SHAFTESBURY and the surrounding area will get its own community radio station, following news that the broadcasting regulator Ofcom has awarded a licence to the not-for-profit Alfred podcast.
The decision means that Alfred, which has been creating online radio-style programmes or podcasts for the past couple of years, will soon be available on FM radio, along with a host of other new local features and programmes.
“Alfred will be a unique radio station, tailor-made for Shaftesbury,” says managing editor Keri Jones,
Alfred won’t try to compete with existing radio services and won’t play pop or commercially available music. Instead, it will champion local music and performers, says Keri: “The research we undertook indicated that local people know where to go for their favourite music, whether it’s pop, rock or classical. People are satisfied with existing national news provision too. Alfred will be all about Shaftesbury, Semley and the Donheads.”
Overheads will be kept to a minimum with no paid staff, no shareholders and no music royalty fees. Keri and his fellow directors will not be paid and all Alfred’s reporters, interviewers, announcers and performers will be volunteers. That means Alfred won’t be awash with adverts.
Ofcom recognised that key members of the Alfred team share an extensive professional broadcasting experience. The team will now begin training residents in the skills of radio programme making, using everyday devices.
“With today’s technology, it is remarkably easy to record radio interviews, commentaries and features on your laptop, tablet or the phone in your pocket,” says Alfred director Amber Harrison.
The regulatory process is slow – although Alfred has been granted the licence, the station won’t start broadcasting until at least 2021. That gives the team plenty of time to train the host of volunteers who will soon be bringing this unique local radio station to Shaftesbury’s airwaves.
If you would like to join the Alfred team, please email hello@nullthisisAlfred.com.
Pictured: The Alfred directors, from left, Kevin Harrison, Amber Harrison, Keri Jones, Karen Brazier and Andy Hargreaves.