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By Haddenham Webteam - 18th June 2017 8:00am
For several years the two-week run-up to Haddenham's 'Summerfest' Beer Festival has been heralded by a local radio station broadcasting from a portacabin in the rear of the Garden Centre. Although this 'pop-up' arrangement was rather makeshift, the broadcast programme quality was remarkably good, with former professional presenters and DJs giving up their time to offer Haddenham great music and local news and views.
For many listeners, it always seemed to be a shame that the allotted FM frequency offered nothing but a faint hiss by mid-afternoon on the Sunday after the beer festival, as the two weeks of 'Summerfest Radio' came to an end.
If you shared that disappointment, you'll be pleased to learn that some of the founders have managed to create a more permanent ultra-local radio station, not only to help promote Summerfest 2017, but to continue broadcasting long after this year's Beer Festival has come and gone.
Re-named 'Red Kite Radio', the new radio station officially launched on Sunday 18th June on 107.2fm.
Broadcasting from a newly created studio at the Haddenham Garden Centre, Red Kite Radio will reach Thame, Haddenham and the surrounding villages, including Cuddington, Towersey, Ford, Ilmer, Kingsey, Dinton, Chearsley, Long Crendon and beyond.
The Red Kite Radio team was awarded a 5 year community radio license by communications regulator Ofcom in spring 2016.
Work to convert the station's building into a high quality studio was carried out with help from Buckinghamshire charity Toolshed with grant money from the Rothschild Foundation.
A £5,000 grant from the Haddenham Beer Festivals Trust covered the cost of purchasing the essential transmission system and money from the Aylesbury Vale District Council Community Chest helped purchase much needed equipment.
Most of the support for Red Kite Radio will be voluntary, but with one paid member of staff and music royalty fees to be paid, its ongoing costs will be need to be met by commercial advertising.
"We've worked tirelessly since winning the license to get Red Kite Radio on the air," said station founder Mark Zeall. "We're proud of what we've achieved in such a short time. We've managed to secure grant funding, renovate a dilapidated building into a permanent home for the station and built a first class radio studio."
Chairman Mark Chapple said: "Volunteer presenters will provide the voices from 5.00am until 10.00pm — much of it live, but with some pre-recorded material; and then overnight there will be an automated output of music, local news and community information"
"We're delighted that Simon Guettier, a former presenter who travelled the world with the British Forces Broadcast Service (BFBS) is joining us to present mornings. Alongside Simon will be afternoon presenter Howard Bond, who lives in Thame and joins Red Kite Radio from nearby radio station Brill 1449."
"To help ensure that Red Kite Radio provides a very local connection, we will draw heavily on information supplied by the likes of Haddenham.net as well as local organisations, clubs and individual residents."
Mark Zeall said: "The beauty of Red Kite Radio is that we will be full time and will stay on the air, unlike Summerfest Radio which disappeared the day after the beer festival each year. We really hope local people like what we do and support the station."