IT’s come a long way since broadcasting its first show from a back room office in an east Leeds supermarket.
Now a decade on and East Leeds FM (ELFM) sees 30,000 listeners tuning in each year.
The venture has also seen more than 7,000 volunteers hit the airwaves from its Ramshead Hill headquarters.
ELFM broadcasts news reports, live music and literature. The community radio station also trains young people in all aspects of radio, encouraging creative writing and supporting Leeds-based musicians.
Creative director Adrian Sinclair, one of the founders of Heads Together, which runs ELFM, said it is a real community success story.
He said: “You realise how good it is – because radio is used by different generations. Everyone listens to the radio. So the project has developed and developed.”
The bright idea for ELFM was thought up by pupils from John Smeaton High School in 2003 when an Ofsted inspection highlighted the need to bring parents together.
Mr Sinclair said: “We worked with a group of Year Eights to develop it. The first one we did was in a back office of Tesco. We set up a studio in this tiny room and ran 10 days of broadcasts.
“It very quickly involved lots of different people – families, friends as well as governors. We had phone-ins on all sorts of different things.
“And the nice thing was people wanted to do more.”
Since it began, the ELFM has had more than 30 different funders – thanks mainly to the community’s desire to keep it going.
Mr Sinclair added: “When funding runs out, you think: ‘How can we do it?’. But there are always people who want to carry it on.”
Heads Together has secured funding to refurbish Seacroft Methodist Chapel, which will become the radio station’s permanent and new home.
For a schedule of ELFM’s broadcasts visit www.elfm.co.uk.