On Thursday the 3rd of March, Bolt FM celebrates 15 years of young people broadcasting, by returning to the airwaves on 106.7 FM, from the 3rd to 12th of March. As Scotland’s longest running youth radio station, Bolt has enabled over 1,600 young people to have their voice heard and learned the skills to present, edit, and interview on radio.
Based in the Provanmill area of Glasgow, Bolt FM was originally set up as an artist residency to help bring two feuding communities, Royston and Blackhill, together as part of the Royston Road Project. Over the years it has been instrumental in eliminating gang violence and brought young people together through the medium of radio, where image matters less than content.
One of the young people involved with Bolt, explains why she enjoys broadcasting;“Radio is great because I can be who I want to be. I don’t have to dress in the right clothes or fit in through looks, but I can sit back and have the music and discussion to take over. The radio station has helped me with my confidence and I now can speak with anyone – I’ve even interviewed the first minister!” Rachel 18.
The organisation now works in seven different communities in Glasgow, Blackhill, Royston, Riddrie, Haghill, Ruchazie, Barlornock and Dennistoun, working in partnership with youth clubs, schools and churches to work with young people where they are, ensuring that they are given opportunities to try radio, within the comfort zone of their own area. This enables them to take their first steps to qualifications through Dynamic Youth Awards, Youth Achievement awards and Community Achievement Awards. Bolt has even set up a sister organisation in Zambia enabling young people in Ndola to have their voice heard.
The young people choose all the content and music themselves. The facilitators enable the young people to use the same broadcasting equipment as professional radio stations. They are then able to take these skills onto college and university and ultimately a job. Bolt FM works closely with Glasgow Kelvin College and City of Glasgow College to enable young people to increase their skills.
On Friday 4th March, the organisation is hosting a celebration dinner to thank supporters and young people for their help through the years. Supported by GHA, the meal will be made by Usher Catering who are providing their services for free, training young people in catering as part of the programme. Young people will also be involved with the serving of the meal, to their MP Anne McLaughlin, MSP Paul Martin and Depute Provost Baillie Gerard Leonard, among the guests attending. DJ Vance, a long time hero of Bolt FM participants, will be leading the celebrations into the night.
You can listen to Bolt FM on 106.7 FM in Glasgow, or on www.boltfm.co.uk . You can follow on Twitter @boltfm facebook – bolt youth radio