Community RSL Stations

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.

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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 here 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 almost 20 years later.