Sounding good – launch of new radio station for Purbeck

A new radio station featuring many familiar names from the closed Purbeck Coast FM has begun broadcasting to Purbeck from a studio in the heart of Swanage.

Purbeck Sounds community radio station has had a soft launch from The Hub, part of Swanage’s Loft Community Centre, with the final touches now being put to its recording studio and offices.

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Purbeck Sounds is based at The Hub opposite the shop Chococo in Commercial Road, Swanage

The best sounds from all decades

Listeners have started to find the station online through their tablet, laptop or PC and although there is no intention of applying for an FM licence, there will be other ways for people to tune in.

While a dedicated app for Android phones is currently in development, Purbeck Sounds has already found a home on smart speakers, with Alexa now recognising commands to enable and play the station.

With Purbeck’s listeners in mind, programme playlists have been kept open so that listeners will hear the best sounds from all decades from the 1950s to the present day.

And there will be an emphasis on the arts, local conversations and community events as Purbeck Sounds sets out to restore a voice in broadcasting for the region.

PURBECK SOUNDS

The radio station’s logo features an iconic Purbeck landmark and a colourful sun – a ‘bright, optimistic picture’

“We will be a voice of the people”

Station manager Graham Turner, also known as the Flying G said:

“Directors Andrew Birt and Sue Banner decided not to pursue FM – the cost of an FM licence is considerable and would have put an extra strain on fundraising, but also FM is moving away to DAB in much the same way that analogue TV is going to digital.

“The challenge we have is that we have quite a varied demographic with a lot of older people in the area, so how do we accommodate them when they have been used to FM radio?

“Andrew, who is really invested in the technical side, is pursuing an app, and we already have Alexa working for us – you first have to ask her to enable Purbeck Sounds, then any time after that you just say ‘Alexa, play Purbeck Sounds’.

“We are also broadcasting from our radio player on our website and looking at another medium – so with these outlets we will be very accessible, which is so important as our ethos is to be a voice of the people and allow them to be heard on the station.

“We feel that we will be ahead of the curve as radio evolves, and if we can get our audience used to listening on different mediums we won’t be too concerned. We will give them options and support them to find a different way of using radio.”

Work is well under way to complete the sound studio in the new office suite

Crowdfunding platform to raise £15,000

Purbeck Sounds has set up a crowdfunding platform to raise £15,000 towards the setup and early production costs of the new station, and has approached the business communities of Swanage and Purbeck to help.

Early support has come from firms including Swanage Sparks, Purbeck Media Group, Jewsons, Wayne’s Carpets, Travis Perkins, Paul Barron Arts, the Loft Community Centre and the Emporium.

All of the station volunteers are members and pay a subscription of £10 a month to support Purbeck Sounds, as well as giving up a lot of personal time.

Purbeck Coast radio station

Purbeck Sounds was born in response to the closure of Purbeck Coast FM in February 2024, but will have a different identity with greater community appeal

“A new product with a different feel”

Graham Turner said:

“We knew for some while before Purbeck Coast Radio closed that it was under financial pressure, so myself and Andrew Birt were already really committed to setting up a new radio station for Purbeck.

“Purbeck Coast was really starting to take off, a lot of people were starting to know it and it was very sad to lose it. We wanted to come back quickly with something for the community so that we could continue giving the community a voice, but we are also a very different station.

“We are not setting out to be Purbeck Coast II, but being an entirely new product with a different feel, to be far more embedded in the community, with more programmes involving the arts, conversation and shining a light on events happening around us.

“Our presenters have huge experience in entertainment, the arts and the written word – Andrew Birt is from ITN, Sue Banner has stage managed in the West End and has her own company, and our presenters are very diverse.

“That is joyous as it gives us a unique style of broadcasting. Although music will be extremely important to Purbeck Sounds we will not be pumping out the same old songs 24/7, we aim to be more of a magazine station, varied and interesting.”

David Hollister will present drivetime programmes on Purbeck Sounds

David Hollister will present live drivetime programmes on Purbeck Sounds

Fun programmes at the weekend

Some presenters will be familiar names from Purbeck Coast FM, including Thelma Deacon, Maggie O’Neil, David Hollister, Annabel Cook, Paul Thomson, Jacqui Temple, Andrew Birt, Sue Banner, the Flying G, Peter Hayes, Jeremy Hoare, Andrew Bordiss, Peter Groom and DJ TLM.

Pierre Martel will be the voice of the station’s youth broadcasting with a commitment to working alongside Swanage School and other schools in the Purbeck area.

Breakfast and drive programmes will anchor each end of the day, with a team of around five presenters who do breakfast, the Flying G presenting a slightly later breakfast show at the weekend, Jurassic Classics on Sunday mornings and David Hollister looking after weekday drive shows.

Fun programming at the weekend will include specialist shows like music from the stage and films, rock shows, magazine shows, travel and programmes that involve the arts.

Swanage Carnival 2023
Timothy Crabb

Swanage Carnival will be one of the major events from which Purbeck Sounds hopes to present live programmes

Outside broadcasts from major events

Graham Turner added:

“We also intend to do outside broadcasts from major events – ideally with an inflatable popup stand, merchandising and a real presence at that event including presenters.

“We want to create a voice for the whole of Purbeck, not just Swanage. Although we are based in the town, the station won’t be Swanage centric, we are very committed to it being for the wider area, and want a presence at events all over the area.

“Our priority is to make sure that we give the Purbeck community a voice – having only been on air for a few weeks we already have an ad going out for Cancare and their garden of memory which is opening on Saturday 18th May 2024, so we are already supporting them.

“We also want to engage with locals and holidaymakers to be as accessible as possible. There will be great scope for that as we are so centrally based, there is so much footfall and interest around our new studios.

“We are looking for a full opening in summer, and want to be very visible in the community after that.”

Further information

  • Listen to Purbeck’s new community radio station
  • Contribute to Purbeck Sounds’ appeal on its crowdfunding page

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