I ended my salaried career as the presenter of BBC Radio Bristol’s Breakfast Show. Three hours of talk – with no musical breaks – and the need to be able to operate controls – and handle a computerised running order – as well as doing live interviews in the studio or over the phone.
I am only tellng you this because my memories of those radio days were prompted by a request from Luke Taylor to give some publicity to the work a group of young volunteers are doing to keep Bathonians informed and entertained through their own local radio station.
Seems the current social and work restrictions have been good for their business too. Luke told me:
Bath’s non-profit community radio station, BA1 Radio, has seen four times the number of listeners tuning in as its volunteers work hard to keep the local community informed and entertained while the UK is on lockdown.
Over the last few weeks, BA1 Radio has seen total listener hours double, while the number of unique listeners has risen by over 200%.
The organisation, which was set-up last year to train and educate people in radio broadcasting, currently has its 35 volunteers broadcasting new shows directly from their homes and working behind the scenes as the UK is on lockdown to contain the spread of Coronavirus.
Luke Nix, station manager at BA1 Radio said: “We’re delighted to see so many more people tuning in during this time. As well as keeping listeners informed and up to date with hourly news bulletins, our team of volunteers is working hard to entertain listeners and provide a platform to showcase uplifting local news stories from the community.”
BA1 Radio is currently broadcasting twelve hours of shows every weekday, including new shows like the Daily Good show, with Sarah Baker, focusing on positive change across the city and the Keeping Busy show, which provides top tips on how to stay productive during isolation. They have local news every hour and have supported local volunteer organisations, such as BANES 3SG, in helping share the opportunities available.
There’s also the Dad and Lad show where father and son, Ian and Reuben play games and share interesting facts about the City, and a Business Support show with James Godman, who provides details of the latest support on offer for local businesses.
Nix added: “Like all businesses and non-profits, we’ve been forced to think of ways to continue operating, so we’ve been doing virtual training and all our volunteers have been recording radio from home. We’ve even got young people producing their own shows as part of their media studies work while they’re being homeschooled.”
“For us, BA1 Radio is so much more than a radio station. As well as providing a platform for local news and businesses, what we’re really doing is giving people the opportunity to learn new skills to help with employment and boost their confidence.”
BA1 Radio was established in 2019 to help local people develop new skills and usually broadcasts from its studio in Southside Youth Hub. The organisation now has 35 volunteers and has become an important local platform to showcase businesses and charities across the city.
You can stream BA1 Radio live from – www.BA1Radio.org
Best of luck to you all! Meanwhile, l am pleased to say my old station BBC Radio Bristol is playing its usual important regional role – at this time of crisis – via https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/live:bbc_radio_bristol