Two friends who started a community radio station in Alexandria because of the lockdown admitted they still couldn’t believe she now had her own studio.
River Radio was launched as Leven Lockdown Radio last spring by crazy radio friends Alan Caldwell and Paul Lucas after spotting a gap in the community radio market in Dumbarton and the Vale.
During this period it has grown steadily, now boasting over 25 presenters and an eclectic lineup of shows ranging from rock and roll to Celtic folk music.
Earlier this month, the station – which is run entirely by volunteers – took a new step by moving into studios at Dumbarton’s iconic Strahleven House.
Co-founder Alan Caldwell told The Lennox that he is immensely proud of the station – and the way it helps anyone interested get on the airwaves.
He said: “We are really, really proud of the whole team. I still find myself pinching myself when I’m in the car and can listen to the station. It sounds really good.
“I think only a very small percentage of those involved used radio before. They are all newcomers, people who have never done something like this before.
“You see them start and get better every week. It makes you immensely proud.
“I still can’t believe we are where we are.
“We always bring new people to the radio station and see them getting better every week.
“That’s good. It’s something a community station should try to do. It’s fair to say that we took the model of a normal radio station and put it on its head. adopted a completely new approach.
“We don’t want our presenters to be experienced, we want them from the community.
“We want to let people try something new and develop their skills. “
Alan now hopes that getting more involved in the community can help the station diversify further.
He continued: “We offer training, we want to be open to the public and go out into the community with our roadshows. The community is an integral part of this resort.
“We have plans to come out even more. The studio has certainly helped raise our profile. We see it in our listeners numbers.
“We have roadshows at Christmas. We are doing Helensburgh and hope to do the Vale and Dumbarton as well.
“We want to go into the community and involve them as much as possible with us. We are going to organize open houses in community centers and invite people to tell us what they want from their station.
“It will shape our schedule. “
Director Phil Briscoe, meanwhile, admits he was blown away by the local response.
He said: “The feedback has been very positive. Our social media accounts have grown considerably. I think one of our posts hit 100,000.
“The interactions have been great.
“It’s always nice to get messages from people saying they listen to it and appreciate it.
“We received one from Australia a few months ago. It’s incredible.”
And Alan revealed that the studio’s doors are always open for new volunteers – even those who prefer to stay off the air.
He added, “We are also planning to connect the phone line so people can call and be on air.
“We want to talk about other topics. We’re planning to have a little talk show covering local topics that people want to talk about.
“He will always be dominated by music. But if we could get more live presenters to do live shows and talk about local issues, that would be great for us.
“We desperately need a few people just to handle our live music too. Set introductory points, listen to swear words.
“We need people to update the website so that we have rotating content. We want to try to get people to do that.
“We have so many jobs available for local volunteers.
“There are opportunities for people to just sit down and listen to songs and then mark them as clean in the database.
“It can be great for the CVs of young people who want a career in radio. “
To find out more about the involvement or to connect, visit Riverradio.uk