SHORT HISTORY OF THE HSPARK RADIO JOURNEY
Way back in December 2013 a launch event was held in Highams Park for a new community group called “The Highams Park Planning Group”. 500 Highams Park residents attended, and one of the projects was to get people to put post it notes up saying what they would like to see locally.
A request that surfaced regularly was better communications. Facebook and email groups were set up and posters were put around the area, but we still had people who felt they did not know what was happening most of the time. HPPG grew and now has 1200 members; more and more events were being planned and put on; so a team, dedicated to communications, put their heads together and, amongst others, the idea of an internet radio station was born.
Setting this up was not easy. Where do you start? Nigel Mear who was running a local live music night suggested contacting Ian Chambers of East London Radio.
Ian was wonderful. He gave us tips and ideas; trained a few people up; and helped us get kit, and send off for the appropriate Broadcasting Platform and licenses. Our local councillors supported us with Ward Forum funding and we were off.
We started gathering together local people interested in broadcasting and began training them in how to make pre-recorded programmes.
However, it was not until 2017, with the right people in place, we took a leap and Broadcast live for the first time from Highams Park Library during a local event.
After that milestone we were still broadcasting ELR during the mornings, and scheduling our own home grown shows during the afternoon and evening. But we had no premises. The only live broadcasts we were doing were from events like The Spring Fair, Picnic in the Park and Highams Park day.
By now we had a library of home grown shows and were able to broadcast our own Music and Shows, no longer relying on ELR.
Then in 2020 Covid 19 hit. Our regular meetings were suspended and with nothing else but Whatsapp and the internet at our disposal we needed to act fast. Our amazing team of David Mear, Vis the Spoon, Martin Chandler and David Throssell worked out a way for people to broadcast live from home. At a time when the world closed down, hSpark blossomed and opened up live to Highams Park, London, The UK, and even The World.
Local residents were contacting us to send messages to family locally, across the Uk, and to relatives around the world. During lockdowns we boomed with record listening figures. Our target now in 2021 is to keep those listening levels. We are trying to get our station on home streaming devices, which is we think the way forward.
Good luck to all our listeners in this challenging year ahead. Contact us with any ideas you have for making a programme, or better still join us, to make your own shows!!