Tune in to your community

David Gardiner invites people to give Mill Radio a listen

The Mill E17

The Mill in Walthamstow, home to Mill Radio

Based at The Mill community centre in Coppermill Lane is a group that goes by the name of Mill Radio, producing a monthly local interest podcast.

Roughly 75 minutes long, the programme can be heard or downloaded at any time by going to millradio.com. Why 75 minutes? Because 80 minutes is the maximum you can get on to a standard audio CD, and the programmes are also distributed on free CDs available from the reception desk at The Mill.

Each programme is recorded at a very informal drop-in session at The Mill on the second Wednesday of every month between 2pm and 5pm. The group sets up a ‘studio’ consisting of two microphones on stands and a laptop capable of making good stereo recordings, and whoever wishes can join them and chat about whatever happens to be on their mind.

Visitors are also asked to choose a favourite piece of music to be included in the programme, and are encouraged to read a favourite poem or contribute original material, such as their own poetry or stories, or perform a short musical piece if they are singers or play an instrument.

Local issues that have received a good airing on the programmes include the Mini-Holland project and the ongoing large-scale building programme around the borough, as well as local festivals and events; not leaving out the bigger issues such as ‘Brexit’ and the plight of refugees and the homeless.

Sometimes visitors merely like to talk about their lives, remember old times, or air a particular personal concern. There are no rules about what can or can’t go into a Mill Radio programme. This leads to a huge diversity and unpredictability, which is part of the station’s charm.

The core group producing the programmes, Waltham Forest Community Radio Group, has been together for about three years now, having its origins in an Age UK project to provide free training for older people in radio presenting skills.

After a number of previous incarnations in which the focus was mainly on the recording of oral history, the Mill Radio project the group has veered more in the direction of local journalism, and conducted many field interviews with people involved in local enterprises. They have included businesses involved in microbrewing and the creation of costumes for the Notting Hill Carnival.

All the group’s earlier recordings can still be heard at the millradio.com website, and everyone is warmly invited to come to one of the recording sessions, which are restarting this month.

Tune in to Mill Radio:

Visit millradio.com