ACF Round 6 Results Published

Audio Content Fund grants for 19 more projects, marking £1.7m in one year

  • Audio Content Fund issues another £407k of grant funding for new public service content
  • 19 projects will reach an estimated 4 million listeners on more than 120 radio stations
  • Projects include documentaries, comedy, drama, arts, music, and kids radio
  • The ACF has distributed £1.7m in the last 12 months, to 90 different radio projects

The Audio Content Fund has announced the recipients of grant funding for 19 more public service radio projects, as the outcome of its latest funding round brings to £1.7m the total the ACF has distributed in the past year.

The new funded projects will broadcast across more than 120 different radio stations, and will be produced by 19 different independent production companies.  The fund, which is financed by the UK Government, has allocated £407k to the projects, and estimates the content will be heard by nearly 4million listeners.

In this funding round, the list of winning projects includes several long-form documentary series.  On the talkSPORT network, Lost Ones will examine the emotional and mental health impact of the Football Academy system in the men’s and women’s game.  The Greatest Hits Network in England will broadcast Greatest Brits – Women in Music, a four-part series fronted by Jackie Brambles, celebrating 80s and 90s British female artists in the run up to the 2021 BRIT Awards.  KISS and KISS Fresh will run a six-part doc series called Mic Check, telling the story of British MC Culture from an underground scene to its domination of the charts today.  And Jazz FM and Scala Radio will come together to broadcast Jazzical, an examination of the similarities and differences between classical music and jazz.

Factual content also features in this round in various short-form projects to be broadcast on networks of Community Radio stations.  We Can Make will follow the progress of John, a man in Bristol who has spent two years living in temporary accommodation, but is now building a house with the help of his community.  Source To Sea will join adventurers Lee and Jenny as they explore four major Scottish rivers by bike and canoe.  Fighting With Pride will tell the stories of the personnel who epitomise the ban on LGBT+ people serving in the British Armed Forces, only lifted 20 years ago.  Tape Letters will share the audio recorded on cassettes by migratory communities in the 1960s and 70s to send to their families overseas.  And, The 1920’s: A new audio history for the centenary of Northern Ireland will present a trilingual audio history for the Centenary of Northern Ireland, in Irish, Ulster Scots and English.

Further Commercial Radio projects on the list in this round include two new children’s radio ideas for broadcast on Fun Kids.  The Old Man In The Boat will use drama and comedy to explore big ideas and philosophical thinking with children, through a loveable character fishing and having conversations with the creatures and objects around him.  While, Audiomoves will encourage physical movement amongst primary-age children using storytelling, movement, dance and original music.   In another project for talkSPORT, comedy and football will come together for Everything You Didn’t Know About…, a wry exploration of the countries and cultures making up the groups of the Euro 2020 tournament.  And Absolute Radio will mark the anniversary of the first national lockdown on 23 March, as One Year Like This celebrates the heroes that have helped keep our spirits up or literally helped save our lives.

Two drama projects made the list, both to be broadcast on Community Radio.  The Waves will be a set of five short dramas from up-and-coming writers of colour, exploring how our contemporary life is shaped by our colonial past.  While Stay-home Safari will throw listeners into an unfolding drama in the savannah, as a broken-down truck leads to a series of exhilarating challenges that will make the pandemic seem very far away.  Community Radio will also be the home of two music series – the first, Blind Notes with Ravi Sagoo will be a series of one-to-one interviews with visually impaired musicians, looking at their work, their musical loves, inspirations, and the special relationship music plays in their lives.  While The Scottish Hip-Hop Show will do what it says on the tin, showcasing artists who are contributing to the vibrant hip hop scene north of the border.

Finally in this round, In Our Element will be an artist-led series exploring the Climate Crisis and asking how art can help find ways of understanding and ultimately responding to it.  While Leicester Build Back Better Stories will be a series of six magazine programmes highlighting urgent post-Covid-19 community projects that are being developed across one of the UK cities worst-hit by the global pandemic.

Sam Bailey, Managing Director of the Audio Content Fund, said:

“The unprecedented events of the past year have led to the ACF distributing nearly double our intended grant budget, thanks to additional funding given to us by DCMS.  We’re really proud to be supporting audiences with world-class public service content. This round sees the fund pass a milestone of more than 100 funded projects – 115, in fact. ACF-funded content has now been heard on more than 300 different radio stations around the UK, reaching tens of millions of listeners.”  

Kate Cocker, Panel Member of the Audio Content Fund, said:

“Every round we review, the quality gets better and better. What I particularly liked about this round was seeing radio stations creating space for some brave and well thought out ideas from the production companies. When we launched the Audio Content Fund we said we wanted stations to feel they could do something they wouldn’t normally do, and it really feels like we are seeing that more and more.”

The Old Man in the Boat
Message Heard Media, for Fun Kids
10x 10mins, from June 2021
A fictional comedy series introducing kids to philosophical thinking. With fictional characters, atmospheric audio elements and witty dialogue, this series will provide an entertaining introduction to big ideas — like freedom, intelligence and religion — to a younger audience. With an emphasis on creative performance and sound-design, the show will have a purposefully simple setting – the titular Old Man having conversations with the objects around him as he fishes from his boat, allowing for a moment of calm, reflection and entertainment for listeners, and their parents.

Lost Ones
Unedited, for talkSPORT Network
3x 1hr, from July 2021
A three-part documentary series narrated by Troy Townsend, culminating in a 2-hour live show, examining the mental and emotional impacts on the young men and women who are rejected by the industrialised football Academy system.  It’s perhaps one of sport’s most overlooked and biggest issues – rarely talked about, but widely accepted. Often starting out as young as 8 years old, both boys and girls are fed a professional dream from a young age – but, some experts estimate that only 5-10% of all Academy players will go on to sign professional contracts.

Folded Wing, for Jazz FM & Scala Radio
6x 1hr, from January 2022
A six-part music documentary series, exploring the surprising similarities between Classical and Jazz music.  One is heard in grand halls, the other in smoky basements – to many, they are worlds apart, but Jazzical will aim to show otherwise. Stravinsky wrote for big bands, Duke Ellington composed a symphony and virtuosos like Keith Jarrett have hopped between the two for decades, showing that one enriches the other. In this unique series, Scala Radio’s Jack Pepper and Jazz FM’s China Moses will explore the exciting places where genres blur by looking back, and forward, with performances from the leading musicians of today.

Everything You Didn’t Know About…
Audio Always, for talkSPORT
24x 2min, from June 2021
A series of two-minute comedy features, with each episode focused on a different country taking part in Euro 2020. talkSPORT’s coverage of Europe’s biggest football tournament will be enhanced by comedy content that will bring the UK’s international communities together like never before. Each short piece will be scripted by a group of comedy writers and delivered by a diverse and regionally varied collection of voices, as talkSPORT passes the mic to the many pockets of Europe across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Peut-Être Theatre, for Fun Kids
12x 5min, starting January 2022
A 12-part radio series encouraging physical movement amongst primary school age children, using storytelling, movement, dance and original music. In 12 standalone but interlinked episodes, children will join a main character in imaginary domestic/indoors explorations, designed to make staying indoors fun and get children moving. The content will have a particular aim to be accessible to children with Visual Impairment, Special Educational Needs, Mobility Disabilities, Autism and to Hospitalised children.

Greatest Brits – Women in Music
Want Some Media, for Greatest Hits Radio Network
4x 1hr, plus 10x 90sec, from April 2021
A series of documentaries that examine and celebrate the revolution of female empowerment in the British music industry in the 80s and 90s, which broke down the barriers of sexism and misogyny, and paved the way for the diverse musical landscape we love and enjoy today. The series is fronted by broadcaster and journalist Jackie Brambles, who speaks directly to the female artists that brought about such great change, and hears the stories first-hand from the people that lived and breathed this fascinating period in the history of our popular culture. Will conclude with a day of short form packages on 11 May, the day of the 2021 BRITS ceremony.

One Year Like This
TBI Media, for Absolute Radio
1x 2hr, on 23 March 2021
23 March 2021 marks the anniversary of the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, instructing us all to stay home and save lives. One Year Like This will celebrate our lockdown heroes – from vaccine researchers to viral entertainers. Whether they’ve helped keep our spirits up or been busy saving the world, for one night only the Absolute Radio Network will present an uplifting two-hour programme looking back on the positivity that’s pulled us through the pandemic. With a mixture of interviews, remote live performances and uplifting stories, the programme will be present a time for Absolute Radio audiences to reflect and pause as we all look back on a difficult 12 months.

The 1920’s: A new Audio history for the centenary of Northern Ireland.
The Foghorn Company, for Drive 105 FM, Fuse FM, and Radio Failte
20x 15min, from June 2021
A landmark domestic history series in the Irish, Ulster Scots and English languages, broadcast on the centenary of Northern Ireland being formed in 1921. It will focus on the social, cultural, industrial and family impact of the partition of Ireland in the daily life of both Nationalist and Unionist communities in each year of that momentous decade, and also feature the entertaining and imaginative creation of a 1920s commercial radio station in content and sound.

Mic Check
Novel, for the KISS Network
6x 30min, from Oct 2021
A six-part documentary series diving into the lineage of modern MC culture. UK rap has exploded onto the global stage – in only a couple of decades, British MCs have gone from the underground to completely dominating the UK music scene.  This series will tell the stories that shaped the current music scene, and explore where the newest generation of MCs tearing up the rulebook are going next. An in-depth look at a music scene which has taken the world by storm.

We Can Make
No Bindings Ltd, for a network of Community Radio Stations
6x 15mins, from Aug 2021
A six-part follow-doc series, about a man, building a house, with the help of his community.  For the last two years, John has been living in temporary accommodation. So, when Knowle West Media Centre asked him if he wanted to build an affordable house,  John jumped at the chance. Listeners will follow John’s year, as he meets the man whose garden he’ll be living in, applies for planning permission, and puts the final touches to his living room. He talks to the people who are helping him, and other families going through the same process, all while showing you how you can build your own affordable, sustainable dwelling.

In Our Element
Sonderbug Productions, for a network of Community Radio Stations
10x 20mins, from Sept 2021
Artists take the lead in this ten-part series, exploring the Climate Crisis and how art can help us find ways of understanding and ultimately responding to it. New Writing North’s Climate Writer in Residence, the award-winning poet Linda France speaks with artists and experts from around the world to really connect with the global Climate Crisis and its solutions. Each episode will be made up of conversation, spoken word, music and found sounds, deftly edited to be factual, beautiful and thought-provoking.

The Waves
Holy Mountain, for a network of Community Radio Stations
5x 20mins, from Oct 2021
A set of five dramas by up-and-coming writers of colour, exploring how our contemporary life is shaped by our colonial past. Each story is set in a different part of the UK, reflecting local issues of importance. While they will each stand alone as relatable and exciting stories, taken together they will offer a bold and authentic picture of how we live today as a country and as a people, with a shared but sometimes uncomfortable history. Dramatic storytelling creating impact and inspiring conversation.

Source to Sea
Tandem Productions, for a network of Community Radio Stations
24x 10mins, 4x 30mins, and 1x 60min, from July 2021
A follow-doc series, joining adventurers Lee Craigie and Jenny Graham as they explore four major Scottish rivers from source to sea, by bike and canoe.  In a series of week-long trips during the spring, summer, autumn and winter of 2021, endurance cyclists Lee and Jenny will be adventuring along the course of the Rivers Tay, Tweed, Dee and Clyde. The docs will include music especially written to reflect each river, by award-winning Gaelic singer-songwriter Julie Fowlis. Listeners will be invited to be similarly active and ‘match the miles’ Lee and Jenny travel, or simply immerse themselves in the stories and landscapes they discover.

Stay-home Safari
Smoke Trail Productions, for a network of Community Radio Stations
12x 10mins, from Sept 2021
A series of joyous and exhilarating soundscape challenges that throw listeners into an unfolding drama in the wild. Real-life recordings of some of the world’s scariest animals and environments will be edited into a fictional situation that tests younger audiences on what to do next. Your truck breaks down in the savannah. What animal makes that shriek? And when it dips its head, should you remain still or scream? On hand to help are original soundbites from a team of real-life guides, from a Hebridean whale tracker to a Tanzanian eco-hero. The pandemic will seem very far away.

The Scottish Hip Hop Show
Immaculate Reception Ltd, for a network of Community Radio Stations in Scotland
6x 30mins, from June 2021
A weekly music series, showcasing artists who are contributing to the vibrant hip hop scene in Scotland. This six-part series will introduce listeners to artists who represent the diverse people and styles of hip hop currently being made in Scotland: Mistah Bohze & NC Epik, Becca Starr, Bigg Taj & Spee Six Nine, Empress, CRPNTR and Vagrant Real Estate. Through intimate conversations about their careers and music, this series will challenge the idea that Scottish people can’t rap and explore why Scottish hip hop is marginalised despite a 40-year contribution to the world’s most popular genre.

Fighting With Pride
John Dash Media Ltd, for a network of Community Radio Stations
10x 10mins, and 1x 60mins, from June 2021
Documentary series, telling the stories of the personnel who epitomise the ban on LGBT+ people serving in the British Armed Forces. These are the stories of those arrested, interrogated, subjected to degrading medical examinations or court martial. We will hear moving narratives from service personnel and commanders, who did extraordinary things, each a story of loyalty and courage. They include a holder of the Military Cross, a dismissed airman later Lord Mayor of Manchester, and a former First Sea Lord who prevented investigations. A finale programme brings to life this difficult past, ahead of announcements about reparations later in 2021.

Blind Notes, with Ravi Sagoo
Demus Productions Ltd, for RNIB Connect Radio
6x 1hr, from July 2021
A series of one-to-one interviews with visually impaired musicians, looking at their work, their musical loves, inspirations, and the special relationship music plays in their lives. In each episode, Ravi (who suffers from the incurable eye condition keratoconus resulting in impaired vision) will chart his guest’s career journeys, reveal what has influenced their musical tastes and what drives them to perform the music they make, and how they overcome their disability to achieve their musical goals.

Tape Letters
Modus Arts CIC, for a network of Community Radio Stations
6x 15mins, from July 2021
In the 1960s and 1970s, while many of us were using our cassette recorders to tape our favourite songs from the radio, migratory communities were using this affordable means of audio recording to capture personal messages and send them overseas. The result of a nationwide search for surviving examples of so-called ‘Tape Letters’, sound artist Wajid Yaseen meets some of the remaining members of the British Pakistani community who used tapes in this way. From the political to the highly personal, Yaseen unveils a series of previously hidden tales of migration, many of which would otherwise be lost forever.

Leicester Build Back Better Stories
Decentered Media Ltd, for a network of Community Radio Stations in Leicester
A series of six, thirty-minute magazine programmes that will highlight urgent post-Covid-19 community projects that are being developed across Leicester as part of the De Montfort University Build Back Better project. The programmes will report the experiences of charities and community groups serving the residents of Leicester, demonstrating how they are overcoming the social obstacles made evident during the extended Leicester lockdown. The programmes will demonstrate how civic groups, charities, mutual aid groups and public authorities are working together to bring about improved community wellbeing, social cohesion, economic resilience and civic participation.