Rendlesham Community Radio celebrated its first birthday with a marathon 52-hour live broadcast on May 7, 8 and 9 to raise funds for two very exciting community projects - the hotly anticipated new skate park and Rendlesham Youth Group. The event was a huge success, raising over £1000 for the two projects.
A Year of RCR
May 8 was the anniversary of the first broadcast from Rendlesham Community Radio when Peter Osborne did a two hour 'Best of British' show on VE Day to coincide with Rendlesham's stay-at-home street parties and a WW2 themed convoy arranged by the Parish Council.
The idea for the community radio station came from two Rendlesham residents: Steve Calver and Mark Isbister who work in the events industry.
With the backing of the Parish Council who tapped into a COVID grant for Connecting Communities and the generosity of Mark and his partner, Alison's, Bentwaters-based company, Team Audio, RCR was born.
RCR was conceived as a way to connect with the community during the pandemic but has grown substantially since then, with its reach being global rather than just local.
An original shout-out for volunteer presenters yielded a great response. Peter Osborne joined and bought a wealth of presenting experience. Glenn Knights and Izaak deMay soon followed, adding originality and professionalism to the station. Content was added by Steve Calver and his DJ contacts as well as a great liaison with Mothership Studios who have become a very important part of RCR. Their eclectic mix of programmes adds to the wonderfully diverse offer that RCR has become.
In addition to more experienced presenters, new shows appeared, hosted by keen members including Vic Proctor, Heather Heelis and Leanda Hoyland-Linch. Mair Potter and Denise Ashcroft-Law joined later with Kristina England doing a few shows on mental health.
Wayne Burns, Manager of Leiston Film Theatre, joined the Sunday line-up, and stand-up comedienne, Victoria Shortley has been a great addition to Saturday whilst Darren Cook and Daniel Potter have sport well-covered. Malcolm Clarke joined in Autumn, 2020, bringing some great ideas to reach out to un-tapped areas.
Though Peter had to stop his regular Driving into the Weekend show due to work commitments, he was able to co-host the Sunday Bimble with Pat Lewis until recently. Very quietly, Karen Colbear has been gaining confidence with her Through The Decades show, proving she is a future stalwart of RCR.
On the production side, Steve ensures all shows are professionally produced and Izaak and Glenn have been learning complex production skills needed to join the production team.
In the background, Mark and Alison of Team Audio have continued to support RCR with some amazing tech; new gizmos appear frequently and Rendlesham Parish Council supported the radio station to fund music purchases, additional kit, and recently, the delivery of a new fit-for-purpose studio at Jubilee Park.
For a year, RCR has occupied Rendlesham Youth Group's room in the Community Centre while the Group has been unable to meet during lockdown.
To mark the RCR's first birthday, they used the opportunity to raise not just funds, but awareness of the Youth Group as a valuable resource for the village, as well as another very exciting project for young people in Rendlesham - the hotly anticipated new skate park.
RCR provides opportunities for young people in Rendlesham to gain radio experience, either as presenters or producers. Anyone interested in getting involved are welcome to contact the RCR team.
With the aim of fundraising for these two projects, the idea for May Music Madness was born - a 52 hour marathon live broadcast.
May Music Madness kicked off at 5pm, Friday, May 7 and ended at 9pm, Sunday, May 9 - 52 hours of back-to-back, live broadcasting, comprising all the usual shows, but live, as well as some exciting new ones. It was an ambitious project and logistically very complex, as some of our presenters were remote from the RCR studio For every presenter, there was a production team to ensure the smooth running of each show and a seamless hand over. There was also be a continuous video feed to YouTube during the 52 hours.
As part of its ethos, RCR has actively promoted local musicians by offering them a chance to perform in the live lounge when regulations have permitted. Many of those musicians returned for the Saturday and Sunday of May Music Madness, performing live in the square outside the Community Centre.
As well as our presenters and production team, there were RCR crew members with radio mics outside, liaising between the presenters, performers and the public as well as rattling buckets!
Everyone who attended complied with sensible social distancing within Covid regulations and a lot of fun was had by everyone.
The organisation and effort required by everyone was substantial - sleep deprivation being just one factor! However, it was a fantastic weekend of music, fun and most importantly, fund-raising to benefit young people in Rendlesham and RCR made the headlines!
The content and success of the RCR depends on volunteers and good quality content that reflects the diversity of our community. Whether it is a gardening programme, local sports news, youth club news, an hour of your chosen genre of music, a history programme or something completely original, we want to hear from you. Additionally, if you have good organisational skills and would like to be involved in a non-presenting way, we want to hear from you too.
This really is an amazing opportunity for Rendlesham to blaze a trail yet again in East Suffolk. Our events have attracted the attention of BBC Radio Suffolk again and again, who closely following all the ‘good news’ stories that our village is generates. Rendlesham Community Radio is another opportunity for us to demonstrate to the rest of Suffolk (and beyond) what a resilient, happy and caring community we live in.
If you would like to be involved in any way, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.