As a child, my dad would tell me stories of his younger years in the 60s listening to the offshore radio stations under the bed covers when he really should be sleeping

These DJs trial blazers, bringing all day pop music to the airwaves, breaking the monopoly and the stuffiness of what was offered on radio back then. This then led to The BBC launching Radio One in the late 1960s, and then independent local radio popping up in the 1970s.

Local radio has always been important, people who know their local community talking about things relevant to that area, announcing school closures, talking about a local event that may be happening, and making themselves known to local people through public appearances.

Then along came the big national media companies who one by one brought up these local stations and re-branded them under the likes of Capital, Heart and in our case in Surrey, Greatest Hits Radio. It's all about the big-name presenters nowadays and I think that's a shame. I don't mind Ken Bruce and he is great at what he does, but he's not going to be broadcasting live from a local fete, or have that knowledge of what makes our area tick. You end up with a bland manufactured sound and it becomes about making money rather than providing the service local people want.

Gone are the days of driving to a different area and scanning the car radio to find whatever local station, it all sounds the same which I think is a shame.

Recently it was announced that two long standing radio stations will be swallowed up into a national outfit – Wave 105 in the south coast and Pirate FM in Cornwall, the names disappearing and the company sending out press releases telling us it's a good thing, the community up in arms exactly as we were when we lost Eagle Radio in 2020. I don't think I have listened to Greatest Hits Radio since then as it's not relevant and it's not local. Even BBC local radio is being networked more across much larger areas. It's a trend that sadly I think will continue.

This is why community radio is so important. Volunteers often working on shoestring budgets but we are passionate about uncovering local stories and being relevant and a part of our local community and that is so important to protect.

Listen to the Sunny Sessions, the inclusive radio show from The Sunnybank Trust on Surrey Hills Community Radio on Mondays and Thursdays 11am and on the first Monday of each month at 9pm. Sunny Sessions is also on Radio Woking every Wednesday at 9am.

My Radio Woking shows are Wednesday breakfast 7-9am and Sunday mornings 9-noon If you want to take part in my radio shows you can reach me by email at [email protected]