New Black Country radio station hit the airwaves

An online radio service which seeks to champion local creative arts, culture and music, has been launched by Black Country Radio.

Celebrating the launch of the new station is chairman Keith Horsfall, with guests Peter Brookes and Liz Nicholls of band Rumour, station director Dave Brownhill, and Tom Stanton and Billy Spakemon of The Blue Granits
Celebrating the launch of the new station is chairman Keith Horsfall, with guests Peter Brookes and Liz Nicholls of band Rumour, station director Dave Brownhill, and Tom Stanton and Billy Spakemon of The Blue Granits

Black Country Xtra will broadcast online throughout the day and on every day of the year.

It will feature a range of shows from grassroots sports, music memories for dementia, health-related shows, including mental health support, as well as “Your Town”, featuring news and business information.

This will be drawn from towns across Dudley, and the "Your Community", giving a radio platform to a wealth of local, arts and creative organisations from across the Black Country.

Radio chiefs have said that this has only been possible due to support from funders and grants during the pandemic as well as with the hard work and commitment of volunteers.

Billy Spakemon has been working hard behind the scenes to co-ordinate with a wide range of groups to get the service up and running.

He said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for local communities, creative arts and cultural and charitable organisations to get involved and gives a valuable platform for the great work and creative talent across the Black Country.

"Just one example of shows to be broadcast is Your Town.

"Areas such as Stourbridge, Halesowen, Brierley Hill and Dudley will have a feature show celebrating local towns, the people and business.

"Brierley Hill is an area that will receive millions of pounds of investment to regenerate the area, as well as being key on the new Midland Metro Line, so Black Country Xtra, as a platform, will keep people informed on all the latest information."

Vicki Rogers, from Halesowen BID team, will be representing the town and said how excited she was to be part of the station.

She said: "I am really proud to be part of this new venture in association with Black Country Radio.

"It is a great opportunity for us to showcase all things Halesowen and to put our local businesses in the limelight."

During the pandemic, Black Country Radio with support from funders and local grants relocated to state-of-the-art studios, with a huge amount of work being carried out by volunteers, and has recently begun broadcasting from these, with Black Country Xtra as the next stage in development.

It broadcasts on 102.5FM and online and is available on DAB in East Birmingham and has recently been honoured with The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, the highest award a voluntary group can receive in the UK.

Special recognition was given for the support provided to communities through the first stage of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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