Cross Rhythms City Radio receives five year licence from Ofcom.

AFTER THREE years as one of the pioneering pilot stations for Community Radio, Cross Rhythms City Radio has been awarded a brand new, five year licence, to broadcast FM radio across Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme. Said Chris Cole, Cross Rhythms CEO: "We couldn't be more thrilled and it is such a release of encouragement for the whole team. The hard work and dedicated commitment the team has put in over the last three years has been richly rewarded. It is also wonderful confirmation for us that our vision and heart for community radio has been so affirmed by the governing body at Ofcom."

Community Radio is one of the new jewels in the broadcasting crown in the UK as Ofcom consider applications from right across the country, to roll out this new tier of broadcasting. A statement from Ofcom said: "The RLC (Radio Licensing Committee) viewed this group's (Cross Rhythms) proposals favourably in relation to all of the statutory selection criteria. It has a good track record in securing the funding it needs, has good links and demonstrable support both within the Christian community of the area and within the wider community, and has well-considered social gain objectives reflecting an inclusive approach to the whole community as well as its core Christian target group."

Cross Rhythms City Radio broadcasts as a community station for the whole community of Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme, with a Christian values ethos. Jonathan Bellamy, Cross Rhythms General Manager, said: "This award really affirms our desire to be a service to the whole community. The station is underpinned by Christian values but its content is driven by local issues. In the last three years we have established working partnerships with many community organisations including the police, council, local newspaper, health, employment and education agencies. We support and profile the theatres, local businesses, arts groups, ethnic organisations and many more. We have been invited to support, and play an active role, in city wide initiatives such as Citizen Of The Year Awards, Stoke-on-Trent Music City, and CQ5 - The Cultural Quarter Festival. With this brand new five year opportunity we are so excited to be able to build upon the foundations we have laid. We are already in discussion of how we can provide media training for young and disadvantaged people how we can support drug awareness and education into schools and how we can raise the profile of local businesses. We really believe we are a valued contribution to the whole community and we hope that value will increase in the coming years."

The new licence award for Cross Rhythms is more than a confirmation of three years hard work however. Said Chris Cole, "This is broadcasting history for the Christian community and for Christian media in the UK as it is the first full time FM licence granted to a Christian run group. It is also the culmination of more than 21 years history in broadcasting our type of Christian radio. Originally we began with a half hour show on an ILR station called Plymouth Sound, in South Devon. This show quickly developed into a one hour programme that was rated one of the most listened to programmes in the region in its time slot. We have always seen that a Christian expression in the media should be able to engage with the wider community whether they attend a church or not. It's been 21 years learning our craft, often being misunderstood and under-resourced, but now we have something very solid for the future. We are already in discussion with other groups across the nation who want us to help them run similar stations for their area. And that's exactly what we plan to do. We even anticipate setting up a training academy in Stoke-on-Trent, the centre of the nation, to teach and equip people how to reproduce this effective model in their own cities!" CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.