasts on a variety of subjects such as surfing, sailing, diving and so on.
Volunteers have been ‘trained by doing’ in production; database management; presenting; research; advert voicing; researching news and events; liaising with the community. Volunteers range in age from 13 to 60, and the station has included between 20-30 volunteer roles during the past year.
Links have been established with The University of Plymouth through the Christian Union, paving the way for more involvement with the large student population in the city.
Engagement with local educational establishments has also taken the form of broadcast interviews with the Senior Learning Co-ordinator of the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth.
Going forwards, our Breakfast Show presenters will be taking regular week-long schools outreach, where they provide approved lesson plans for RE/Citizenship and PSHE classes in secondary schools. We see that this will develop into opportunities for engagement with those establishments on a more sustainable level.
The station is also developing relationships with a local gap year training scheme (‘South West Equipping and Training’ - run by a Christian ministry), who provide volunteers and who have already featured on Community Matters programming
Further relationships are being developed with Apprenticeship training providers (Focus Training).
1.6 Key commitments: Social gain objectives (d) The better understanding of the particular community and the strengthening of the links within it
Currently the Plymouth area does not have a totally representative body networking and building dialogue among the local Christian community. Station management believe that a radio service of the type Cross Rhythms Plymouth intends to provide will act as a focal point and catalyst for closer cooperation and mutual development
Traditionally there are many denominations and streams across the Christian community, and by giving access to those streams and denominations, the station will help promote greater awareness and understanding of the diversity of Christian beliefs. Such an approach will help build inclusiveness and highlight individual similarities rather than accentuate differences
Focus groups will be established, drawn from the Christian community, to assess the effectiveness of the programming and to provide feedback and input to aid future developments
The station will promote a better understanding of the Christian community to the wider local geographical community in a number of ways. These will include
Profiling the work of local Christian groups and individuals to demonstrate the value of their work in the community
Promoting events which are designed to bring together the wider Christian community through interviews with the organisers
Broadcasting extended interviews with individuals allowing them to share their 'journey of faith' and explain how their faith has been expressed.
The consistent access given to the local churches of all denominations, and the station’s collaboration with the cross-denominational body Churches Together in Plymouth (CTiP), has facilitated the better understanding of those things which unite the different expressions of the Christian faith, helping to promote diversity and tolerance of varying expressions of Christian belief.
Feedback from the CTiP chairman, and inclusion of a monthly programme from him, has helped give the station affirmation as to the direction the station is taking in its representation and provision for the needs of its audience.
The wider audience in Plymouth, many of whom are not Christian but who report that they enjoy the station, receive programming that helps them understand the Christian Community amongst them, and the station helps to break down mis-conceptions about the faith community, demonstrating the similarities that we all share whether we have a faith or not. Musical style is one key component in dissolving mis-conceptions and building bridges of understanding between the Christian and non-Christian audience.
Community Matters programmes regularly feature the work of Christian organisations that work with the homeless and disadvantaged, as well as those providing services to the wider community. The show also profiles the work of secular charitable organisations, thus representing an ‘inclusive’ approach from the Christian faith that further helps to build community cohesion and mutual understanding between people of faith and those of no faith, through the station’s activities.
Event promotion takes place daily, and where larger events are featured, interviews with organisers have been arranged (eg the International conference for Church of the Nations held in Plymouth in 2009).
The Close Encounters and Art of Living programmes both interview people who share their faith journey, and explain their expression of Christian faith using a mixture of speech and selected music.
1.7 Key commitments: Additional Social Gain objectives (if any are specified in your licence).
The station will work with other Christian groups in the locality; promoting awareness of their various activities
The station will also work to promote the activities of local businesses providing opportunities for business people to talk about their activities on-air, with a particular focus on new start-ups and those operating in deprived areas
The station will also provide coverage of health, welfare and disability issues as well as matters of particular interest to asylum seekers in the area
Coverage of local arts activities will also be provided, with a particular emphasis on local grass-roots activities
The station will provide opportunities for local law enforcement personnel to make use of the station to promote a crime reduction message
Christian groups like Churches Together in Plymouth; The Food Bank; Shekinah Mission (Re-training for homeless people, and housing support); Alabare (housing support, as well as a cross-section of church denominations and others are all featured on the station in interviews and with events promotion.
Local businesses such as Pennywell Farm and the Christian Literature Centre have been featured in interviews.
Health and welfare issues have been covered regularly with interviews with Citizens Advice Bureau; Plymouth Community Health Team; Housing Support providers such as Alabare, Shekinah Mission; Plymouth Age Concern.
Grass Roots arts activities are featured in the events guides, mentions on live shows, and interviews on Community Matters. The station collaborates with the local community newspaper (the Plymouth Shopper) on some of these stories, for instance Cross Rhythms recently interviewed Attik Dance which provides dance classes for people with various disabilities, and this interview was transcribed in the Plymouth Shopper, delivered to 9,000 homes in the local area where the classes take place.
Devon and Cornwall Police have a monthly half hour interview on Community Matters, where they report on issues that improve public confidence and challenge mainstream media stereotypical reporting which tends to portray negatives in an unbalanced way. These programmes have also promoted and encourage public involvement with Police Cadets, Special Constables and PCSO’s.
1.8 Key commitments: Access and participation
Individuals and organisations interested in providing programme material appropriate for broadcast on Cross Rhythms Plymouth will be provided with opportunities to do so
Cross Rhythms Plymouth will seek to train at least 10 volunteers each year, through the provision of specific training and through the 'shadowing' of core staff members
Once the station has become fully operational, management will seek to enhance links with local educational establishments, to provide work-placement and 'taster session' opportunities for students and school children
Programme material involvement takes place mainly through the Community Matters programme, which provides a good environment for the presenter to guide the inexperienced contributor through a listener-friendly presentation of their ideas. The monthly contribution from Devon and Cornwall Police is a good example of this working.
Art of Living and Close Encounters programmes present opportunities for individuals to have access to the station where they can bring together their own material for broadcast.
During the year at least ten volunteers were trained ‘on the job’ in a variety of production, presentation, admin, PR and support roles.
The production of the regular Events Guide is undertaken by one of our school-age volunteers (age 13), who is now competent in recording the presenter and producing the show.
It is expected that the work of the Breakfast Show presenters as they go into schools will help to increase the station’s involvement with schools and colleges in the city.
1.9 Key commitments: Accountability to the target community
Cross Rhythms Plymouth will operate a 'Board of Reference' which will be comprised of local Christian leaders (estimated between 6 and 8 in total). This body will provide advice to station management concerning the nature of station output, the structure of other station activities and recommend directions for future development
Members of the community will have the opportunity to participate in the operation of the station through the speech based programming that is offered, in particular via phone-ins interviews and studio discussions
The station will promote feedback through the use of on-air advertising and will also seek further regular feedback from other church leaders in the area as well as from station volunteers
The station’s involvement with the Enabling Group of Churches Together in Plymouth gives access to church leaders for comments regarding station output, other activities and future developments. A collaborative relationship with the Chairman of CTiP and his core team is key to this level of accountability.
Mailings to supporters and local church and ministry leaders keep the audience updated with the life of the station that is not necessarily apparent through the broadcasts.
Listener feedback is encouraged during live shows; and volunteers who connect with the audience for research into events, local news and some programme content are also able to feedback opinions that have been expressed.
Email feedback is invited via the broadcast of a 30 second promo inviting people to comment and giving out the station’s email address.
1.10 Volunteer inputs (see guidance notes on page 2)One key fundraiser working approximately 25 hours per month 6 volunteer presenters working 160 hours per month plus preparation time 5 volunteers collating and recording local events guides and news stories, 30 hours per month Publicity, liaison with local Christian organisations and Fundraising – I volunteer 45 hours a month Finance and administration – 1 volunteer, 21 hours per month Sending out information, communicating with supporters 3 to 4 volunteers 8 hours per month Updating database – 1 volunteer 5 hours per month 2 volunteers updating and maintaining software and hardware - 16 hours per month 1 volunteer sound engineer to record adverts etc 8 hours per month and increasing. 7 young people volunteering and learning playlisting, production and being recorded on air on a drop in basis 1 volunteer coordinating, communicating and encouraging volunteers – 5 hours per month. Accountant responsible for end of year accounts – 10 hours per annum
1.11 Significant achievements
The station successfully managed a live outside broadcast over a weekend, from the major international ‘Church of the Nations’ conference held at the Holiday Inn hotel in Plymouth in October 2009. Despite technical difficulties which threatened to take the show off air right up until 1 minute before broadcast, these OB’s were of a very good quality and were picked up by the other Cross Rhythms Community radio stations.
Relationships with local Police, Public Health Service and Citizens Advice Bureau have been considerably strengthened through regular programme access, giving airtime to key messages that are not often heard on mainstream radio in the city.
Cross Rhythms founders and local presenters Chris and Kerry Cole were invited to Downing Street at Christmas for a Christmas Tea with the PM as part of his engagement with Christian faith groups.
1.12 Significant difficulties
Funding is hard to access. The nature of the station’s Christian faith foundation makes us ineligible for some obvious funding streams due to their ‘non-religious’ secular constraints.
Lack of funding has again meant that a strong Station manager/ Programme Controller role is hard to fulfil, which has made the building of the volunteer team and increased frequency of local and live output hard to manage. Those with the skill-sets to lead, who are giving time, money and energy into the station, are also holding down very responsible full time jobs, which of course limits their ability to focus on and devote large amounts of time to the development of the station.
1.13 Audience research
We have not undertaken any specific audience research, apart from gathering anecdotal evidence from letters and emails from people who report that they are enjoying the station.
The station often hears feedback from listeners who have heard it being played in supermarkets, taxis and the like, showing that we are diversifying in our audience reach.
Feedback from parents and church leaders, and young people, shows that we are serving our 16-35 audience well. The nature of the station’s wide variety of musical content is also making it accessible to the older generation who grew up in the ‘60’s and ‘70s.
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