209radio launches on 105 FM - October 2007

On Monday 1 October this year Cambridge's new community radio station 209radio will launch on the FM dial.

The station has been broadcasting over the internet for more than four years and is run mainly by volunteers who make shows covering everything from music and arts to community issues, cooking, the environment and lifestyle.
The FM launch is the culmination of a massive amount of work behind the scenes getting the station ready to go on air and we now have a five year licence to broadcast throughout the city of Cambridge on 105 FM.

"It's been a long journey over the past four and a half years," said station founder Karl Hartland. "It all started in my living room in 2003 with some cables and a few basic pieces of kit which we'd begged and borrowed to put together.

"We soon learned that Ofcom - the organisation responsible for regulating radio stations in the UK - was looking at handing out licences for community radio stations. We had a meeting on Midsummer Common on a hot April day in 2004 and decided to go for it.

"We couldn't believe the response we got from the local community and every step along the way since then has been wildly beyond our expectations."

Where the station differs from BBC and commercial radio stations is in its aim to involve and include the whole community in programme making. The station has been set up with the primary aim of providing a platform for the community of Cambridge to air its voice. The station's doors are open to youngsters in the city's neighbourhoods, students, ethnic groups, musicians, artists, senior citizens and anyone else who wants to help bring their community together, inform and entertain - and have fun in the process.

Karl added: "The 1st of October will be the culmination of literally hundreds of thousands of hours put in by volunteers.

"We're not professionals and at times it might be a little rough around the edges but it will be heartfelt radio.

"If you like what you hear - or even if you don't - then come along and get involved in the station and make a programme yourself."

209radio already has an active volunteer pool of over 150 people and groups; this is expected to grow to around 250 over the coming year.

The 209radio website is already visited by around 3500 people per day, many from Cambridge but also from countries around the world.

The project is financially hard-pressed, mainly due to a condition of the FM licence that prevents us from taking advertising or sponsorship revenue. Therefore, 209 needs the Cambridge community to get involved and sustain this venture with its collective time, talent and financial support.

It doesn't matter if you've never set foot in a radio station before in your life - 209radio has a proven track record of training people in making radio programmes and we aim to spread the skills and knowledge we have built up to the wider community.

At our studios at Citylife House on Sturton Street in the centre of Cambridge we have facilities for recording, broadcasting and training.

The station is owned entirely by the members and is run completely independently of any business, statutory body or owner. We run no advertising on air and we are a non profit making organisation. The station is run democratically through a system of committees made up of volunteers and we are currently applying for charity status.

To listen to 209radio and to learn about the dozens of shows being made by the local community every month visit www.209radio.co.uk

To get in touch and get involved email getinvolved@209radio.co.uk

Writer: 209radio - September 2007