NE1fm

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NE1fm
Ne1fm-newlogo.PNG
City of license United Kingdom UK – Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead
Broadcast area United Kingdom UK – Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead (FM)
Worldwide (Online)
Slogan Community radio for Newcastle and Gateshead
Frequency 102.5 MHz
RDS Name: NE1fm
First air date 8 June 2007
Format Community radio
Language(s) English
Owner Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside
Website www.ne1fm.net

NE1fm is an FM community radio station based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. Launched in 2007, the station broadcasts 24 hours a day on 102.5 FM, and online via its website.[1] The station is owned by CBIT (Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside Ltd)[2] and ran on a not-for-profit basis. NE1fm is operated entirely by volunteers.[3] NE1fm was awarded a five-year community broadcast licence by Ofcom in 2006, which has since been extended to 2017.[4]

NE1fm carries a wide variety of content, catering for both mainstream and niche musical genres, and also broadcasts interviews, hourly news updates, and sports, talk and comedy-based shows. NE1fm has broadcast more than 100 different shows during its time on-air, including enabling members of the local community to present as part of its open access programming.[5] The station also broadcasts from musical and other events in the local area,[6] promotes local bands,[7] and highlights community issues on a regular basis.[8]

NE1fm's name is a play on the postcode district NE1, which covers Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in addition to the station's community radio status where "anyone" can broadcast or help out with the station's off-air operation.[9]

History[edit]

2004–2007: Pre-NE1fm projects and station launch[edit]

Prior to the formation of the project leading to the launch of NE1fm, a number of Restricted Service License broadcasts had taken place in Newcastle upon Tyne, many of which were operated by or involved founding members of NE1fm.[10] These included ACE Radio, West End Broadcast and City FM, the latter of which ran from 13 September 2004 to 9 October 2004.[11] Following this broadcast, an application for Ofcom's advertised community radio license for the area was made on 19 November 2004.[12] The application of Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside was successful, with a five-year license awarded in 2006.

Following the award of the station license, NE1fm began preparations for launch, advertising for volunteers in 2007.[13] West End Broadcast also returned for a final three-week RSL broadcast from 13 November 2005 to 3 December 2005, with many of the presenters and shows broadcast during that time becoming part of the initial NE1fm on-air schedule.[14] In May 2007, the station ran a week of off-air rehearsal broadcasts of each show, conducted training for the benefit of inexperienced members of the team, and made a number of test broadcasts on their FM frequency (with World is Static as the first band broadcast at the time). Following these test broadcasts, the station began to promote its launch in the local community, advertising a launch date of 8 June 2007.[15]

NE1fm launched on the advertised date of 8 June 2007 with a weekend of broadcasts from Newcastle's Green Festival, resulting in much of the launch weekend being conducted via an outside broadcast studio at Leazes Park.[16] During the weekend, the station broadcast a large amount of live music, particularly electronic music, interspersed with interviews with festival participants and general continuity from a variety of on-air personnel. On Monday 11 June 2007, NE1fm's regular schedule commenced with the long-running alternative music show Unknown Pleasures.[17]

2007–2009: First anniversary, transmitter thefts and programming expansions[edit]

In the months following the launch of NE1fm, regular programming included Alternation, Atomic, Pavement Pizza and The Hedley Show.[18] Broadcasts also took place from a number of other festivals, including the Asian-orientated Mela Festival,[19] and the Newcastle stage of the AV Festival in March 2008,[20] although broadcasts from the latter were met with problems and resulted in broadcasts ceasing before the festival's conclusion. Other festivals and outside events covered throughout the station's first year included the 2008 Irish Festival and the 2008 Eat Festival.

The station was, in November 2007, presented with a plaque by hardware chain B&Q as part of their annual You Can Do It awards, resulting in £5,000 of funding to fully construct a second studio and improve the station's primitive facilities. The second studio was completed shortly thereafter. The station also during this period had its transmission equipment stolen, resulting in two off-air stints in December 2007 and March 2008, the latter of which was covered as the headline story on local news programme North East Tonight later that day.[21]

In June 2008, NE1fm marked its first anniversary of broadcast with a party hosted at The Centurion bar in Newcastle's Central Station, followed by coverage of the Green Festival for the second consecutive year. Following this, the number of live events broadcast by the station increased, with many focused on niche genres of music such as soul, reggae and country. As a result, NE1fm became the area's chief proponent of live music and outside broadcasts. NE1fm also continued to broadcast some content relevant to ethnic minorities across the area, but ceased to do so for some years following the launch of the Asian community station Spice FM on 98.8 FM,[22] which also resulted in NE1fm gaining a community radio competitor in the local area.

Throughout 2008 and much of 2009, NE1fm continued to broadcast a wide variety of on-air content, with a number of long-running shows catering to audiences largely ignored by commercial radio stations in the region. Long-running shows included The Groove Principle, a soul music show, and Anyone For Country, a specialist country music broadcast. During this time period, however, a number of long-running shows ended their tenure on the station – either permanently or temporarily – including Ghetto Method and The Takeover. NE1fm also occasionally broadcast breakfast and lunchtime shows, although largely focused on evening broadcasts, with largely uninterrupted music broadcast overnight and during the day.

2009–2010: Station relocation and programming changes[edit]

In late 2009, NE1fm went through its most significant period of change since its launch in 2007, relocating from the Shieldfield area of Newcastle upon Tyne to purpose-built studios at Virginia House, which are shared with the community group The Cyrenians.[23] Although this did not affect the broadcast area of NE1fm, it marked the end of thirty months of broadcast in a church building that had not typically been designed for radio broadcast, and allowed for the station to make further changes to its operation and sound. Shortly after the move, shifts in the station's management structure also occurred, with a number of founding members quoted on the initial Ofcom application ceasing to be involved with the station.[24] The station also updated its website after three years of limited updates, and changed its domain from www.ne1fm.com to www.ne1fm.net, with the former still available online despite the latter's official status as the station's website.[25]

Along with NE1fm's relocation, a number of programming changes also occurred during this time period. One significant change was the end of The Live Session, a weekly acoustic broadcast that had featured and given exposure to a large quantity of local and little-known bands during NE1fm's time on-air; The Live Session's departure, however, was intended to be brief, with the station advertising for a replacement presenter for the show.[26] A new live music show, Hit the North (East), debuted in late 2010. The station also began to focus areas of its programming toward younger people, with a larger amount of new music played during the day and coverage of popular events including Evolution Festival.[27]

2011 – 2012: Recent developments, downtime and return to FM[edit]

The first months of 2011 included the announcement that the station's soul programming, featured prominently on Sundays since launch, would be discontinued.[28] Soul music has since returned in a smaller capacity.[29] Programming of significance early in the year included special programmes covering Gateshead F.C.'s run in the 2011 FA Trophy, the launch of the community-focused broadcast No Excuse, and the re-branding of the weekend breakfast shows to include live music, including a variety from the 2011 Evolution Emerging line-up.[30]

The digital presence of NE1fm was overhauled during Spring of 2011, including visibly heightened usage of their Facebook and Twitter accounts[31] and the launch of a new website. A second edition of the new website appeared in February 2012, including the introduction of show blogs and a section promoting music from local artists.[32]

On 27 September 2011, station volunteers Rob Davies and Gary Barnes launched a locally high-profile attempt to break the current world record for the longest team radio broadcast, previously held by Chris Moyles of BBC Radio 1, for the benefit of two local charities. Their attempt finished at midday on Friday 30 September, lasting a total of 76 hours, exceeding the previous record.[33]

In early 2012, NE1fm added ethnic programming to the broadcast schedule for the first time in several years, offering representation to the Chinese, Polish and Persian-speaking Iranian communities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead.[34] A Spanish language broadcast was added at a later date[35] Despite significant schedule turnover since 2007, a handful of NE1fm shows had been broadcast as of 2012 since the first week of the station's operation, including Alternation, The Music and Trivia Show, and The Sports Zone.[36]

A significant change was made to NE1fm's open access programming in 2012, with the strand moving from an early evening spot to mornings, increasing the number of hours available for bookings by members of the community from 12 to 14.[37] The original spot of the programming was then swiftly filled with new programmes, including NE1 Irish and Glory Days.[38]

NE1fm announced the award of a five-year extension to its community radio licence on 9 February 2012, taking the project through until June 2017.[39] However, in April 2012, the station ceased FM broadcasts due to an issue with the location of the station's transmitter requiring a full move of broadcast equipment.[40] Although the station declared on its website that operations were continuing as normal online during this downtime,[41] the station was cited as in breach of its broadcast licence by Ofcom in June 2012.[42] NE1fm successfully returned to 102.5 FM on 7 August 2012.[43]

2013 – present: 6th birthday[edit]

On 8 June 2013, the station celebrated 6 years of broadcasting. It was also the day that Chairman of the CBIT board, and volunteer Kev Atkinson left the project. The day was marked with 14 hours of live, specialist programming, celebrating the previous 6 years. Whilst the usual Saturday format was kept with presenters Kev Atkinson, Dan Pye, Rob Pears, Kyle Scott and Compton McDonald – a special programme was broadcast from 9pm until midnight to celebrate Kev Atkinson's time with the project including a special 'This is your life' feature and sentimental tracks from 2001–2013.

Content and shows[edit]

NE1fm's second studio at Virginia House, as in use following their relocation in 2009.

NE1fm broadcasts a wide variety of musical and spoken word content, with the musical genres covered by its specialist programming including alternative, indie, electronica, hip-hop, classical and soul.[44] The majority of weekday programming was broadcast in the evening until 2011, with programming now featuring throughout the afternoon also, and with open access programming slots for one-off broadcasts by community projects and volunteers unable to commit to a weekly schedule. This split of content is described in detail in NE1fm's 2006 license application:[45]

The schedule is split in to three distinctive strands. Daytime programming will be community focussed (sic), talk based / listener oriented output. Early evening programming is access programming where volunteers of all levels can develop skills and experience whilst gaining access to the airwaves. Late evening onwards is for specialist music output giving airtime to a diverse range of music genres, allow promotion of unsigned bands and the local music scene, and presenting a range of music reflecting the cultural mix of the area. Weekend output is more flexible and dynamic and will change depending on current events and ongoing airtime requirements.

The weekday evening programming offered by NE1fm was, at the station's launch, particularly specialist, although some broadcasts now cater to more mainstream audiences, while still offering niche genres and content not catered for by local competitors such as Metro Radio and BBC Radio Newcastle. On weekends, the station's output is still varied, although a chunk of Sunday's programming has historically been dedicated to soul, Saturday afternoons dedicated to sports via The Sports Zone, one of few shows on NE1fm broadcast consistently since the station's 2007 launch.[46] Spoken word and talk shows have also been broadcast on NE1fm, often during weekday daytime, although some – such as sketch comedy show The Suggestibles – have been broadcast on evenings. The NE1fm schedule is periodically revised, resulting in a significant turnover of shows and presenters relative to local commercial stations.

Although many of NE1fm's past and present presenters are local volunteers with limited broadcasting experience, a number of acclaimed individuals and shows have featured on the station since its launch in 2007. Several presenters, including Kev Atkinson[47] and Wayne C. McDonald, have featured on commercial radio stations previously, and a number of the DJs broadcast on the station, such as DJ Play[48] have released commercial material or are signed to major labels. Tony Horne also joined the station to present a series of Saturday morning programmes, and The Three Legends, formerly from Century/Real Radio can be heard on the station. Sports presenter Rob Pears featured in television documentary Blind Ambition,[49] and one-time presenter Gaynor Marshall now produces Steve and Karen, the breakfast show on Metro Radio.

NE1fm has a unique broadcast strategy as part of its philosophy. No on-air presenter for NE1fm has ever been paid for their services, and the station does not take syndicated programming or other content from outside of the local area.[50] Via the open access programming on mornings from Monday to Saturday, NE1fm allows any member of the local community to try out radio broadcasting, regardless of experience.[51] A number of NE1fm shows have however been simulcast on other local stations, including Spark FM and Spice FM. The age range of presenters on NE1fm has been vast, from children to senior citizens up to the age of 80. Individuals with both physical and mental disabilities have also broadcast on NE1fm.

The station has featured since its launch a number of notable musicians, including pop stars Jason Derulo and Olly Murs, boy band The Wanted, singer-songwriter Kate Nash, dance music duo Ultrabeat[52] and Maxïmo Park,[53] the latter of which were guests during the station's first month of operation. Representatives of local sports teams have also frequently featured on relevant programming, with those represented including Newcastle United F.C.,[54] Newcastle Falcons, Blyth Spartans F.C., Gateshead F.C. and Gateshead Thunder. A variety of up-and-coming musicians and bands have also gained exposure via the station, and the NE1fm automation system at one point, before a phase-out, featured live music from the 1990s that was originally broadcast on previous community projects in the area.

At times when there is no presenter, an automated system is used playing mostly popular music from the 1970s onwards. From 2007 until 2010, this broadcast a wide range of genres, with no playlisting and limited new music broadcast. Following the station's relocation, however, management at NE1fm altered the station sound to incorporate a larger quantity of new music, playing mostly new releases during the day, before playing music from a variety of decades overnight. Furthermore, in an area dominated by dance and R&B stations, NE1fm is the only broadcaster to play indie pop, alternative rock and other genres as part of its regular automated output. Hourly news updates are provided by Sky News Radio during automated hours, although some live shows also carry the updates. The station's current primary playout system is OtsAV, which was originally used in conjunction with Soundbox, an archaic playout system, before becoming the sole playout system following the station's relocation.[55]

A number of events have been organised and broadcast by NE1fm, many as fundraisers to help finance the station's operation. Most such events have featured live specialist music, including reggae, rock, heavy metal, soul and country. The station has also held off-air events featuring local bands. Venues which have been used by the station include Newcastle's Swallow Hotel, The Pitcher And Piano, The Telegraph, World Headquarters, Nancy's Bordello and the Centurion Bar at Newcastle Central Station. NE1fm has also broadcast from night clubs in the area, including Bar Beyond.

Programming[edit]

Current programming[edit]

The following shows are currently part of the NE1fm on-air schedule, as of 24 June 2012.

Former programming[edit]

The following shows were formerly broadcast on NE1fm for a significant period of time, but have since ceased to be broadcast on the station.

Operation[edit]

NE1fm has throughout its existence been operated entirely by volunteers,[56] with no paid positions in both the station's management and its presentation hierarchy. The station's original application to Ofcom stated the intention for paid positions to appear, namely a full-time role for a Project Administrator, although as of 2010 such a role has never been created in a paid capacity. Many volunteers fulfill both on-air and off-air roles, including assisting with outside broadcasts and promoting the station. NE1fm carries limited on-air advertising, instead raising funds through its own fundraising events and donations. The project also received funding from local council Newcastle City Council until a government spending review in 2010.

The station is based at Virginia House, a building located on the West side of Newcastle upon Tyne and occupied by The Cyrenians. NE1fm has two on-air studios, a live music room, and a recording studio at the facility.

References[edit]

  1. ^ NE1fm's official website
  2. ^ Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside
  3. ^ NE1fm.net – About NE1fm
  4. ^ Ofcom – Radio Broadcast Update January 2012
  5. ^ NE1fm.net – Open Access Programming
  6. ^ NE1fm.net – A Station History
  7. ^ NE1fm.net – Hit The North (East)
  8. ^ NE1fm.net – No Excuse
  9. ^ Article in The Evening Chronicle, 7 June 2007
  10. ^ NE1fm's license application to Ofcom, pages 7 to 13
  11. ^ NE1fm's license application to Ofcom, page 13
  12. ^ NE1fm's license application to Ofcom, page 37
  13. ^ NE1fm VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!, 31 May 2007
  14. ^ West End Broadcast 2005 RSL schedule, 3 December 2005
  15. ^ Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside (CBIT) official website, 11 June 2007
  16. ^ Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside (CBIT) official website, 11 June 2007
  17. ^ Unknown Pleasures, June 2007
  18. ^ NE1fm.net – A Station History
  19. ^ NE1fm Myspace blog, 30 August 2007
  20. ^ AV Festival official website
  21. ^ News report on North East Tonight about NE1fm transmitter theft, 9 March 2008
  22. ^ Spice FM official website
  23. ^ NE1fm.net – Virginia House
  24. ^ Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside
  25. ^ NE1fm's official website
  26. ^ NE1fm Schedule – Wednesdays
  27. ^ NE1fm.net – A Station History
  28. ^ NE1fm's Twitter, May 2011
  29. ^ NE1fm.net – Sundays on NE1fm 102.5
  30. ^ NE1fm.net, 1 April 2011
  31. ^ NE1fm.net, 22 April 2011
  32. ^ NE1fm.net – Welcome To The New NE1fm 102.5 Website
  33. ^ "NE1fm to Attempt to Break Broadcast Marathon Record from September 27th". Retrieved 8/9/2011. 
  34. ^ "New Shows in Chinese and Farsi on NE1fm". Retrieved 14 March 2012. 
  35. ^ "New Shows For April 2012 – The Hedley Show and Spanish Stereo". Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  36. ^ "NE1fm 102.5 – A Station History". Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  37. ^ NE1fm.net – Open Access Programming
  38. ^ NE1fm.net – The NE1fm Schedule
  39. ^ "NE1fm Granted Licence Extension to 2017". Retrieved 10/2/2012. 
  40. ^ "NE1fm Returns To FM Broadcasts Soon". Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  41. ^ "NE1fm Returns To FM Broadcasts Soon". Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  42. ^ "Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin Issue 207, June 2012". Retrieved 24 June 2012. 
  43. ^ "Radio Today – NE1fm Returns After Three Month Absence". Retrieved 8 August 2012. 
  44. ^ NE1fm.net – The NE1fm Schedule
  45. ^ NE1fm's license application to Ofcom, page 22
  46. ^ The Sports Zone was originally broadcast on Sunday afternoons, moving to Saturdays in July 2007
  47. ^ Kev Atkinson's official website
  48. ^ Profile on DJ Play at ilikemusic.com
  49. ^ Blind Ambition
  50. ^ NE1fm.net – Contact The Team, Programming Section
  51. ^ NE1fm.net – Open Access Programming
  52. ^ Kanned Weekend, 2007
  53. ^ Al Smith's New Stereo Adventures, June 2007
  54. ^ Ken Brady's The Lunchtime Special, 2011
  55. ^ NE1fm.net – Virginia House
  56. ^ Article in The Evening Chronicle, 7 June 2007

External links[edit]