Tuning in with St Bees Community Radio

The people responsible for St Bees Community Radio admit they didn’t know what they were doing when they first started. 

But the group that organised the Bees Bash – Charles Bagshaw, Demi McDowell, Nathan Steele, Chris Lockie, Dave Morgan and Lee Shackley – created a radio station, brought a community together during lockdown and looked after it’s vulnerable residents.

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“Before lockdown, work dried up and I was incredibly bored,” said Charles Bagshaw. “After an offhand discussion, I wondered whether we could put together a radio station with zero knowledge.

It was possible and I put out a request asking anyone, of any age, to help and a lot of people came forward.  It was going to be a few friends having a bit of banter but as more people got involved it became about the community and I secured funding from the Parish Council for running costs.

One thing we have learnt is you don’t have to be together to share something special and we did amazing things like the weekly Doorstep Disco, a VE day event and a virtual prom for the school kids.”

According to Demi McDowell, host of the Breakfast show, people came together quickly: “It was 5 or 6 days from thinking this is a good idea to going live.  Few of us knew each other when we started but we became an information point for volunteer groups.”

With no set premises, shows were broadcast from farms, conservatories, bedrooms and sheds.

“I wondered if we could get to a 1000 listeners,” said Charles.  “But by day 100, we had 130,000 listeners, thousands tuning in for weekend shows and sets from superstar Judge Jools, along with celebrity shout outs.  We could wind it up now because it served its initial purpose but there’s more we can achieve, particularly now we can do live events and we have a fabulous team working for the community.

We are looking for new contributors, from anywhere, to join us.  Anyone with a computer can be involved so get in contact if you wish to be a presenter, make jingles, read the weather, showcase music or simply want a new challenge.

It’s incredible really because we were just making it up as we went along.”

Tune in at www.stbeesradio.co.uk

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