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Croydon 97.8 FM: The Story So Far

How an ambitious creative from South London turned his vision into Croydon’s first ever official FM community radio station.

The very start of Croydon FM’s journey began back in 2014 when Founder and Director Clive Campbell conceived the idea for Croydon FM and officially secured the domain name for the soon-to-be radio station. Fast forward to 2018, after time well spent developing ideas for the station and learning all about the radio industry, which included studying Music Business at University, which is where Clive met and teamed up with CFM’s much-loved Station Manager Phoebe Herschdorfer, Croydon FM was ready to launch.

June 2018 then marked the official opening of CFM as an online only radio service, using the Croydon Food and Music Festival to celebrate the launch and introduce Croydon FM to the local community. On the following day (June 25th) the very first set of live shows then kicked off, featuring only a small live schedule and team of Presenters.

The team then slowly began to grow, after starting out with just 5 presenters, the Croydon FM family now consists of a total of 40+ members. Many would agree CFM's management commitment to making the team feel like one big family is one of the most endearing features of the station, as they consistently strive to ensure everyone involved at Croydon FM feels welcome and supported.

When questioning members of the team what their favourite thing about Croydon FM is, one wrote “I really love that the team seems like one big happy family and we all support and encourage each other in all our endeavours” while another said “my favourite thing about Croydon FM is the family atmosphere, community within a community radio station.”

Talking to one of Croydon FM’s first ever Broadcasters and the stations resident Graphic Designer Leon Michael (also known as ‘Daddy Cranx’) about Croydon FM’s relaunch, he said “Croydon FM is a great asset to the community, and a positive representation of what can be achieved when we work together. It's a pleasure for me to be able to assist with the stations development.” He also shared his admiration for Founder and Director Clive Campbell for “having the vision and dedication to see it through. It's amazing to think what we have achieved in a relatively short time, but be sure there is definitely much more to come.”

During the summer of 2018 the station was starting to gain more outside attention, with more and more people tuning in and becoming aware of CFM and the cultural impact it was having in the local area. Caragh Skipper, local councillor for the Fairfield ward, commented "The opportunities Croydon FM provides for local people is unlike anything Croydon has seen and I'm excited to see and hear what comes next. Croydon is a community like no other and we are so lucky to have Croydon FM investing in local people with a passion for music and media." She added "The success of Croydon FM so far is the cumulation of hard work and dedication of Phoebe and Clive and their passion for our town. I'd like to congratulate them and everyone at Croydon FM for achieving FM status and becoming Croydon's first FM radio station."

The year 2018 saw a wealth of exciting events and advancements take place for Croydon FM, including the station featuring in the final instalment of Shane Duncan’s ‘This Is’ docu-series all about Croydon. You can watch ‘This Is Croydon’ by clicking here!

In September the station also put on their first edition of the Boxpark Takeover, live broadcasting a bitesize version of CFM shows from the popular Croydon based venue. After the success of the first event, Croydon FM then went on to put on a second edition of the takeover a year later.

Another notable milestone that occurred in 2018 for Croydon FM was the launch of the CFM Youth Project, which sets out to provide opportunities for young people between the age of 14-17 to learn skills in radio broadcasting and production. Since it was first launched, a number of successful workshops have taken place, with more to come in the near future as the station continues to help offer local people their first step into an industry thats often hard to access. You can read more about the CFM Youth Project here.

Later that year, Croydon FM also received a nomination at the Mayor of Croydon Civic Awards for ‘Business In The Community’, which come March 2019 they went on to win! Speaking on Croydon FM’s journey so far, Pauline Kelman, the women behind CFM’s nomination wrote “I am so proud of Clive and the Croydon FM possee for how far they’ve come in such a short time. I felt like a proud mother nominating Croydon FM for a mayoral award back in 2018 which they went onto win. I proudly wear my Croydon FM T-shirt which is now wearing out so I need a replacement! I continue to tune in regularly and enjoy not only the music but also the information sharing. Croydon FM is an asset to the community of Croydon and I wish it continued success.”

March 2019 was also the exciting month where CFM took the step of applying for an FM licence, which was later granted by Ofcom in May 2020 in the “last round of community radio licensing on FM or AM for the foreseeable future.” The statement from Ofcom on awarding the licence reads "Croydon FM will serve the culturally and ethnically diverse community of Croydon and surrounding areas; It will provide a platform for local music talent as well as taking part in community outreach.”

And since Croydon FM were awarded their FM licence back in May 2020 the team at Croydon FM have been working nonstop to ensure the relaunch of Croydon FM as an official FM licensed station is nothing short of perfect.

Despite battling what was an incredibly tough year for all in 2020, CFM still managed to ensure the community was kept educated, informed and entertained throughout, with the team even managing to run a series of remote live shows during the heart of lockdowns. It's safe to say the team at Croydon FM didn't let Coronavirus restrictions stop them when it came to ensuring Croydon FM continued to blossom and grow in preparation of the all important FM go live date.

Croydon FM are now proud to say that after what has been an incredible journey filled with a number of ups and downs, they are now officially live and on the air waves as Croydon's first ever official FM community radio station.

The wait is finally over...

Croydon 97.8FM is officially live and on-air!


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