West Wolds Radio

West Wolds Radio broadcasting to Pocklington and villages will be launching in April 2015. We chat to director, Tony Barker…

How did plans for West Wolds Radio come about?

The inspiration for a station came from local resident Stuart Cocker, who’s also had broadcasting experience. Ofcom (the government broadcasting regulator) were inviting applications for radio stations, so a group of us with a mix of experience – broadcasting, finance, local knowledge – came together to apply for a licence. We consulted with local groups, completed lengthy paperwork and were awarded a five-year licence to broadcast on FM. We felt that Pocklington and district shouldn’t pass up the opportunity.

What exactly is a community radio station?

It’s a service dedicated to a particular area or audience. The first stations were set up 10 years ago in Britain and now there are more than 200. The idea is that they’re very local, operated by volunteers, help build up skills and confidence and foster a community spirit.

So, is your own background in local radio?

Yes, I trained as a radio journalist and moved to East Yorkshire for my first broadcasting job. My career path took me towards PR but I joined my first community radio station in Cheshire in 2009 and then moved to one in East Yorkshire in 2010. It’s really rewarding to be part of it, especially with the adrenalin of working on big events and outside broadcasts.

What sort of things will people be able to listen to on West Wolds Radio?

So long as we have the volunteers, the opportunities for programming are rich and varied. Our primary target is the 25+ market and we’ll be broadcasting live every day, all year round. However, there will be plenty of chance to record shows as well. We want to cover issues that matter, plus have an outlet for short stories, local history, education material, sport, specialist music, arts and theatre.

Where will the station be based?

Pocklington, with studios in the town centre and we’ll have the technology to broadcast from places like the Arts Centre and the various villages. We’ll often be out and about, attending events and visiting villages. Once accommodation is finalised, we can start building studios and installing equipment. Many media these days aren’t based close to their audience but that aspect is important to us.

What sort of volunteering roles will there be?

Plenty – both on air and behind the scenes. We need a team of presenters, reporters, researchers, people who can help raise money, promote the station, help manage our paperwork, look after the website, handle technical issues and represent the station. It would really help us if people who want to be presenters are available on a regular basis, as it is so easy to lose listeners if the schedules keep on changing.

What can volunteers gain from the experience of being involved?

Confidence, skills, experience, training, the excitement of being part of a real-life broadcasting service which can help improve people’s quality of life. Being part of the launch at a Pocklington and district event is a very special feeling and meeting people and celebrating their achievement is incredibly rewarding.

How can we keep up to date with developments?

Through the new website, www.westwoldsradio.co.uk, like us on facebook.com/westwoldsradio or follow us on Twitter @westwoldsradio. Potential volunteers can look out for one of our open houses to come and meet us in late 2014 and early 2015. We’ll also be around at the Christmas Shopping Festival in Pocklington and, who knows, we may come up to you in the street to have a chat.