New St Bees Radio Creates A Buzz Amid COVID-19 Lockdown

It looks like radio might kill the video star this time as St Bees Community Radio Station has launched to fight off the boredom that came with isolation.

With so many production companies on hold for filming while the UK takes to isolation to fight off COVID-19, it would seem radio stations and podcasts have taken their place to give entertainment and information to the masses.

Behind the new venture is a creative team made up of Charles Bagshaw, Demi McDowell, Nathan Steele, Chris Lockie, Dave Morgan and Lee Shackley – the team that put on the Bees Bash last year when the St Bees fete got cancelled.

Explaining why he set up the station Charles said it was a way for people in the community to stay connected.

“Mainly [we set it up] in this crazy time so that the community had a way of staying in contact, those totally isolated do not feel alone, to share important service announcements about volunteer networks, home deliveries etc, for the community to share their talents and finally to give folk something to do during lockdown.”

The station currently has around 1,500 listeners since launching a week ago and around 20 people volunteering content or advice.

“I manage it day to day, for the moment,” Charles explained, “The idea is it becomes a self running entity with many contributors – it’s for the community to be run by the community so it has what they want. With hope it will continue long after lockdown.

“Now we are up and running different people are leading different elements of the radio. We now have many involved wanting to help here and there and looking for more all the time.”

Streaming 24/7, the station runs on an auto DJ playing a variety of music and listeners can get involved by making a request online. Other content revolves around community programming of special hours of either themed music or pre-recorded content.

The special hours vary from an audiobook hour, a literary hour, a Jazz hour, a rock & roll hour and even a kids hour – so there is something for everyone.

Charles said he hopes eventually the station will do a series of live sessions at different times and this will also feature a selection of local musicians and DJs.

Mental health is on the forefront of people’s minds since being shut indoors during this pandemic so reaching out to the community is the main feature of The St Bees Community Radio Station.

Charles said he hopes to bring the community together while keeping people ‘sane during lockdown’.

“We hope to keep everyone informed, entertained and bring the community together whilst we are being forced to be separated. So far we have all connected to new people we didn’t know which is a positive. We are all learning new skills which is also good – whether that be radio programming, contributors are learning how to record and share information.”

In a bid to help those interested in learning more about radio and broadcast production, he said: “I have put out a request for support from people who want to bolster or learn radio programming, website development etc. If after all this people have added experience to their CVs or learnt a new skill or career ambition then some positive came from the experience.”

There is also the hope that musicians and artists currently unable to perform can have their hard work heard and reach a wider audience.

Listen to St Bees Community radio here: you can also find it on Instagram and Facebook.


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