“No one reads” – this is the stark advice I was presented with on a photography marketing course last year.
I love words. I had at this point already spent hours pouring over photography words; writing and re-writing pieces for the first website, the leaflets, the social media outputs.
So, furious with this advice, I ignored it… to be asked questions time and time again of things that were on the sites CLEARLY I thought. That American marketing whizz wasn’t just fixin’ to upset me. No one reads.
They will listen though. Particularly if it’s engaging, if it means something to them and if it connects with them. That’s who Ignition Radio are. People who have pledged to connect their community.
I met Marcus Summerfield, Station Manager at Ignition, this week and he described to me how he is doing (and is planning to do a whole lot more of) that- engaging with people, reaching out to people and connecting them to local services. Alongside his colleague Tony Beards.
Ignition currently broadcasts from North Tees Hospital, in a windowless and warm basement with donated and aged equipment. It sounds grim doesn’t it but it wasn’t and that was down to Marcus. We loved Marcus, he’s bloody brilliant. What he does has an impact and he makes that impact as he wholeheartedly embodies his stations goals.
One of their principal aims is to seek to engage through the airwaves with those vulnerable and excluded in their local community of Hardwick. Those who may be suffering great loneliness, isolation and exclusion. They let those local folk know, with a friendly and trusted voice, that they are not alone and share with them the smaller local events that are going on in their areas that otherwise may slip under the radar.
The opportunity to Ignition however is not just to get locals participate through active listening; while we were visiting the station Marcus introduced us to Gordon. Blind and without 80% hearing, Gordon was working on some technical issues at the station in preparation for a live broadcast by another volunteer within the next few hours.
Using incredible equipment sourced by Ignition for Gordon, the opportunity to participate has made a marked difference to his life. He has gained confidence and self-belief as he’s overcome barriers and hurdles. Marcus would love it to be used more often and would greatly appreciate anyone who can help them spread the word about what they can do. Ignition offers an opportunity to those with vision and hearing impairments they may have never considered.
Ryan, another volunteer who attends the station once a week with his Steps worker told us his time at Ignition was the best part of his week. He’s not alone in that sentiment, the wall behind me was covered in cards and letters from young people who had been on work experience or have visited and genuinely adored it. They describe in exciting and dynamic language their time, how it has inspired them and helped them make plans for their futures.
The warmth of that genuine inclusiveness and community runs through everything that Ignition plans for now and the future. They already celebrate all that is great about who we are in Stockton; the vivid colours, interests and excitement of our cultural and religious diversity. Marcus is passionate about knowledge and breaking down barriers with that, creating programmes we can all share in. Celebrating all different faith groups and our varied cultural communities.
To continue to achieve their aims they need to expand and they are well on their way to doing that. They plan within the next two months to be broadcasting from new premises central to Stockton town out over our whole community and online – to follow their progress and join them you can find a link to their facebook by clicking here and their twitter by clicking here or you can go along to their website by clicking here.
Marcus’ enthusiasm runs clear through their ethos. Igniton radio is a station absolutely for the community, they are then actively asking for all community members to come to them to share ideas. They’d love to to know what is going on so they can tell others and reach that message out to those who may not be reading or seeing what’s happening locally.
They also want you involved; singers, bands, DJs, actors and poets. Or if you have something you want to hear, an idea for a programme you feel is missing in the local offerings or something you’d like to hear more of? Call them on 01642 624 337.
Devoted and enthusiastic broadcasters creating space for wholeness- Ignition Radio- that’s Real Stockton.