University of Northampton to take to the airwaves

Steve Taylor, University of Northampton's  acting dean of The School of the Arts
Steve Taylor, University of Northampton's acting dean of The School of the Arts

Students in the county will soon be taking to the airwaves after the University of Northampton was successful in a joint bid to launch a community radio station.

NNBC is due to hit the airwaves by the end of 2015, after the joint venture between the University and a group of broadcasting professionals was granted a five-year community radio licence by communications regulator Ofcom.

The station, which will broadcast on FM and the internet, will reach far beyond the ears of its listeners, according to Steve Taylor, the University’s acting dean of The School of the Arts.

He said: “A community radio station differs from a usual station in that it is essentially a social enterprise and is not allowed to make a profit.

“So it will have a life beyond radio – all profits will be ploughed back into the running of the station and into the local community it serves.

“This means, for example, we could use money to fund community projects, perhaps by offering training courses, internships and work placements.

“We could also provide bursaries and scholarships for students, while those involved with NNBC, whether that’s students or staff from the University, or those from the wider community, will be able to develop skills in journalism, presentation, marketing, web content creation, media sales and engineering.”

The university says it has taken three years of hard work to get NNBC off the ground. The station was founded in 2012 by experienced broadcaster Terry Doyle, who formed a steering group comprising former Northampton South MP, Tony Clarke, ex Northampton Council leader, John Dickie, and broadcaster Robert Owen.

The University was then invited on board, and has played an instrumental role in shaping the social enterprise aspect of the station. The institution has been internationally recognised for its commitment to social innovation and social entrepreneurship by being designated a ‘Changemaker Campus’ by Ashoka U – the global association of the world’s leading universities supporting social entrepreneurs – and was the first in the UK to be awarded this honour.

Steve Taylor, who himself is a former DJ on London alternative radio station XFM, said: “NNBC presents a fantastic opportunity for the University. We have students specialising in radio, journalism and broadcasting, plus those studying popular music, so they will all benefit from experience of working in the real world.

“But there’s also the opportunity for other students and staff from across the University to get involved. There will be scope to have programmes on health, business and science, for instance. Staff and researchers could appear as expert guests and students could present a show, which would add another dimension to their vocational experience.”

The NNBC steering group is now planning its output and searching for a base in Northampton, ahead of its launch later in the year.

To find out more, and to get involved, visit the website