Monday, January 28, 2013

UK: Community radio station could be launched in Leatherhead

A NEW community radio station could be launched in Leatherhead, creating jobs and providing news for local people.

Graham Pountney, director of Leatherhead-based Screen Test Productions, and colleague Steve Ray, hope to launch a not-for-profit station called Mole Valley Sound, if there is enough public interest.

The initiative would serve Leatherhead, with plans to cover nearby areas including Bookham, Fetcham, Oxshott, Cobham and Ashtead.

Mr Pountney, of Elm Drive, said: "Obviously, Leatherhead is the main hub of these places and it needs a lift right now. We believe a community project such as this can provide it.

"Community-run radio shows benefit local people in a number of ways, bringing them news, music and providing a platform for groups and individuals.

"Steve has set up two already, one on the Isle of Wight and one in Essex, and they are both doing very well and serving the community fully."

The pair's plan is for the station to operate from 8am to 6pm with local DJs "promoting local issues for local people of all ages". After 6pm, the airwaves would be handed over to local businesses, schools and charities to promote events and stories.

The station would also provide opportunities for young people who are not in education, employment or training (known as NEETs) to learn about the world of media.

He said: "We can offer opportunities to those who have missed out should they like the idea of learning about the media, from presenting to using the equipment.

"There will be opportunities for those people to come away with us for a few months and after that be able to say 'I've achieved something', which might not be something they could do in the past."

He added: "It would not be a platform or a soapbox for any idea or agenda. It would be a non-political, not-for-profit organisation.

"Nothing is solid yet, we need a reaction from the community. There seems to be a strong interest.

"We are prepared to initiate this and take it forward but it comes down to how willing people are to embrace us and help it to happen."

A meeting at the Parish Church Hall, in Church Road, Leatherhead, will take place at 7.45pm on Tuesday to gauge public interest and inform residents of the plan.

(Source: Surrey Today, UK)

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