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The passionate team of volunteers who are changing the face of radio

Discover how All FM, Manchester's community radio station, empowers voices and bridges communities.

All FM, now in its 22nd year, stands as a beacon of inclusivity and empowerment, transforming lives and amplifying voices that were once relegated to the shadows.

From its humble beginnings under an RSL license in Longsight to its current status as the oldest and largest community radio station in the UK, All FM’s journey showcases the enduring power of community and the magic of radio.

Unlocking Voices, Building Bridges

ALL FM’s mantra, “By the community, for the community,” embodies the essence of what makes this station so extraordinary.

With a passionate team of over a hundred volunteers, they produce and present live radio shows that cater to the diversity of the city.

In an era where voices often go unheard, All FM champions the belief that everyone should have a voice.

They achieve this by offering comprehensive training programs to individuals, groups, and organisations.

These programs equip participants with the skills to write, present, and produce radio shows and podcasts.

Beyond the realm of radio, All FM nurtures greater confidence, improved communication abilities, and enhanced IT skills – life skills that extend far beyond the studio.

We sat down with Ed Connole, Director of All FM to discuss the great work they do.

From RSL License to Radio Revolution

All FM’s journey began 22 years ago, with an RSL (Restricted Service License) in Longsight, Manchester.

It was a time when the station’s future was far from certain, and its humble beginnings were in an upstairs room of a house destined for demolition.

Originally named “ALL,” which stood for Ardwick, Levenshulme, and Longsight, All FM’s evolution from those early days is nothing short of remarkable.

Speaking about the history of the station, Ed said: “All FM began about 22 years ago now. We’re one of the oldest community radio stations in the UK, and also one of the biggest.

“It started in the upstairs room of a house, which was due to be demolished, and then it moved from one place to another to another. And to where we are today, it really just evolved.”

The Levenshulme Old Library: A Hub of Creativity

In 2018, All FM found a new home in the historic Levenshulme Old Library.

Here, the station boasts two studios, one dedicated to training and the other for broadcast.

Ed said: “We have two studios, the Stevie Fly Studio, and the Studio Two, which will soon be named the Claire Mooney Studio.”

The library houses training rooms and meeting space, providing ample facilities to nurture the next generation of radio talent.

More Than Radio: Building Confidence and Skills

While All FM’s primary focus is on radio, its impact goes far beyond the airwaves.

The station’s training programs empower individuals, instilling in them not only professional radio production skills but also transferrable life skills.

These include improved employability prospects, enhanced communication abilities, and sharper interview skills.

He said: “The benefits in radio training aren’t just professional.

“You can develop skills, but they are also transferrable to employability, communication, and interview skills. Perhaps the greatest legacy is the improvement in confidence. After broadcasting a live show, you feel like there’s nothing you can’t do!”

He goes on to highlight the transformation he witnesses in participants: “People’s confidence is often low when they arrive, but their journey is amazing.

“Seeing them after their broadcast, the once-shy individuals emerge as confident, articulate, and empowered broadcasters, ready to share their stories and passions with the world.”

Championing the Unheard Voices

All FM’s mantra, “By the community, for the community,” embodies its core mission.

The station tirelessly advocates for the belief that everyone deserves a voice that can be heard.

They achieve this through their training programs, which welcome individuals, groups, and organizations into the world of radio.

According to Ed Conole, “The idea is to give a voice to communities and training to communities who have less access to media and whose voices are less inclined to be heard.”

He adds, “All FM empowers individuals from various communities to produce and host their own radio shows.

“We’ve got Chinese, Spanish, Farsi, Urdu, Punjabi and Polish Radio shows too.

“We want to represent the city in the best way we can, which is why we allow our broadcasters to create the content they feel will best appeal to these broad and diverse audiences.

“They become spokespersons for their communities, both locally and within Manchester as a whole.”

Recognition for Excellence

All FM’s unwavering dedication to excellence has not gone unnoticed. They have garnered recognition on various fronts, including:

  1. The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (2020): This prestigious honour recognizes the station’s invaluable contribution to the community, celebrating the tireless efforts of its volunteers.
  2. Radio Station of the Year (National Community Radio Awards): ALL FM’s outstanding content and service have earned them this esteemed accolade, solidifying their reputation as a premier community radio station.
  3. The Weston Charity Award (2021): This award celebrates ALL FM’s exceptional work in community development, showcasing their dedication to making a positive impact on society.

A Weave of Diversity in Programming

All FM’s commitment to excellence is not limited to their community engagement and recognition.

It is also reflected in their rich and diverse programming.

Their shows cater to an array of interests and demographics, ensuring there is something for everyone.

In an era where voices can be drowned out, ALL FM is empowering individuals and communities to speak up, connect, and be heard.

As they continue to nurture talent, break down barriers, and champion inclusivity, ALL FM remains an integral part of Manchester.

You can tune in to hear them at 96.9FM or via their website here

In October you’ll be able to catch them on DAB too.

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