East London Radio’s founder and presenter Ian Chambers is Getting East London Talking

Do you ever feel like East London doesn’t have a voice? Ever feel like you don’t know enough of what’s happening in your community, or neighbouring communities a mere bus ride away? Never hearing enough positive news about the great things happening here? And over there, and over there…?

It’s been five years since we, East London, hosted that global event, the 2012 Olympics. The world’s media pointed their cameras and microphones at that former waste ground in Stratford, put us on the map, and then, all too soon, they were suddenly gone and, in terms of media coverage, it was as though East London was only about that one event. And as much as we enjoyed that moment in the global spotlight, we are so much more than that, yes?

Let’s put this into perspective. More than twice as many people live in East London as in Birmingham. We have an International airport, a major commercial centre, a wonderfully diverse community and we’re growing fast with major development. We are firmly on the map as an important part of the capital. Other areas across the country of a similar size have several local radio stations and yet we live under the shadow of London-wide media, but how much positive news do you hear about East London?

“Community radio is a great platform for tapping into the pulse of what’s happening locally and provides opportunities for local voices to be heard.”

Broadcasting live at Westfield Stratford City, August 2017.  Photo credit: Fitzroy Andrew.

While we have some music-based radio stations for certain parts of our community, we don’t have our own radio station for the whole community, giving us a voice. Or rather we didn’t have, but that all changed four years ago when East London Radio [ELR] was formed. The station is run by over 60 local volunteers of all ages and backgrounds and was set up for two main reasons: to give a voice to the people of East London as a means to share what’s happening on our streets (and not just the bad news headlines) and to give anyone over 18 who is interested in carving a pathway into a media career an opportunity for some actual, hands-on radio training.

“Simply put, ELR is an online radio station run by the community and for the community, with a focus on talk radio.”

ELR uses four studios in four different East London boroughs, so volunteers have somewhere locally to get involved. They’ve also run projects to encourage people of all ages to make radio – in fact, well over 1,000 East London children have been involved, and have had their voices broadcast to ELR’s global (yes – global!) audience.

So what can you hear on ELR?
It he station broadcasts 24/7 and you can listen via www.eastlondonradio.org.uk or the TuneIn mobile app but don’t expect that non-stop music you hear elsewhere; ELR has real radio shows exploring interesting, relevant topics as well as music. You can also access some repeats from the 2,500+ shows made since they started and you can sample their popular “Listen Again” feature where you can find shows archived on mixcloud .

ELR supports local grassroots football and East London sport, with very popular weekly shows; this is a real asset as you can barely find local sport covered anywhere else. They also have a local business show, money advice, discussion shows on topics such as social care and local issues, film reviews, and feature many local guests on air. And of course they cover local news. Perhaps the only topics they don’t cover are politics and religion.

The station has broadcast live from various venues across London, including City Hall, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, the ArcelorMittal Orbit in the Olympic Park, and recently hosted some local musicians performing in Westfield, Stratford City.

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Follow ELR on twitter: @eastlondonradio and Facebook: @ELondonRadio