The Value of Community Radio Stations: Source FM

Emma Pocock

Photo: Hush Creative, Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Hush Creative, Wikimedia Commons

Since ‘YouTubers’ became an Internet phenomenon, the humble radio show has somewhat slipped under the mainstream radar. Stations such as Radio 1, Heart and Kiss do well to keep up with current music, and show some diversity in their presenters, but local community radio stations have so much to offer. Pirate FM is obviously a big deal in Cornwall but I’d like to highlight a brilliant station I found completely by accident: Source FM.

Parked up by the Helford Passage, the sun was setting and I’d been on a pretty long walk along the coast. Returning to my car – which I’d only had for around five days – I realised I missed my old car’s radio, which had a Bluetooth function for playing music from my phone. Radio service is often lacking in Cornwall, so driving had been pretty quiet (else plagued by static).

Chancing my luck, I flicked through radio stations and stumbled across a Cornish guy relishing the fact that he had half an hour until he could go home and inviting listeners to listen to some jazz with him. The show was charming and reminded me just how great radio can be at getting people’s voices heard. Listening to Source over the past few weeks has given me an insight into local culture: music, poetry, political stances, a radio drama, Cornwall’s first LGBTQ show – there’s something for everybody at Source and the slogan which greets you is aptly written: “Your music, your station”.

Falmouth and Penryn’s community radio station, which first aired in 2009 focuses on Cornish events, culture and music, and is run by over a hundred volunteers from various ages and backgrounds from 9am until 11pm every day. The station’s website stresses the idea of community ownership and engagement, stating that Source “can be whatever you want it to be because the station is open to volunteers of all ages and walks of life”.

Since 2013, Source has hosted Parklive, a free, ‘community-centered’ event which takes place over the course of six months in Kimberley Park, Falmouth. It showcases local talent and engages audiences with art, poetry, music and storytelling, demonstrating the power of radio to bring communities together.

Some great shows I’ve tuned into so far include Harry Devereux and Sophie Donne’s on Wednesdays at 5pm. The contrast in their voices work so well on radio and the fact that Harry berates Sophie for never having heard of some great classics means the show takes you back to some old hits you never would have known you’d forgotten otherwise. The Green Show educates listeners on environmental issues, Inside Local Music interviews local musicians and provides a show for artists to play live, and About You invites listeners to get to know members of the community. It’s not hard to see the variety on offer; it really is whatever the volunteers want to make it!

Embrace your community’s local radio and tune into tonight’s Halloween show on Source 96.1 FM at 10pm to get a taste for the station – there are so many shows to choose from, so whether you prefer talk shows or just want to listen to some music, I’m sure you’ll find one that suits you!