As the number of AM and FM community radio stations steadily creep up in the UK, it’s also crucial to understand that community radio – which actively serves as a media outlet – can be both a weapon and a conscience to humanity.
Manchester’s own community radio stations, All FM 96.9 for example, play a vital role in empowering people, accelerating local level and community problem-solving, and in producing more demand for accountability from local authorities. Whilst this is commendable, it’s easy to not notice community radio’s double-edged-sword nature.
On one hand, the station has the ability to foster community cohesion and development but
on the other, it can be a negative force and can fuel ethnic prejudices and stereotypes, where radio is used for ill rather than good.
All FM 96.9 – one of the longest running community radio stations in the UK – broadcasts to south, central and east Manchester with over 14,000 listeners a day, the station states.
Proudly tagging its mission statement with “A radio station for the community, by the community”, All FM is a volunteer led organisation. Almost all community radio stations get by on a shoestring – “an average of just £60,250 a year”, according to Ofcom.
Broadcasting live, 16 hours per day, 7 days per week, focusing on music, chat and community issues, All FM’s target audience is primarily South Asian, African, Afro-Caribbean, Polish and Irish communities, disabled and young people.
Although this is not the place to enter into the negative effects of local radio in any depth, it is nevertheless crucial to note that media has the power to lead a gullible public, to dehumanise the ‘enemy’ and to encourage intolerance. Under normal circumstances however, community radio naturally promotes positive community behaviour change or at least has the power to do so – much more than corporate radio.
TNT Business Yasin Chinembiri