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'Keep us on air'

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: ALL FM presenters Xana Miller-Moulton, left, and Annie Chisambo

ONE OF Manchester’s most diverse radio stations is urging its listeners to “give all you can spare to keep us on air” while its DJs make a bid to run across the North West for its survival.

ALL FM, based in the Levenshulme area of Manchester, is a widely listened to community station producing contemporary music, arts and culture shows while providing local health, information and training programmes throughout the day.

But after relocating to the historic Levenshulme Old Library at the beginning of the year they’ve been hit by rising costs and a lack of funding leaving them fighting to keep the roof over their heads.

Station director, Ed Connole, said: “It’s hard for organisations in the voluntary sector. Sometimes it feels like we’re running to stand still.

“Funds are limited, cuts are everywhere. Many organisations in the voluntary sector are there for people in crisis or preventing a full-blown crisis.”

He continued: “If you remove these organisations, bodies like the NHS, police and local Government will become overrun. The voluntary sector is so diverse in what it delivers but many people are unaware of the huge social significance

this sector performs every day in many people’s lives.”

As one of the longest-running community stations in the city, ALL FM has previously been funded by grants, adver- tising revenue, subscriptions and donations.

Most recently, ALL FM Training Ltd was established offering team building radio training experiences leading to live broadcasts for individuals and organisations in Manchester.

“Ultimately, we’re a community radio station, so our aim isn’t to maximise profit, it’s to maximise social benefit.

“Although I don’t foresee us being free of the need to access grants and donations the plan is to reduce the proportion of our income which is grant and donation based,” added Ed.

HUB: The station's ethos is ‘by the community for the community’

But perhaps one of their most challenging missions yet is to quite literally run for their survival in two of the region’s marathons.

A team of eight volunteers are gearing up for the Great Manchester Run on Sunday (May 20) and Ed will take part in the Liverpool Half Marathon in a bid to raise £5,000.

“This money will go toward the nuts and bolts of running the station. We’re in the process of renovating as well as hoping to build a new broadcast and training studio.

“While all this is going on we still deliver training and sup- port and go out live on ALL FM 96.9 seven days a week,” said Ed.

There will be lots of support from the station’s 120 volunteers who will be spreading the message and helping to get donations rolling in.

Annie Chisambo, who hosts the lifestyle show, said: “Raising money for ALL FM is important to me because of the training and support I receive from the staff and volunteers.

“Hosting my own show has helped to improve my communication, interview and research skills. The station is an asset to our community because its presenters represent its diversity. Volunteers are empowered through training and are given the freedom to produce and de- liver a show they are proud of. That is just priceless.”

It’s not hard to understand the commitment to the station, which even set up a food bank 18 months ago as some of their volunteers could not afford to eat.

Ed added: “The range of communities we represent is vast and we aim to be the voice of Manchester.

“Where in life can those whose voices are least heard get trained and then provided with a live radio show where they can be a voice for their respective community, a voice for change and a voice for good.

“Our ethos is ‘by the community for the community’.”

You can support the station via their website

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