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Interview with Simon Gill: From Mansfield Dream to Mansfield Online

Posted by RadioJinglesVIP on October 6, 2009 at 11:28 PM



On October 1, 2009 a new step has been taken, a dream has been fulfilled, and a new sound for Mansfield took off. Mansfield Radio is a not for profit, volunteer-driven project, aiming to provide a platform for those who have little or no access to mainstream media.

 

Simon Gill, station manager and engineer, who is responsible for the day to day running of the station, took time to chat with Novell, of RadioJinglesVIP.com and Freshbook. Here is his journey from Mansfield Dream to Mansfield Online.

 

Freshbook: How did the idea of putting Mansfield Radio come up? Why is it called "Mansfield Radio"? Tells us the story about the station.

 

Simon: Mansfield Radio was born of frustration really. Back in 1994 myself and a few of our presenters were involved in a project called Radio Mansfield, this project was successful in gaining a license to broadcast on the airwaves. Due to some deals that were done regarding funding, to which we weren't privvy, A new set of managers were brought in who dispensed with the volunteer force behind Radio Mansfield and set the station up under a new name, Mansfield 103.2fm, and as a commercial station.


" Mansfield Radio was born of frustration really"

 

Having put so much work in (4 years), The volunteers were, as you can imagine, a little disgruntled. Staying together as a group, we were ecstatic when Ofcom came up with the Community radio scheme. Back in 2005 Mansfield Community radio was born. Broadcasting for 2 years, this station came to an untimely end with the failure to aquire a Radio license from Ofcom.

 

Fast forward to 2009. I was approached by some of my die hard presenters to resurrect Community Radio for our area.

 

Freshbook: How do you define the programming of Mansfield Radio, is it more on talk or music? What is that something that your station can offer that no other stations in Mansfield or internet stations can?

 

Simon: Mansfield Radio doesn't have a hard and fast rule to programming. We are mainly, at the moment, a music driven station, but, that can change at a moment's notice. I would like to think that Mansfield Radio is a listener driven station. We play anything music wise, we don't discriminate.

 

Mansfield Radio are just that, Mansfield. We shop at the same shops as our listeners, live on the same estates as our listeners and have the same concerns as our listeners. We are a communication point for Mansfield, Ex-Pats, friends from abroad can all access the station and keep in touch with Mansfield.

 

Freshbook: I understand that your station is non-profit, is it difficult to start and run such a station? What were the challenges that you faced when you first opened Mansfield Radio?

 

Simon: Being a "not for profit" organization doesn't really effect how we do things, in fact, I believe it helps. Knowing that there is no financial gain in providing the service, you know that everyone involved is here to do the job because they believe in what the station is trying to achieve, not in the size of a pay packet.

 

Having been involved in Radio before, the set up and start up went really smoothly, I would like to thank a few people for making it such. Firstly, All the volunteers who put the hours & money to get us up and running. VIP Jingles (www.radiojinglesvip.com), for their super fast turnaround and excellent jingles and John at Ultrastream (www.ultrastream.co.uk), for the excellent tech support.


" ... everyone involved is here to do the job because they believe in what the station is trying to achieve, not in the size of a pay packet "

 

Freshbook: According to your website, your station aims "to provide a platform for those who have little or no access to mainstream media", who do you believe are these people who are somehow deprived of access to mainstream media and why do they need such access?

 

Simon: Most mainstream media is commercially driven. This tends to exclude the community. I'm sure the lip service they pay to community fits with their directives but the community deserve more. This isn't an attack on commercial media, it just highlights the need for true community media representation. Mansfield Radio has and will continue to provide the service to the community that the community require. Any community group that wishes to have airtime to talk about their events, projects or anything else will be given the opportunity.

 

Freshbook: You guys have very interesting nicknames for your presenters like Dr. Rock, Mistress of Music, Walking Music Encyclopedia, all of which really highlight the strengths of each.

 

Simon: Some of our presenters do have interesting nick names. And yes they they are a representation of the presenters themselves. One of Brett's favorite sayings is " I'm so metal, when it rains I rust". The thing is, He is probably right. Brett has forgotten more about rock music than I have ever known.

 

With Darren on board we will never need a Guinness book of hit singles, he pretty much knows it word for word.

 

As for recruiting presenters, we only have one requirement. Enthusiasm.

 

We have professional trainers onboard to help train on the kit, as for musical knowledge, any of the presenters are on hand to help out, as well as with helping new presenters with presenting techniques.


" As for recruiting presenters, we only have one requirement. Enthusiasm."

 

 

Freshbook: How would like to see Mansfield Radio five years from now?

 

Simon: In the future I would like to see Mansfield Radio winning a Community Radio license from Ofcom, We have a lot of work in front of us before that can happen, but I think that in the future is is a realistic goal. We certainly have the drive and enthusiasm to succeed, and with a little hard work I don't think it is Impossible.

 

Right now, Mansfield Radio is need of additional volunteers. For those interested you may reach them at www.mansfieldradio.org.uk and click on the Presenters tab for details.

 

Looking back to Simon's first involvement in a project - you can really see that it took 15 years for Mansfield Radio to come true. But this is only the beginning, the first step indeed. And with enthusiastic, passionate volunteers behind Simon, it won't be long until we see how the journey can move on from Mansfield dream, to Mansfield online, to Mansfield Community Radio license. Congratulations from all us here, the VIP members of Freshbook community and the team at RadioJinglesVIP.com

 

 


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1 Comment

Reply Billy
1:16 AM on October 10, 2009 
Simon is one in a million...keep it up!