Takeover Radio Children’s media trust was started in 2001 by the late Graham Coley when Takeover Radio, a children’s radio station in Leicester, created a Charity training and media centre for young people aged 8 to 14 years.
We offer in depth training for young people aged between 8 and 24 in the radio broadcasting arts including, production, presentation, journalism and engineering to enhance their life conditions and work towards a career in the media.
It is unique as the first children’s radio station in the UK to be ran by ‘kidz’ for ‘kidz’; it is the first community radio station in Leicester, having originally granted a licence to broadcast to Leicester as part of the Radio Access Pilot Scheme in 2001, we gained a full time Community Broadcasting Licence in 2005. Takeover Radio had existed since 1997 as an element in several short term “Restricted Service Licences” (RSLs) before becoming a registered charity and moving forward with plans to gain a full time licence.
Takeover Radio itself began in 1997 when three young people took over a Saturday night programme on Valley FM in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. For 2 hours Ellie (15); Sam (12) and Rayne (10); took over the ‘In and Out’ show by creating a ‘fictional hostage situation’ in the studio. Inspector Lawton of ‘The Radio Police’ had to promise pizza and chocolate before they would ‘release’ the presenter and allow him to finish the last ½ hour of his show.
The young people enjoyed the experience so much that in 1998 they presented a four shows on Now FM in Wigston, Leicestershire. The team grew to 8 members, and they also convinced local business to sponsor the show.
In 1998 the young people were invited to present four shows on Big Dial Radio 106.6 a radio station in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. After a piece in the local newspaper was written, the team grew to thirteen regular presenters taking over the station to raise money for charities.
During January 1999 Takeover Radio moved to Leicester and took over The Wall 95.1 radio station. Another advert in the newspaper lead to 100 members joining the station. On 2nd May 1999 the first Takeover Radio show was broadcasted on The Wall.
Kidz on the Wall was so popular that we returned to take over the airwaves again in June 2000.
The success of the radio shows was noted by the Peers in the House of Lords, and there was an invite made to visit Parliament in Westminster to campaign for a full-time Children’s radio station. Notable supporters have included Charity patrons Gerry Anderson and Susan Stranks as well as Baroness Warnock, Lady Howe, formerly of the Broadcasting Standards Commission, Philip Willis MP, Lembit Opik MP, Susan Olden, David Benson-Philips, Paul Robinson the boss of Disney UK and many other senior representatives of children’s organisations.
By August 2000, children’s radio continued to be successful, that Radio Activity was ran as a station at the studios of The Wall. In September 2000 we started building the new Takeover Radio Head Quarters and set up the Takeover Radio Children’s Media Trust allowing more children to learn about presenting programmes and enjoy the experiences on offer.
In July 2001 we were granted Charity status by the Charities Commission and we were also chosen to be one of only 15 radio station to trial the new Access Radio project for the Radio Authority. In March 2002 we launched the station on 103.2fm across Leicester and the web at www.takeoverradio.com.
In March 2010 a second Takeover Radio was launched in Sutton in Ashfield in Nottinghamshire. Takeover Radio 106.9 is managed in a similar principle as the Leicester station, ‘by kidz for kidz’ however it has a separate management company called Sutton Youth Radio Ltd, attached to Sutton Community Academy.
In 2012 the station marked its 10th anniversary, where one of the young people was commissioned to create a montage for the station.
As well as the radio we have branched out into other areas, including print, video and graphics, web and social media to ensure the full development of ‘360 media practice’. We have developed partnerships local businesses and media outlets including BBC Radio Leicester, where annually we run the young reporters newsroom in conjunction with the Spark Arts Festival.
In the future similar cells around the country will be set up so that other young people can benefit from the training and life experiences we have gained as part of Takeover Radio.
Well what’s next …… will you be taken over!!!