6th July 2012, 11:42am
Community radio gives a voice to the voiceless, says Siren FM boss
Siren FM The head of the University of Lincoln's on-campus radio station aired his views on the contribution community radio can make to democratic society during a national conference on the future of broadcasting in the UK.

Andrew David, Managing Editor of Siren FM and Chair of the Community Media Association, was invited to join senior government figures and radio industry leaders at the Westminster Media Forum.

In his presentation he detailed the active role community radio can play in the UK media landscape and its importance in giving a voice to marginalised groups and individuals who might otherwise not be heard.

Keynote speakers at the conference, which focussed on supporting growth in the radio sector and associated challenges, included Lord Gordon of Strathblane and Austin Mitchell MP, along with senior executives from RadioCentre, Absolute Radio, UTV Media, Digital Radio UK and others. It took place in London at the end of June.

The Government is currently preparing the Communications White Paper and the Forum is considering how the radio industry should approach questions that are being raised in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport's Communications Review, relating to regulation, public value and barriers to growth.

Andrew, who joined a panel which also featured Visiting Professor of Radio at the University of Lincoln, Trevor Dann, said he welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the debate over the future of the sector.

"Broadcasters at the hyperlocal level can be an effective voice for the voiceless," said Andrew. "Community radio should be at the heart of local communities. Zane Ibrahim, one of the founding fathers of community radio in South Africa, was a keynote speaker at our CMA conference this year. What he said will always stick with me: 'All you need is a microphone and a big heart'. That is the message I took with me to the Westminster Media Forum."

He also told the conference that community radio stations such as Siren FM provide a valuable platform for students and volunteers who want to move into professional broadcasting to gain hands-on experience that the BBC and commercial radio stations seek in prospective employees.

More on the Westminster Media Forum can be found at:
http://www.westminsterforumprojects.co.uk/forums/event.php?eid=390
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