Lewes community radio station Rocket FM has successfully completed its 19 day long bonfire broadcast for 2015, vowing to return next year.
The station, now in its fifteenth year, produced over 300 hours of live programming from its base at St Mary’s Social Centre in Lewes. It broadcast shows from 50 presenters in FM stereo to Lewes and surrounding villages, as well as streaming live programming around the world via its website.
Rocket FM chairman Roger Stamp said: “After last year’s hiatus, Rocket FM has certainly come back with a bang! We are so grateful for the warm welcome and positive comments we have received. We have had a record number of participants, with some talented young presenters making their debuts, local musicians performing and the most important local issues debated.”
Over 200 guests were interviewed on Rocket FM this season, representing a diverse range of local artists and writers as well as community groups, societies and local businesses. A number of choirs, bands and musicians performed live, both in the studio at an outside broadcast from the Union Music Store. The station also hosted a visit from four members of Fuse FM, a community radio station in Northern Ireland.
On the breakfast show, both former and present Lewes MPs Norman Baker and Maria Caulfield were interviewed live by Dino Bishop and Ruth O’Keeffe, who put listeners’ questions to them. The interviews can be heard again at our listen again page.
On the Fifth, Rocket FM broadcast a live commentary of the Lewes bonfire celebrations from a pop-up studio overlooking the War Memorial, with volunteers reporting live from the societies’ fire sites. The coverage enabled ex-pat Lewesians, and those in Lewes with mobility issues, to feel part of the event, reaching around 1,000 online listeners in 43 different countries.
During the final week of the broadcast, the death occurred of BBC Radio 4 announcer and Rocket FM stalwart Peter Donaldson. His recorded voice always heralds the hourly news on Rocket FM and he was a great supporter of the station.
The community radio station has vowed to return next year, given the same level of support from local businesses and sponsors, who this year included Harveys and Lewes Town Council. It is seeking feedback from listeners, who are invited to take a short listener survey.