It took nearly two years to convince many in Gloucester that there is need for a community radio station run by local people. The demise of Vibes FM, Gloucester’s unlicensed community radio station left a void in the community; there was no other radio station in Gloucester that played a variety of urban music nonstop over the weekend in Gloucester.
Vibes FM demise created a void for another community radio station in Gloucester that only played urban music and is run by local people, I was encouraged by Mr Errol Johnson, Managing Director Stantex Electronics to find out what needs to be done to set up a legal community radio station similar to Vibes FM in Gloucester
This proved to be difficult; trying to get, business and statutory organisations to be innovative and help develop a legal community radio station run by local volunteers was not an easy task. Most of those that I spoke with to seek support and guidance from were not aware of community radio stations and sadly chose to stay in the comfortable circle of community groups they believed are meeting the community’s needs.
However, in Cinderford they had their own community radio station run by local people, Cinderford is smaller than Gloucester City and does not have the diverse community that Gloucester have, Gloucester should in my opinion be at the forefront of helping to set up a community radio station in Gloucester.
Fortunately, I was able to meet with Paul Smith, Director of Community Development Gloucester City Council, it was pleasing to talk to Paul, he knew about community radio from when he was at university. Paul arranged for Jonathan Magee Community Development Officer at GCC to work with and supports me to acquire funding to deliver GFM first broadcast. This subsequently led to a meeting with Keith Annis, Chair of Barton, Tredworth & Eastgate community Trust and led to me doing a presentation to the board of BT&ECT above Community Radio and my vision for GFM.
The Board agreed to allow GFM to broadcast from The Trust Centre, fund the broadcast and training for volunteers in Bristol by CEED. Shirley Palmer, The Trust employee was instrumental in helping to get the training organised in Bristol
GFM secured its first 28 day Restricted Service License to broadcast in October to coincide with UK Black History Month. On the 6 October 2000 GFM created history in Gloucester and broadcast for 22 days to the citizens of Gloucester, local volunteers ran GFM with the emphasis on local issues, information, advice and nonstop urban music for our multi-cultural community.
I am very proud to say the community confirmed the need for a community radio station in Gloucester and I am hopeful GFM will be able to continue serving the community.
I sincerely thank all of GFM dedicated volunteers that took part in GFM 1st ever broadcast, Trevor Watts for getting the mini bus to take GFM volunteers to Bristol for training, Paul Smith, Jonathan Magee, Shirley Palmer, and advertisers and organisation that recognised that having a locally run community radio station could be an integral part of Gloucester. And if our city is to move forward into the 21st century we all need to embrace and support new ideas that can improve local people’s lives.
Derrick Francis – Founder November 2000
Travelling to reggae dances all over the UK, and Simme Ranks now living in London. Derrick and Simme kept hearing on local Community radio stations, where the dances were being held, information about other events, issues and music that were specific to the local community on radio stations up and down the country, yet nothing here.
A local pirate station tried to do this, unfortunately they did not have a license. They eventually had their equipment confiscated by the Authorities.
Derrick and Simme heard so many people complain that there was not enough on Main stream radio they could relate to. They decided to see if there is a way to set an up a legal community radio station in Gloucester. They spoke to some people they knew in London and got a few leads, though nothing concrete.
However things really started moving in May 1999 when Derrick met Jane Manning, who worked for the Link Group. Jane had been involved in the setting up of a community radio station in Bristol.
Jane Manning gave Derrick a lot of information to read. She told him if he still wanted to pursue the idea of a community radio station after he has read it, come back to her. Derrick read it, put a few ideas quickly down on paper and met her again. During the meeting it became clear there needed to be a project group set up.
Soon after the meeting, Simme and Derrick approached Paul Johnson, Carol Francis and Glen Brown. Glen would help us to liaise with prospective presenters and help sort out the equipment specification. With the team now in place, the plan was to be on air December 1999 – January 2000, The Millennium.
Unfortunately Jane left the Link Group around August 1999. Thereafter a lot of energy was wasted attending meetings and talking to people who had apparently supported the idea of a community radio station previously, but was now no longer supportive.
In January 2000 a new project plan was put together to be on air for The Gloucester festival in July/ August 2000. Again some of the people we were working with to help us raise funds appeared not to have the time to commit to Gloucester FM
However, All was not lost. Shirley Palmer, The Community Development worker for The Barton, Tredworth and Eastgate Community Trust had submitted a report to the trust proposing the trust give Gloucester FM a grant. Shirley had attended one of the numerous meetings Derrick had attended in 1999 and knew we were looking for grants.
The Barton, Tredworth and Eastgate Community Trust gave Gloucester FM the grant.
GFM was now on its way to our Multi Cultural Community of Gloucester.
Aims And Objectives
The object for which the company is established are to advance the education of the public and in particular the black and ethnic minority and disadvantaged communities in the city of Gloucester and to contribute to their well being by the provision of a community radio service.
Invest in people that are involved in the organisation, assessing, evaluating and customising training inatives to make it accessible and relevant to GFM presenters / volunteers when ever possible as follows.
- Technical production and studio skills
- Interviewing and presenting
- Understanding radio, community and commercial
Provide and play only a professional blend of music of black origin, news, information and advice, that will ensure audience participation-providing pleasure to the listener and an audience for perpespective advertisers.
Ensure a minimum of 5 places for presenters / volunteers between the age of 16 – 25 who can go on and pursue a career in broadcasting and a minimum of 2 female presenters.
Endeavour to broadcast programmes that will empower listeners, either through music played or information provided for our multi cultural community.
Provide helpline numbers for Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Aids, Careline, Confidential Counselling, The Rape Crisis Line, Victims of Crime, Sickle Cell and whatever may be deemed necessary to the community
GFM is committed to providing equality of opportunity; therefore our recruitment policy will endeavor to involve people from all ethnic backgrounds.