Secklow Sounds is a volunteer-led Community Radio Station serving Milton Keynes and, in March 2015, we were granted FM status by UK Communications regulator, Ofcom. We produce a variety of informative and entertaining programmes and are committed to offering access to radio, training, and volunteering opportunities to bring about social gain in Milton Keynes. Our core values are to serve listeners from various ‘communities of interest’ namely, (a) people from Disadvantaged groups, (b) people with “Diverse interests”, (c) showcasing local emerging Music and Arts, and (d) promoting the Voluntary sector. When making their decision to grant us a 5-year FM licence, this is what Ofcom’s Broadcast Licensing Committee said, “Secklow Sounds will also broadcast to Milton Keynes, although this service will cater specifically to the interests of its identified “communities of interest”: people who are disadvantaged; people from diverse backgrounds; the local music and arts scenes, and; the voluntary sector. The BLC was satisfied that the applicant had the relevant experience to maintain its proposed service for the duration of the licence, noting that the applicant has been broadcasting a similar type of service online since 2011 (1a). The BLC also took into consideration the applicant’s links to the community; for example, its relationships with local youth groups, businesses, mental health and disability charities, and its proposed partnership with the University of Bedford. The BLC considered that these links will enable the applicant to deliver specific and identifiable social gain to Milton Keynes (1e), and to provide a service which caters to the tastes and interests of its target communities (1b).
Secklow Sounds made its first broadcast in December 2011 and it owes a great deal to Campbell Park Parish Council where the idea of a Parish radio station was born. Managing Director, Mike Johnson was Vice Chair of the Parish and was leading a social cohesion project and later proposed the use of radio as a means of uniting people. The Council supported the proposal and allowed Secklow Sounds to be established as an independent body.
2000, Mike won the Andrew Cross Award from the Churches Media Council for the best programme within the Restricted Services Stations category for his show, Favourite Hymns. In 1999, ARMK was one of only 27 stations licenced by the then Radio Authority to mark the new millennium.
Secklow Sounds is a Community Interest Company (7463071), and it has a Board of Directors (see below) who meets quarterly to set and review strategic goals in line with the Business Plan. There is also a separate Management Committee that deals with the daily operations of the station.
On average we have around 50 volunteers who have demonstrated a commitment to establish and maintain a station that is at the heart of the community and which will provide a public service function for Milton Keynes. These volunteers enjoy making and producing programmes that are informative and entertaining; a varying mix of music, competitions, talent events, chat shows and stories that are local and relevant.
Secklow Sounds' ambition is that people from all backgrounds will be producing an unrivalled variety of lively and informative programmes celebrating their cultures, music, food, and traditions in addition to our coverage on health, business, faith, sports, and the arts. As a community station it will foster the participation of citizens, defend their interests and reflect their views; it will truly inform; it will help resolve the problems of daily life; it will allow all ideas to be debated in its programmes and ensure all opinions are respected; it will allow cultural diversity to be stimulated and celebrated; it will ensure everyone's word is valued, without discrimination. As part of the station’s public service remit, local authorities and other statutory bodies within Milton Keynes will have a platform to engage the public in a unique way.
The current Board of Directors consists of: Mike Johnson (Managing Director), Jim Cleland (Sales Director) John MacDonald (Finance Director) Mike Barry (Training & Development), Neil Philp (Strategic Director), Mick Bannister (Technical Director).