Final projects awarded Coronavirus Support funding

  • Funding round to Support Audiences During Coronavirus has now closed having allocated £398k to 28 projects across the country
  • Latest projects cover Asian stations, and a student-led music series
  • The rise in domestic violence will be discussed in new talkRADIO strand

The Audio Content Fund has today announced the final grants to be awarded in its special funding round to support audiences during Coronavirus restrictions.

The fund, which is financed by the UK Government, launched a special rolling round last month following discussions between Radiocentre, AudioUK, and DCMS.

These final three grants bring to 28 the total number of projects funded from the round, with the money allocated totalling £398,151.  The Audio Content Fund has now distributed more than £1million in the last 12 months, paying for content broadcast on hundreds of radio stations around the country.

The latest successful projects aim to reach audiences or explore topics not so far covered by the Audio Content Fund.  They include the fund’s first project on a network of Asian radio stations, with former England cricketer MONTY PANESAR IN SELF-ISOLATION WITH… a range of high-profile British Asian personalities. With Lord Rami Ranger, musician Nitin Sawhney and cricketing Strictly winner Mark Ramprakash already confirmed, the series (produced by Head On Media) will explore the impact of lockdown on Asian communities.  It will broadcast on Panjab Radio and Asian FX in London, Sunrise Radio in Yorkshire, Sabras Radio in the East Midlands and Radio XL in the West Midlands.

talkRADIO will broadcast new strand UNDISCUSSABLE, presented by Charlie Webster and produced by her through her company Old Bill Media. Expanding on her ground-breaking podcast of the same name, the strand will explore the impact of lockdown on domestic violence. Each episode will include an interview with a different survivor of abuse, and share the advice and experience of an expert to support listeners.

Finally, Birmingham City University will lead a team of radio students across the country to produce a strand of music-led programmes profiling the UK’s CITIES OF SOUND. Each of the eight, hour-long features will focus on the musical stories of major cities in the UK, and be produced by students and recent graduates, under the leadership of Dr Sam Coley. The programmes, providing vital work experience and freelance work for young and up-and-coming new radio professionals, will be broadcast on the Greatest Hits Radio Network.

Reflecting on the success of the Audio Content Fund’s Coronavirus Support round, Minister for Media and Data John Whittingdale said: 

“We have made £400,000 available through the Audio Content Fund to bring to life brilliant ideas for high-quality radio shows that reflect people’s experiences of the coronavirus pandemic.

“These final grant awards show that it has done exactly that, with diverse and engaging projects that shine a spotlight on important issues including tackling domestic violence and the Asian communities’ experiences of the virus.”

All projects will be produced safely and in-line with government guidelines.  With the coronavirus-focused round now closed, the funding panel will shortly turn their attention to the bids submitted in March and April for standard ACF funding, with the outcome expected in early July.

MONTY PANESAR IN SELF-ISOLATION WITH…  – Head On Media Ltd, for Panjab Radio, Asian FX, Sunrise Radio, Sabras Radio, and Radio XL
6x 1hr, broadcast from early June

Cricketer Monty Panesar celebrates and profiles inspirational British Asians in a series of one-hour specials. Monty will spend an hour in “isolation” with each guest, giving him plenty of time to get down to the nitty gritty of what makes them tick, how they got their big break and how they maintain their chosen careers, how they and their businesses are coping with Covid-19, and how they can inspire the Panjabi and South Asian community.

UNDISCUSSABLE – Old Bill Media Ltd, for talkRADIO
8x 30mins, broadcast from early June

Domestic abuse reports have rocketed globally since the coronavirus restrictions. Killings have doubled, and calls to helplines have increased by 50%. In UNDISCUSSABLE, Charlie Webster produces and presents stories of domestic abuse with often unheard and underrepresented voices, and leads a live follow-up discussion and expert interview. As a survivor of both child domestic and sexual abuse, Charlie has worked with victims for many years and is a trusted and known voice in this space. This is an urgent subject matter, made more urgent by the lockdown conditions.

CITIES OF SOUND – BCU Enterprises Ltd, for Greatest Hits Radio
8x1hr, broadcast from mid-June

An innovating project that will harness the talent of a struggling student community to create a series of original music-based programmes targeting an older audience of 50+. Each episode relates to a city and its surrounding area in the Greatest Hits Radio network and will be broadcast to the whole network – giving audiences the chance to share the pride of where they are from, with the entire nation. Students, graduates and staff from Universities across the UK will carry out the production process, under the leadership of Dr Sam Coley of Birmingham City University. Providing students with the chance to create ‘real world’ radio content has become increasingly difficult in the face of current restrictions, and the project will help offset a shortage of placements, while providing much needed production work for graduates whose freelance opportunities have been reduced as a result of Covid-19.