2011 Annual Report

1.1 Community Radio Annual Report Form: Year Ending 31 March 2011

Station details

Licence Number

Station Name
Cross Rhythms Plymouth

Launch Date

Web address where you will publish this report
www.crossrhythms.co.uk/plymouth/communityradioannualreports/ 2011annualreport/

1.2 The year in numbers

  • Average number of live hours per week: 9
  • Average number of original programming hours per week (this may include pre-recorded as well as live material but should not include repeats): 14 hours locally produced (repeat broadcast would make this to 34 hours per week)PLUS 26 hours sourced via Cross Rhythms City Radio Stoke on Trent in collaboration
  • The percentage of your live daytime output that is speech: 25%
  • Number of people trained over the course of the year: 13
  • Number of volunteers involved over the course of the year 24
  • If appropriate, a list of languages you have broadcast in: none

1.3 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 may also include a variety of more focused 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 dependant 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. All daytime output will typically be produced locally. A sustaining service will typically be provided by the Cross-Rhythms network, although the use of local automated output to provide such a service is also permitted.

The music and speech mix of the station is about right compared to our Key Commitments, with interview shows adding a good proportion of speech into the mix.

Specialist music (reggae, hard core rock, hip hop) is catered for on specific programmes, especially on Friday nights and Saturday nights. This music, and all other music content, is from the broad spectrum of contemporary Christian music.

Local news and weather bulletins are played out hourly daytime on most weekdays; local events guides are featured during breakfast and drive hours; regular interviews take place with local charity / community group reps, church leaders and Christian ministry leaders, reps from Public Service sector and local government. Live shows regularly feature audience participation through competitions and quizzes. Live shows also feature topical features as appropriate, as well as a regular sport slot on Saturday mornings.

Output has been broadcast entirely in English.

24/7 broadcasting has been successfully maintained, and live output, whilst not increasing, has been a focus for the Trustees throughout the year.

1.4 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.

“(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. At its most basic, 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. For those wishing to have a greater involvement in the programming of the station, there will also be opportunities to take part in programmes as a guest or, after appropriate training as a presenter or producer.
  • 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.

“(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 together with 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.

“(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.

Additional social gain objectives:

  • 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.

“(a) the provision of sound broadcasting services to individuals who are otherwise underserved” The station has broadcast content that is highly relevant to the Christian Community in the city, as well as other specific sub-groups such as those needing information on community services. The professional broadcasting standards and resultant station sound make the station a viable, enjoyable, entertaining and informative choice for the audience alongside mainstream radio. A wide age range is catered for and has been noted from audience feedback, with the older generation appreciating the interview shows and general 'rock' sound, as well as the younger generation who are offered music from all the latest current trends in terms of style and sound.

“(b) the facilitation of discussion and the expression of opinion” Discussion and expression of opinions on a wide variety of matters is achieved through regular interviews on Community Matters (Monday – Saturday 10am) and the Art of Living (weekdays and Sundays 1pm and 5pm alternately) providing a platform for discussion. Community Matters focuses on those involved in working for the benefit of specialist groups and the wider community of Plymouth, from the Police and Health sector, through to Council representatives, Citizen's Advice Bureau, local charities and volunteer support groups, not-for-profit orgs such as Debt and Money Advice organisations, members of Plymouth's Youth Parliament, Street worker support group Rahab, neighbourhood community organisations, local poverty relief projects and FoodBank, the YMCA, Salvation Army and many others. The Art of Living provides an interview format for primary leaders from all denominations and 'flavours' of the diverse range of the Christian faith to express their views. These shows have included both the Anglican and Catholic Bishops, as well as leaders from Pentecostal, Baptist, Methodist, and less well known house church and community church streams.

During live programming, Presenters encourage folks to engage with them primarily using telephone and email contact. SMS messaging encountered technical difficulties.

Station Trustee Ian Pilkington is a member of the steering group and enabling committee of the Plymouth Churches Together network organisation, (www.ctip.org.uk) and Trustees Chris Cole and Ian Pilkington regularly meet with the chairman of this group and work collaboratively on projects which provide social gain opportunities through faith based organisations in the city. In this way, regular contact with the representative body of the widest group of cross-denominational churches is achieved and sustained consistently. The Churches Together organisation is featured regularly in a monthly interview show.

“(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” Volunteers have had ongoing informal training in various aspects of production and presenting, sourcing local news, scripting, voicing advertisements, database management, and other aspects of the day to day running of the station. The station has continued its collaboration with a local schools outreach. This group presents positive life messages during schools programmes (PSHE classes and similar), using contemporary Christian dance music to build a bridge to the young people and communicate positive values and stimulate discussion. The members of the group also present a weekly live evening show where young people are encouraged to maintain their connection with the group through the radio. Relationship with South West Equipping and Training has developed a little with a team from the centre being employed as volunteers to re-decorate the 'green room/production room' area that the station uses. Members of Plymouth Youth Parliament have recently been interviewed on air, and this relationship is continuing in collaboration with The Plymouth Shopper newspapers.

“(d) the better understanding of the particular community and the strengthening of the links within it” The regular interview programme 'The Art of Living' is valued by those primary church leaders who participate (and the wider community of Christians throughout the listening area) as a means of sharing their diverse opinions and ideas to a wide ranging audience. In this way the station acts as a non-denominational, or cross denominational, platform which can be accessed by all streams of the Christian faith, providing an opportunity for greater understanding and communication between denominational streams.

Regular meetings with the leadership of the cross-denominational Churches Together in Plymouth organisation provide a good arena for feedback on how the station is meeting its goals as outlined above.

The Events Guide, Community Matters and Art of Living programmes all work together to promote understanding of the activities of the local church as well as the ethos of the Christian faith to the wider, non-Christian audience in the listening area. These programmes help those who may not declare a shared Christian faith to engage with those who do.

In 2010, Cross Rhythms Trustees were part of the co-ordinating team of the Plymouth Faith Action Audit, which commissioned researchers from Plymouth university to audit the work carried out by faith groups in the city of Plymouth, matching the research to the core goals of the Council-led Plymouth Strategic 2020 Vision, with the aim of enabling local government and statutory bodies to engage strategically with provision of services which had before this Audit not been made visible or accessible. This work is ongoing in collaboration with the Churches Together in Plymouth group, and Cornerstone Vision (a commercial publishing and marketing company run, in part, by two of the Trustees).

Local law enforcement personnel are regularly featured on Community Matters, which mainly features one of the city centre Police Inspectors who provides topical news and positive policing messages on a monthly basis. Health, welfare, debt advice, disability and similar issues are covered regularly using the Community Matters format, especially in the regular monthly interview with the Director of Plymouth Citizen's Advice Bureau. The station has also featured interviews with co-ordinators of the local Sanctuary Seekers group (asylum seekers). Local arts and grassroots events of interest to the core audience are covered by the twice-daily broadcast of the Events Guide. Local businesses have the opportunity to advertise on air.

1.5 Access and participation

Community Radio Order 2004: “It is a characteristic of every community radio service that members of the community it is intended to serve are given opportunities to participate in the operation and management of the service.”

  • 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 ten 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 workplacement and 'taster session' opportunities for students and school children.

Community Radio Order 2004: “It is a characteristic of every community radio service that members of the community it is intended to serve are given opportunities to participate in the operation and management of the service.”

Members of the local community have access to on-air experience through the interview programmes, where they are encouraged to prepare what they wish to present and are guided by the interviewer in the best way to do that.

Volunteers are trained 'on the job' as already mentioned above, and this is an ongoing process.

Regular involvement via the Churches Together group, including a monthly Community Matters show with them, provides opportunity for them to participate in this way.

1.6 Key commitments: Accountability to the target community

Community Radio Order 2004: “It is a characteristic of every community radio service that, in respect of the provision of that service, the person providing the service makes himself accountable to the community that the service is intended to serve.”

  • 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.
  • Cases of criticism or complaint about the activities of Cross Rhythms Plymouth by members of the community will first be considered by the Station Manager. Where such consideration does not lead to a satisfactory outcome, the complaint will be elevated to the Board of Directors who, if considered appropriate also taking into account the opinions of members of the Board of Reference will arrive at a final position.
  • The station will undertake to deal with complaints within two weeks of receipt. In more complex cases this period may be as long as four weeks.
  • Where a complaint is upheld, details will be published on the station web-site and an apology may also be broadcast.

[report back against your key commitments here]
Community Radio Order 2004: “It is a characteristic of every community radio service that, in respect of the provision of that service, the person providing the service makes himself accountable to the community that the service is intended to serve.”

The close involvement with the Enabling Group of Churches Together in Plymouth continues to provide an accountability mechanism with the local church.

As outlined above, the various regular interview programmes provide the best opportunity for members of the community to participate in the operation of the station.

Feedback is requested in live shows, and also on pre-recorded material.

The station has received no complaints of any kind this year.

1.7 Volunteer inputs

Number of volunteers: 24 (for the whole year); 16 regularly active

What roles are performed by volunteers:

Local News: research, scripting bulletins, presenting, producing, playlisting and editing

Events guide: Liaison with local churches and ministries and organisations; database management; scripting; production; presenting; playlisting and editing

Live shows: Preparation, presentation, production

Interview shows; Liaison with local churches, community groups, Law enforcement, council, statutory bodies etc, scheduling appointments and diaries (general admin), research, interview, presentation, production, playlisting and editing

Advertisements; script writing; voicing; production; editing; playlisting.

Finance, accounts, daily playlist editing and formatting

Approximate number of hours worked on average per volunteer per week: 3 hours per volunteer per week on average

1.8 Significant achievements

Some of the most significant achievements of the past year involve the effectiveness of the station in meeting the needs of its audience.

The station has received excellent feedback from organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureau. It is worth citing their comments here as a fair representation of the value placed on the station by those who access it: “...I just wanted to thank you and your listeners for the support you have given to our service (Plymouth Citizens Advice Bureau) over the last few months.

In response to our clients’ feedback we have wanted to introduce an effective telephone service for a first point of contact. To do this we need to recruit and train about 120 volunteers. Allowing me to promote those volunteering opportunities on your radio station has had a big impact on our ability to attract enough strong candidates and we are now, as a result, very close to starting a better service for the people of Plymouth.

Thank you very much indeed.”

Ann Kinahan
Plymouth Citizens Advice Bureau

Similar testimonials have been given by individuals and organisations, Christian and not Christian, from a wide variety of areas of the community and church life in Plymouth. Following is one that has a more individual, personal emphasis:

“On Saturday I went to a ladies lunch at Plymouth Christian Centre. My sister brought along a young lady with her who is in recovery from addiction (not sure if its alcohol or drugs). She is currently in a Rehab and mentioned that listening to CrossRhythms has really helped on her journey in recovery. She listens to it it all the time and it has really encouraged her. “ (Name withheld in this report)

The other significant achievements this year revolve around the sustained, 24-7 broadcasting in spite of a lack of resource. The continued provision of the service in the face of some difficult challenges in resourcing reflects the commitment of the volunteers and trustees.

1.9 Significant difficulties

Difficulties this year, as in previous years, are centred on two main areas that are linked together - financial resourcing and staffing levels. The station struggles to attract funding, and also suffers from the lack of a paid Station Manager who would better co-ordinate and build-up the volunteer team, thus increasing the volume of local and live work as well as further opportunities for participation and access. During the year the station made two bids to Ofcom for grant funding, both based on the station's need for an employed person to stimulate sustainable income streams. Both bids failed.

1.10 Audience research

Please provide a summary of any audience research/ data you have collected during the year.
Research has not been carried out. Feedback mechanisms in the form of the regular contact with representative bodies of the local Church community are in place, and anecdotal feedback is noted. This all indicates that the station is performing well in meeting some of its key commitments, and less well in others, for the reasons outlined above.

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