There are currently 195 licensed community radio stations in the U.K. – with more on the way. At this rate, it won’t be long before community stations outnumber their commercial cousins. But although community radio’s thriving across the country, it’s been noticeably underrepresented in London, where frequencies have been scarce. It would seem that’s about to change, as Ofcom is currently seeking applications for community radio licences within Greater London and the M25.

With this in mind, earlier in the month Siobhan Mullen and I joined the first of three “Pathways For Community Media in London” seminars organised by London Metropolitan University. The aim of the series is to “bring together community media practitioners to identify the needs and aspirations of London’s many disenfranchised communities and discuss a way forward that will give them a voice over the airwaves and the internet”. The hope is to eventually produce a manifesto for Community Media in London.

Although BCU’s representatives were “outsiders” in terms of the London radio debate, guests were interested to hear about Birmingham’s diverse mix of community radio. It was a productive afternoon, hosted at the Rich Mix Centre by Penny Wrout, BBC London Communities Editor, who generously got in the first round at the end of the day. Other attendees included Khera Amarjit the founder of Desi Radio, Trevor Dann the Director of the Radio Academy and Jacqui Devereux, Director of the Community Media Association.

Future seminars topics include “Sustainability” on the 12th of June, “Ways Forward for the Future” on the 1st of July. For more information, contact Donald McTernan [email protected]

Picture: Sam and Siobhan with Project Coordinator Donald McTernan and Peter Lewis, Senior Lecturer in Community Media, London Metropolitan University.

Birmingham Centre For Media And Cultural Research

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