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Hope through the airwaves

Hope Radio Logo

MA Media Production alumna and visiting lecturer Peni Whelan has created Hope Radio, a community radio station supporting the over-50s during lockdown.

Licensed by OFCOM and available on 87.9 FM, Hope Radio provides a 24-hour service to the community in South Birmingham and is aimed at those aged over 50, who may not have access to, or do not desire to access the Internet. The station is a way to share experiences, send messages to friends and family, show support for essential workers, and encourage community spirit.

It was set up by Peni alongside a group of Midlands creatives as part of Brum Community Media, a platform created during lockdown for Birmingham creatives to share, collaborate and network, which has since branched out into various projects, including the station.

“Poetry has been particularly popular,” Peni commented. “Lots of our listeners have been writing and sending in their own pieces to us. We’ve added them to our playlists alongside the music, as we’ve had so many.

“I’ve been involved in community radio for years. Hope Radio is really aimed at those who might be isolated by their lack of internet during lockdown. It’s been a big team effort; everyone’s pulled together to make it happen.

“We have a range of shows – music, poetry, Brummie stories and even the Tech Talk.”

Created by fellow BCU alumna Pauline Roche, Tuesday Tech Talk helps listeners learn how to use technology and feel more comfortable in the digital world.

MA Data Journalism alumna Pauline has been involved with Hope Radio from the start, with support also coming from Associate Professor in Radio Production Dr Sam Coley.

As well as this, the team has been sending out Postcards for Hope, delivered with food packages, which invite people to write a request, a poem or story, or a message of support on a postcard. The postcards are collected by a Postie for Hope, and make their way back to the station.

Hope Radio and Brum Community Media are looking for any volunteers willing to offer their time or expertise to support the station. In particular, they are in need of support with social media, photographers, newsreaders, presenters, jingle makers, researchers, postcard distributers, audio editors, voice actors or PR/Marketing support. Contact to get involved.

Peni added: “We’re also looking for Brummie stories for our feature, Tales of the Second City. Anyone who writes about their experiences in Birmingham is welcome to send in a tale!”

Future projects in the offing currently include a virtual reality art exhibition, an art competition and a virtual reality music concert.

Keep an eye out for more from Brum Community Media on their website or Facebook page.

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