In autumn 2019 Jake Lloyd left Manchester and moved to Crediton to be with his partner, Elizabeth. He brought with him his twin passions of radio and community and set about researching a way to bring them together. This was the beginning of Crediton Radio, as Ysella Sims reports.
Like many of us, Jake’s plans were affected by the government’s announcement of the first national lockdown on March 23rd 2020. Seeing an increased need for contact and communication he decided to press ahead and launch Crediton Radio as a podcast with a view to transitioning to a broadcast radio station later. This approach meant that local people could start to make content remotely and share it, in a series of episodes, or podcasts, via the internet.
“The variety is really cool,” says Jake when I ask him what the first year has looked like, “we’ve had regular shows with wellbeing coaches; poetry, music, plays; locals in conversation and even Thoughts for the Day”.
I ask him what role he thinks a radio station can play in the community.
“It’s in our communities and with our neighbours that we learn to get on with people different from us,” he tells me.
He’s noticed, like many of us, the propensity of social media to create divisions that don’t exist in real life.
“I see listening as a kind of glue that holds society together,” he says, “if Crediton Radio can be a place where we listen to the stories of people who are different from us and learn about the things those people care about, the temptation to label people disappears.”
Friendship and fun
But the station is a fun and positive way to come together, too.
"It’s relatively easy and you don’t need lots of knowledge or expensive equipment, you just need a curiosity and a story to share. It’s about friendship and fun,” he says.
The Pete Mason Music Fund, set up following the death of the popular local musician last year, has gifted the station a PRS licence to allow the use of copyrighted music. Seventeen year old Luca Saunders has used the PRS to make a show called The Musical Staircase in which he shares the tunes that got him through lockdown. Jake hopes that other local young people will hear it and want to make a show, too.
He has produced a basic radio journalism course, which will be free or subsidised, as a way for people to develop skills in journalism or to get involved and make friends. There are also simple guides to making radio on the website. I've used them to make a couple of podcasts - Tell Me Something is a soundscape of poetry and sounds and Crediton Radio - One Year On is an interview with Jake, celebrating the station’s first year. If I can do it, anybody can!
Jake is keen for his plans to develop, but more people are needed to make this happen.
“You might not want to make radio, but you might want to support the project with your time and energy. No matter what your skills there’ll be something you can do!” he says.
If you’d like to get involved, listen to any of the episodes or podcasts, or have an idea or story to share, get in touch via the Crediton Radio website.