The Calderdale town of Hebden Bridge has never had a local radio station. In 2013 we conducted a survey which showed there was a significant amount of interest within the local community not just to listen to such a station but to be an active part of delivering the service.
Following a successful model trialled in Leeds, Salford and Chester, we devised a strategy that will ultimately lead to a full-time community radio station focusing on the needs of the listenership. The programme was devised in order to address a number of different needs within the community:
- Provision of entertainment/information to listeners
- Allowing people to learn and develop new transferable skills regardless of age, enhancing their self-confidence
- Enhancing community cohesion
- Promoting local interest groups, artists and musicians
- Tackling issues of loneliness and social exclusion in the local area
The first stage of this, carried out in July 2014, was a four day, live-streamed Internet broadcast coinciding with the Yorkshire legs of the Tour de France. Listening figures for the weekend were well into 4 figures at peak. On the run-up to the event, 58 members of the local community accessed free training in software, radio production and presenting. Throughout the 4 days 157 people were involved in presenting show or in a technical and support capacity.