A group of students from Salford University celebrate the opportunity to support a radio station which was established in the first lockdown.
RadioAlty is an online community radio station based in Altrincham, South Manchester.
The station partnered with Salford University’s media and journalism faculties to provide opportunities for members of those courses to get real life experience of doing their own radio shows.
Each day, they produced content for the hourly news bulletins, and worked towards a final package to be broadcast on Friday afternoon.
These contributed to the “Lockdown Late Lunch” programme presented by Station Manager, Rod Maxwell.
Zoë Toase, an MA Broadcast Journalism student, said: “The RadioAlty community was so welcoming and really made me feel like part of the team.
“I had so much fun creating my own news bulletins and a package that let me be creative and learn about the radio industry.”
RadioAlty is run by volunteers who broadcast from their home studios and the team has grown steadily in the last 12 months, increasing from 5 to a team of nearly 30 people.
There are shows for all age groups and backgrounds, which provides the ability for people to get involved and gain experience in broadcast media.
It began with a meeting held in December 2019 to discuss the idea of setting up a community based online radio station in a pub in Altrincham.
The concept of a sister local media company for the local area was discussed and agreed.
Weekly planning meetings followed and an online radio station was decided for late Spring 2020.
The decision was made to launch using “home” studios as lockdown in the UK began on 23rd March 2020.
The station signed with local internet broadcast service provider radio.co in mid March 2020 and began their first broadcast on 27th March 2020.
Dr Martin Hamer, Senior Lecturer in Journalism at the University of Salford, looks after industry placements for journalism undergraduates and postgraduates at Salford.
He found out about RadioAlty through a university colleague who is involved with the station, and agreed to set up one-week placements.
He commented: ”I am delighted it has worked out so well for both the radio station and the students who all appear to have enjoyed their time there and were also offered the opportunity to contribute to stories to mark the first anniversary.
“They have received some useful and positive feedback, too, which they can no doubt learn from and take forward in their careers.
He commented on the originality: “The fact that RadioAlty is a community channel makes it all even more worthwhile and I sincerely hope it continues to go from strength to strength in the future.”
Given the duration of lockdown throughout the academic year, the students were delighted to have the opportunity to create content which would be broadcast online.
Izzy Bushell, another MA student, said: “I loved working for RadioAlty because I was given the opportunity to actually write my own content to be broadcasted which helped develop my skills within bulletin writing and package making.
“I really like how the package for Friday gave us the chance to be creative – it helped us all show our personalities and individualities as journalists.”
RadioAlty is part of Altrincham Community Media (CIC) which is a voluntary organisation that provides opportunities for people to get involved in all aspects of multi-media.
The organisation has supported the production of 2 podcasts during the last year involving local people – Life after 50 which focuses on the challenges and opportunities of people retired, and Life with no filter which is recorded by 4 local people who have all suffered some form of brain injury and who share their experiences of what it is like to live with the “after shocks” and after effects of brain trauma.
The radio station will be celebrating its first birthday on Saturday 27th March, and the entire team are counting down to the milestone throughout the week.
Station Manager Rod Maxwell relished the challenge: “In a year of massive turmoil and stress for the world, country and the area we live in, being part of something local and creative has been a very welcome distraction.
He concluded: The fact that nearly 30 people have come together online, have never met, but have worked together just goes to show how bonkers life now can be.”