The small community station ran by volunteers from its base in Swinton has now been pumping out a unique eclectic mix of music and chat over the airwaves of Salford for 11 years and yet oddly enough many people within the city still don't even know this fantastic community asset exists.
With over 80 regular volunteers producing live and pre-recorded shows from its studios snugly nestled behind the Civic Centre in Swinton, the station has helped support more than 400 local residents to develop careers in the media and other industries.
SCR was first awarded a 5 year broadcasting licence back in 2007 and had that licence extended for another 5 years in 2012, however the stations survival was put in jeopardy last year after Salford City Council cut funding as part of its cost saving measures to protect front-line services.
Things could have been a whole lot different this year as the huge shortfall in funding threatened to put Salford's very own radio station off the air for good and so that makes this birthday that much more special, as fortunately the stations staff, presenters and the good people of Salford rose to the occasion as a crowdfunding campaign managed to raise enough to extend the stations licence for a further 5 years.
The station which broadcasts on 94.4 FM, won a Golden Jubilee Award from the Queen back in 2016 for providing an "inclusive, educational and entertaining service for local people of all backgrounds and cultures".
So just why do so many people not know about SCR? Well we thought we would find out.
By far the most common response we got was that reception of the station in some areas of Salford was "Sketchy", something the stations operators already know about and is mainly down to the terrain of the city and the relatively low power of the transmitter which is imposed upon them as part of the terms of the regulator OFCOM. Many people didn't know the station was there because their radios would often scan past it.
In order to try and remedy that the station operates an online streaming presence on its own website http://salfordcityradio.org and we also recently added a radio player for the station on this website in order to try and help boost listening figures.
You can even listen into the station on any mobile phone or internet connected device capable of running the TuneIn radio app such as Amazons Alexa or the Google Home Hub etc..
Simply saying "Alexa, Play Salford City Radio" will prompt the smart speaker to load up the station and stream it live to you. Although admittedly sometimes you may need to pronounce Salford as SALFORD and not SOLFORD as Alexa is a bit naff and doesn't understand the language of the gods which is fluent Salfordian.
Admittedly the content of some shows may not be for all, I spent a couple of weeks listening to show after show and I have to be honest and say that a few of them were personally a little lacklustre to me BUT the important thing to remember is that the station is not trying to be like the BIG FM stations over the border in Manchester and it really does excel in areas that they don't, Mainly its links to the community. Just because I don't like a particular show or genre of music doesn't mean it does not have an audience. This is where Salford City Radio is unique as it gives those people and those shows a chance to shine, its content is created by its volunteers and what they may lack in some areas they more than make up for with their never ending enthusiasm, determination and dedication.
As my 2 week listening marathon came to a close I realised that for the most part the station is pretty amazing at what it does, YES it needs a little spit and polish and there is always room for improvements and changes BUT on the whole the station is uniquely Salfordian, its quirky, odd, sometimes a little frustrating but when it gets it right it gets it fantastically right.
There really are some gems, my personal favourite presenter being Phil Wiz, quickly followed by shows such as the Irish Connection, the Indie show with Monty and a great little show presented by Sufiya Rehman who gets local people in for interviews on local topics affecting Salford.
And so in conclusion, the little station with a BIG heart is a BIG 11 year old and after securing another 5 year licence last year it is destined to keep on rocking.
In order to do that it needs more listeners to pull in more ad revenue and funding to help keep it afloat and maintain the expensive equipment needed to keep it on air.
As for myself, I have enjoyed listening to the hard work and creativity put into shows presented by local people, I may not have liked all the content but I found myself enjoying much more than I thought I would. With a few little tweaks here and there I see a bright future for SCR and I will continue listening.
Just please, no more Kate Bush for a few months
I am really happy to be able to wish the station a happy 11th Birthday and more importantly I am hoping to be wishing them it on their 20th birthday too.