From Swanage Pier to the cloud, community radio moves online

Former Purbeck Coast community radio station presenter Lex McKee is back on air again – but this time his programmes are only available online, not FM.

Purbeck Coast 101.2 FM closed down on Thursday 15th February 2024 after Swanage Pier Trust decided to pull the plug on the community project based on the pier.

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Purbeck Coast radio station

Purbeck Coast community radio station successfully operated from Swanage Pier on FM and online for four years

Another way to broadcast

A number of the former volunteer presenters who kept Swanage entertained over the past four years are now looking at an alternative way to broadcast on internet based radio streaming services.

Lex McKee has became the first to start up a new venture, which he’s calling Purbeck Community Radio, on Mixcloud – a global audio collection of radio shows, podcasts and DJ mixes which was founded by students from Cambridge University in 2008.

Lex has also joined PirateRadio.digital, another online only radio service which broadcasts from the South Coast.

PURBECK COAST

Graham, The Flying G, will also be heading up a community radio station

Local shows can be shared to Spotify

Pirate Radio.com has a second former Purbeck Coast presenter, Samuel George, on board with his chillout sessions which were a popular Sunday evening show from Swanage.

Graham, the Flying G, who broadcast Purbeck’s All Day Breakfast Show on Saturday mornings, is also looking to run an online community radio service from The Loft in Commercial Road with classical music broadcaster Andrew Birt and input from other presenters.

It has never been easier – or cheaper – to run an online radio station and national companies which help fledgling presenters and professionals alike are now able to facilitate live broadcasts or recorded shows using nothing more than a standard laptop and headphones.

There is even an option to have podcasts or programmes shared via Spotify, so that local shows can be streamed worldwide on the same platform as some of the biggest names in radio.

PURBECK COAST RADIO

Lex and DJ TLM, who was also a regular presenter on Purbeck Coast

Next step will be live shows

Lex McKee said:

“From the demise of Purbeck Coast has come three new radio stations – Graham the Flying G and Andrew Birt, the brilliant technical chap from Purbeck Coast, are forming Sound, Sam has set up on Pirate Radio and I have Purbeck Community Radio on Mixcloud.

“The joy of Mixcloud is that any listener can listen at their convenience, but we can also do live, so the next step is hopefully to do the live breakfast show and drive time show when I have enough crew, so that we can restore what was really important to Purbeck Coast.

“I would like to go live at festivals, too, so that we could have a much better engagement with the community. It is very exciting and I am hopeful of being able to promote and support every festival in Purbeck.

“There are other ways to grow, too – Radio.co can syndicate you out to Spotify and other streaming service apps, so you can be like the BBC in putting out podcasts.

“And Ofcom is really pushing its digital audio agenda, which means that the cost of broadcasting on DAB will come down from its prohibitively high level, which I see as our longer term goal.”

LEX MCKEE

Lex is a keen supporter of the Winfrith based charity UK Chicken Rescue

Keen to support charities

Crowd funding may be a way to help the community radio stations fund a full time worker, but as costs associated with them are much lower than a commercial station they are able to start small and grow organically.

Lex is also keen to support charity and sees 20 percent of the radio station’s income going to the Purbeck based UK Chicken Rescue service, Moodscope – an online tool to aid mental wellbeing – and B1G1, which helps businesses to support Third World education, environment, food and health projects.

SPOTIFY

Purbeck podcasts will soon be available to download from global streaming services such as Spotify

“Normal people having a bigger voice”

Lex McKee added:

“It is so easy with a laptop and the right mixer and headphones, we are fully mobile and much as I would like a studio we don’t need one, which is very liberating.

“We are in partnership with the Swanage School which has its own podcasting studio and I have previously taught some of their students at the radio club at Purbeck Coast.

“That was a main motivator for me wanting to continue and I hope to expand our work with the students in a community collaboration. I’m very keen to do that, the students are brilliant and see the world so differently.

“To me, community radio is about normal people having a bigger voice, and providing a companion for people in a local community, which can be so important for mental health and people’s well being and confidence.

“These are my goals, this is what is important to me. It’s not the number of listeners, but rather about giving faithful listeners a bigger voice.

Purbeck Community Radio doesn’t need to grow at anything other than its own rate, which gives us absolute freedom to find the right people and our own voice.”

Further information

  • Follow Lex’s Purbeck Community Radio on Mixcloud

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