Croydon’s first official community radio station goes live on FM

Croydon FM went live at the weekend, as Croydon’s first official FM community radio station.

The station was officially granted its FM broadcast licence by Ofcom last year, but covid-19 and repeated lockdowns had slowed progress to the official launch. Until now…

Croydon FM was founded by Clive Campbell and was launched in June 2018 as an online station, featuring a small team of presenters and schedule of live programming.

Based in St George’s Walk, the Croydon FM team now has more than 40 members. One of its original line-up, and resident graphic designer, Leon Michael, said, “Croydon FM is a great asset to the community and a positive representation of what can be achieved when we work together. It’s a pleasure for me to be able to assist with the station’s development.

“It’s amazing to think what we have achieved in a relatively short time, but be sure there is definitely much more to come.”

The station has not been without its setbacks, like the six applications to Croydon Council for grant aid, including for funding to help with a special education programme for local youngsters. Every grant application was turned down.

Or the time that the council’s then cultural director, Paula Murray, summoned Campbell into her office in Fisher’s Folly to demand that he remove a tweet that she deemed to be critical of Croydon Council. The implication was clear: toe the line, or kiss goodbye to any hope of help from the council.

At the core of Croydon FM’s operation is a community of local people and the CFM Youth Project, which sets out to provide opportunities for young people aged between 14 and 17 to learn skills in radio broadcasting and production.

Live on air: just some of the Croydon FM ‘crew’

The station has already been nominated for and won awards, including a Business in the Community prize and,  last year, a Mayor of Croydon enterprise award. Clearly, the Mayor didn’t get Ms Murray’s memo…

The work towards becoming an FM broadcaster began in March 2019, when the station applied to Ofcom for its licence. The timing could not have been more important. When Ofcom announced its latest round of FM licences in May 2020, including Croydon FM, it said that these would be the “last round of community radio licensing on FM or AM for the foreseeable future”.

Ofcom’s statement on awarding the licence said, “Croydon FM will serve the culturally and ethnically diverse community of Croydon and surrounding areas. It will provide a platform for local music talent as well as taking part in community outreach.”

Driving force: Clive Campbell

According to a statement from the station, “Since Croydon FM was awarded its FM licence back in May 2020, the team has been working non-stop to ensure the relaunch of Croydon FM as an official FM licensed station is nothing short of perfect.

“Despite battling what was an incredibly tough year for all in 2020, CFM still managed to ensure the community was kept educated, informed and entertained throughout, with the team even managing to run a series of remote live shows during the lockdowns.

“It’s safe to say the team at Croydon FM didn’t let coronavirus restrictions stop them when it came to ensuring Croydon FM continued to blossom and grow in preparation of the all-important FM go-live date.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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