On the ups, downs, and ups of local community radio
Community radio organisers Darius Williams and Luke Rideout walk us through the history of SE10 and how the Greenwich-based station got off the ground.
RadioSE10 is a hyper local community radio station operating from the North Greenwich Peninsula in South East London and broadcasting internationally via the internet at www.SE10.org every weekday evening. We run an all inclusive Musik Policy and keep the station doors open for anyone who’d like to step in front of the mic, camera, decks, etc.
SE10 has been around for a while in various guises and with different people involved, although the aim has always been the same: to provide a medium for experimentation and expression whilst encouraging co-learning across disciplines, ultimately resulting in the sharing of ideas to transform boundaries into platforms. Either that or it’s just a bit of fun…
As far as our records show, SE10 started out as a digital messenger conversation between a group of Broadcast Tech students around five years ago. They called it Ravensbourne Radio Station, or Rave Radio for short. A call for people to get involved was sent out before they graduated, never to be seen again.
The following year the message was picked up by a Sound Designer with a passion for radio. He set about gathering equipment and presenters as well as securing a space to work in and before long Radio SE10 was born. Broadcasting two days a week from a makeshift studio in Quality Control.
It was around this time that the Sound Designer met a Graphic Designer at a garden party somewhere in Essex. The addition of a Digital Television Producer who worked at BBC Radio Jersey meant that the technical abilities of the station evolved. After a month or so Radio SE10 was expanding steadily. At it’s peak it broadcast five days a week with content including reviews, mixes, talk, and ‘more’. The station also ran out of Ravensbourne library for a week of extend hours library related content.
But success wouldn’t last forever, a series of unfortunate events involving broken equipment and a stricter equipment loan policy led to the inability to broadcast for over three months and meant the station lost steam. Everyone involved went their separate ways and worked on other projects but SE10 lingered in the back of their minds.
The following year the Graphic Designer, now in third year and close to graduating decided that something had to be done. With the help of many, many others from every creative discipline you can imagine SE10 became a sustained moment of mass collaboration and experimentation.
A portable studio on wheels was constructed from scaffolding and pallets, a new website was developed, along with two books, some PDF files, a collection of equipment and a series of videos. Few of these artefacts remain from the event, but it served as a milestone in the evolution of the concepts that drive SE10.
These days SE10 is experiencing a second wave of successes. With a Digital Film Producer at the helm the community is as close knit as ever, with strong ties to the Student Union and ever increasing participation. The station now operates from a different space each day of the week and is expanding exponentially. A community is currently building around it, after a slick rebrand and marketing push, SE10 is looking ambitiously to the future, shaping an operational strategy that will last.