THE photo shows it all – well, nearly all!
This is Tempo FM, the local radio station for Wetherby broadcasting on 107.4 FM. Their very professional output is broadcast from this cupboard under the stairs at the Engine Shed.
It is from here that Tom Cullimore; News Editor of the Wetherby News gives his weekly round-up of the main points of the local news every Friday.
It was my first sight of the radio station ‘studio’ and I hadn’t really known what to expect. I’d heard the broadcasts which Tom had been making most Friday mornings at about 9.15 and thought it would be interesting to go along and see what happens during them.
There were chairs and tables outside the Engine Shed and as I sat there waiting for Tom to arrive, I wondered how different it would be to Radio Leeds, the only other radio station which I’d seen in action some forty years ago and just after it had started broadcasting. That was even before the days of computer mice and just after a real rodent had taken Radio Leeds off the air by gnawing through the cable linking it to the transmitter.
Tom arrived and so did Danielle Robinson who was to present the programme. We opened the door of the studio and let out George Watts, the presenter for the previous programme.
Handover of control to Danielle was informal – just a matter of George saying ‘over to you then’ and vacating the swivel chair at which he had been sitting so that I could squeeze onto a small bench seat at the back before Danielle occupied the chair and produced a stool for Tom from under the desk. The studio was just wide enough for Tom and Danielle to sit side by side at the desk.
The studio was silent. Music output is pre-recorded and goes out automatically.
Danielle could see what was being broadcast from the computer screens and when necessary listening through the headphones. Control, choice of music and order in which it is played is maintained by movements of a computer mouse.
After a minute or two of off the air chat, Danielle asked if Tom was ready to begin and she put on her headphones.
A moment or two later she introduced Tom and asked what the headlines were this week.
The news report had begun. It’s made much more interesting by the dialogue between the two of them. Totally unscripted, Tom would highlight some of the news items and Danielle would ask questions or comment on the different items. Within four or five minutes it was finished and the music was back on auto play, although of course we couldn’t hear it.
Before we left there was one important task to be completed. A Wetherby News photographer was waiting to take a photograph: Danielle had to rush out to the car to get an important fashion accessory – her Kitten shoes. If you don’t know what they are (I didn’t until then), they are a type of thin heeled shoe which later that same day made news themselves by being
reported as being mainly responsible for the 30 per cent increase in profits of a well-known shoe repair company. Sadly, due to shortage of space the photograph had to be taken from outside the studio and didn’t include the shoes.
Co-operation with the local radio station makes a lot of sense. Radio and newspaper are not in direct competition as the media are quite different. It would be true to say that there is a good working relationship.
The Wetherby News doesn’t do music and Tempo doesn’t do pictures.
The radio has more emphasis on entertainment and is more immediate and you can’t choose when to listen to a particular programme unless you know when it is going to be on and record it.
The newspaper usually has more detailed information and you can scan through the headlines and decide the order of reading – and return to the paper for reference or show an interesting item to a friend or relative.
Tempo FM was started as a community radio station back in 2006 when it had the support of the Wetherby News in making the application for a broadcast licence. It is still staffed by volunteers and is a surprisingly low-budget operation – probably costing not much differently to the costs of keeping a family car on the road.
Despite that, the enthusiasm and professionalism of the volunteers make it a radio station which truly serves the community and make it interesting listening. Short of time? You can multi-task by listening to it as you read the Wetherby News.