The Community Radio Toolkit

community toolkitUNESCO is excited to share this Community Radio Toolkit – a website that advises community radio people how to set up a radio station, keep it thriving and make the biggest impact it can on its community. In the words of its creators, it is “an attempt to make life easier for people setting up and running community radio stations by publishing and discussing the things that we have in common – making life easier to allow you to spend more time on the things that make you unique”.

The website is an adaptation of the Community Radio Toolkit book – covering subjects like station management, money, volunteers and on-air matters – along with other resources produced more recently such as the Training and Social Media sections.

The Community Radio Toolkit is the creation of the Manchester, UK-based charity Radio Regen, who were at the forefront of developing community radio in the UK as it took off as a licensed sector in the late 1990s. About the Toolkit and its development, Radio Regen say:

“The Toolkit largely draws on the experience of the UK community radio sector, but we have been pleasantly surprised at how many non-UK users we now have – the basics of successful community radio seem to be truly international.

“We started three full time urban neighbourhood stations (ALL FM, North Manchester FM and Wythenshawe FM) and handed them over to the ownership of their local communities – in the process training hundreds of community radio presenters. We learnt a lot during those years – both from our successes and our failures. We also realised that what we were doing would be valuable experience for the people who would follow us and we were lucky enough to get some UK government support to write up our experience as a book. In it we combined our stories with the experience of other UK community radio stations like BCB Radio in Bradford, Takeover Radio in Leicester, and Desi Radio, serving the UK’s Panjabi community.

“We do try to be objective but we have two clear areas of bias –

  1. Making radio programmes is the easy bit – running a long-lasting social enterprise is harder.
  2. To quote our mentor, the late Zane Ibrahim of Cape Town’s Bush Radio – ‘Community radio is 10% radio, 90% community.’ In other words we are in this sector to make sure that it has the best impact on its communities – that it trains people in useful skills, that it gives a voice to people that don’t have one, links people to other people that can help them with the problems in their lives and helps celebrate the talent and hopes of their communities too. 

According to Phil Korbel, Director of Radio Regen, "the global community radio sector is nothing short of extraordinary – doing amazing things in places that really deserve amazing things to happen. If we can help the sector do that with the Toolkit we feel that’s a good job well done.”

Got questions or ideas? Click here to talk with the producers of the Community Radio Toolkit.