Community radio veteran wins a national accolade

WINNER – Graham Laycock with his National Community Radio Honours Award

A VETERAN of community radio in Surrey has won a national award for his half-century of service to broadcasting.

Graham Laycock, programme controller at Brooklands Radio, received a National Community Radio Honours Award for his support of the station and the local community.

Graham started more than 50 years ago with hospital radio in Weybridge, rising to programme controller and then chairman.

His work in freight-train management moved him out of Surrey for several years but he later returned and helped to set up Brooklands Radio about 14 years ago.

The station started broadcasting from a temporary building at Brooklands College with a short-term licence from the authorities. It is now based at Weybridge Library and broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Brooklands Radio was initially available only on the internet but, over the past few years, has also started broadcasting on DAB. It has transmitters in Woking and Aldershot and has listeners across Surrey and parts of Hampshire.

“I’ve been passionate about radio from a fairly early age,” Graham said.

“I was brought up in the days of pirate radio and got my bug from there and found an outlet first in hospital and then community radio.

“We feel community radio is becoming more important today given that a lot of the local commercial radio stations are becoming national programmes with just short opt-outs for local news or advertising.”

Brooklands Radio has regular travel reports, extreme weather alerts, police appeals and information about events around the county.

“We put out a wide spectrum of music, interview people from the community and do outside broadcasts.

“Recently, we provided the public address and entertainment at the Woking & Sam Beare Hospices’ Woodland Walk,” Graham said.

He was presented with the National Community Radio Honours Award at a ceremony in Coventry recently.

“I am so proud to have been awarded such an accolade, especially when so many of my esteemed peers were nominated.

“At Brooklands Radio we aim to provide local meaningful content and are here for all in Surrey.

“We’ve also found that during lockdown we’ve been an invaluable link. We like to style ourselves as providing a variety of entertainment, personality and companionship.”

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