Community RSL Stations


As an adjunct to my work as a radio artist, for more than twenty years now I have been involved with setting up and running short term restricted service license (RSL) community radio stations, usually initiated by arts organisations as community art projects. Below are brief descriptions of some of the stations I have been involved with.

Working across four communities in Plymouth Nowhere Island Radio was a six day radio project broadcasting on 107.9FM. It was created by community arts project Take a Part to compliment the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad project Nowhereisland. The station was conceived by sound artist’s Mark Vernon and Neil Rose who were also responsible for content and programming. Live broadcasts took place in four separate locations in Plymouth, Devon between the 8th and 13th of August.

Thinking about the idea of citizenship, what it means to belong to a place, how we feel about where we live, how we might start a new nation and what you might take with you if you were stranded on an island were just some of the themes that Nowhere Island Radio explored. This included live presented shows and pre-recorded features made with the four communities that hosted the broadcasts – Barne Barton, North Prospect, Whitleigh and Efford. Community events, interviews with residents and a regular ‘Nowhere Island Discs’ feature all formed part of the broadcasting schedule. Community members from the four areas could also volunteer to present live radio shows. Overall there were 30 presenters ranging from the ages of 8 – 80.

Alongside the spoken content audio artists and musicians were invited to contribute by developing soundscapes, test transmissions and radio experiments in response to Nowhereisland, the ‘island communities’ that hosted the station and themes that emerged around the idea and concept of a new nation. This included a series of test signals created by artists selected from an open call. These test signals played during ‘off-air’ times as well as opening and closing the broadcasts. Over 30 artists from 12 different countries contributed work to the broadcasts. 

Lumsden Live was a community radio station broadcasting live from the rural village of Lumsden in north-east Scotland between 18-22nd May, 2021. Initiated by Scottish Sculpture Workshop the station broadcast on 87.9FM with a simultaneous live stream.

Bringing together local communities with the wider BE PART network, the broadcasts set out to explore why and how people are joining together to take action with their communities.

People were invited to tune in, listen and to get involved with call-ins, discussions and responses running throughout the week. Programmes included discussions between activists and artists, meditations with the local landscape, artworks, interviews, Lumsden residents’ ‘take-overs’, soundscapes of the area and live discussion and debate with community groups and organisers.

My involvement was in training up programme makers and presenters, setting up the FM transmitter and studio, editing, soundscape production and studio tech.

Efford FM was a community radio station initiated as part of the Take A Part programme in 2010. Artists Sophie Hope, Neil Rose and Mark Vernon were commissioned to create a one-day community radio broadcast working with local people and community groups to generate content for the station. This included soundscape workshops with local schools, interviews with community figures and local historians, voxpops, audio tours of the area, sound portraits of people and their homes and a radio play developed with ‘Headspace’, an afterschool group and performed by a local amateur dramatics group. Many local characters were trained up as radio presenters taking charge of their own shows and the song requests came in thick and fast. In June 2011 Efford FM returned as a live webcast for ‘Take a Party’ – a community celebration of recent art and regeneration projects in the area.

The audio featured above is from a live audio-visual mix of material from the archives of both Nowhere Island Radio and Efford FM by Mark Vernon and Neil Rose, two of the artists behind the stations. They spent many hours sifting through the archives of these community based radio art projects, re-working selected elements to create a one-off live performance at the Plymouth Arts Centre on Saturday 24th November, 2012. Nowhere Island Radio and Efford FM are both initiatives of Take A Part

In 2001 Radio Tuesday undertook a residency in North Glasgow as part of the Royston Road Regeneration Project, initiated by the Centre. In an area rife with sectarianism, drug and alcohol problems and with significant levels of social depravation there were many challenges to face.

Their response to this unique situation was to set up an RSL community radio station to be run by local volunteers. They worked closely with young people from ‘The Moving on Project’, (a youth club set up by Molendinar Drugs Services) to create content for the broadcasts.

Volunteers with no prior broadcasting experience were trained up as DJ’s and presenters. The modest studio was a broom cupboard in St. Pauls church hall that also housed the water tank for the building. The sound of dripping water could be heard quite clearly on air in some of the quieter moments, especially if someone flushed the toilet. Despite this the ten-day broadcast was a huge success that gained momentum (and new listeners) daily.

At the end of the its first run the station was handed over to a board selected from the volunteers with the hope that it would continue on into the future. From these humble origins Bolt FM has gone from strength to strength and is still on air more than 20 years later.

Bedside Radio

Bedside Radio was the umbrella title for a series of radio artworks produced by Mark Vernon during his time as digital artist in residence at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert, Scotland. The four-part series was an attempt to explore the creative potential of hospital radio, challenge some of its conventions and gently push at the boundaries of what exactly hospital radio might be. The programmes adopted a number of different strategies to get the voices of staff and patients on the air; to increase speech based content overall and to encourage the production of crafted features to play alongside the regularly presented live shows. The aim was to offer patients a more thought provoking alternative to the traditional presented music show format and give consideration to programming for after hours listeners out with the normal broadcast schedule.

A dedicated arts channel, Channel 604, was set up to broadcast the radio works over the patient’s bedside monitor systems. It became a virtual space for experimentation; a revolving radio-art gallery where each programme played on a continuous loop for a two-week period.
Programme 1: The Tonic Garden

Programme 2: FVRH A Portrait in Sound

Programme 3: Deep Sleep Trawler

Programme 4: A Day in the Life

Channel 604 began transmissions in April 2013 with it’s inaugural broadcast – ‘The Tonic Garden: a sonic survey of soothing sounds’, the first programme in the Bedside Radio series.



selected tracks from ‘Hairwaves: a cautionary tale’


A radio station, audio CD and publication devoted to all aspects of hair. Hairwaves was a collaboration between Zoë Irvine, Mark Vernon and Freight Design with specially commissioned illustrations by Danielle Lemaire. Created from recordings and interviews made in hairdressers and hair establishments between 2001 and 2006, the scope of the project quickly broadened out to include pet grooming, wig making and psychic barbers.

“…from anecdotes blowing hot and cold on the subject of hairdryers, to accounts of the bald facts on barbers. We have snipped and textured, layered, added some highlights and brushed away the clippings so we can now offer up this cautionary tale.”

The publication and CD Hairwaves: a cautionary tale was launched at the CCA, Glasgow with a live, day-long RSL radio broadcast targeted at all salons, hairdressers and barber shops within the broadcast radius. As well as featuring works from the audio CD the broadcast included contributions received from an open call for radio works and music on the theme of ‘hair’.

The original Hairwaves FM radio broadcast went out across Glasgow on 87.7fm on the 8th December 2006.
The CD was featured on Radio 3’s Mixing It and a highlights show aired on Resonance FM later the same year.

Radio Tuesday

Radio Tuesday committee:
Duncan Campbell, Alex Frost and Mark Vernon


Radio Tuesday was an artist-run radio station based in Glasgow set up to produce and broadcast sound art, experimental music, new music, poetry, documentary and other uses of sound. Starting in 1999 sporadic broadcasts took place across Glasgow and the surrounding area involving hundreds of artists.

During February 2000 Radio Tuesday set up a station and broadcast in Helsinki as part of a residency organised by The Modern Institute (Glasgow) at KIASMA Museum.

Later that year Radio Tuesday installed themselves at Transmission Gallery (Glasgow). For the duration of the exhibition the space became a resource area, recording studio, conference room, a venue for gigs, cinema space, gallery and of course – a radio station.

In 2001 Radio Tuesday completed a residency with Molendinar Drugs Services in the Royston Road area of Glasgow. This culminated in the creation of a local radio station, Bolt FM, run and programmed by members of the moving On Project, local residents and other volunteers.

The Cassette only release ‘Wide General Vicinity’, covering the first series of broadcasts was released in 1999. ‘e.g. Sometime Instant’, the follow up CD was released in 2002. Both releases feature a broad range of the artists and musicians involved with the broadcasts.

“Apparently, radio transmissions on unregulated frequencies interfere with normal radio and TV reception and, possibly, aircraft communications. Temporary licences to broadcast are available (from the same people who do TV licences)–but cost around £2000. In Glasgow for four Tuesdays in June you could–conditions permitting–tune into artist-run pirate radio. Necessarily broadcast from various locations on customised equipment, Radio Tuesday… “

click here for full article

Alan Michael is an artist based in Glasgow.
Review reproduced from CIRCA 90, Winter 1999, p.52

Free-Thinking, Free-Loading, Free-Basing, Free-Falling
Or Ways to Heighten a Loss of Responsibility

“A project built around a series of unofficial FM broadcasts, e.g. Sometime Instant brought sound works, performance and the potential of freedom of thought not only to the local airwaves, but also to a variety of Glasgow venues. A follow—up to a previous project, Wide General Vicinity2 by Radio Tuesday, where for four Tuesdays in June 1999 artworks and ideas were broadcast from roadside and rooftops, e.g. Sometime Instant based Radio Tuesday at bars, clubs and Transmission Gallery… “

click here for full article

Caroline Woodley
Review reproduced from CIRCA 92, Summer 2000, pp. 58-59.

Radio Tuesday

Born in 1998, Glasgow, Radiotuesday is an artist-run radio station set-up to facilitate the transmission of sound art, discussions, interviews, radio plays, documentaries, experimental music, poetry and prose readings – these transmissions were a forum for audio creativity. Between 1998 and 2002 over 200 artists participated in the sometimes legal/sometimes not broadcasts as well as workshops and exhibitions.


Wide-general-vicinity, Glasgow.
Four weekly pirate broadcasts in June 1999 from rooftops and hillsides in and around Glasgow. They were publicised by word of mouth. Sound clips were also broadcast through the All Horizons Club website.

Wide General Vicinity contributors: Michael Wilkinson, David Fulford, Mark Orange, James McLardy, Martin Kirwan, Chloe Brown, Kennel Club, Johannes Maier, Michael Fullerton, Cattivo, Nepalese Black, Mark Vernon, Hayley & Sue Tompkins, Scott Simpson, Anna McLauchlan, Robin Bagnall, Ian Balch, Ewan Imrie, Barry Burns, Chris Wallace, John Heaton, Duncan Hamilton, Tom O’Sullivan & Joanne Tatham, Lucy McKenzie, Tony Swain, Glitch, Alan Dimmick, Rooney, Anne-Marie Copestake, David Allen, Crystal Collins, Daniel Jewesbury, Snake Pie, Rob Kennedy & Jessica Worral, J.Ainley & R.Brown, Chris Evans, H.P.7, Fred Pederson & Torsten Lauschmann, Katherine Sowerby, Scott Myles, Robert Johnston.

Radiotuesday fundraiser, Buff Club, Glasgow.
Performances by Robert Johnston, Tony Swain, Chris Wallace and Martin Young, Hayley and Sue Tompkins, Rob Kennedy plus excerpts from the broadcasts.

Wide-General-Vicinity, C90 edition. C90 cassette of highlights from the Wide-General-Vicinity broadcast.

01) Ian Balch – Ambling Lion
02) Anna McLauchlan – Gallery Interviews
03) Rob Kennedy & Jessica Worral – Part 2
04) Anne-Marie Copestake – 13 Hearts
05) Tom O’Sullivan & Joanne Tatham – January, Moortop, Halfway, Walpurgis, Slacks Wood
06) Glitch – Instamatic
07) Scott Simpson – Cyber disco, Paul & Becky, Telly Addicts
08) Daniel Jewesbury – Exchange 1999
09) James Mc Lardy – Trumpet
10) David Fulford – Black & White Print Developer (electromagnetic recording)
11) Tony Swain – He Flips, Twists, Blinks, Lying Still, Flies Again, Then Stops.
12) Crystal Collins – Great-Grandfather project (excerpt 1)
13) Cattivo – Scum
14) Scott Myles – See you on the other side
15) Duncan Hamilton – Hotel Room
16) Hayley & Sue Tompkins – untitled
17) Lucy McKenzie – Socialismus
18) Crystal Collins – Great-Grandfather project (excerpt 14)
EXHIBITION Books, multiples and easy living, Birmingham. A group exhibition at the artist-run gallery B16, Birmingham.


A group exhibition curated by The Modern Institute.

Five licensed broadcasts and audio workshops, presented as part of the group exhibition ‘Can 303s Heal?’.

Kiasma contributors: James McLardy, Life Without Buildings, Ektor Virite, Aku Raski, Tony Swain, Thomas Seest, M.C. Sorenson, Hanna’s Barber, Ian Balch, Voukkoset, David Fulford, Mark Vernon, Scott Simpson, Alekseij Konstantinoff, Johny Hi’way, Steve Cuzner, Alexander Rishaug, ARM, DJ Kevlon, Mark Orange, Fred Fisher, David Bellingham, Harry Hunks, Neil Bickerton, Sally Chapman, Ewan Imrie, O Samuli A, Senor Cockroach, Hayley & Sue Tompkins, Eero Arte, Pelle Venetjoki, DJ’s Dee & Hulaq, Erkki Niiwimtaki, DJ Didier, Hamara No.5, Falkirk, Selfish Shellfish, Roddy Buchanan, Sally Chapman, John Nicol, Tri- Angels, Kullervon Kosto, Vilunki 3000, Maurice O’Connel, Juho Koskinen, Tomi Leskinen, OP:L Bastards, Alien Influence, Nu Science, Helsinki Bass Machine, Pink Twins.

BROADCAST/WORKSHOP/EXHIBITION e.g. Sometime Instant, Transmission Gallery.
A festival of sound featuring live performances, talks, a sound studio, webcasts and broadcasts as well as visual art which has a sound bias.

e.g. Sometime Instant contributors: Robin Bagnall, Sikkerhet, Clare Stephenson, Orla Ryan, Beagles & Ramsey, Barry Burns, AMMM, Fergus Kelly, Wendy Wilmut Brown, Calum Stirling, Zoe Irvine & Gerald Lopez Straub, Marc Baines, Carol McGuigan, Deaf & Dummy, Paul Mulvihill, David Fulford, Heather Minchin, People Like Us, Vex, Vengloss Advocaat, Diskono, Nick E. Melville, John Nicol, David Bellingham, Crystal Collins, Brian Lavelle & Richard Youngs, Chris White, Hayley Newman & Kaffe Mathews, Ian Balch, Duncan McQuarrie, James McLardy & David Youngs, Tony Swain, Fergus Kelly & Dave Lacy, Mutti Geld, The Poison Sisters, Rob Kennedy, Gilded Lil, Caroline Woodley & Liam Gillick, Life Without Buildings, Hanna’s Barber, Fog, Hassle Hound, Cylinder, Xmaus, Stiletto.


BROADCAST/WORKSHOP/RESIDENCY Bolt FM, Royston Road Residency, Glasgow.

In 2001 Radio Tuesday completed a three month residency with Molendinar Drugs Services and the Royston Road Project, Glasgow. This involved the development and eventual creation of a local radio station, Bolt FM, run and programmed by members of the Moving On Project, local residents and other volunteers. This residency culminated in a ten day licensed broadcast.

Bolt FM contributors: Brian Ford, Robert Brogan, Ian Brotherhood, Miss Thing, DJ Bubble & Squeek, NGC, DJ Mig & Jammo, The Moving On project, Audrey Kelly, Jason Johnson, Andrew Livingstone, Robert Love, DJ Mac Star, Charles McMillan, James McMillan, DJ Stevie P, David Norris, DJ Lister, DJ K & Cally (Fergusley Park Radio DJ’s), Graham McFarlane, Dave Davidson, Tony Gordon, DJ Vostok , Alfie Forbes Smith, John Anderson, Scott Myles, Paul Carter, Toby Patterson, Ewan Imrie, Barry Burns, Daniel Ibbotson, A Burd Called Gur, Bedlam DJ’s, Chit Chat storytelling group, Ritchie Ruftone, Roddie Buchanan, Jim Friel, George Skinner, Willie Cameron.

PERFORMANCE PRESENTATION ‘At the City’s Edge ‘ 2-day conference organised by the Centre.
St. Andrews in the Square, Glasgow.


RECORDING e.g. Sometime Instant, CD edition.

CD release of highlights from the e.g. Sometime Instant broadcasts with launch at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow.

01) Ammm – Where is / heard of the artist?
02) Calum Stirling – 0800 595595
03) Life Without Buildings – Is Is (live at Transmission)
04) Marc Baines – Inners Outing In
05) Brian Lavelle & Richard Youngs – Wofer
06) Hanna’s Barber – Blunted Locomotion (live at the Buff Club)
07) James McLardy & David Youngs – Fireworks
08) Heather Minchin – Inside the Cinema
09) Zoe Irvine & Gerald Lopez Straub – Say Again
10) Mutti Geld – The exhilaration of curing leukaemia with leeches
11) John Nicol – Classic super deluxe bunny drinking bottle 100ml version (excerpt)
12) John Beagles & Graham Ramsey – Geeza gotta flamethrower (Thamesmead 2000 mix)
13) Deaf & Dummy present… Link /platform 3A/interlude
14) Janek Schaefer – Wow (‘physical remix’ by Fog)
15) Barry Burns – Jon Pertwee invokes Beelzebub or some other base idol
16) Hassle Hound – Sorbet Pool
17) Hayley Newman – Howdi
18) John Beagles & Graham Ramsey – Scumland
19) Cylinder – Labrador
20) Carol McGuigan – Bottle
21) Deaf & Dummy present… An audience with Myra Hindley



Radiophrenia is a temporary art radio station exploring current trends in sound and transmission arts. Broadcasting from the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow Radiophrenia aims to promote radio as an art form, encouraging experimental approaches to the medium not catered for by mainstream stations. The station was founded by Glasgow based sound artist and radio producer Mark Vernon and is coordinated and co-curated by Barry Burns and Mark Vernon.

Radiophrenia’s first series of transmissions took place in April 2015 broadcasting 24-hours a day for a full week. The station was granted a restricted service license (RSL) transmitting on 87.9fm with a simultaneous live webstream. Subsequent two-week long broadcasts have taken place in 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020 and 2022.

The schedule includes live shows and pre-recorded features, soundscapes, spoken word, documentary, drama, radio experiments, found sound and some radical new programme ideas, the majority of which are selected from submissions to an international open call for sound and radio works. In its short time, Radiophrenia has commissioned more than 100 new radio works for broadcast and live performance and facilitated the broadcast of more than 1700 hours of artist’s radio and sound work.

At the core of this celebration of radiophonic art are a series of specially commissioned ‘live-to-air’ performances by a mix of local and international artists. Selected artists are asked to respond to the unique circumstances of creating a work that is both a live performance and a radio broadcast, reflecting the fact that there will be an audience present in the theatre in addition to an unseen audience of listeners at home. Commissioned artists have included; Sue Tompkins & Russel Haswell, The Modern Institute, Asparagus Piss Raindrop, Sarah Angliss, Felix Kubin, The Resonance Radio Orchestra, Cucina Povera, Espen Somer Eide, Ben Knight & Tom White, Shelly Nadashi, Kathryn Elkin, Elizabeth Veldon, Jim Colquhoun, Maya Dunietz, Cara Tolmie, Zoe Strachan & Nichola Scrutton, Secluded Bronte, Rebecca Wilcox, Xentos Frey Bentos, Sister and Fallope & the Tubes.

From 2016 onwards Radiophrenia has commissioned a series of new radio productions for it’s broadcasts, one new work for each day of the 2-week schedule. Commissioned artists have included: Gregory Whitehead, Alessandro Bosetti, Meira Asher & Maya Dunietz, Jason Lescalleet, Sarah Tripp, Sisters Akousmatica, Luke Fowler & Richard McMaster, Wojciech Rusin, Doog Cameron, Lisa Busby & Rose Dagul,  Klaysstarr, Rob Kennedy & Jess Worrall, Catherine Street, Isabelle Stragliati, Zoe Irvine, Joe Howe, Chris Dooks, Stuart Gurden, Amble Skuse, Lin Li, Andreas Oskar Hirsch, Jean-Philippe Renoult & DinahBird, Diacoustics, Sean Burn, Catriona Shaw, Sarah Angliss, Anna Friz and Graham Lambkin.

For up to date details visit the Radiophrenia website –