2009 Annual Report

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

Station details

Licence Number

Station Name
Cross Rhythms City Radio

Launch Date

Web address where you will publish this report

1.2 Key commitments: programming

The programming will, first and foremost, aim to satisfy the needs of the community for local news and information. It will also air issue-led content that provides opportunities for discussion and interaction, which will address moral, social and ethical issues. Listeners will be encouraged to participate in such discussion-led programming. Music will be predominantly of the Christian genre.

  • Live programming output will typically comprise 75% music and 25% speech (‘speech’ excludes advertising, programme/promotional trails and sponsor credits, and may be calculated over any four hours).
  • The music output will be comprised predominantly (at least 90%) of contemporary Christian tracks, and maintain a positive theme. Specialist shows on genres such as rock, music related to the black church tradition, new independent music and contemporary worship will feature in the evenings and at weekends.
  • Speech output shall consist of interviews, audience interaction, topical features, public service announcements, news, weather and travel information, as well as some bible teaching and contemporary worship programming. Local current affairs will generally be covered from a Christian perspective.
  • Language of broadcast: English, though the station may consider broadcasting in other languages if a demand is identified.
  • Live programming (which may include pre-recorded inserts, if applicable) will typically comprise 15 hours a day from Monday to Friday; some live output will also feature at weekends. A sustaining service will be taken from the Cross Rhythms satellite radio service (licence number SA142).

1) Our live programming output has maintained the 75% music to 25% speech ratio.

2) The music we play is virtually always by Christian artists (99%), whether in the mainstream, independent or in the so called Christian industry. We regularly receive feedback from listeners as to the value of the positive lyrics to their lives. Having been running for 7 years now, since the original pilot scheme we have established many programmes including 12 specialist shows that we produce and syndicate to other stations worldwide, shows such as The Rock & Hard Place (Rock), Soulcure (Urban), Street Flava (Hip Hop), Shekinah Reggae Show (Reggae), Independents Day (Indie Artists), Profile Special (Interview based music profile), CR Top Ten (chart show), CR Experience (flagship programme), and three youth targeted music and Christian teaching shows: Audacious, RockNations and Theshowwithnoname. In 2008 we also launched two brand new shows, one aimed at teenage girls called Girls’ Night In, and the other a refreshed re-launch of an established ‘life story’ show called Close Encounters (similar to Desert Island Discs). We have maintained these throughout the year and seen an increase from 26 to 33 different stations worldwide pick them up, totalling 78 weekly programmes scheduled on these stations. 10 of these shows are produced/presenters by volunteers who also promote their shows through their own networks/databases/events. We continue to supply specifically worship music for one and a half hours each day and we have continued a weekly 2 hour worship and prayer programme (Tues 10pm to midnight) called Breakthrough Nights. This programme is produced in partnership with certain local churches, the Beacon House Of Prayer, City Vision Ministries and The Saltbox. Additionally the first Friday of each month we run a live 3 hour prayer programme from Midnight to 3am called Britain Prays. In addition to these programmes we run the daily ‘staple diet’ of traditional breakfast, morning, drive and early evening shows, all of which carry a variety of styles of Christian music – rock, pop, hip hop, R&B, urban, soul, rap etc.

3) Many of the programmes mentioned above carry strong speech elements as well as their music content. For example Theshowwithnoname is theme based every week tackling Christian themes such as holiness, fasting, prayer, church etc; Girls’ Night In tackles typically female topics such as beauty, eating disorders, self image etc; Close Encounters is a one hour interview show where a local guest shares their life story, such as how they coped with losing a spouse, going through cancer etc; RockNations is typically a biblical teaching programme aimed at youth and Audacious carries similar elements as well as lively fun and games interaction. The music shows (Rock, Reggae, Urban, Hip Hop, Independent shows) typically carry regular interviews with music artists and Profile Special is a one hour music artist interview profile show. Outside of the specific programmes mentioned above Interviews come up in pretty much all our daily programmes ie breakfast, morning, drive and early evening. These interviews cover information and relevance for the local Christian community and for the wider community (details given later on). We run IRN news on the hour, plus we produce a local news slot every hour between 7:30am and 5:30pm. We present travel updates during breakfast and drive, an event guide in breakfast and drive, and weather forecasts each hour. We run hourly social and spiritual comments (1 minute features). Audience interaction comes through emails, text messages, phone calls, a special online feature we have developed on our website which we call an E-TXT (which links straight through to the live studio) and through our online Live Radio Chatroom.

4) We still broadcast in English only.

5) We have maintained 13 hours live programming for weekdays, plus 4 hours live on a Saturday. With the addition of the Breakthrough Nights weekly 2 hour show we now do 15 hours on a Tuesday. The average number of live hours each month, based on a 30 day month, is 323. When we run live outside broadcasts during weekends or late evenings this increases. As mentioned in previous years we no longer take the sustaining service from our former satellite radio service. The average number of original hours per month that we generate (excluding overnight automated music and simple features from Midnight to 6am, and excluding repeats) totals 504 hours.

1.3 Key commitments: Social gain objectives (a) The provision of sound broadcasting services to individuals who are otherwise underserved

  • There is no service available in the area that caters for the Christian community. The station aims to provide content and programming with specific relevance to the Christian community.

Our provision for the Christian community of Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle-under-Lyme over the year includes:

1) Our continuous Christian music output.

2) Hourly social and spiritual 1 minute thoughts.

3) Daily short morning feature sharing individual life stories of faith.

4) Each weekday we run a ‘Thought For the Day’ with local church leaders.

5) Our Verticality worship programmes provide contemporary worship music that connects with younger Christians as well as old.

6) The early evening show, Rimmerama, specifically does a lot of interviews with Christian music artists. In the year on this show alone there were 100 interviews with UK artists and 125 with international artists.

7) Our later evening programmes are specifically geared for Christian listeners (the daytime is when we feature most of the interviews and features on and with the wider community and as such are accessible for both Christians and the wider community). In the evenings we run Christian lifestyle and teaching programmes such as Audacious, Realtime, RockNations, Theshowwithnoname, Girls’ Night In, Hope In Anuguish, Koinocopia (one hour teaching using seminars from Christian festivals) and Close Encounters (one hour life stories from a faith perspective).

8) The Breakthrough Nights programme brings worship and prayer focus from church leaders to the city.

9) Daily we profile local events relevant to Christians in our Event Guide.

10) We attend local events and initiatives run by churches and Christian groups doing interviews and reports, such as LoveStoke organised by Bethel City Church; The Potter’s House Carnival; Interface youth event (a collaboration of local youth leaders putting on termly events, of which Cross Rhythms is a partner); Resonate 08 (a week long social action clean-up initiative followed by church based events that we partnered with); and Adoration 08, a Christian music festival that we were a partner of and attracted a couple thousand people.

11) We partnered with the Beacon House Of Prayer for their continuous 24/7 prayer week, broadcasting live from their venue and communicating about the initiative and encouraging prayer participation, in the first week of January.

12) We partnered with a ‘churches together’, 40 days of prayer and fasting for the city, providing daily updates of churches participating.

13) We run daily interviews with relevant Christian artists, worship leaders, authors, local, national and international church leaders, individuals, organisations and events, both local and wider afield, examples include artists such as YFriday, Sinead O Connor, London Community Gospel Choir, Britt Nicole, Moya Brennan, Tim Hughes, Blush UK, Lifecolour and hundreds more; leaders such as Martin Scott(Pioneer), Tony Fitzgerald (Church Of The Nations), Mal Fletcher (Edges.TV), Steve Clifford (Evangelical Alliance), Lloyd Cooke (Saltbox), Paul Calvert (youth leader based in Israel), Steve Legg (Sorted Christian Men’s Magazine), Niall Cooper (Church Action On Poverty), Phil Williams (Christian Surfers), Ben Cooley (Hope For Justice), Elin Jeynes (Lacey Theatre Company), Nadine Luisi (Christian Blind Mission), Alex Kendrick (Filmaker and director of Fireproof), Martin Charlesworth (Honest To Darwin), Christine Marshall (Christian Aid), Prom Praise guests, Martin Smith (Delirious?), and loads more.

1.4 Key commitments: Social gain objectives (b) The facilitation of discussion and the expression of opinion

  • The station shall invite guests to the studios for discussion topics on local issues and current affairs such as community relations, health, law and order, child welfare, consumer issues and open the discussion to the listeners to participate to express their opinions.
  • Some output will address theological, philosophical, moral and spiritual themes relating directly to those adhering to the Christian faith. This will include studio discussion and interviews.

Many of our guests are from the wider local community. Every fortnight we run the Mayor On Air update from the Elected Mayor of Stoke-On-Trent Mark Meredith, inviting opportunity for people to email or phone in questions. The local city council publication ‘Our City’ runs an advert to promote the feature and invite email questions.

City Focus – this feature lasted for 7 months whereby each month there was a theme and every week day an organisation in the City shared about their contribution to tackling the theme. Themes included Children & Young People, Mental Health & Wellbeing, and Crime. As an example of the kind of output for City Focus, here is a breakdown of what went into one month’s theme:

City Focus Theme: Mental Health

Interview with Sharon Taft from Health Improvement Agency (part of the dept of Public Health) about the strategic overview for the city relating to mental well-being. She shares about the government's agenda and aims to prevent suicide and support community based programmes e.g. talk therapy.

Interview 2 with Sharon Taft about tips on emotional well-being e.g. appreciating creation via walking, appreciating yourself, exercise, good food, thinking about good things etc. She also shares about policies and a DVD for organisations to consider how they are looking after their staff's mental well-being.

Interview with Emma Brown the Changes Young Persons Project lead and Jenny a young person from the service shares about Changes self help support group that aids young people in moving forward with mental health issues.

Interview with a community member Carol who was an ex-service user about how she overcame anxiety and depression through the care and support of services and the church. Carol also shares about her voluntary work with North Staffs Users Group.

Interview with Dianne Collingwood CEO of MIND about the service they provide people including drop in’s and befriending.

Interview with David a volunteer for Media Action North Staffs about how he has found volunteering as a way of improving his mental health and well-being.

Interview with Sue Ann Pang from Health Promotion about how healthy eating can improve mental health and well-being.

Interview with the members and key workers from Social Services on the Jam Factory about how music helps peoples mental health and well-being.

Interview with Kate a key worker from the Observatory a café set up to help people with mental health problems in getting back into social networks and employment.

Interview with Lisa & Gwynn from the Community Mental Health Team (NHS) about their award winning project on the early identification and management of vascular cognitive impairment. They recently won a national health and social care award.

Interview with Lorna a volunteer with Media Action North Staffs about the stigma attached to people hearing voices and how people can provide support for people going through this based on Lorna’s personal experiences.

Interview with Prof Peter Gilbert from Staffordshire University about his role as NIME lead for spirituality and mental health. Peter talks about how people with spirituality have better mental health and well-being.

Interview with Rev Peter Mockford who is also a UK CP Psychotherapist about how relationships and hope aid mental well-being.

Interview with Dr Richard Jolley from Staffordshire University about studying mind and behaviour through Psychology.

Other Regular Slots & Partnership Projects include:

Staffordshire University Creative Communities Unit – Dr Barbara Emadi Coffin gives a monthly chat on changes within the Voluntary & Public sectors and shares research from the field. She also promotes short courses that people can go on relating to this e.g. community engagement, regeneration.

Staffordshire Police Chief Superintendent Jane Sawyer provides a monthly slot on policing matters and crime safety tips for the community.

Staffordshire Criminal Justice Board partnered with us this year for Inside Criminal Justice Week providing a daily interview on different features of the Criminal Justice System.

Local Church Leaders provide a weekly ‘thought for the week’ giving inspiration and advice for life. They also share about work their church does within the community as an encouragement for faith in action.

Saltbox Director Lloyd Cooke provides a quarterly feature on how faith partners with strategic partnerships to make a positive difference in the City.

Staffordshire Connexions Service partner with us providing weekly interviews on tips around gaining employment, getting into education or volunteering. We cover topics like going for a job interview, taking a GAP year, choosing a college course.

Local Museums provide interviews for half term holidays on what’s on.

Princes Trust projects link with us regularly to share about their community projects and how people can help through supplying paint and tools to renovate community centres.

Local Authority Young Persons Drug Project partnered with us this year to do a series of interviews around drug related issues and services in Stoke on Trent. They produced a number of vox pops used.

We also regularly touch base with groups such as North Staffs Asperger & Autism Association, Staffs Fire & Rescue; Citizen’s Advice Bureau; Learning & Skills Council; Stoke Young People’s and Children’s Services including Safeguarding Children and the Young People’s Drug Project, Stoke Council City Events Team (including being one of the partners and judges for the annual Citizen’s of The Year Awards. This year we once again sponsored the NS Young Carers Award), Regent Theatre & Victoria Hall (local venues); Media Action Group For Mental Health (including profile of their annual Sanity Fair), the Six Towns One City Carnival, City Centre Management Team, North Staffs Regeneration Zone, Renew North Staffordshire; YMCA, HM Revenue & Customs, INSTAFFS (Inward business development), Voluntary Action, Business Brokers, and the Local Strategic Partnership.

There are numerous one off guests. Some examples include: Ford Green Hall Museum, community dance organisation Street Dreams, council’s School Warden team, Disability Solutions, Rachel Wigget (Keele University Student Of The Year), council Older People’s Services, Newcastle Borough Council’s Environmental Protection Team, Lord Mayor Cllr Derek Cappey, footballer John Barnes (visiting Stoke City for the charity Sport In Ethiopia), council’s Cultural Olympiad spokesperson, Beth Johnson Foundation, Learning & Skills Council, Business Link, Christmas Lights Switch On, Civic Society, Angela Glendenning the 2008 Citizen Of The Year, Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, YMCA, Borough Council Leisure Officer, Stoke Your Fires animation festival, Aspire Housing, Connexions, MIND, Voluntary Action, Port Vale Stadium Of Communitites, Ball Green Chatterley Centre, Staffs Fire Service, Canals For The Community, Donna Louise Trust, City Vision, local Operation Christmas Child, local Fairtrade, local Princes Trust, Staffordshire University, Criminal Justice Boards, Victim Support, Probation Service, Youth Offending Team, Community Chaplaincy, Newcastle-under-Lyme College, Shelton Community Centre, Social Services, Staffordshire Buddies, TradeAid, Citizens Advice Bureau, Brighter Futures, Arch NorthStaffs (homelessness), Help The Aged, Primary Care Trust, Contact The Family, Stoke Minster, Caudwell Children’s Charity, Phonelink, Gladstone Pottery Museum, Relate, WEA, HM Revenue & Customs, When Centre charity, local allotment group, Cobridge Park Mela (Asian festival), INSTAFFS, numerous councillors and MPs and Keith Simcock the Midlands Milkman Of The Year!

There would also be lots of individuals featured with local interest stories and we try to help small to medium size businesses with some profile such as Simply Stunning, John Heath (creator of local award winning Bertelin Cheese), Just Oil, Pure & Wicked, Allo Travel, Radical Press and others.

2) Much of the specifically Christian content is covered under point 1.3, but other output includes regular interviews with groups such as 2C7 (local network of Church leaders who changed their name to CONNECT in Oct 08), City Vision Ministries, VIP (organisation involved with marginalised young people), Saltbox (a networking organisation between the church and the wider community), Youth For Christ, and local church leaders. We look at how the local church should respond to local issues such as homelessness, mental health, asylum seekers, youth work, addictions, and engagement with the wider community. We were able to major on this during our City focus themed months too, bringing a mix of specifically Christian worldview to these topics alongside wider services and opinions. Often we offer local church leaders the opportunity to pray on air for these types of areas.

In addition, from wider afield we have run interviews with national groups such as Media Watch (Christian group concerned about values within the media, Tear Fund (a third world Christian social action group), Urban Saints (a national youth group initiative originally known as Crusaders), the Evangelical Alliance, Oasis/Faithworks, Christian Aid, Care For The Family and the Christian Legal Centre (we also discuss the more well known national moral or Christian interest stories such as the Human Tissues and Embryology, Euthanasia or Religious Hatred bills, giving interviews and feedback from the different positions of the debate), The Leprosy Mission, Computers 4 Africa, Each month we focus on Israel and the Middle East with a report from a youth worker based in Jerusalem who works with Arab and Israeli young people.

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

  • The service will combine training with local training providers such as Stoke on Trent College and YMCA, with courses that are broadcasting related and open to the community as a whole.
  • Furthermore they will collaborate with on-going training with local community on projects such as drugs awareness to develop appropriate programme material for broadcast.

1) Many of our work experience people come for training and experience from education institutions. These can be local and from further afield and include primarily local schools and the two local universities Keele and Staffordshire. We have had a number of university students working with us on production, interviewing and presentation skills. This year we were invited to teach a session to students and staff on community radio at the local Keele University. Media students at this university compete for the annual Cross Rhythms City Radio Award, given to the best student of the year. Students at other universities do work placements with us during their holidays when they return to the city. We have had students from Coventry University and Florida University too.

Everyone who gets involved in the broadcasting side is trained by our production manager and IT manager dependent on their area of operation. We allow students also to develop certain skills relevant to their courses for example producing news packages featuring local inrterviews and presenting it as a report. Many are trained in compiling and presenting the hourly local news. Many shows, in particular City Drive and Rimmerama, have sidekick co-hosts who present live on air. These are therefore trained in advance in presenting, and also in programme production/features etc.

Many volunteers and work experience are seeking non-broadcast related opportunities in particular for office skills, reception work and computer based tasks. Again they are trained beforehand and ongoing. Indeed the entry level interview features a task oriented evaluation test to ascertain their strengths and weaknesses.

In addition to university students we see many young and older people join us at a voluntary/work experience level, many are unemployed, some from the local YMCA, some through providers such as Connexions and The Prince’s Trust. Examples of schools who send pupils include St John’s Fisher School, Newcastle-under-Lyme School, Walton High School, Sixth form College Fenton, Blythe Bridge High School, and St Peter’s High School.

We currently have one person with special needs, an asylum seeker and one man coming off heroin addiction.

We also receive a lot of students who want to interview us as a part of their coursework, both for audio and film. Mostly these are university students, and they approach us from across the UK. Local youth groups also take part in on air live broadcasts, getting trained in basic skills, such as Weather and Travel news and then doing them live on air. We assisted some GCSE students with their project on behalf of Cancer Research.

In 2008 we launched our Media Training Academy in our building in the city. We have an accommodation facility, training rooms including a purpose built studio, we have secured the services of up to twelve qualified and experienced professionals to provide teaching sessions, and we have agreed an initial partnership with an accredited trainer to provide diploma level courses. We also received an initial grant from the Churches Media Trust in Oxford to support any students who would come from that region. There are several purposes to the Academy i) to provide accredited media training for local disadvantaged young people (as well as YMCA young people, we are building partnerships with the council youth services and local Duke of Edinburgh groups), ii) to be a centre where anyone from across the country can come to us for media training for 3 months, 6 months or a full year not just getting accredited courses but getting involved with the day to day station responsibilities, getting the much needed hands on experience along with their qualifications to add to their CV, and iii) to be a training base whereby those people looking to get involved with any of the other community stations we collaborate with in the UK (such as Cross Rhythms Teesside, Coventry and Plymouth) can come and be trained in the various radio skills required, and learn hands on before going straight back, much better equipped to work on that station when they return. Since last year we have not been able to progress this direction too much further due to financial restraints, however in early 2009 we have started to work with the local Saltbox organisation who, along with our partner the YMCA, have specialist skills in securing funding for social action causes. Accordingly they have started sending in applications for grants towards i) required equipment and furniture ii) required security system iii) one year’s wage for a project manager. Once these three levels of funds are secured we will be better able to finally deliver the Media Training Community.

2) We continue to work with local groups for training purposes. As mentioned above we worked with Keele University to teach a session on community radio, and we have a good relationship whereby they send students to work with us; we continue a good relationship with the Media Action Group For Mental Health – we supported them with advice and training as they require it on the use of local media; we partnered with the local Citizen’s Advice Bureau for their Refugee Week and converged the station into the projects of that week.

Interface is a collaboration of local youth leaders to produce events for school age students. In advance of a proposed schools week they are running we are training some young people to record interviews and reports from each school.

Working again with Saltbox, YFC, and the City Council we collaborated for a special day long event called Faith2Face with local high schools. The objective was to raise the profile of faith in the community. As a partner we were actively involved in the presentations and also ran one of the workshop sessions training students to produce jingles and incorporate them in a report package to go out on air the following day. The topic was the role of faith in the community.

3) In terms of numbers of people trained we consistently have in excess of 30 volunteers on an ongoing basis. Over the year this totalled 40+ individuals. In addition we took in 13+ work experience students (these are the tallies but we think we’ve missed some!). In terms of those in the wider community we have delivered some measure of training to at least 25+ people. In addition the editorial side of our website has about 75 voluntary contributors who write articles and reviews for us. Some require more training than others.

1.6 Key commitments: Social gain objectives (d) The better understanding of the particular community and the strengthening of the links within it

  • The station will promote events that will bring the whole community together and also use the station as a focal point for bringing Christian groups together.

Many of these types of events that we promote have been touched on elsewhere. Others include our annual involvement in the Citizen’s Of The Year Awards, profiling and working with the local council to promote the Christmas Lights Switch On and their Continental Market. We supported the Asian Cobridge Mela festival and the Six Towns One City Carnival. Indeed we promote at some level, even if it is simply in our event guide, but generally in interview, just about any local community events that take place. Similarly we profile most local productions at the theatres. We are also members of the local Cultural Quarter Group (the creative cultural sector in the city centre) as well as the City Centre Partnership and we profile events taking place in this area. We raise awareness of local community initiatives such as the council and Police initiative ‘Respect Weeks’, and anywhere the police are holding their ‘come and see them’ surgeries. We also partnered with the local Scene Mag, a free bi-monthly publication found in local pubs, clubs, tourist information, museums, shops etc. They profiled the station, we mentioned the mag content. In October the city held a referendum on whether to keep the Elected Mayor system of govedrnemnt. We ran a series of interviews in the month run up to this.

Every day on the Breakfast Show and on City Drive (drive time) we do the Event Guide feature. This profiles any local events taking place, for the Christian community. We also profile many of the events taking place in the whole community as mentioned above. In addition of course we run interviews with specific local events both Christian and wider community.

Events where the station has been used as a focal point for the Christian community include:

1) 40 Days of Prayer & Fasting (starting March 1st)– local churches have held 24 hour continuous prayer for the city and the region, doing one day each over a full month. Every day in breakfast and drive the station has done updates and reports from the churches.

2) A Live OB from the youth event RockNations in Bradford was of particular interest to local young Christians. (We won a CBC award for this live broadcast).

3) Resolution – A New Year’s Eve event we partnered with.

4) We support and partner with various Christian music events in the city. The smallest was attended by about 60 young people, the largest by more than 2000. The artist gigs were as follows: Planetshakers (an Australian worship band); Casting Crowns (a multi million selling U.S. band); Rebecca St James (Austarlian artist); The Gentlemen (band from Sheffield); Lifecolour (new local Christian rock band); Dweeb (UK indie band as part of Interface).

5) 2C7 – A monthly event that brings together Christians across the city for prayer. Normally from about 60 different churches. The station provides advance information on what each 2C7 night will focus on, and often interviews the main leader of it before hand. In late 2008 this initiative changed name to CONNECT and stopped the monthly gatherings for an indefinite period.

6) Resonate 08 – we ran daily reports and updates from this summer week long social action Initioative in the city – cleaning parks, painting schools, dealing with graffiti etc.

7) We promoted and took part in a local Talent Night organised by the Methodist church.

8) We promoted and ran a live OB and roadshow at a major church Fun Day in the Birches Head part of the city.

1.8 Key commitments: Access and participation

Cross Rhythms City Radio will encourage and promote access to the service as follows:

  • Offering on-going training by the group for those employed by the station.
  • Training at least 15 volunteers per quarter.
  • Developing linked training and projects with local educational establishments and other local organisations, such as Groundwork, Stoke on Trent College, Millennium Volunteers Project, Blackfriars School, New Deal and Mickelson House, YMCA.
  • The group shall actively promote on air the services that it offers and invite the community to participate.
  • ‘Taster’ courses to be advertised in publications to encourage participation from the community.

This has been covered more extensively in section 1.5. Additionally:

1) For our employees most training and equipping for their roles is delivered in house. Where required we send them to outside courses. Our core team is quite established now so we tend not to have much need to do so at the moment,

2) We consistently have 30+, an increase of 5-10 on last year. In the last year we have had 40 different volunteers work with us, and 13 Work Experience.

3) Since the Key Commitments were agreed the names of the organisations we link with have changed from the above ones mentioned. Currently some of our stronger links would be with YMCA, Keel University, Media Action Group For mental Health, Saltbox, Interface and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (see 1.5 for more detail). We cannot respond to the level of interest in people joining us however. Our goal for school work experience students for example is to take on one young person at a time. For people with a longer commitment than a one week work experience as we build them into the team and they get trained up then we can take on extra people.

4) We run a radio advert for volunteers which goes out several times a day. Many of our volunteers enquire because of this. Additionally if we have room for more volunteers we use our monthly local email newsletter to mention it. We also put fliers in a local mailing that goes to all the local churches and many local Christians (a mailing of about 1000). We also work with larger groups of people to get involved with certain shows. For example schools and youth groups occasionally bring in their students to take part in live programmes.

5) The idea of ‘Taster’ courses has been superceded really by the demand we have found from all the other avenues mentioned. We couldn’t respond at this stage to an increased level of demand.

1.9 Key commitments: Accountability to the target community

The station will aim to:

  • Be an active participant in monthly meetings of local Church leaders typically 30 to 70 local Church leaders attend).
  • Encourage direct listener feedback is via on-air promotions, letters, e-mail shots and public meetings.
  • Issue audience questionnaires every six months (e.g. through local united Christian meetings in the area or through local Christian mailings),
  • Log relevant feedback via a number of different channels, for example email, phone calls, text messages, e-text via the website, website guest book and message board comments. In addition comments book in studio reception.
  • Formalise its relationship with representatives of local Churches and other interested groups through a quarterly 'board of reference' to receive feedback on the station.
  • The group is a member of the Christian Broadcasting Council (CBC) and has agreed to abide by its code of contact

1) We continue to play an active part in these monthly meetings of local leaders. As well as the monthly leaders meeting, we are active participants in a monthly combined churches meeting and we are a part of a group of twelve local church leaders who meet regularly to discuss more specifically the role of the church in the community. Our part in that is as a valued participant. We also attend twice yearly retreats with up to 25 local leaders of churches.

2) A number of our employees have spoken at their local churches, giving updates on the station and being available for feedback. The CEO continues to meet with many local church leaders in the city to get their specific feedback on how they see the station and effective partnership with it. The CEO speaks regularly at local church meetings. We also encourage email feedback through our website – responses to which are scrolled along the front page on our website. Every month we send out an email update on all we are doing (which goes to 27,000 people) and every two months we send out a local email newsletter in which we regularly ask for response on topics. We also ask for feedback from those listening online and in our chatroom. Every quarter we write to any financial supporters with an update and offering them opportunity to make contact. We regularly ask for feedback on our monthly or bimonthly email newsletters (we have different versions).

3) We have not yet issued a specific audience questionnaire for this year, but will aim to do so in the next quarter.

4) We keep a record of all feedback both positive and negative. Primarily it comes through emails and E TXT (a facility on the front of our website where people can email directly to the live on air presenter in the studio, or the web editorial team or the web technical team).

5) We have 5 key local leaders on a ‘board of reference’ for the local station. Meetings take place three times a year. As we also work closely with them on many projects the accountability for our activity is very strong.

6) We are still members of CBC, and the CEO spoke at last year’s CBC conference giving an update on our Community station.

1.10 Volunteer inputs (see guidance notes on page 2)

As mentioned over the year we have had 40 different volunteers with about 30 active volunteers in any quarter. In addition we have had 13 work experience students averaging 2 weeks each.

Of the 40 the breakdown of their primary roles is as follows:

On Air Presenters 7
Off Air Production 8
Editorial Dept for website 7
Cleaning/Odd jobs 2
Marketing 2

We tend to standardise that most work experience and non-ongoing volunteers join us for up to six weeks in one go. This gives opportunity for more people to get a ‘taste’ of media, and also if some find it particularly difficult to connect with the work environment then the short term nature is not too burdensome for themselves or us. Generally these volunteers would do about two days a week on average. We have several ongoing volunteers who do half a day or one day per week eg cleaning or reception. Occasionally when students join us they do so for a full time period, such as a summer holiday or a work placement. That then is 5 days a week, but generally their capability means they fit in well.

In terms of an average number of hours per volunteer per month we would estimate about 6 hours per week or 26 hours per month.

1.11 Significant achievements

Significant achievements outside of any mentioned in the above would be:



2) We took the step to incorporate our Commercial Production inhouse for any advertisers, rather than use an outside company. This has brought in small amounts of income.

3) We won a silver CBC radio award for best live outside broadcast for RockNationst.

4) We have continued our collaboration with Cross Rhythms Plymouth, Cross Rhythms Teesside and Cross Rhythms Coventry. The launch of Cross Rhythms Teeside in April 2008 took some effort on our behalf to support them and was a significant achievement from our part to help them get started. The award of a licence to Coventry was a highlight.

5) It took three years but we have set up the supply of books on our online shop – offering 40,000 books and dvds. We hope this will generate some much needed extra income.

6) To help make our support of the other Cross Rhythms stations more beneficial and also for us all to learn from each other we held the first combined get together in December 2008 along with the trustees from all groups.

7) We launched a donations scheme in summer 2008 called Target 400 to find 400 new regular donors at £10 per month. So far we have found 50 of those.

1.12 Significant difficulties

Unsurprisingly the main difficulties are all financial related. We have plenty of vision and feel we could be much more effective however we do all that we do with a very tight budget. We only have two full time employees who present shows – one who is also the CEO and the other who is the head of the production department.

Our turnover appears high I assume if compared to other stations, yet when we first took on community radio we were already an established organisation so much of the turnover is a legacy of our ongoing operation.

With more finance we would employ some extra core team. We could then better coordinate volunteers to manage and develop them more effectively. Sometimes we can be spinning too many basic plates between us.

Finance has inhibited our ability to market the station beyond in-kind contra deals. Although in early 2009 we began to print some new literature and sense we will be able to do more marketing this year than we have for the last few.

Having been one of the original pilot stations we have a perspective based on 7 years broadcasting in an area. We feel we are a recognised, establiushed part of the local community but we desire to move up to a new level, because the expectations of listeners to the station grows. As mentioned last year the original uniqueness and identity loses it’s originality after a while and listeners want more. To maintain listener connection we need to add more to what we have ie more presenters bringing more creativity, more awareness out in the wider community through participation in city initiatives etc. To do this properly, without running around like headless chickens, requires putting in solid management processes, requiring finance to do so.

The challenge to get the Media Training Community going has proven harder than we anticipated. A combination on accessing funds and trying to develop it whilst maintaining the current operation has limited the speed with which we can implement this strategy.

1.13 Audience research

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

We have not joined up to Rajar due to costs and have not undertaken our own concerted audience research outside of the ways mentioned above ie in the due course of our accountability and interaction with our community. Whenever we speak at churches or events we ask who has heard or listens to the station (generally for a broad congregation we would see about 30%-50% positive response).

We run an annual research on our website with a professional group called Netobserver, but this is primarily for our website. Our online stats show we have about 12,000 unique listeners online every month.

 More in Community Radio Annual Reports..


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