From YMCA to FM to make voices heard

A new online community radio station, run voluntarily by young people from North Staffs YMCA, has been launched in Hanley.

Knot FM began broadcasting on March 4 this year, as part of the YMCA’s One Big Sunday, and is based at Edinburgh House, Harding Road.

The radio station is run predominantly by people living at North Staffs YMCA, whose responsibilities range from presenting radio programmes, to sound editing and organisational roles.

Daniel Flynn, company secretary for North Staffs YMCA, said

We want to raise the voice of young people, and would like to help young people in North Staffordshire to be heard.

We’re trying to develop a media academy here at the YMCA, and Knot FM certainly helps with that.

Daniel also spoke of his hope that the radio station would provide volunteers with the skills to work within the media industry in the future.

The radio station was founded by Gareth Ekin and Angela Smith, after both wanted to create a community radio station ran by local people, which actively helped young people living in Stoke-on-Trent.

Gareth said

Angela, Danny and myself decided to bring Knot FM into the YMCA to help the residents who are living here.

There’s nothing more soul destroying than having an empty CV, so we’re offering the young people inside the YMCA the opportunity to develop new skills and change that.

Gareth also hopes that listening and working to Knot FM can inspire young people in the YMCA to aspire to further things.

Despite still being in its infancy, plans are already underway to expand Knot FM by launching Knot FM 2, and moving the studio to a larger space within the YMCA in the next few months.

Timothy Finney, 21, hosts the ‘Ginger Rock Show’, which broadcasts three times a week. He said:

It certainly helps with my confidence, as you have to be confident on the radio, otherwise people will really notice.

I’ve now got both presenting skills and technical skills. I’ve also learned how to use all the recording and sound equipment, which is really useful.

Timothy also thinks Knot FM could be a springboard for local musicians, and has already aired a number of songs written by fellow

YMCA residents. The station has been encouraged by a successful debut, which has included listeners tuning in from as far as Austria and Japan, and has also seen Knot FM shows adopted for broadcast by Edinburgh-based station Rag Radio.

Television actor Lee Oakes, of ‘Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps’, has also visited the studios to talk to volunteers.

Speaking about the effect Knot FM has had on the young volunteers working there, Angela said

Tim is a prime example of someone who has benefited from working here, and other volunteers have used the skills they’ve learned to start up new businesses.

The fact that we are soon moving to a bigger building is a show of faith from the YMCA, not in us, but in the young people who keep Knot FM running.

Knot FM broadcasts live from its website at:

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