We are pleased to announce that OFCOM have awarded East Leeds FM a full-time community radio licence so we will be able to have our own permanent FM frequency.
We started ELFM back in 2003 with a group of pupils at John Smeaton High School. Those original young people are now just about 30 years old, a couple of them are still involved with ELFM and Chapel FM Arts Centre and one, Simon Bedford, is on our Board of Management. Another, Vicky Robinson wrote in our annual report:
“ELFM is an amazing part of the East Leeds community and I am proud to say I helped to make it happen. I now have a husband, daughter and son. And I am happy that my children will be able to take part too. We have already been to their holiday sessions at Chapel FM.”
Over 12,000 local people have come into one of our studios over the years and been involved in making their own original radio programme, most of them never thought they would get the chance. It’s good fun, an opportunity to find out things and talk to people about your own ideas and even means that you get to go places! Only yesterday a group of teenagers were down in town at the Carriageworks Theatre doing an outside broadcast from the Words in the City festival. We’ve even taken a group to Japan—they ended up making radio dramas with a group of youngsters who lived in a fishing port called Ishinomaki and who had survived the tsunami in 2012.
Our first-ever broadcast back in 2003 was on FM for two weeks (our broadcast studio was in a back office at Tescos). Fifteen years later we have three beautiful studios in our very own Arts Centre. We currently broadcast over 1100 hours of original radio each year, mostly through our website with our summer broadcast on FM.
But getting a full-time FM licence and our very own permanent frequency is going to take us to the next level. When we launch in 2019 we plan to do 50 hours of original programmes every week—more than double what we are doing at the moment.
It’s a great opportunity to have a real-life full-time radio station just for East Leeds, but we can’t do it on our own…we need you!
We have a great team of regular volunteer broadcasters but now we are looking for more. You can be any age (so far we’ve had broadcasters ranging from 3 to 97 years old) and you don’t need any particular skills or experience. In fact we are just about to start another of our free, 3-session, “Have A Go” radio training courses on Monday nights starting June 4th.