Bauer and Wireless awarded grants to make programmes

The Audio Content Fund has awarded money to seven production companies to create content for 13 radio stations.

The stations include Wireless stations talkRADIO and Virgin Radio, Bauer’s Jazz FM and Absolute Radio, plus several community radio stations including Ujima Radio in Bristol, All FM in Manchester and Somer Valley FM in Somerset.

These awards, made just before Christmas, bring to 25 the total number of awards distributed by the Audio Content Fund in its first year of operation.

Overall, £658,000 has been handed out, to projects that will be heard on 37 different radio stations. The fund now enters its second year with a further £1million to distribute, with the next funding round due to open in late February.

The successful bids in this round include two projects on talkRADIO. The first, by Loftus Media, will mark ten years of the Equality Act and ask quite how equal Britain is in 2020.

The first current affairs commission from the ACF, this project will be led by short form packages, generating discussion and news-lines on the Wireless-owned national speech radio station.

The second, made by Offside Productions Media (producers of The Offside Rule podcast), will be broadcast during Loneliness Awareness Week and will explore how loneliness can affect people of all ages and backgrounds across the country.

The other funded programmes include the first award for a project on Virgin Radio. ‘Hometown Stories’ will be produced by Listen Entertainment (the company recently launched by the team behind Wisebuddah) and will profile six Virgin playlist artists with hour-long documentaries and intimate homecoming gigs to which listeners will be invited to win tickets.

The other funded programmes are: ‘Rockanory’, comedy rock stories from the mind of Jon Holmes for broadcast on Absolute Radio; ‘The Definitive Guide to Jazz in Britain’ from Made in Manchester Ltd for broadcast in ten parts on Jazz FM; ‘Story Explorers’ where children will interview their favourite authors, for broadcast on Fun Kids in partnership with the National Literacy Trust; ‘Our Journey’, a documentary series telling the story of the Bristol Bus Boycott of 1963 for broadcast on a network of community radio stations led by Ujima Radio; and ‘The Rainbow Road to Tokyo’ on Gaydio, profiling LGBT athletes taking part in the 2020 Olympics.

Sam Bailey, Managing Director of the Audio Content Fund, said: “The first year of the Audio Content Fund has proven the value and importance of this fund to the UK radio sector. With a budget of £660,000 we’ll have reached more than five million listeners with a tremendous range of inspiring, fascinating, thought-provoking radio that will have a long-lasting impact on everyone that hears it. We can’t wait to announce details of
year two’s schedule, in which we have another £1m to distribute.”

Nigel Adams MP, Minister for Sport, Media, and the Creative Industries, said: “Through the Audio Content Fund, we are directly supporting the creation of new, homegrown and high-quality radio content. The fund brings important issues to people’s ears, including tackling loneliness and highlighting the achievements of our LGBT athletes in the run-up to Tokyo 2020.

“The first year of the Fund has provided some fantastic programmes for audiences to enjoy. I look forward to seeing this continue with more awards to be made in its second year.”

Mukti Jain Campion, Audio Content Fund Panel Member, said: “I am delighted to see how independent production companies around the UK are responding to the creative challenge of producing original public service content for commercial and community stations. The Audio Content Fund is proving to be a win-win-win for indie producers, radio stations, and, most importantly, audiences. I look forward to even more exciting ACF-supported radio collaborations in 2020.”