An innovative new online radio station is giving fresh young talent the opportunity to cut their teeth in the world of radio presenting.
Cumbernauld FM is a community station broadcasting to the town and the surrounding area that was set up last year and registered as a charity in May this year.
One of the movers and shakers behind the project is 32-year-old Cheryl Marie-Healy who is currently studying HNC Television at college at New College Lanarkshire.
Cheryl who is originally from Cumbernauld, but now lives in Kilsyth, explained: “Cumbernauld FM is a new station but we have some really exciting plans for the future. We are a community based station and our aim is to give the people of Cumbernauld a voice and discuss the issues that matter to them.”
The station was set up by The Cumbernauld Media Arts and Training charity and Cheryl is one of the directors along with directors Jawudd Sattar and Tommy Marshall who also lecture in media at New College Lanarkshire - the new name for Cumbernauld College.
The radio station will also give new opportunities to youngsters keen to volunteer and get much needed experience in broadcasting.
The new station came about after Cheryl teamed up with fellow student George Stirling and their lectures Jawud Sattar and Tommy Marshall after it became apparent that there were not the hands on training opportunities for those wishing to break into the industry.
Cheryl added: “Our aim is to provide young people with the skills they need to be employed in the industry. It can be very hard breaking into this industry, so we take volunteers who are keen and enthusiastic and develop their talent, training them up to run a radio show.”
The volunteers learn from a number of other experienced radio presenters that have come on board as part of the co-operation between Cumbernauld Media Arts and Training and New College Lanarkshire.
Cheryl became involved in the new station as part of her Higher National Diploma course at college last year and says the whole thing just seemed to grow legs.
She added: “We also have Cumbernauld TV operating cameras here so we can offer youngsters the opportunity to experience real hands on journalism. This is an opportunity to learn about the industry and get support while doing it from those with experience.”
Cumbernauld FM has taken over office space in the town centre’s Clyde Walk and has a number of connections with the local neighbourhood networks who have provided up to eight volunteers who are keen to learn radio broadcasting skills that they can take away and use. The project also has close links to community forums who raise issues that are of concern to those living in the area.
Cheryl added: “It is surprising how involved radio broadcasting can be. There are many sides to what we do, but above all we see ourselves as a sounding board on North Lanarkshire.”
Volunteer Steven Murray who is studying for an NQ in radio production at New College Lanarkshire jumped at the chance when he was recently given the opportunity to try his hand at radio presenting.
After an initial two weeks training he so impressed Cheryl and the other directors that he was given an afternoon show and is now about to start presenting The Drivetime Show which runs from 4-6pm every weekday.
The 19-year-old from Cumbernauld said: “One of my lectures at college told me all about this and that they were looking for presenters, so I decided this was something I really wanted to do.
“The training has been fantastic and the people around me so supportive. I was a bit nervous at the start, but because the people around me have been so great it has made it so much easier.”
Before Steven was accepted he had to provide recordings which gave the staff some idea of what he could do.
Steven added: “I think they liked what I had done so I met up with them and it all just went on from there.
“I was doing an afternoon show, but am hopefully moving up to the drivetime slot. This will be much more of the kind of thing I really want to do with a mixture of traffic reports quiz shows, requests and a listeners choice of music from the 1980s, 90s and present day.”
And asked if this was something he would like to develop into a career, Steven said:”Definately. I would love to go on an have a career as a radio presenter. There are so many different types of presenters and volunteering at Cumbernauld FM will give me an idea of the direction I want to go in.”
Cumbernauld FM can be listened to via the website with its embedded player alongside dedicated players such as Tune In radio and through Android and Apple Apps.
Cumbernauld FM provides a platform for small local, mainstream and regional businesses to use the station as a way of advertising to its customer base in a targeted campaign. It will allow non profit and local charities organisations to reach out to volunteers and fundraiser and participants.
Another side of Cumbernauld FM is to promote local talent including local bands to take the next step to stardom.
And it will get involved with schools and local college to help them produce programmes which can be either educational or for entertainment to help promote community values.