Save Stockport’s Pure 107.8FM
- Stockport's community radio, Pure 107.8FM, is at risk of closing down
- The award winning community radio station is in need of a new financial backer
In Stockport, award winning community radio station Pure 107.8FM is facing closure unless a new financial backer can be found. Since its first broadcast in 2003, the station has become an essential part of Stockport’s community and is the only local station to concentrate exclusively on the area. Providing opportunities for disadvantaged and vulnerable individuals to learn skills and build confidence, the loss of Pure will inevitably leave a huge whole in the community and many without the support they need.
Pure Innovations is the charity behind the radio station and after being hit by severe austerity cuts they have been left with no other choice than to cut funding for the radio station. After becoming an independent charity in 2005, they have become an integral part of Stockport’s care network and support people with disabilities to fulfil their full potential. Through creative engagement, Pure offer a number of services and projects that are tailored to an individual’s needs to help them make the most of their abilities.
Unfortunately, Pure 107.8’s license will be handed back to Ofcom and the station will be permanently closed unless a suitable financial backer can be found before April and time is running out. Louise Parrott Bates, Pure Innovations' Chief Executive said: “I’m absolutely devastated to have reached this position but it is the only way to protect frontline services and concentrate on our core business to ensure we have a sustainable future for all of our clients.”
Celebrating its tenth birthday last September, the strength and popularity of this community project has continued to grow and is known to everyone in the area. But what’s made this radio station so special? Some of its ex-volunteers have gone on to work at Heart FM, BBC Radio 4 and in front of the camera as regional presenter’s. Paul Holloway was enthusiastic about the station's contribution to the community:
“The thing that makes us different to many other community radio stations is that our daytime broadcasting output is put together by a small number of professionals so it’s of a certain quality. Our team of volunteer presenters bring their passion and enthusiasm. Many of them have been with us for a long time and developed strong broadcasting skills, that’s reflected in the fact that so many of our former volunteers going on to have successful careers in the media.”
If you aren’t from Stockport, you may still recognise the name Blossoms and it was Pure Radio who gave member Tom Ogden his first radio play on the station in 2010 at the tender age of just 16. The indie band have since gone on to achieve stardom, receiving regular airtime on Radio 1 and just missing out on a Brit Award for ‘Best Newcomer’ to Rag ‘N’ Bone Man. The station has been one of the band’s biggest supporters and Blossoms are very fond of their home town. Their latest single Honey Sweet is a love letter to the town and was self-directed in Stockport.
It is hoped another organisation or company may come forward to back the station, which currently has three full time members of staff and more than fifty volunteers. Pure has become well decorated winning a host of awards for its work and last year was a double winner at the inaugural ‘National Community Radio Awards’, winning Gold for its community project ‘One Voice’, which works with people who have learning disabilities.
It’s hoped that the project will be able to continue in the form of podcasts. Volunteer rock presenter Rory Auskerry also won Gold for Best Specialist Music Presenter and it’s clear that this station is so important to the people involved and encourages creativity.
Pure isn’t just limited to music and is in its 10th year of providing full match commentary of Stockport County’s matches. Matt Woodward is a Hatter’s fan: “I’d definitely be disappointed to see the station go. Mainly because I’ve been a Stockport County fan for more than ten years and when I’m not at a game I will always tune into Pure to listen to their commentary.
“For just a local station the commentary is really good. We’re so lucky to have such a thing for us to access not just as fans but as general listeners. My mum and dad often listen to the catch up with the club’s news on weekday evenings and to other programmes.”
The station holds fond memories for him: “They’ve been providing live commentary of the games for as long as I can remember, including when I first started going with my grandad. He’d be gutted to see it shut down if he was still with us.”
The station also aims to reach all corners of the community with programmes for the elderly and the LGBT community. Their Horizon programme promotes a positive life after 50 and Dave explains that keeping their format local means that they get the opportunity to cover content that other radio stations just wouldn’t look at or consider:
“There’s a lot of content especially in our evening shows that you wouldn’t find elsewhere. The problem with local radio generally is that more and more of it is syndicated meaning it comes out of a regional or national hub. There isn’t really that much genuine local content outside of the BBC.”
Esther Morrison is an event planner and helps to compile and present a weekly slot for Pure: “I am sad and angry that a local station which does so much work with a neglected sector of our community is going to be allowed to close.
"It will hit the users especially hard and I cannot imagine that there won't be serious mental health consequences, not just in the users but their families. The people most hit by the cuts tend to be the people with the least ability to find alternatives to what they are losing.”
Matt Swallow completed his work experience with Pure Radio a few years ago: “It was arranged by my mum and I was only under the impression that it was a radio station. In reality it was much more.”
Matt went on various trips with some of the volunteers: “I recall the staff and volunteers being wonderfully warm and I was really inspired by their work ethic. The fact it had a direct and pragmatic relationship with the local community not just in the sense of their transmissions but also with a direct contact and engagement with vulnerable and disenfranchised people who lived close by really stood out to me.”
Throughout his work experience he saw compassion as well as having a great time and is disappointed that it may be forced to close: “For Pure to shut down would be yet another dig in a losing fight against the government and councils where funding is dispersed into areas which alienate people.”
Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne had this comment to make: “It’s sad that a great community radio station like Pure which has served Stockport for a decade might be forced to close. Stockport deserves a fully dedicated local radio station and I think it’s wrong that we now face losing that valuable community asset which has supported local projects and campaigns such as care leavers’ charity In-Sight and homeless charity The Wellspring Stockport.
"I sincerely hope another source of finance can be secured quickly so they can continue having a truly local community based broadcaster here in Stockport because this town deserves that.”
Louise added: “The success of Pure 107.8 FM is evident and is a valuable asset to communities and local businesses. Many of whom don’t just tune in for the music entertainment but Pure offers a vital source of information and events taking place locally.”
To lose such an important part of the community would be devastating for Stockport and it’s important to drum up as much support for this amazing station.
You can get behing Pure 107.8FM's social media campaign using the hashtag #SavePure1078.
For more information contact Louise on 07595001998.