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Academy FM: Folkestone’s own radio station gets ready to launch

February 27, 2011 10:13 AM

105.9 Academy FM, Folkestone's new community radio station, has announced that it will go on air at 12 noon on Thursday 31 March 2011. Broadcasting from the Folkestone Academy, the station will serve the communities of Folkestone, offering a comprehensive variety of programmes 24 hours a day, and will be commercial free.

Folkestone's new radio station has been set up as an independent charity, and is funded entirely by charitable contributions. One of its primary aims is educational: 105.9 Academy FM will encourage young people to get involved, whether they are students at the Folkestone Academy or at one of the other places of learning in the town. It is hoped that the station will also become a focal point for community groups and local charities to help them promote their work and gather support.

105.9 Academy FM Station Manager David Sharp said: "We plan to broadcast an entertaining mix of music and speech. Programming will be varied, and local people will present shows and play music that is not often heard on other local radio stations. We intend to feature music made in Kent every hour of every day to ensure that our talented local artists can be heard. Speech content will aim to be both entertaining and informative, on topics ranging from sport to local politics, history and heritage to health.

David will be supported by one other permanent member of staff, Deputy Station Manager Sam Impey. They are recruiting a team of volunteers and students to work on various aspects of the radio station's operation. David said: "Volunteers of any age are welcome, and training will be provided in a variety of broadcasting skills, including presentation, production, business management and promotional activity. Radio production is an excellent tool for teaching self-confidence, communication and organisational skills, and creates opportunities for both young and old to work together, helping to create social cohesion across different age groups."

105.9 Academy FM will seek to raise awareness of the attractions of Folkestone and its surrounding countryside, and provide a boost for community events and tourism. By supporting the community across the board, it is envisaged that 105.9 Academy FM will make a major contribution in supporting Folkestone's regeneration and future growth.

105.9 Academy FM's transmission area will include the town of Folkestone, and surrounding areas.

Station Manager David Sharp has worked in radio since the late 1980s. As a teenager he helped to set up and run several temporary local radio stations, and joined BBC Radio aged 18. He worked in a variety of technical, production, and training roles, including producing features for BBC Radio 4 and Radio 5Live. He then joined the management team of "Somethin' Else", the UKs largest radio production company, and worked on programming for BBC Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Live, and commercial radio. In 2004 David moved into radio education, and has taught radio production at Canterbury Christ Church University, and the University of Westminster. Dave lives in Shepway, and has many connections and family members in the area.

Deputy Station Manager Sam Impey who lives in Folkestone, has worked on a variety of music and speech radio productions. She started out on Work Experience at 210FM (Reading) at age 12, and went on to present shows on Mix107 (High Wycombe) and Kick FM (Newbury) whilst studying for a degree in Radio Production at the University of Westminster. Sam joins 105.9 Academy FM from national radio station TalkSport, where she was an Assistant Producer.

105.9 Academy FM is supported by The Folkestone Academy, The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust, Awards For All (Big Lottery Fund), Kent County Council and Shepway District Council.