Community radio organisations unite for Symposium at the DCMS

A Community Radio Symposium focusing on the future of the community radio sector in the UK is taking place at the DCMS today.

The Community Media Association and the UK Community Radio Network are working together on the event, with support from Trevor Dann and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, bringing together decision-makers from both stations and key external stakeholders.

A variety of guests and organisations have been confirmed to speak at the event, including; Ofcom, DCMS, Radioplayer, TuneIn, Matt Payton from Radiocentre, Ivor Etienne from The Beat, Shemiza Rashid from Inspire FM, Chris Burns (BBC) & Dr Janey Gordon from the University of Bedfordshire.

Terry Lee, Chair of the Community Media Association, said: “Community radio plays a vital role in fostering connectivity and amplifying diverse voices across the UK. As we gather for this symposium, the CMA acknowledges the critical juncture at which the future of community radio stands.

“In navigating the challenges and opportunities before us, we recognise the development and impact of our sector in the last 40 years. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport for their invaluable support in making this event possible – underscoring their commitment to community radio, supporting its continued growth and impact.”

Martin Steers, director of the UK Community Radio Network, added: “With us coming up to 20 years of licensed community radio, and with all the changes in the industry in that time, now is such a vital time to bring people together.

“This symposium is a great opportunity to bring significant decision-makers from across government and beyond, alongside community radio managers and practitioners to discuss the fundamentals of how important what we do is for our communities, and what support is needed for us to succeed for another 20 years.”

The symposium opens at 9:30am and is due to finish at 4pm, and will not be available for watching or listening to online.

Current schedule:

9.30am – Arrival and welcome

10am – Opening panel discussion (featuring Ivor Etienne and Shemiza Rashid), to highlight some of the variety of ways in which community radio can provide social gain and engage with its listeners

Late morning – Ofcom and others speaking to their current work with the sector

Early afternoon – Presentations on funding options, including collaborative bids to the Community Radio Fund (Platform B), sponsorship and listener donation drives

Mid afternoon – Reflections on the future (James Cridland), including the growth of AI, online listening, and collaboration and co-existence with commercial radio (Matt Payton – Radiocentre), the BBC (Chris Burns) and independent audio production (Leona Fensome).

4pm (approx) – Finish