Flipside radio, (formerly Lache FM) will be doing an FM broadcast from Thursday 3rd until Sunday 6th December, live across the city of Chester on 90.2 FM and online at www.flipsideradio.org.
I visited the studio in the Lache for a chat. Lache FM was founded back in 2007 as station manager Chris Sutton explained to me. “It was a temporary one off event.. a restricted service license, they put on a radio broadcast for a weekend.” organised by Lache development community trust and Lache neighbourhood management. Chris says it was “really successful and the local people really liked it. The station grew from there. 3 or 4 years later, I came along. I was living in Saltney, I heard about the station and thought it sounded interesting. I started volunteering and met the people who were helping with the technical side, I had done a bit of music tech at Uni, and I wanted to get into teaching and community work.” After a long time “hanging around” and sharing his ideas for community workshops, Lache CDT managed to get Chris a job running the station.
Flipside broadcasts twice a week . Chris says that “In terms of our input we offer a true alternative to people who want to listen to the radio. We have local people presenting and producing the shows and coming up with the content, people are doing it for themselves. We’re offering the community the chance to come and do something that they might not otherwise be involved in. The key is, its about ordinary people coming in… and doing extraordinary things on the radio, sharing music, sharing things they’re into, and growing within themselves.
“We want the schedule to be as diverse as possible. We dont have a format as such. Its for the community so we represent everybody. We have young kids presenting , we’ve got Jay at the moment who’s doing a Hip Hop show, we have Nikil from the Sanjhi Indian association, who does the Sanjhi show. Some of that he’s talking in Hindi, some of it in English. We have people playing more traditional pop and rock music, we have people playing all kinds of weird music, like Dan Schott for example. We like to play a lot of local bands. We also do a lot of talk content, we have a lot of local charities and community organisations coming in on the next broadcast.
Flipside has a varied cast of presenters. I spoke to Tony P who described the impact of working on the station upon his life.
“I first got involved in the station 3 or 4 years ago. I had some problems with anxiety and was looking for some voluntary work to help get me back on my feet. I saw this on the internet and decided to come along. At first I was scared and didn’t want to go on, I had never been on the radio before. I was very apprehensive. Chris carried me along .. I felt more and more comfortable being on my own and I ended up doing my own weekly show. I do 70’s and 80s, with a bit of modern. I talk about community news and things that are going on around the Lache. I think the station is great for the community , theres something there for everyone, all walks and ages from all parts of Chester. It’s very versatile and an interesting place to be!
Hip Hop show presenter Jason: “I first found this show randomly, I saw a poster in the housing office, running an audio course. I came over and got talking to Chris about music. He said he was looking for DJ’s and I thought “why not?” I covered the reggae show for a couple of weeks, and the rock show, then I started doing my own show doing Hip Hop. I love doing it! I love playing music for people and I hope they enjoy it as much as I love playing it.” He will be featuring on the FM broadcast on Friday from 9-11. “I’ll be playing a lot of originals, some nice old soul that’s been sampled in hip hop.”
Mr Sutton says it’s hard for him to single people out, with “some brilliant people involved…” but he praises breakfast show hosts Matt Poynton and Steph Cookson saying they are “brilliant on air, a great double act. Over a number of years they have done some great work behind the scenes, they have done work with schoolkids, organising talent competitions, they have been a real asset to the radio station, real champions of their community.”
The FM broadcast will showcase a wide range of music and local talent from presenters to bands. Chris says that there will be , amongst other things “dance with the brilliant Eddie Shields, roots reggae, pop rock. We have quite a few local bands playing live, lots of music we’ve built up from doing gigs at Telfords, with Old Smokey, who is another guy heavily involved. Him and Dan Schott are very passionate about the local music scene. We have a show called Ear of the Tiger as well, which is always a lot of fun.. we have a couple of really special guests on that!”
Of the name change, Chris explains that “We were called Lache FM and decided over a period of time to change the name to reflect the fact that we had listeners and volunteers from all over Chester . We are broadcasting loud and proud from the Lache but wanted to have a wider appeal. We had a really successful kickstarter campaign that paid for our last FM broadcast. Unfortunately then a couple of months after that, we are part of LCDT, and we went through a bad patch.
“We lost our manager, who was seriously ill and not working with us anymore. That’s Liz Holding, who has done loads for the radio station and the community, we wouldn’t exist without her really. Funding was difficult and it looked like we couldn’t carry on. Finally we managed to get enough funding and also got some lottery funding. In any third sector organisation its always very tight from year to year. We’re still here and I don’t see us going anywhere anytime soon.
Having hosted a few shows myself , I champion Flipside radio for everything they do for the local community! Get involved and find out more about their good work by listening to the FM broadcast or visiting http://flipsideradio.org/