Congratulations to Cross Rhythms Radio http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/ for a five-year extension to their licence to broadcast in Stoke. The team there have been pioneers of community radio and have found a way of playing unfamiliar Christian music to a general audience and have gained listeners. Perceived wisdom is that people like to listen to what they recognise and turn off stations that have unfamiliar music, but Cross Rhythms have shown that Christian music can be attractive when it’s presented in a friendly and lively way and backed up by local information and news.
Cross Rhythms started in 1983 with a half-hour radio programme http://www.crossrhythms.co.uk/vision/history/radio/ and in 2002 became Britain’s first Community Radio station. It’s good to remember that Christians in Britain have been pioneers in contemporary media for a long time. William Tyndale’s English New Testament was a pioneering work, the first to take advantage of the new technology of the printing press.
Back in 1983, the same year that Cross Rhythms began its first programmes, Britain’s first ever “special event radio licence” was granted to Greenbelt Festival Radio, a short-term radio station at the Greenbelt arts festival. The station was pioneered and led by Peter Laverock. This was the precursor of the Restricted Service Licence stations we now have, and the first ever legal radio station run by enthusiasts rather than professionals.
From noon on Friday 26th August to noon on Tuesday 30th August a dedicated team presented programmes on 963 AM including Christian music, speakers and poets. There was news from the festival and requests from listeners across the site. The studio was a small caravan in the backstage area, with a minimum amount of technical equipment. Guests included a brief interview with Cliff Richard after his mainstage concert, and an early morning appearance from Garth Hewitt who had to be dragged from his nearby caravan.
For the record, the first sound ever heard on Britain’s first ever short-term radio station was the sound of a flushing toilet. Flushing toilets, it seemed, were the most exciting innovation being introduced to Greenbelt in 1983. But that radio station with the flushing toilets was the beginning of a radio revolution, pioneered by Christians.