Redstone FM
Our History 2005 - 2015




This page looks at Redstone FM's activities during 2009.

On this page:
About the broadcast and main achievements
Volunteers' Week
Redhill & Reigate Carnival weekend
Training Course

Also . . .
Full details of programmes and guests
Photographs of the station, presenters and guests (pdf document)
Press File (pdf document) with details of local and national media coverage.

Redstone FM's temporary studio at Tower House.


87.7 Redstone FM

sound wave

2009 saw Redstone FM's 6th temporary broadcast plus the running of a new radio course for blind and partially sighted people. When the broadcast was planned towards the end of 2008, two main events were scheduled to be covered - Volunteers' Week and the Redhill Carnival weekend.  After the license application was submitted to Ofcom, we received news of funding for a course for visually impaired people and this became a third activity.

The broadcast came from premises in Tower House, part of the Belfry Shopping Centre in Redhill whilst the training course was based at the Merstham Community Facility.

Key achievements from the broadcast were:

  • Fully funded from various grant sources.

  • 37 volunteers were involved, on and off the air.
  • 13 volunteers were visually impaired or otherwise disabled. They produced and presented 57% of live and original programmes.
  • 5 visually impaired radio students and 7 young people from Reigate College given their first opportunity to broadcast.
  • Over 65 interviews broadcast - an average of 4 interviews per day.
  • Highlights included interviews with Kevin Brennan (then) Minister of the Office of the Third Sector, musicians taking part in the Redhill & Reigate Live event and representatives from local charities and voluntary organisations.
  • Worked with Reigate & Banstead Borough Council in promoting the launch of the Mayor's Community Awards Scheme 2009.
  • Outside broadcast from Redhill Memorial Park (as part of the Redhill & Reigate Carnival weekend activities). 
  • Joint broadcast with Radio Redhill covering the Redhill Carnival commentary.
  • Publicity on Radio 4's In Touch programme and the subject of Nicholas Owen's column in the Surrey Mirror.

Volunteers' Week flyer

Volunteers' Week
Volunteers' Week is a national event organised by Volunteering England and involving volunteer centres across the country. We worked closely with Janet Rimmer and the Reigate & Banstead Volunteer Centre and featured interviews which covered a wide range of organisations and voluntary activity.

We also secured an exclusive interview with the Minister if the Third Sector, Kevin Brennan (before his move in the recent Government reshuffle) and worked with the Borough Council in launching the 2009 Mayor's Community Awards live on air.

In association with Surrey vInvolved and Reigate College, we welcomed a number of new young faces (and voices) to Redstone FM who all featured interviews with young people involved with local voluntary work.

Carnival flyer

Carnival Weekend
Redhill & Reigate Carnival took place over the weekend of 12-14 June. Redstone FM featured interviews with those organising the weekend, some of the benefiting charities and some of the musicians and performers taking part.

Over the weekend itself, Redstone FM was out and about with a hired 'Vortex' kit. This box, which was on a free loan from the supplier, enabled us to send digital quality audio via the G-mobile network direct to the studio. It was very portable thus not tying us down to a specific outside broadcast studio unit.

On the Saturday, we broadcast coverage of the Redhill and Reigate street theatre activities. On Sunday, we joined forces with Radio Redhill and rebroadcast their live coverage of the carnival procession. Later that afternoon, we broadcast live from the Memorial Park Fun Day event featuring a wide range of interviews.

Broadcast Opportunities Training Course
An unexpected bonus was the receipt of a grant from the ESF Community Grants Programme to run a training course in broadcast skills. The  course, funded by the ESF (European Social Fund) and the Learning & Skills Council was aimed at those with disabilities and focuses on training that helps with a return to work. We recruited 8 students, 5 new people and 3 from former RNIB courses. The title of the course was 'Broadcast Opportunities' and was based on the training materials developed by Broadcast Training Ltd. The main course tutor was Des Shepherd with additional sessions from Mike Gandon (broadcast law), Kate Lee (voice coach) and Lisa Davis (music presentation). The training took place at the new Merstham Community Facility.

All eight students had an opportunity to broadcast their own shows during the RSL broadcast, thus achieving one of the main outcomes.

Whilst run by Redstone FM, the course involved East Surrey College. Under the Adult Community Learning programme, our learners signed up as East Surrey College students. This was facilitated by Lynne Pearce (former RNIB Redhill) and allowed us use of specific access equipment. Part of the arrangement was that the college would deliver some employment related sessions.

The course got some good publicity. Radio 4 broadcast two features on In Touch on Tuesdays 9 June and 21 July whilst Nick Owen (BBC newsreader and Reigate resident) wrote an article for the Surrey Mirror following his interview on Redstone FM.

Click play above to listen to the first Radio 4 feature.

Click play above to listen to the follow up Radio 4 feature.

The station operated with a record number of volunteers - 37 in total. We had the benefit of 5 new radio students plus a group of youngsters from Reigate College.

The tasks undertaken included presentation and production plus providing sighted assistance to many of our visually impaired presenters. Of the 37 volunteers, 27 were involved in presenting programmes. Key facts are:

  • 10 volunteers (including our new students) were visually impaired (28% of total number of volunteers). They presented 43% of live and original pre-recorded shows.

  • 13 of our volunteers were visually impaired or otherwise disabled (36% of total number of volunteers). They presented 57% of live and original pre-recorded shows.

  • All weekday daytime shows after breakfast (10am-6pm) were presented from a rota of 11 presenters, all being visually impaired or otherwise disabled.

Redstone FM's Chairman, Mike Ward said, 

"The above facts demonstrate Redstone FM's commitment to offering continued opportunities to blind and partially sighted persons plus those with other disabilities. That said, all those who broadcast were up to the job. If, as has happened when running the course at the RNIB, volunteers are not capable or ready, they would not have been put on air.

"Quality is important but recognising potential and developing that talent means that Redstone FM took a calculated risk in the balance between new, untried broadcasters with those who are experienced. The five new students on the radio course demonstrated a level of life skills, personality and a willingness to learn which gave us the confidence to try them out on air."

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(c) Redstone FM 2015