Ysella Sims

Freelance writer & Creative Communications Specialist

Crediton Radio – One Year On

Since its arrival, people have been predicting radio’s demise. But it’s not going anywhere soon. Many of us live with its companionable hum as we go about our days – at home, in the car, the office (remember those?). It is immediate, affordable and a wonderful way to connect people and communities. And it’s more popular than ever. The recent lockdowns have seen a boom in listening figures for both radio and podcasts.

In autumn 2019 Jake Lloyd left the inner city streets of Manchester and moved to leafy Crediton to be with his partner, Elizabeth. He brought with him his twin passions of radio and community and set about researching a way to bring them together. This was the beginning of community radio station, Crediton Radio.

As for many of us, Jake’s plans were affected by the government’s announcement of the first national lockdown on March 23rd 2020. But, seeing an increased need for contact and communication at a challenging time, he decided to press ahead and launch Crediton Radio as a podcast. This approach meant that local people could make content remotely and share it via the internet in a series of episodes.

For the uninitiated the term ‘podcast’ can seem baffling. “What even is a podcast?” my uncle asks when I mention the station. “At its most basic, a podcast is just a radio programme that you can listen to at a time that suits you,” I tell him, “rather than on a radio, you listen on a computer, tablet or phone. You download the programme onto your device or find it as a search in your web browser, click on it and you’re good to go!”

Crediton Radio is made by and for the community. “The variety is really cool,” says Jake when I ask him what the first year has looked like, “we’ve had regular shows with wellbeing coaches; poetry, music, plays; locals in conversation and even,‘Thoughts for the day.’ 

I ask him what role he thinks a radio station can play in the community. “It’s in our communities and with our neighbours that we learn to get on with people different from us,” he tells me. He’s noticed, like many of us, the propensity of social media to create divisions that don’t exist in real life. “I see listening as a kind of glue that holds society together,” he says, “if Crediton Radio can be a place where we listen to the stories of people who are different from us and learn about the things those people care about, the temptation to label people disappears.” 

But he’s keen to stress too, that the station is a fun and positive way to come together. “It’s relatively easy and you don’t need lots of knowledge or expensive equipment, you just need a curiosity and a story to share. It’s about friendship and fun.”

He tells me about the Pete Mason music fund, set up following the death of the popular local musician last year. Pete’s ‘Musical Spotlight’ show shone a light on local unsigned musicians and the fund has gifted the station a PRS licence to allow the use of copyrighted music. 17 year old Luca Saunders from Crediton has used it to make a show called ‘The Musical Staircase’ in which he shares the tunes that got him through lockdown. Jake hopes that other local young people will hear it and want to make a show, too.

He has produced a basic radio journalism course, which will be free or subsidised, as a way for people to develop skills in journalism or to get involved and make friends. There are also simple guides to making radio on the website. I’ve used them to make a couple of podcasts – ‘Tell Me Something’ is a soundscape of poetry and sounds and ‘Crediton Radio – One Year On‘ is an interview with Jake, celebrating the station’s first year. If I can do it, anybody can!

The next step for the station is to create a constitution to help attract funding, with the eventual goal of finding it a physical home and applying for a community radio licence to broadcast on DAB or FM. But more people are needed to make this happen. “You might not want to make radio, but you might want to support the project with your time and energy. No matter what your skills there’ll be something you can do!” Jake says. 

If you’d like to get involved, listen to any of the episodes or podcasts, or have an idea or story to share, get in touch via the website at www.creditonradio.org

Happy listening!

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