Redstone FM
Our History 2005 - 2011


Welcome to the Redstone FM Archive Page.

Redstone FM was established in 2005. During the period 2005-2010 Redstone FM has broadcast with 6 temporary licenses issued by the media regulator, Ofcom. Redstone FM has also run a range of training courses, specialising in offering opportunities for visually impaired people.

In this section of the web site, we tell the history of the station and provide links to archive newsletters, press and media coverage plus other documents.

On this page:

Other Archive Links:

Our History Part 1 - Starting off at the RNIB

Redstone FM's origins extend back to the radio broadcasting course run at the RNIB Redhill College.

The college had been running radio courses since 2000 for blind and partially sighted students. In 2003 a new media centre, Soundscape, was opened. This facility included a suite of radio and recording studios and a space for drama production. The radio courses were accredited by EDEXCEL with students able to achieve a BTEC Advanced Diploma in Radio Broadcasting. The course covered a range of topics including radio interviewing, presentation, music programme production, talk shows and broadcast law.

To achieve the qualification, students had to produce and present a range of programmes and programme features which were formally assessed. The practical work was supported by written assignments demonstrating their understanding of the subject. In addition to the radio course, students learned additional access technology and were offered career advise and support.

2005 - Redstone FM's first broadcast
In 2005, the then course tutor, Des Shepherd, took the assessment process to a higher level. Instead of students presenting shows as classroom simulations, they would broadcast to a wider audience on FM. The college applied for and obtained a Restricted Service Licence (RSL) from Ofcom for a temporary broadcast in July 2005. The group of students organised the programme content including booking guests, devising a playlist and scheduling the programmes. The students were supported by former students and local volunteers. The name, Redstone FM was chosen by the students as the RNIB college is situated on Redstone Hill.

Terry Turner during the first Breakfast Show on Redstone FM - 5 July 2005.

RNIB student Terry Turner during the first Breakfast Show on Redstone FM - 5 July 2005.

Original Redstone FM logo

Redstone FM came on the air on 5 July 2005 with student Terry Turner presenting the first breakfast show from 7am - 10am.

Later that morning, the station was formally opened by the then Mayor of Reigate & Banstead Cllr. Mrs Frances Dixon.

Click Play above to listen to the Mayor officially opening the station on 5 July 2005.

The Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr. Fran Dixon, with DJ Tess Lewsey at the official opening of Redstone FM on Tuesday 5 July 2005.

The Mayor of Reigate & Banstead, Cllr. Frances Dixon, with DJ Tess Lewsey at the official opening of Redstone FM on Tuesday 5 July 2005.

News Headlines for 7 July London bombings.

Two days after the station launched, the London bombings took place. This is the type of incident that nobody wants to be involved with covering. However, the students rose to the challenge, cancelling much of the normal output, broadcasting additional news bulletins and changing the music to reflect the nature of the day.

Course tutor, Des Shepherd said, "The students all grew up that day. It is the kind of incident one talks about in the classroom and theorize about what one should do - its another thing to think on ones feet and react in a sensitive way knowing there is a real audience listening."

Click Play above to listen to what students had to say about the day.

Whilst the 7th July bombing dominated the first few days on air, the broadcast offered a lot more. A wide range of interviews were broadcast. Guests ranged from Borough Councillors to representatives from local organisations. The launch of the "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince" coincided with the broadcast and we had some pupils from the Warwick School visit to review the book.


BBC Sport's Garth Crooks with Redstone FM's Carl Leaburn.
BBC Sport's Garth Crooks with Redstone FM's Carl Leaburn.

Although the broadcast was led by the students of the college, they were supported by former students and local volunteers and guest presenters from the broadcast industry. One guest presenter was the former Charlton and Wimbledon footballer Carl Leaburn. He arranged for a number of high profile sports people to visit the college. The BBC's Garth Crooks was a regular contributor on all Carl's programmes that summer.

Carl also spoke exclusively to the athlete Daley Thompson who spoke about the 2012 Olympics. Daley Thompson was part of the jubilant London 2012 team who had been in Singapore when London was named. He spoke to Redstone FM the following Saturday on his return to the UK.

Click here to see more pictures from the 2005 Broadcast plus further information on guests interviewed.

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2006  Two More Broadcasts from the RNIB College.
Most of the original group of students left the college that summer and with a new group starting in September, plans were laid for a further RSL broadcast.

January 2006 Broadcast.
Redstone FM returned in January 2006 with shows again presented by current and previous student, supported by local volunteers. There was nothing as dramatic as the 7th July bombing to deal with but the students got on with the task of producing a range of programmes. On this broadcast, there were two speech based programmes, The Morning Magazine (9am - 12 noon) presented by Anne-Marie Evans and the Afternoon Magazine (2 - 4pm) with Carol Stoby. Each featured at least two interviews each day. The subject areas that were covered included local politics, welfare, local charities & voluntary organisations, health & fitness, local business and education.

Redstone FM's sport presenter, ex footballer Carl Leaburn, again interviewed a wide range of sport personalities and included coverage of local non-league football clubs.

Click here for further information on the programmes broadcast, feedback from some of the students involved plus some pictures.

October 2006 Broadcast
A third broadcast took place in October 2006. The programmes followed the pattern established on previous broadcasts with the morning show from 10am being the showcase for local interviews, news and features. The Friday afternoon sport show, presented by Carl Leaburn continued to attract an impressive guest list. The highlight was an interview with Manchester Utd's Rio Ferdinand, conducted by student Dan Rodgers. How many courses give students the opportunity to speak to such high profile guests?

Click Play above to listen to part of the Rio Ferdinand interview.

Click here for more information about the October 2006 broadcast and some of the students involved.

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2007 RNIB Redhill College Closes . . .
Despite the success of the radio course and associated broadcasts, the RNIB decided to close the college in July 2007. No new students were taken on and the radio course formally finished at the end of March that year. Looking back, the course tutor, Des Shepherd commented that the success rate by students in gaining the EDEXCEL qualification was higher than when he ran the course at a Further Education college in SW London - this being largely due to the extra effort students made during the live broadcasts on Redstone FM. He said at the time,

"despite their disabilities, the students I have worked with have proved as capable as anyone in achieving their qualifications and prove that being blind or partially sighted is not necessarily a barrier to achievement with the right support. There was no automatic right to airtime - all the students had to earn the right to be allowed on air."

As the course came to a close in March 2007, the examining body, EDEXCEL sent their External Examiner for one final visit. This is what he said about the quality of the organisation and teaching of the course.

"A well managed and efficiently organised programme. Internal Verification is clear and robust. The student attainment is high and achievement is above that required at this level. Some very able students studying in a realistic working environment. Practical skills are excellent. Staff also up to speed with latest industry techniques, practice and legal requirements."

Muriel Peach was a staff member at the RNIB until it's closure and had this to say about the opportunities offered to the visually impaired students.

"Both of our most successful students, Johnny Cassidy and Louise Hall had very little functional vision, but were able to master all the technical complexities of live radio and produce some really entertaining and informative programmes.

However the real highs of the broadcasts at Redstone, and indeed of the radio course in general were the opportunities and inspiration that live broadcasting gave to those students who perhaps were not so techie, but just were passionate about the whole experience. That to me is true diversity!"

Such was the success of the radio course that the course tutor was nominated and, more importantly, shortlisted for a Star Award for his work at the RNIB. Click here for the full story.

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Our History Part 2 - Gaining our independence

2007  Redstone FM Continues
Although the RNIB Redhill College closed in 2007, there was a lot of support for Redstone FM to continue with temporary broadcasts. At that time Ofcom had started the process of awarding new community radio licenses and Redstone FM looked into the opportunities for becoming a full time station.

A 4th temporary broadcast was planned and took place during May/June 2007. With the college facilities not available due to the closure, Redstone FM was offered the studio facilities at The Oakley Centre, a youth facility in Merstham.

Redstone FM was the official radio station for the Redhill Carnival.
Redhill Carnival 2007
The station broadcast its first ever outside broadcast on Sunday 3 June at the Redhill carnival Fun Day. John Gooden, Chairman of the Redhill Carnival Organising Committee commented,

"Redstone FM provided a terrific boost to the carnival. It provided publicity, not just for the carnival but also the chosen charities who are benefiting from the fundraising."

Lucy G live on air with Redstone FM's first outside broadcast.
Lucy G live on air with Redstone FM's first outside broadcast.

Click Play above to listen to Lucy G

Redstone FM completed its 4 week broadcast on Saturday 16th June with a second outside broadcast from Redhill's Memorial Park.

Redstone FM presenter Natalie Osborne presented a special programme at the Celebrating Age festival whilst reporter Paul Swann interviewed many of the participants.

Celebrating Age Banner

Natalie Osborne said,

"Despite the weather it was a fantastic day. It was great to get out of the studio and meet our audience and provide a showcase for Redstone FM to the general public."

aul Swann and Mike Ward interviewing the Mayor, Mrs Dorothy Ross-Tomlin.
Paul Swann and Mike Ward interviewing the Mayor, Mrs Dorothy Ross-Tomlin.

Natalie Osborne broadcasting at the celebrating Age Festival.
Natalie Osborne broadcasting at the celebrating Age Festival.

This broadcast demonstrated Redstone FM's commitment to offering opportunities to disabled broadcasters - 40% of live output was produced by people who are either blind, partially sighted or have some other disability. This figure would have risen to 49% but for one of the key daytime presenters suffering a family bereavement which took him away from the station.

Des Shepherd, Redstone FM's licensee commented,

"This is a great achievement and shows that having a disability should not be a barrier to success. Our previous broadcasts demonstrated that those who are visually impaired are just as capable when it comes to producing and presenting radio programmes.  All too often those with a disability are marginalised by society. Just because one has lost the use of their eyes does in no way mean they can't be a valued member of society and I hope that those involved with Redstone FM have felt they made a positive contribution".

Tess Lewsey is one of the presenters who has broadcast on all Redstone FM's temporary broadcasts to date. She said,

"I have always had an interest in radio broadcasting and came to the RNIB Redhill College following stints on my local hospital radio in Cambridge. I am grateful to the opportunity offered by Redstone FM in allowing me to develop my broadcast skills."

Johny Cassidy is another former student from the RNIB Redhill College who held down the daily magazine show on Redstone FM

"As a result of my two stints at, I have been offered a place on a post-graduate broadcast journalism course in Portsmouth. Redstone FM allowed me to develop my interviewing skills and develop the confidence to use complex studio equipment and I am looking forward to this course when it starts in September."

Click here for pictures from the Carnival Weekend Outside Broadcast and here for pictures of the Celebrating Age event.

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2008 - and another broadcast and the chance to bid for a full time license.
Redstone FM was on the air from 10 May to 26 May 2008 and for a second year broadcast from studios at the Surrey County Council Youth Centre at The Oakley in Merstham. With the prospect of community radio licences being advertised by Ofcom that summer, Redstone FM used this broadcast to test out its programming ideas and develop the system of volunteers, many of whom are visually impaired.

This broadcast had two themes.

One was the coverage of the annual Adult Learners' Week. Redstone FM received financial sponsorship from East Surrey College and broadcast a wide range of interviews related to adult learning. Full details are here.

Adul;t Learners Week logo

The second theme revolved around Reigate & Banstead Borough Council's 'Love Where You Live' campaign. Redstone FM teamed up with the Redhill Reigate and Horley Life newspaper and ran a competition that tested listeners' local knowledge. Full details of the competition can be found here.

This broadcast again featured a large number of interviews.

One memorable interview, whilst not local, was a unique take on a national sporting event. That summer Manchester Utd won the European Cup in Moscow. We had interviewed Rio Ferdinand on a previous broadcast so this time we went after his mum! The idea was a human interest story - that of a mother's pride in seeing her son lift the cup (Rio was the Man U captain that night). We are not aware of any other broadcast media to take that angle.

Click play above to listen to part of the interview.

Rio lifts the cup - from Getty Images

The broadcast was largely funded by local sponsorship. Financial supporters included:

Click here for the full story of the 2008 Broadcast including a list of interviews broadcast and a selection of pictures.

Ofcom logo

That summer, Ofcom invited applications for community radio licences for SE England. This enabled Redstone FM to finally submit its application to provide a community radio service for Redhill & Reigate area. As 2008 drew to a close, some good news was on the horizon.

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2009 Good News on Funding - but still waiting for news from Ofcom

At the start of the year, Redstone FM received confirmation of funding for another temporary broadcast plus a new training course.

87.7 Redstone FM logo and wave form

Funding for the 2009 broadcast was secured with a Grassroots Grant administered by Surrey Community Foundation. Further assistance came from the Belfry Shopping Centre in Redhill who offered office accommodation for our temporary studios. We also received funding from the Gatwick Airport Community Trust.

In addition to funding for the broadcast, Redstone received almost £12,000 to run a radio course for visually impaired people. This funding came from the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Learning & Skills Council. And that wasn't all! In January 2009, we were advised that Reigate & Banstead Borough Council had awarded us a £10,000 capital grant towards equipment. This grant is subject to the award of the a permanent community radio license by Ofcom so once they have made the right decision . . . Overall over £30,000 was raised from a mix of grants, education funding and sponsorship.

The broadcast came from premises in Tower House, part of the Belfry Shopping Centre in Redhill and two main events were covered - Volunteers' Week and the Redhill & Reigate Carnival weekend.

The Volunteers' Week activities involved the station working with the local Volunteer Centre in promoting volunteering. We also worked with the Mayor is launching the 2009 Mayor's Community Awards.

Volunteers' Week 25th anniversary logo

The mayor's Annual Community Award Scheme 2009

The Mayor, Cllr Richard Mantle with Redstone FM's Steve Burge at the launch of the 2009 Mayor's Award Scheme. June 2009.

Presenter Tess Lewsey live on Redstone FM.

Belfry Shopping Centre logo

The Redhill and Reigate Carnival involved a full weekend of activities in both towns. With special equipment loaned to the station for the occasion, Redstone FM covered the street activities in both towns on the Saturday and conducted a live outside broadcast on the Sunday afternoon. Redstone FM again worked with Radio Redhill who provided live coverage of the carnival procession in Redhill.

Stormtroopers at the Redhill carnival Fun Day.Redstone FM's Natalie Osborne interviewing local MP Crispin Blunt.Redhill and Reigate Carnival logoCarnival procession in Redhill.


Click here for further details of the 2009 broadcast.

In the months leading up to the broadcast, Redstone FM ran a "Broadcast Opportunities" course for a group of visually impaired students.

Eight visually impaired students took part in the course where they learned interview and presentation skills plus gaining an insight into the production of speech and music programming. The course included sessions on broadcast law plus the services of a professional voice coach.

Based at the Merstham Community Facility, the course trained the students to a standard that allowed them to produce and present their own shows during the broadcast.

The training course and the broadcast were the subject of two features on Radio 4's In Touch programme.

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

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

One of our students, Chris Wilsdon, was featured as a case study. Click here to read what he had to say.

Radio students with voice coach Kate Lee.
Radio students with voice coach Kate Lee . . .

Radio students from the 2009 course.
. . . and in the Tower House studio in Redhill.

Meanwhile . . .
There was no news from Ofcom on our application for a permanent community radio license.

2010 and Beyond
And so into 2010. Redstone FM was awarded a second grant from the ESF to run a further training course for visually impaired people. This took place from February to July and was based at the Merstham Community Facility.

Meridian FM

Students had the opportunity to present and produce a series of shows on Meridian FM, the community radio station based in East Grinstead.
Meridian FM logo

Students Adi Latif and Sophie Aston on the air on Meridian FM - July 2010.

Meridian FM

Nescot logo

Redstone FM also received funding from NESCOT (the further education college in Ewell, near Epsom) and in 2010 and 2011 ran a series of courses for volunteers at Meridian FM and Uckfield FM.

One door closes and another opens . . .
Redstone FM was unsuccessful with its application for a community radio licence (June 2010).

So whilst one door closed, others have opened and Redstone FM is pursuing an alternative opportunity to establish itself as a full time radio station serving East Surrey and Crawley.

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Roll of Honour

Listed below are all those who have broadcast on Redstone FM (or helped with the production).

Adam Coumas, Alan Horner, Alex Roll, Andy Bull,  Anne Marie Evans, Carl Leaburn, Carol Jennings, Carol Stoby, Catriona Harris, Chris Davis, Chris Hescott, Chris Quilley, Chris Spring, Chris Wilsdon, Garth Crooks, Gary Moritz, Dan Daley, Dan Rogers, Dave King, David Ridgway, Des Shepherd, Emily Shepherd, Fran Giles, Gavin Lake, Harry Maynard, Jamie Hughes, Jef Nunn, Jeremy Winter, Johny Cassidy, Jo Thorpe, Kelly Burgin Windsor, Kim Bartholomew, Laura Sharvell, Lee Brooks, Lee Elliott, Lisa Davis, Lucy Greaves, Lucy Pidgeon, Marcus Patrick, Mark Burtenshaw, Martin Rothwell, Martine Sheppard, Mel Ellis, Michael Shepherd, Mike Gandon, Mike Scholes, Mike Ward, Natalie Osborne, Nicole Corbin, Nigel Fitzmaurice, Nigel Gray, Olly Jones, Paul Barnett, Paul Swann, Peter Evans, Peter Fletcher, Petula Rose, Richard Majewski, Richard Shepherd, Rob Rumsey, Rob Wells, Robert Gibson, Sam Kalbag, Simon Wilkes, Steve Burge, Steve Jeffrey, Steve Langsdale, Steve Romaine, Terry Turner, Tess Lewsey, Toni Shepherd, Zia Rarhi.

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Redstone FM acknowledges the support received from advertisers, sponsors and grant bodies.

Redstone FM's previous temporary broadcasts have been supported by grant aid and programme sponsorship.

Supporting the 2009 Temporary Broadcast.

Grassroots Grants logo   Surrey Community Foundation  Gatwick Airport Community Trust.


Sponsors of Redstone FM Travel News
Metrobus logo

Sponsors of East Surrey Talks 
(Weekday morning show)
La Barbe logo
La Barbe, La Barbe is the only truly French restaurant in Reigate, Surrey.
71 Bell Street. Reigate. Surrey. RH2 7AN
T: 01737 241966

The Event - for supplying details of local events.
The Event logo
The event is now known as the R&R Guide.


The 2009 and 2010 Broadcast Opportunities Training Course was funded by:

European Social Fund logo  funded by the Learning & Skills Council

East Surrey College logo

East Surrey College - our partner in delivering the two courses.

Awards for All - funded work on full time license application and audience research during 2007.

Awards for All - funded work on licence application and audience research during 2007.

Yes Events - Station Sponsor for 2008.

Yes Events - Station sponsor for 2008.

Note:   Redstone FM is not responsible for the content of third party web sites.

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Members's Newsletter

Members of Reigate and Banstead Community Radio receive regular newsletters. Below are links to download copies to newsletters published for the period to the end of 2009.

Newsletter No 13 July 2009
Newsletter No 12 June 2009
Newsletter No 11 May 2009
Newsletter No 10  January 2009
Newsletter No 9   November 2008
Newsletter No 8   June 2008
Newsletter No 7   May 2008
Newsletter No 6   March 2008
Newsletter No 5   December 2007
Newsletter No 4   October 2007
Newsletter No 3   September 2007


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© Redstone FM Ltd 2005-12

Direct Links to Archive Pages:
Archive 2005
Archive 2006
Archive 2007
Archive 2008
Archive 2008 Adult Learners' Week
Archive 2008 Life Newspaper Competition
Archive 2008 Programme Schedule
Archive 2009 
Archive 2009 Programme Information
Redstone FM Archive News Stories
Redstone FM Archive Press Coverage
Star Awards Tutor Recognition