For most organisations celebrating ten years of service is always a milestone to look forward to. With that in mind the voluntary team behind ToneFM have spent the whole of February celebrating a decade in the County Town of Taunton ahead of their official Birthday on Tuesday the 28th.
However, there was one more surprise in the mix of the celebration that no one saw coming. Namely an award from OFCOM (The Office Of Communications) of a sixteen thousand pound grant. Announced just four days before the station officially celebrated its first decade, the grant is going to allow ToneFM to progress to its next stage of development.
Granted as part of The Community Radio Fund, the award will now allow ToneFM to achieve a long term goal of partially funding its very first full time employee, who will now look after Business Development and Engagement for the growing organisation.
Managed by The Tone Community Media Group CIC, ToneFM is consistently seeing growth month on month, with audience figures rising by around ⅓ every month via digital channels, alongside a steady growth with traditional FM Listeners, but as the growth continues it was vital to ensure there was a dedicated member of team to solely focus on this as Director Patch Jobson highlights.
“ToneFM has been on a unique path of growth, and redevelopment over the last 16 months, and now as the station continues to flourish, we felt it was incredibly important to have a dedicated member of the team to really drive ToneFM into the next stage of development, especially as in 2024 we will be launching a new digital radio service for the whole of Taunton Deane. This will now allow further engagement with our community, and to improve our service even further.”
Whilst this will allow the first employee to be put in place at ToneFM, the core team, which is now heading towards forty dedicated volunteers will continue to ensure the station’s output stays as local as possible as Programming Manager Jeff Strawbridge highlights.
“The whole emphasis behind what we do at ToneFM is to provide a voice for our local community. Whether this be through music, new podcasts which will be coming later this year, local news or finding out more about local events, or community efforts through regular interviews. The grant is now going to free up some of our volunteer resources to continue to expand on what we already do, which is incredibly exciting.
As ToneFM continues to grow new volunteers are also always welcomed, and can find out more by emailing [email protected].
ToneFM can currently be listened to on 107.8FM, online at tonefm.co.uk, on a dedicated app which can be downloaded from either the Apple or Google online application stores, via streaming services such as TuneIn and RadioPlayer, or by activating the dedicated ToneFM Alexa Skill.