2009 Annual Report

1.1 Community Radio Annual Report Form: Year Ending 31st March 2009

Station details

Licence Number

Station Name
Cross Rhythms Plymouth

Launch Date

Web address where you will publish this report

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.

During the reporting year, the station suffered from the temporary absence of its acting programme controller who was finalising a media studies degree. This limited our ability to include more local and live programming. The acting PC is now back with the station.

*NB The large proportion of live and original programming hours shown below began at the end of the reporting year and average figures for the year as a whole would be significantly lower.

Significant improvements have been made to our live and local programming content since Feb/March 2009. At the time of writing (25/06/09) our live output averages 91 hours per month, with the City Drive show 3pm – 6pm Monday-Friday; and The Evening Show 7pm – 9pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Both shows are presented and produced locally.

The average original output hours per month is currently 104 hours (not incl repeats), and includes The Worship Warehouse (started in 2008) and Cross Rhythms Experience, as well as the new one hour ‘Art of Living’ and the two live shows above.

We estimate that our average music/speech content is still not quite reaching our key commitment to 75/25%. The inclusion of more local interviews with public sector and voluntary community bodies; plus more live programming and especially the Art of Living (Church leaders’ interview show) will in part redress the balance.

Music content remains consistently Christian, using a mix of contemporary Christian music (CCM) of all genres, and also worship and praise music.

During the reporting year, pre-recorded interviews with local organisations’ representatives, hourly IRN news bulletins, plus hourly local Community Bulletins containing a mix of events and public service announcements were broadcast. Audience interaction, weather and travel information became regular features toward the end of the year when the new live shows began. Local organisations, such as CAB, featured in specially recorded 15-20 minute community slots. Local events from the Christian community, plus some local events which have a wider audience appeal, are broadcast every day. Each day a local topic is highlighted in our ‘Local Bulletin’, broadcast each hour in daytime. The new live shows encourage audience email and telephone participation.

Broadcast language has been 100% English.

24 hours per day / 7 days per week broadcasting has been maintained throughout the year, with excellent quality programming for non-local hours being provided by the Cross Rhythms Stoke station. This ‘sustaining’ programming includes youth programming from National Christian youth organisations like Audacious and Rock Nations, and specialist music programmes, mainly in the evenings. The amount of ‘music only’ time is gradually being phased out as local and live programming grows in Plymouth, however this music-only programming, whilst not our objective, is received well by listeners.

The station aims to increase original local and live programming over the next 6-12 months, and is still seeking funding for a permanent full time programme controller who will co-ordinate a larger team of volunteers. A new approach is now being taken in recruiting volunteer presenters, which will enable us to get them on air faster and with more flexibility, following advice from Ofcom.

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 of interest is well served with information and news about Christian events in the city, as well as with contemporary Christian music (CCM) of the highest standard, diverse range of styles and the most up to date nature. This is made possible by our collaboration with Cross Rhythms in Stoke on Trent, who provide access to their extensive CCM library. We also broadcast regular 1 minute social and spiritual comments during the day.

The younger, 16-25 age group is served with musical content that spans all genres available in the mainstream, but with lyrical content that reflects a positive Christian worldview. The station also broadcasts programmes from a variety of youth organisations aimed specifically at this age group. In this way the station is providing spiritual insight and encouragements to an audience who may not, in the first instance, go to a church and for whom answers to their questions about the Christian faith are difficult to find elsewhere.

The musical preferences of some BME groups in the local Christian community are served by shows such as ‘Shekinah Reggae Show’ and ‘Street Flava’, which form a regular Friday evening slot. For young people interested in the very heavy side of metal and rock, who find this impossible to access in most Christian circles, we broadcast the specialist ‘Rock and The Hard Place’ on Saturday evenings. These shows are provided through the collaboration with Cross Rhythms in Stoke.

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

Until the end of the reporting year, the station’s ability to facilitate the discussion and expression of opinion on air was limited to 15-20 minute pre-recorded interviews which were broadcast at different times of the day. The new programming which started at the end of the reporting year has made meeting this commitment m ore achievable:

The Art of Living shows are interviewing primary church leaders for one hour every week, (these shows are repeat broadcast) discussing with them the strengths and weaknesses of the Christian church of all denominations. This empowers the church with a communications medium which it otherwise lacks in the city; it also enables listeners, both Christian and non-Christian, to think about the deeper issues of the Christian faith from a diverse range of denominational and theological viewpoints.

Interviews, phone-ins and email participation all form part of our daily programming on the live shows.

The station continues to engage with the local Christian community on a number of levels, which ‘feed’ the station with potential content. These include participation on the Enabling Committee of Churches Together in Plymouth (CTiP), an umbrella organisation representing most of the 120 churches in the city. The station has also worked with organisers of city-wide events, one of which brought Baroness Cox to the city for a packed meeting attended by people of all faiths and none.

Local church leaders are contacted regularly by our events and publicity volunteer, encouraging them to participate in the station’s output with their own events promotion. This builds a dialogue with local churches which is then developed to form meaningful working partnerships for the benefit of the local Christian community and the local community at large.

Written communication with church leaders and others is in the form of the ‘Communcator’, a four page A4 newsletter which keeps them up to date with progress of the station. They are encouraged through this communication to get involved with the station.

The station has also been responsible in part for the launch of a Faith Audit, in collaboration with CTiP. This will research and present in report form all of the activities and community services delivered by the Christian church, as well as other faith groups, in the city. The networking opportunities of this work are substantial and will further strengthen links with the Christian faith community in Plymouth, as well as other community groups, business leaders and local government representatives.

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

The station has not been able to engage significantly with local educational establishments, nor to provide wider training opportunities this year due to lack of resources. However, the station aims in 2009/10 to address this.

Our drive-time presenter attended a week long media training course with Cross Rhythms in Stoke, prior to going live on air in Plymouth.

Training of volunteers has taken place in: broadcasting (2 volunteers); playlist editing (2 volunteers); production (2 volunteers); recording (1 volunteer); script writing for events guides (1 volunteer); writing of fundraising letters (1 volunteer); and database (1 volunteer).

The station profiled a Christian teenager who took part in the Transatlantic single handed yacht race, which gave publicity to his fundraising efforts.

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

Cross Rhythms Plymouth continues to work with CTiP to establish a growing network of closely co-operating churches and Christian organisations in the city. Initiatives such as the monthly worship celebration meeting, and a weekly city-wide prayer meeting, are regularly promoted and attended by the Cross Rhythms team.

During the reporting year the station began to record the Art of Living programmes which began broadcast at the end of April 2009. The diversity of Christian belief and viewpoints is now represented very well through the Art of Living programmes. This promotes a better understanding of the Christian community.

The station regularly receives feedback through the CTiP enabling group, church leaders and others regarding the effectiveness of the station in serving the Christian community.

On air promotion of events and work of local groups and individuals is ongoing; Citizens’ Advice, Age Concern, the local National Marine Aquarium and others have used Cross Rhythms Plymouth to promote their work.

A series of six programmes called Close Encounters was recorded in Plymouth. These shows have a ‘desert island discs’ format, where Christians share their faith journey accompanied by music tracks that had a particularly poignant meaning in that journey. It is expected that following this years’ pilot of these shows, more will be produced in the coming year. As well as these programmes, short 2 minute ‘testimonies’ have been added to the programming in which Christians very briefly share their experience of conversion to faith in Christ, thus promoting a better understanding of the Christian community.

During the Worship Warehouse programme, Kerry Cole interviewed a local person who went to Lakeland in Florida and attended a series of Christian ‘revival’ meetings that hit the national headlines. The national press presented a quite negative view of these events, and the interview on Cross Rhythms Plymouth was our response to that in presenting a more balanced appraisal from someone who had actually been there. This was also part of our aim to promote better understanding of the Christian faith community.

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

As mentioned already, the station provides opportunities for local Christian organisations to promote awareness of their projects through its regular Events Guide, and also pre-recorded 15-20 minute interviews.

Local businesses such as the Christian Bookshop, and family attractions such as Pennywell Farm, have been profiled during 15 minute interviews.

Delivery of coverage for health issues etc has mostly taken the form of inclusion in the hourly ‘Local Bulletins’ which are refreshed every day. Welfare issues have been covered by an interview with Citizens’ Advice, which subject to agreement may become a more regular feature in the next year.

Local arts events are included in the hourly local Bulletin.

Station representatives met with the Marketing manager for the Police in the city, and are now in the process of putting together a proposal for publicising Police initiatives in collaboration with the local ‘Plymouth Shopper’ community newspapers.

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 and school children

During the reporting year, The ‘Close Encounters’ series gave access to individuals to share their own journey of faith; The 15 minute interview slots provided organisations with an opportunity to promote their activities. The station regularly takes programming from national Christian youth organisations. the 1 hour Art of Living programmes are (now) giving access for church leaders and Christian ministry leaders.

Four new volunteers were recruited during the year; one has been trained in playlist editing and has also taken part in an ad-hoc basis on the City Drive show; another has been trained in writing the events guides, and also voices the events guides along with our existing volunteer in this role. Another new volunteer took part in a promotional video presentation for the station. The fourth volunteer presents the ‘Worship Warehouse’ programme, which is recorded weekly and repeated during the week. Following discussions with Ofcom the station is now seeking to involve more volunteers in broadcasting.

There was participation by leaders from two major local faith initiatives (Faith & Football, which offers positive Christian role models in sport to children from deprived backgrounds through regular coaching by professional footballers with a Christian faith) and Street Pastors (a nationwide organisation operating locally, partnering with the local Police to provide a support service to them and for people on the streets in the city’s clubland and bars areas). These organisations took part in the Cross Rhythms promotional video where they promoted their own work and also gave recommendations to the effectiveness of the station in promoting their work. Both organisations have featured in interviews and/or ‘Local Bulletin’ stories.

Work placement and other educational opportunities could not be provided due to lack of resources. The station is now aiming to start work experience by working with Christian youth groups 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 Board of Reference continues to be achieved through the station’s representation on the Enabling Committee of Churches Together in Plymouth, which meets quarterly and represents the main Christian denominations in the city.

Regular reporting on the station is mailed to over 100 church leaders and 400 individuals via the ‘Communicator’ newsletter.

Phone in’s and email contact is now offered during the live programming which started at the end of the reporting year. As mentioned, the Art of Living show is the main way local Church and ministry leaders participate in the station.

Station volunteers give their feedback on the issues they are dealing with; an ident which encourages listeners to comment on the station’s content via email is broadcast regularly.

1.10 Volunteer inputs (see guidance notes on page 2)

Volunteers contribute as follows: (excluding Trustees’ voluntary input)

Presenters (3 volunteers) 86 hours per month broadcast, plus 28 hours per month preparation* (hours are high in this area as it is the key function of the station)
Events guide collation, script writing and recording (2 volunteers) 17 hours per month
Publicity, liaison with local Christian organisations and Fundraising (1 volunteer) 69 hours per month (Hours are high in this area as it is another vital role of building with the community)
Finance and administration (1 volunteer) 21 hours per month
Production, editing and playlist editing (4 volunteers) 20 hours per month

*NB The large proportion of the presenters’ hours began at the end of the reporting year and average figures for the year as a whole would be significantly lower.

In addition, two volunteers, a married couple, took on the role of organising collection of goods and their sale at Car Boot sales and Table Top sales, to raise funds for the station.

The station has been encouraged to see volunteers’ input increasing in terms of hours over the previous year. We now need to recruit more volunteers as has already been documented above and as recommended by Ofcom.

1.11 Significant achievements

The station has developed the volunteer roles considerably, and at the end of the year finally broke into local, live and original programming despite a lack of resources.

The station has continued to deliver 24/7 broadcasting throughout the year.

Cross Rhythms Plymouth played a significant part in promoting a major city-wide event: The visit by Baroness Cox, in March. Cross Rhythms Plymouth provided publicity on air, and also interviewed Baroness Cox before the event. The city’s Guildhall was filled to capacity as Baroness Cox presented a very challenging and provocative message to over 800 people, discussing the role of all of us in the West in helping people who are persecuted in nations that do not receive the usual media spotlight.

During the reporting year, significant technical difficulties of the previous year were overcome.

The recruitment of a volunteer presenter with broadcast experience, who also has significant professional audio and technical expertise, has led to improvements in the station’s output and stability.

1.12 Significant difficulties

Nearly all of the station’s difficulties are related to the lack of a full time programme controller to co-ordinate a larger team of volunteers. This has meant that, in spite of improvements over the previous year, access and participation from the local community on a number of levels has been hard to achieve.

1.13 Audience research

Please provide a summary of any audience research/ data you have collected during the year.

Feedback from church leaders and individual Christians (including recorded video testimony, and emails) indicates that we are serving the needs of the 16-25 age group as far as Christian entertainment is concerned. It also demonstrates that the older generation see the value of the station in providing a positive, life affirming message for their older children.

The Chair of CTiP, representing the wider church community in Plymouth, has endorsed the station as one of the most significant and effective methods of promoting the work of local Christian organisations in the city.

We have also received emails from University students who describe themselves as ‘not Christian’ but who say they enjoy the music and find its positive message very encouraging.

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