New online radio to broadcast from Rushden

Programme controller Jay Shears
Programme controller Jay Shears

A new online community radio station for Northamptonshire is set to hit the airwaves, giving young people with learning difficulties the chance to experience life as a DJ.

Radio Northants is due to launch on February 15, broadcasting live from Rushden.

The not-for-profit station will initially only be available online but hopes to have an FM licence within two years.

Programme controller Jay Shears, who has previously worked in a number of commercial stations and in hospital radio, has assembled a team of 20 volunteers and is confident the mix of local content and music will prove a hit with listeners.

He said: “We want to provide listeners with local features that are relevant to them. We are keen to give people who wouldn’t normally get a chance to work in radio a platform on which to showcase their talents.

“We’re hoping to get some young people with learning difficulties involved. A lot of mainstream companies are reluctant to give them the opportunity but we want to prove that they’re perfectly capable of working in radio.”

The station is also looking into the possibility of staging a regular business segment – an on-air version of Twitter’s successful hashtagged networking sessions such as #NorthantsHour.

A number of county companies have already signed up to sponsor sections of the station’s programming, including clothing manufacturers Hashrag, PR agency Orange Juice Communications, The Old Bank bar and Badgers Garden Machines.

Radio Northants will go live on February 15, with a launch party at Rushden railway station.

The family fun day event will be held from midday to 4pm, featuring live music, a bouncy castle and the chance to meet Mickey Mouse.