Koast Radio is delighted to have been awarded £4,000 in funding from Northumberland County Council’s Community Chest Fund.

The money will be used to reconfigure our existing studio to make the best possible use of the space available to us so that we can create a bespoke training and production suite as well as deliver a robust broadcast schedule of high quality varied radio output.

Currently training is only available in a live broadcast environment and this is no longer practical within our broadcasting schedule. It also places undue pressure on new volunteers and work experience trainees some of who have learning difficulties and confidence issues. The only facility we have at the moment is for training and practice on equipment is in a live environment. The thought of broadcasting to the public within a short period of being shown the operation of the equipment is extremely daunting for many who have not experienced anything like this before.

Setting up a training facility will provide a non threatening environment in which the volunteers can develop their confidence and skills before being asked to deliver programmes live.

This will help us develop and improve the quality of our radio programming and the skills and expertise of the presenters.

We currently have no recording and production facilities to allow us to produce our own jingles, station idents, adverts and community announcements. Developing our own suite will enable the radio station to become more self sufficient and provide significantly enhanced training and development opportunities from a broadcasting and production activity. It will also enable any content produced in a training environment to be recorded and played back as a tool for further learning.

According to Ofcom the average number of volunteers involved in a Community Radio Station is 87. We have increased the number of people volunteering with Koast over the past year and we need to increase the number of volunteers still further to maintain and develop an effective, varied and robust radio broadcast schedule.

There are also significant community expectations and demands for support and involvement with events in the local community. Our team already has substantial experience in supporting, managing and delivering community events and many community organisations have sought our involvement because they lack the experience, expertise and equipment to deliver these on their own. We see this as a key part of our role as the community radio station not just broadcasting directly from our studio but taking the radio broadcasts out into the community itself.

Our plans to effectively resource all of this will mean doubling our existing volunteer levels.

We need to match this increase with appropriate training, studio and technical facilities to enable this.

A training and production studio would also provide an essential back up facility in the event of failure and would enable essential maintenance to be undertaken without the need to lose broadcasting time which would impact adversely on the delivery of our Ofcom commitments.

We see these improvements as essential and timely to support the growth and development of Koast Radio as a key community partner.

We are working hard to ensure Koast Radio is a sustainable business and a valued and integral part of the South East Northumberland Community delivering great local radio for local people by local people by 2020 as this will be essential to an extension of our broadcasting licence.

Pictured above Jeff with a J our Breakfast Show presenter.