Reform the airwaves! Manchester radio station crowd fund for new gear

A pioneering Manchester not-for-profit radio station is crowdfunding for extra equipment to help it relaunch with more live shows and support more young people across the region into sustainable employment. 

Reform Radio is a shared digital arts platform, created by young music enthusiasts and working predominantly with 18-30 year olds who are not in employment, education or training.

The station has secured two new studio spaces and will be looking to launch with upgraded equipment, new capabilities and a broader outreach on October 3 this year.  

Reform will also be looking to develop their own in-house skills accreditation course which they hope will be recognised by employers within Greater Manchester.

Co-founder and director Jemma Tanswell said: “We use our projects to get young people into employment and give them confidence.

“But we are at capacity now, and we want to develop the amount of opportunities we can offer young people, so we will be looking to produce content 24/7 as of October.”

Since its inception in January 2013, the station has run nearly thirty outreach projects, working directly with over 300 young people and amassing over 12,000 hours of radio content.

It offers continued support for participants even after work is secured in the form of free creative sessions, studio time and one-on-one meetings.

The young people who have benefited from the various programmes have for the most part gone straight into work or alternative routes to employment, such further training or study.

The station has been run thus far from a house in Chorlton, with various shows hosted by local musicians the focal point, but the group has secured a new space in the Old Granada Studios, which will provide a safe and professional meeting place for young people involved in the project to meet and work independently, along with space for higher calibre equipment.

Reform hopes to enable people to learn and practice digital skills in a bid to address the issue of youth employment by responding to the demand for skilled workers in the digital sector.

The equipment required includes specialist broadcast mixers, broadcast microphones, monitor speakers, new computers, soundproofing, new doors, wiring and  a host of complex back end streaming infrastructure to enable listeners to tune into the live shows they have helped support.

The crowdfunding effort is currently at around 50% of its £5000 target with 20 days remaining, and Jemma said this period is critical: “We raised £1500 very quickly but it has plateaued a little in the middle. We need to work really hard to push towards the target and ensure that we can support as many people as possible.”

Reform already boasts an impressive roster of local artists, including singer/songwriter, Radio 1 DJ & Ex BBC 1Xtra Presenter Jenna G, T.Dot, Mica Millar, Fallacy and Darka to name a few.

One of the rewards for contributions on the crowdfunding page is a discounted ticket to Reform Radio’s Relaunch on 3 October at the Old Granada Studios.

The line-up includes Jenna & The Gs Live, Fallacy, Ruf Dug, Andrea Trout, Danuka (So Flute), T.Dot (BPM), Mica & Kardanski, Andrea Trout, Kelvin Brown (Eyes Down), Danuka (So Flute), Pick-od (BAOL), Ema Nosaruk (Bite The Apple), Young Identity, Horace James, Milk & One Sugar (Beat Boutique), Eastern Block DJs, Thick Richard & Jack Galareux, Witch*unt DJs, Cubik

Tickets through Crowdfunder are discounted £15.00 as opposed to the full price of £22.50.

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