6 Towns Radio, a side project that Tony and I are working on has had some good news today.
We have managed to get the legendary Northern Soul & Motown presenter Mary Fox to present a show on our new station. We have been speaking with Mary for a few weeks and this morning we met and Mary agreed to join the team to present a 2 hour show each week.
I am delighted be joining Six Towns Radio and being given the unique chance to present the soul and Motown show. There can’t be any place more deserving in the country to have its own soul show ““ we are after all soul-on-trent.
I’ve had a great time working in the city, the people took me to their hearts and so now, it’s great for me to be able to give my time and energy for free to this community station as my way of giving something back. I hope it will be a great success. It is after all the future for true local radio ““ for the people by the people.
As a director & chairman of the Community Interest Company that we have set up to run 6 Towns Radio, I’m delighted that Mary has offered to come and broadcast with us, Mary is a true fan of the music so when she broadcasts you know it is because she is interested and passionate about it. There is a massive following of the Northern Soul scene here in Stoke, which was proven with the turn out at the Soul Boy film premier and all nighter last weekend at the Kings Hall. Mary has her own loyal group of listeners who we hope will listen to her show from September now that Mary has found a new home with us.
You will be able to hear Mary on 6 Towns Radio each Friday from 17 September between 7 & 9 PM
We are getting reports that Signal Radio are looking to axe 2 of their 3 news staff based in Stoke-on-Trent.
UTV Radio who own the 26 year old Stoke-on-Trent radio station are planning on moving their afternoon news production to a ‘News Hub’Ã‚ in Wigan, where it will be shared with 5 other stations owned by the group, The Wolf in Wolverhampton, Juice FM in Liverpool, Tower in Bolton, Wire in Warrington, and Wish in Wigan.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ Deputy General Secretary, said: “News hubbing is a trendy word for cutting and running from the communities that radio stations claim to serve. Having news for six stations run by overworked journalists in Wigan is a recipe for disaster for listeners and workers.”
In a letter the Signal journalists’ have written to Staffordshire & Cheshire MPs asking them to lobby the company they said:
“We need help. Local news output at Signal Radio is under attack.Ã‚ Our parent company UTV is proposing Signal’s news out-put comes from a news hub in Wigan during the afternoon. The plan would mean Signal’s newsroom being reduced from an already paltry three journalists to just one.Ã‚ That one person would read breakfast news bulletins. Bulletins in the afternoon would be pre-recorded and not live. They’d come from a hub in Wigan, 49 miles away from Stoke on Trent. The hub, staffed by six people, would provide bulletins for six stations. Staffing levels at that hub would mean three journalists on afternoon shifts doing bulletins for all six stations.” The letter went on:
“We believe this plan will be the death of journalism in the UTV Group and more importantly, from our point of view, at Signal.Ã‚ Signal Radio is a heritage station. It’s been on air for 26 years and used to pride itself on being LOCAL. “The UTV Group, in a disastrous plan to re-position the station, decided two years ago that it would no longer be local, it would be relevant. This plan didn’t work and listening figures have plummeted by a million hours over the last year.Ã‚ Now UTV wants to further compound that mistake by wrecking Signal’s local news out put.” “The company’s latest plan would mean no one in the patch during the afternoon to react to stories. It would mean out of date bulletins being produced by people with little or no knowledge of the area. In short, Signal news, as people have known it over the last 26 years, would cease to exist.Ã‚ We, along with eight other journalists affected by the hubbing plan in the Group, have already rejected this proposal and come up with counter proposals to save money. Despite on-going consultation on this matter, UTV is pushing ahead with a parallel programme of informing journalists in the Group that they are at risk of redundancy.” “The National Union of Journalists’ chapel at Signal has voted unanimously for a ballot on possible industrial action.Ã‚ This is the last thing we want to do. We would rather be serving our listeners as we have for years. Instead, we’re being forced into a corner. We hope you’ll recognise the importance local news plays in any given area and how important it is that Signal maintains a proper local presence. We hope you can support us in our fight to save the newsroom at Signal so we can maintain a strong local backbone for this station.”
The action in Stoke is part of a union-wide campaign against media cutbacks.
A multi-millionaire has stepped in to rescue a struggling commercial radio station.
Focal Radio, based in Stoke on Trent, started broadcasting to Staffordshire and Cheshire at the beginning of November but was forced off air a fortnight ago when the company ran out of funds and went into liquidation.
The radio station has been inundated with emails and messages of support ““ all asking when it would return and today it was back on the air (MONDAY) thanks to businessman Mo Chaudry, owner of Stoke-on-Trent’s Waterworld theme park.
His intervention has saved 20 jobs at the commercial station after he took over the DAB license from Ofcom.
Providing topical community led speech and music from the past 5 decades, Focal Radio, broadcasts on DAB Digital Radio and on-line at www.focalradio.com.Ã‚ The radio station caters primarily for over 35’s in the day with specialist shows in the evening after 6pm including youth programmes, education programmes and broadcasting to the ethnic communities of our area.
Station Manager, Verity Hilton said “Focal Radio is a distinctive local radio station which reflects a positive outlook for the whole area.Ã‚ Our team have been raring to get back on air since the plug was pulled on February 11th and they are thrilled that Mo is on board with a belief in them”.
Businessman Mo Chaudry has been following the radio station since its inception.Ã‚ When he bought Waterworld from Rank Leisure he quickly turned a loss into a profit and knows he can do the same for Focal Radio.
“We believe we can forge a niche market by reaching out to local people and giving them a platform to discuss issues that affect our area” said Mo.Ã‚ “Focal Radio covers every topic from sport to music and politics to an Asian show and I am delighted to be part of such an exciting venture!”
Mid-morning Presenter Sam Plank is ecstatic that Mo is in board.Ã‚ “I am chuffed” said Sam.Ã‚ “He has been so supportive through our plight which has been a difficult time for all the team.Ã‚ Everyone has been working hard behind the scenes to get us on air and with Mo leading us we will come out of it stronger, bigger and better!Ã‚ This radio station is for the people of our patch and we promise that their voice will be heard!Ã‚ I’ve already said to Mo that if I’m not there ““ he should start without me!”