Exeter’s Phonic FM – Alternative Community Radio

Phonic FM describe themselves as “Exeter’s Sound Alternative”. They’re about getting as far away from a commercial radio sound as possible.

They’re fairly new at it too, starting full-time broadcasting in 2008, after originally supporting Exeter’s Vibraphonic Festival with short term licenses.

Phonic FM Chairman

David Traherne, Phonic FM Chairman, with permission.

With over 160 volunteers, Phonic Chairman David Treharne told CommunityRaedio what made them tick… 

  • Your sound is certainly not mainstream—Who are your listeners?

Our promise of performance is based around support of local artists and arts events. It’s one of only three licenses in the Country that has this stipulation. Luckily we have the facilities to record artists, and can broadcast them live.”

  • Support and funding is a huge problem for many community stations. How do you stay afloat?

There are ‘special event’s all the time—that’s how the station supports itself. In the current climate it’s difficult to think that there are many CR stations that feel confident about the station’s finances. Ours is a very hand-to-mouth existence – but lots of fun!

  • So what are your major concerns?

Being an all-volunteer organisation has its’ own dynamics, tensions and stupidities!

Phonic FM Live sessions – Image with permission.

Mostly the station’s equipment! Our original promise of performance was 6 hours a day and 13 hours a day at weekends. We’re now ‘live’ for 16 to 18 hours a day— there’s very little down time.

There is a lot of wear and tear, not intentionally, but because it’s used in so many different ways by so many different presenters.

  • What has been the best part of volunteering for you?

We’ve had some gratifying support from all sorts of unexpected sources and a surprising willingness by artists, actors, singers and songwriters to crowd into the broadcast studio, in some cases that would make their record companies blanche!

It is, and we hope it will be in the future, hugely enjoyable and gratifying.

Have a listen to an example of some of the station’s work below, and visit their website to hear more.

And make sure you follow us on twitter!


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