The awards, recognising community radio stations across the country that go above and beyond for the area they serve, were announced at a glittering awards ceremony in Bedford. The importance of locally engaging radio was the theme from the hosts, presenters and recipients of the awards.
As local radio stations appear to be disappearing from the airwaves it has never been more important than now to recognise the vital role and responsibility local radio services play to the heart of a community. Only when it is ‘newsworthy’ or ‘sensational’ do the big national networks cover local events. Community radio stations, such as Heartland FM at 97.5 FM, are with a community 24/7, delivering entertainment that encompasses the heart of a community and delivering information and news relevant to residents of their listening area.
A truly community focus radio station living its own values
Reacting to news of the award a jubulant Station Manager Alistair Smith said: “Being the only Scottish radio station to be nominated in this category was a huge achievement in itself. So we went to the awards ceremony holding our heads high at this nomination. To be awarded the silver award as Station of the Year, again for the second year in a row, was an amazing honour for everyone at the station, our team, many who are volunteers, the community who support us and the whole of Highland Perthshire who contribute to the success of a truly community focused radio station living its own values and the prosperity of our rural communities.
“Our objectives are to provide a local radio service, which includes access to media training, supporting other voluntary organisations in our community and helping to promote Scottish Music and Arts.
“We have invested our time in news to ensure we report on the stories that matter to our community, and we have developed our multimedia approach using radio, web, social media and our digital magazine. I am very proud of the quality of output we provide across our platforms.”
A station that is “part of the heartbeat of our Highland Perthshire”
Heartland FM, which broadcasts to the Highland Perthshire region, celebrated its 30th anniversary this year – making it the longest running community-owned radio stations in the UK.
Chairman Graham Huggins added: “We are all immensely proud of the achievements of Heartland FM and have successfully engaged with our community. By attending Community Council meetings we feel we are part of the heartbeat of our Highland Perthshire. We have attended and promoted many of the events of the new Community Action Plan for the Pitlochry area and are delighted to see students from Pitlochry High School Breadalbane Academy and Perth College UHI engage with us, as part of their future.”
Community radio has more than proven its value to local listeners
The Community Radio Awards, first held in 2016, is an independent, not-for-profit organisation set up to celebrate, promote and share best practice of Community Radio. The awards are open to Ofcom Licensed and broadcasting Community Radio Stations across the UK and Digital or RSL not for profit Community Radio Stations. The judges are professionals from the radio industry including BBC, Independent local radio, and academics throughout the country. not a public popularity vote.
Awards Chairman Martin Steers said: “The recognition for the UK Station of the Year Award is well deserved, and we hope it recognises their success, and encourages others to to engage, represent and support their communities.
“It’s the second year of awards within a pandemic, but organisations like Heartland FM have proven their value at the heart of their local areas.”
Congratulations to Alistair Smith and I suggest you listen to Heartland FM at 97.5 FM and learn more about this successful Community Radio station. Trust me, there’s something here for everyone.
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