Opinion: Putting out signal for volunteers

Tony Barker, deputy chairman, West Wolds Radio.
Tony Barker, deputy chairman, West Wolds Radio.

Volunteering is such a rewarding activity, yet the biggest test is in pulling together as a team of very different individuals to make something special happen.

Unlike in the workplace where everyone has a paid responsibility, I am spending evenings and weekends working with a team of dedicated individuals preparing to launch a brand-new radio service for the Pocklington area.

The West Wolds Radio studio, which will be testing out its new technology next month.

The West Wolds Radio studio, which will be testing out its new technology next month.

The only role model for West Wolds Radio is experience from elsewhere, where you learn what works and what does not.

I have certainly not been involved in the start of something as ambitious as a community radio station.

I am also privileged that around three dozen people in the Pocklington area share a similar buzz to sign up to launch something as special as this.

Back in April 2014, the Pocklington Post front page announced it was a dream come true for station manager Stuart Cocker and we share the newspaper’s passion for the town and the area.

Making it happen is something else and perhaps the task of converting a former hairdressing salon in Market Street into superb broadcasting facilities was easy to underestimate.

Special thanks go to electrician Keith Hitchen and to many other volunteers for their hours of help in cleaning and decorating.

With launch date only weeks away on Sunday 29 November, there is plenty of training to be done for the volunteers to be prepared for day one. There is still time to be involved in your local station and share the fun.

You will hear something on 103.1FM from the beginning of November as our new technology is tested out.

Broadcasting from studios on Market Street, the newest radio station in the country will be a seven-day week operation run by volunteers. It will provide a mix of music, news, features, local information, specialist programming and outside broadcasts.

We held an event at the end of September at the Pocklington Arts Centre to update volunteers and supporters on the latest developments, announcing then our FM frequency – 103.1 – and the launch date.

It was also a chance to hear about some projects, like a youth forum and how the arts could be part of the station. As to what else a radio station could do to contribute to life in Pocklington and villages is down to you as local people and the passion you have.

The biggest challenge will be to change people’s listening habits, as that will be an important part of our success.

Countless times elsewhere, listeners would tell me that the station I volunteered at has qualified to be one of the pre-sets on their car radio but not quite on their home hi-fi.

That, I suppose, was progress. What will you volunteer to do for West Wolds Radio?