Local radio Station Canalside Radio 102.8FM has been announced as the best community radio broadcaster for Cheshire at the Northern Enterprise Awards.
Congleton residents will know husband and wife team Sharon and Stuart Nield for their weekly local Congleton News and Views show on the station. They’d only been doing their show a few months when the pandemic and lockdown hit, so recorded their shows from their kitchen and then sent them over to the studio. For a good part of last year theirs was the only original continuing weekly show on the station apart from Nick Wright’s breakfast show.
In that time, Mr Nield has interviewed plenty of famous guests, including Dick Valentine, lead singer with Electric Six, 90s singer Kym Sims and Stephen Jones, the lead singer with Babybird.
But it isn’t just international rock stars that have become guests on the show, as local people have had their voices heard over the airwaves.
“To me, interviews are an important part of any community radio station,” Mr Nield said. “It’s what makes us different to commercial radio. It’s about local voices and opinions and debates being heard.
“If we don’t have that we might as well stop doing radio and just listen to a Spotify playlist.
“Luckily, community radio allows us to do certain things that commercial radio shies away from. Over Christmas the station broadcast a full cast, hour and a half pantomime which I wrote and was performed by Black Sheep Theatre.
“There was nothing like that on any other radio station over Christmas, not even Radio Four with the budget it has, but we managed it.
“We’ve also held our own with highbrow documentary quality content. We did a special with the British Library, real in-depth interviews with the people behind the scenes who run that amazing institute of knowledge.
“We’ve talked to editors of well-known magazines like Cheshire Life and the Darkside as well as the directors of television channels such as Talking Pictures.
“We’ve had authors, board game designers, religious leaders and councillors, all on our show alone.”
Mrs Nield added: “We can’t thank station head Nick Wright and chairman Brian Moore enough for the faith they’ve put in us. We’ve been able to present shows from early breakfast to late Sunday night. It’s been an honour and we look forward to carrying on our broadcast journey at Canalside.”
Listen to Congleton News and Views on 102.8FM, the Macc App, the Congleton App via phones as well as Alexa and all other smart speakers and the internet.