We Need Your Help to #BringBackUjima @UjimaRadio

Save Our Station

As regular readers will know, for the past year or so I have done a lot of volunteering at Ujima, a community radio station in Bristol. Currently we are off the air. A statement by the Directors is on our website, but the short version is as follows.

While we have been paying our rent regularly, our landlords, Ceed Ltd., have not being paying their bills, as a result of which the electricity supply to the building containing our studios has been cut off.

Obviously Ceed are primarily at fault here, but a crucial detail is that the building is owned by Bristol City Council. They therefore have the power to sort this out. Community radio is a vital service. Just on the Women’s Outlook show, which I co-host, we have done a huge amount of work on a variety of issues including promoting literacy, campaigning against FGM, LGBT issues, women’s health, local arts charities and so on.

Moving a radio studio is not easy. The equipment is delicate and you can’t put it in any old room and expect quality broadcasts. So we can’t just up sticks and find another home in a hurry. The only way we will get back on air quickly is if the City Council takes action to restore the electricity service.

The Directors of Ujima Radio have called for a public show of support outside of our building in Wilder Street, Bristol at 10:00am tomorrow (Facebook event here). However, most of you won’t be able to be there, so I’m asking you to take action in another way.

What I would like you to do is contact Bristol’s Mayor, George Ferguson, and let him know that Ujima is a vital part of the city’s culture that is spreading Bristol’s good reputation around the world. If you have listened to my show from outside Bristol, tell him so. If you have been on my show, tell him so. Please be polite. It is not his fault that we are off air. He just needs to know what Bristol will lose if we can’t broadcast. Ask for his help to get us back on air.

You can contact George on Twitter via @GeorgeFergusonx, or write to him via his website. You can also leave comments on the City Council’s Facebook page. If you are using Twitter, please use the hashtag #BringBackUjima and add our handle, @Ujimaradio so that we know you are supporting us.

Anything you can do will be much appreciated. A radio station will die if it can’t broadcast. I do not want to see Bristol lose this vital community resource.

For my own part, over the past year I have done interviews with the following people that you may know:

  • Karen Lord
  • Nalo Hopkinson
  • Stephanie Saulter
  • Tade Thompson
  • Bill Campbell
  • Tobias Buckell
  • Rochita Loenen-Ruiz
  • Gareth L. Powell
  • Emma Newman
  • Amelia Beamer
  • Sarah Hilary
  • Joanne Hall
  • Roz Clarke
  • Eugene Byrne
  • Rebecca Lloyd
  • Bea Hitchman
  • Jack Wolfe
  • CN Lester
  • Jonathan L. Howard
  • Tim Maughan
  • Nene Ormes
  • Lucienne Boyce

And probably a whole bunch that I have forgotten (apologies all). I also did this amazing interview with the mother of a trans child. There’s no way I would have been able to do that on anything other than community radio.

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7 Responses to We Need Your Help to #BringBackUjima @UjimaRadio

  1. That’s shocking news, Cheryl. I’m in London so can’t be at the demonstration tomorrow, but have duly tweeted and the mayor’s already replied that he’s looking into it – so fingers crossed for the right outcome! Ujima’s a great community resource, it would be a great loss to Bristol – and I’ve so appreciated my time on your show.

    Anyone else reading this – don’t think the problem’s solved just because politicians are getting back to people. Pressure works, numbers work.

  2. Colum Paget says:

    Sorry to have killed the other thread btw, wasn’t my intention.

    How much is the bill? Could you start a kickstarter to get it paid off or something like that?


    • Cheryl says:

      The problem is that we are not the legal bill payer. We have no relationship with the utility company. And we only occupy a small part of the building.

  3. Good luck with your radio station; it sounds interesting, and far too many are just dull.

  4. Las Latty says:

    Community radio, is radio for now and the future. When all the commercial stations have packed up their bags and ridden off into the sunset, community radio will still be here–because we do it for the love of it!! Stay strong, here’s hoping Bristol Council will see the light and step up to the plate!!

  5. GaryOmaha says:

    I can’t do much wayyy over here in Omaha, Nebraska, USA, but I have a lot of radio background and thus commiserate with your situation. (I’ve worked at places that rented space from landlords who didn’t fulfill all their obligations, but never has the power been turned off.) I’m curious just why it would be so difficult to pick up and move? Stations over here move to the oddest — and seeming un-radio-like — locations. It’s not like the old days with records and tape and carts and so much stuff since everything is on computer now. (Too bad from a nostalgic perspective.) Anyway, good luck!

    • Cheryl says:

      Oh, we could move, I was just pointing out that it is not the same as relocating an office. We want to be back on air in days, not weeks.

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