The dominant theme was the need for continued collaboration
LUTON, England — This year’s Community Media Festival, held on May 7 at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, was a packed event, looking back at its history as well as forward to an expanded United Kingdom community radio sector as small-scale DAB begins to launch in new areas across the country.
Celebrating “The Power of Inclusion,” this year’s event broadened its content to include not only the community media sector itself but also how community radio provides talent for both the BBC and commercial radio stations across the country. Sessions covered a wide range of topics, including celebrating station sound, small scale DAB and radio in later life, as well as discussions about diversity and the future of the sector.
The main keynote speaker was Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan, the U.K.’s shadow minister for mental health, speaking about the relationship between mental health and community radio. The MP is no stranger to radio and has broadcasting experience as a volunteer for Riverside Radio in southwest London.
Equipment and transmitter suppliers, including Broadcast Bionics, Broadcast Radio (formerly P Squared) and Lucoro, supported the event, demonstrating the increasing importance of community radio as a sector,
Perhaps the most topical session was with Steve Buckley of Community Media Solutions. He spoke about community media in the Ukraine and co-productions with Sheffield Live radio and television to report on the war there.
An evening of entertainment included dinner, musical acts, and the launch of the Community Media Champions Awards wrapped up the event. This year, the awards recognized former chairs of the CMA right back to its early days at the Community Radio Association.
This year’s festival was the last facilitated by the CMA’s outgoing operations manager, Bill Best, who has been with the organization since the summer of 2000.