Cable radio

CABLE Radio Milton Keynes 89.8fm celebrates its 25th birthday this weekend after being one of the first stations of its kind in the country.

The station, which depends on volunteers and donations, has broadcast a huge range of programmes ranging from local interest, religious and arts magazine shows to ones which cover almost every style of music.

During its quarter of a century history, the station has had many highlights.

In 1986, presenter Mike Barry broadcast for 100 hours at the Point interviewing 198 guests, with 13 production teams, making it the longest magazine programme by a single presenter.

Mike, who is also the chief executive of the station and the mayor of Newport Pagnell, said: "Afterwards the three technical operators were on their knees while I was dancing about. We raised more than 3,000 for local charities which in 1986 wasn't bad."

One presenter John Roberts' claim to fame was that it was his feet which featured in the original opening credits of ITV's The Bill.

The station has also had one of the oldest broadcasters in the country on its schedule.

Harry Perryman, who died last year aged 85, had presented nearly 800 shows during the previous 15 years playing music from the 1920s to the '50s.

He rarely missed a show.

Ken Daniels, the former landlord of the Fox and Hounds pub, known for its live music, also had a show.

A number of presenters have gone on to work in radio professionally including: Colin Wilshire, who became programme controller for Classic Gold; Emma Scott who went on to work at GWR as well as Matt Falconer, Andy King, Graham Baldwin and Robbie Frawley.

Mike said: "The whole thing with CRMK is that it is a community radio station which always gives access to every single person who has an interest in radio.

"We will train them either to get it out of their system or go on to work for a professional station.

"I think we have been extremely lucky in the sense that CRMK is a better kept secret than Bletchley Park, because of the way it has to be accessed.

"In its early days there was a lack of TV channels on the cable and it was in with a good chance.

"Now it tends to have specialist type music programmes."

He added that he is not ruling out the possibility of the station becoming available on the internet.

Funding for the station has come from cost of training courses, in addition to grants from the National Lottery and the Development Foundation.

More recently the station received thousands of pounds from the Community Foundation for a new mixing desk in the studio, which was installed over a number of weeks by engineering director Arthur Smith and Dave Wittering.

This Easter Weekend CRMK is broadcasting an extended schedule to celebrate its 25th birthday.

CRMK 89.8fm Fact File.....

CRMK is available to more than 45,000 homes in the city after rising from the ashes of the Channel 40 television station.

The Development Corporation and British Telecom set up Co-Ax Cable Communications to run the TV station in two houses in Fishermead, complete with studios,

rehearsal room and recording facility. But there weren't enough original programmes broadcast from the station and it was closed down in 1979.

The idea of a community radio station was born, and the station moved into the Fishermead studio, now the Samaritans base, broadcasting over the city's cable network on the frequency 89.8fm.

But the cost of maintaining the Fishermead studio was too high, and CRMK moved to the cheaper premises of a caravan at the Interaction Centre in Peartree Bridge.

There it stayed until 1989 when Horizon arrived on the scene and the two stations shared a building on the Crownhill Industrial Estate, where it has aired shows ever since.

For more information about the station log on to www.crmk.co.uk.