ALGARKIRK is a village without a pub, shop, bus service or most of the amenities that communities enjoy. But it does have something which very few others can boast – its own village radio station.
Algarkirk Radio broadcasts to the village, and the rest of the world, from the living room of Andy Watt’s home in Lee Avenue.
It goes out, live, over the internet, from noon to 11pm every Saturday and Sunday, with specials on bank holidays, playing wall-to-wall non-stop music from a number of requested genres. Listeners can join in conversation via Skype with DJ Andy, make requests, send out information and messages and generally join in the fun.
Andy, with help from wife Mandy, also produces the village newsletter and the internet radio station forms a multi-media platform for information about all that’s happening in the village which, despite its lack of amenities, has an active social scene.
Anyone with a computer can listen to Algarkirk Radio by going to www.algarkirk-radio.org where they can also access the newsletter. And how clever is this? Go to http://trackdown.caster.fm and you can even listen to the station on your mobile phone.
Andy has always had an interest in technology and has built his own PC for internet broadcast purposes, with masses of data storage for his personal collection of 80,000 music tracks.
He said: “We do it because we are part of this community and it’s fun. I’ve tried to respond with the type of music people have told me they like to hear, broken up with a few jingles I have had made. Country music and sounds of the 80s are very popular in Algarkirk. I have also been getting some younger listeners recently, so I am trying to provide the music they like to hear, too.
“It started with the village newsletter, but that only comes out every two months and we realised we needed to fill in with updates, so we developed the radio station.”
Elderly people in the village who have difficulty getting out are regular listeners but Andy also has fans in America, Australia and Germany. Using all technology at his disposal, listeners in other parts of the world have tuned in after hearing about it via Andy’s Facebook postings.
He said: “Because we are a .org address listeners abroad have no idea where Algarkirk is – in America they thought we were in the USA.”
The current schedule includes latest chart hits, country music hall of fame, line dance, golden oldies (60s, 70s, 80s and 90s), rock ‘n’ roll years, jukebox hits, soft rock, 80s chart hits and garage music.
The service is non-profit making and the parish council funds the £3 a month costs of the server the system uses.
Andy has plans for extending the service, with more news, views and even adverts from local businesses… and Mandy says she is already a radio widow!