Local Radio is a powerful means of creating a collective sense of purpose. It provides a platform on which all those who need it can make their voices heard.
Bedford Radio is unique in that it is community-focused and designed to serve as a hub which will provide training and ongoing support to groups within the community, developing skillsets in
individuals within those groups, and facilitating engagement with a diverse local audience.
What is it?
Bedford Radio is already established as a producer of quality podcasts. We want to grow this to create a space for training and volunteering, offering opportunities for individuals to learn presentation and media skills, and then helping them put those skills into practice to the benefit of themselves, their communities and the town as a whole.
Bedford Radio is geared to helping communities within the area have a voice on the issues that matter to them, and engage with other local groups. Our ethical code is based on honesty, openness and balance. We intend to make ourselves the local radio station of choice for the whole of Bedford, regardless of age, culture, ethnic background, religion or class.
Bedford has a wealth of cultural events, community organisations, and commercial enterprises, all of which make the town a great place in which to live and work. Bedford Radio is already establishing itself within the area and hopes to play a role in creating an even better Bedford for future generations.
What will it sound like?
Building on the approach demonstrated in our podcasts, we intend to launch online Q2/Summer 2019.
Bedford Radio online broadcasting will have a daytime mix of speech, discussion, and current affairs. Presenters will discuss issues of the day with guests, listeners, and the community at large. Our music policy will have a broad appeal, modelled on BBC Radio 2, BBC Local Radio output, and popular commercial radio stations such as Smooth, Capital, and Heart.
Evenings are planned to deliver more community-focused content, aimed at specific groups among Bedford’s broad range of cultural and ethnic communities.
At weekends we will focus on special interest programmes, allowing contributors to share their passions, and highlighting the vibrant nature of Bedford’s cultural life.
In addition, we aim to develop a community news team, to produce regular local news reports and bulletins keeping listeners informed about what is going on in their area.
What is still needed?
We have already begun to create reports and podcasts, the most popular of which is our Women’s Show, which started as a grant-funded project to celebrate 100 years of women’s suffrage.
Some of the equipment that we need is already in place, and we have managed to get by so far without a regular base. However, in order to grow, we need a modest sum to augment our studio setup and cover the cost of licenses, and we need a small studio/office space that we can call home.
How will it work?
Bedford Radio is run by managing director Martin Steers, supported by other directors and volunteers. We intend to ensure ongoing alignment with community goals by creating a steering group comprising of volunteers and community representatives.
We are a volunteer-based organisation, and we look to people to give their time freely to present and produce content, in a vibrant and friendly atmosphere of mutual support and common goals.
We anticipate getting involved in grant and funding-based community projects in Bedford, to which we can contribute training and mentoring in media, marketing, communications, and related skills.
We will also look for support from businesses and organisations in and around Bedford. We are particularly interested to hear of any sponsorship or advertising proposals, which could utilise Bedford Radio to promote business, goods, services, events and opportunities in the area.
Volunteers will be encouraged to get involved in fund-raising activities and donations from local individuals, those involved with the station, and organisations will always be welcomed and encouraged.
Where will this take us?
Immediate plans are to continue building our content base, deliver further training projects, and develop our pool of volunteers. Our aim of launching an online station in Q2/summer 2019 means we need to train people to be presenters, producers and community journalists.
Ultimately, we would love to launch a digital (DAB) station and/or an FM station, should such an opportunity arise.
All of which will be to the greater benefit of Bedford and its communities.
Who are we?
Bedford Radio was launched in 2018 by Martin Steers and Anita Powell.
Martin Steers has a 10-year track record in radio. As station manager at Cambridge Universities Radio he was responsible for the application which led to them achieving a full-time FM license. He went on to run Diverse Radio in Luton, and contributed to the Community and Education department of Eagle Radio. He has also taught broadcast radio at Anglia Ruskin University, has run community projects, and acted as consultant within the sector.
Martin currently teaches and works as a freelance producer for BBC Radio Oxford, at the same time working to complete his Masters in Multimedia Broadcast Journalism at the University of Westminster.
Anita Powell was born and educated in Bedford and has been working and volunteering in the community for more than 10 years. Anita’s radio credentials stretch back for 5 years, including spells with BBC Three Counties Radio and Bedford’s in2beats radio station as a community organiser and presenter.
Anita is currently teaching and providing support to artists and those from a challenging background, to develop their skills for employment, further training, or self-motivated enterprise.
You can contact Martin and Anita at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bedford Radio is operated by the not for profit organisation, Home Counties Community Media CIC.