Oldham Community Radio 99.7fm scoop three national awards

Volunteers from Oldham Community Radio 99.7fm have been recognised with three awards in a prestigious national event.

The first Community Radio Awards were established to celebrate community radio and all the hard work and time that the volunteers involved in community radio put into their stations and communities.

Oldham Community Radio 99.7fm were winners of the Gold Award in the Speech and Journalism category for their “A Chance to Meet” programme featuring an interview with Bryn Hughes, father of murdered PC Nicola Hughes.

Nicola’s father Bryn, a former prison officer set up a charity in her name which has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help young people who have lost someone through crime. The recording was not planned as “A Chance to Meet” programme. Bryn was booked to give talk at Oldham library about his book, then answer questions and sign copies of his book “An Extraordinary Sacrifice” the life story of his daughter 23 year old Nicola Hughes.

Unfortunately there was some sort of a mix up with the organisation of the event and with quite literally two minutes notice David McGealy, Station Manager of Oldham Community Radio 99.7fm was asked if he would step in and present the event as a long interview (over 45 minutes).
As he had not read the book and he felt he only had a ‘lay-mans’ knowledge of the case he was somewhat apprehensive but as a community broadcaster David felt he had no option but to enable Bryn to tell his story. The resulting in depth interview is fascinating, the difficult questions that we may want to ask, but be too scared to ask are raised and answered. Bryn Hughes is a remarkable man and David’s interviewing style enables Bryn to tell his story from the phone call that changed his life to the aftermath, the trial and what he has done to honour his daughter.

Afterwards Bryn thanked David for the way he handled the interview, easier than some interviews with national broadcasters he said.

David said, “If the interview needs doing, then you have to do it. It’s not about you. You are just the conduit to let your subject tell their story. Your job is to help them do it.”

Oldham Community Radio 99.7fm will be rebroadcasting the full programme again in next weeks “A Chance to Meet” slot on Wednesday 21st September at 12 noon repeated on Wednesday evening at 9pm, Sunday 25th at 11pm and Monday 26th 9am.

The long running “Sounds of Folk” programme won Bronze in the Best Specialist Music category. Programme presenter Ali O’Brien and producer Bernard Cromarty attended the award ceremony held at Birmingham City University last weekend. Ali said, “I’d never been short listed for anything in my life. I was delighted that after nearly a decade the programme has been recognised by our peers. From the start I wanted Sounds of Folk to showcase the best of folk music, song, dance and poetry in the area. We have artists coming into the studio to have a chat, and either to perform for us or play tracks from their latest album. The interviews are always very informal, more like a chat on the settee in my living room.”

Richard Hilton, Chair of the Ofcom Community Radio fund panel, who presented the Specialist Music awards commented “I was just not hearing the kind of music I liked on the radio anywhere until I came across community radio and realised these were the stations that had the music and voices that I wanted to hear. Community Radio plays a vital service different to it’s commercial or BBC cousins.”

The competition for the awards was tough with over 235 entries received from stations up and down the country. Community Radio Awards chair Martin Steers said, “The judges who were involved in the process were completely overwhelmed by the quality and variety of entries submitted. I am genuinely impressed by the effort and dedication that has gone into these.”

The final presentation of the evening was the Station of the Year award. Having being short listed Oldham Community Radio 99.7fm was just pipped to the post with the Gold, Silver and Bronze announcements picking up a fourth place Highly Commended award.

Listen to extract from Oldham Today broadcast 15th September, featuring audio from the ceremony and the audio from the award submissions.

Listen to the full A Chance to Meet Bryn Hughes programme first broadcast in May 2016.

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