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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, November 28, 2005
    Alt FM 87.7
    There's a glass studio installed in Asda at the end of the road. And all day today some familiar faces around the community have been in there, broadcasting on Alt FM, an experiment in community radio that's on for a fortnight from now.

    Good to hear - young voices (Year Sixers interviewing the bloke who runs the Rare Breeds Centre at Croxteth Hall Farm, teens hosting late-night chat-and-chart shows). Good to hear - Robbie the Bobby, everyone's favourite community policeman, who makes a real impression on the hundreds of schoolchildren he visits in the area through the year, hosting his own show. Good to hear - people I know who do a lot in the area, councillors, community workers, health professionals, having a lot of time to talk through their stuff, in some depth, on air.

    Because it's run predominantly by the police, housing and health services the agenda of Alt FM tends towards the daily concerns of those agencies. Because it's run predominantly by amateurs it has been an act of will to keep tuned in at some points through the day. But it's great that it's happening because the voices of the people of our area don't often get heard, especially our young people. And Alt FM may help break some stereotypes. Like tonight, two teenagers soon running out of steam talking to a script about what's happening on a celebrity TV show, but later readily coming out with some quietly profound stuff about more pressing real-life matters:

    "What's the worst thing for you about Christmas?"
    "It's the people who don't really get a Christmas, you know, the ones who can't really afford it and miss out."
    "And the ones living on the street..."