Laura Burton-Lawence talks to Sue Edwards about the Community Show and how it started
When did you start the Community Show?
The Community Show launched on 30th April 2015 following an intense twitter marketing campaign which started a few weeks before the launch show.
What gave you the idea?
Having spent the last 10 years working in publishing and producing two community magazines, I have a passion for doing my bit to support local communities. Co-hosting “The Women in Business Radio Show” on Channel Radio for several months also made radio broadcasting a comfortable option for me. I then had a chance discussion which led to the birth of the concept in March this year and the rest as they say is history! Also, who better to have as a co-presenter than my very own husband – it’s been fantastic having the opportunity to work on a project with him.
What is it about?
The show is for all things Community, Charity and Fundraising taking place in Kent and on the County Borders.
For me it’s extremely important to emphasise the county borders element of the show as being based in Edenbridge and running a community magazine in Crowborough, I’m very fond of the borders! We have studio guests who are involved in community, charity or fundraising activities and we give lots of event information and help publicise local groups and organisations as well.
It could be a larger charity such as Hospice in the Weald, or someone in the community who just likes raising money for charity such as Ashford Community Funds. We’ve started doing the odd ticket giveaway too so its developing all the time.
What sort of research did you do before going live?
Having established two community magazines myself I know that people are very passionate about their communities and I also had a great many connections already who would be interested in a show such as this and reaching the areas it does. I was very fortunate in that respect. I also had to learn to operate the studio because I produce the show as well as present it. It’s all live from 10-11am every Thursday.
Is it similar to Uckfield FM?
It is broadcast via the Internet and not on traditional radio airwaves so in that respect it is very different. The Community Show is only broadcast for an hour each week as it covers a relatively small area and there is only limited time for music.
What area does it cover ?
The majority of listeners at the moment are based in the West Kent/East Sussex borders area as I do promote the show in my magazines (that’s 17,000 copies every other month) and our networks are strongest in these parts, although on a weekly basis we are picking up listeners from East Kent and further into Sussex and touching into Surrey too. Being internet based it can be listened to all over the world and I know for a fact that we have listeners in the US.
How is it financed ie volunteers or ads?
I finance the show – there are studio costs, website, the travel of course as the studio is not next door, and even t-shirts which all helps with show promotion! Our studio guests get the opportunity to come onto the show free of charge (I know other shows charge their guests). I am thinking about getting show sponsors to help finance it but at the moment I’m happy with things as they are.
What plans do you have for its future?
I really have no idea where this could lead. Both my husband and I are having an awful lot of fun. As well as the interviews and shout outs for events and groups there is fun husband and wife banter too and I love it when the listeners tell us they found the show lots of fun to listen to. So, with regards to the future…we’ll have to see about that one. We have just set up a Channel on YouTube for our adventures in the studio and when we’re out at community events and we also started broadcasting in Periscope when we’re in.
The Community Show live every Thursday from 10-11am on www.channelradio.co.uk
Follow the show on twitter at @Community_Show or Facebook at www.facebook.com/thecommunityradioshow
Website – www.thecommunityshow.net
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