Oldham Community Radio has won a national award for its Tommyfield Live programme.

The program won a gold award in the Covid and Community Rebuild category at the 2022 Community Radio Association Awards at Kings House in Bedford on Saturday.

The new category recognizes how stations have weathered the pandemic in new and innovative ways.

Oldham Community Radio 99.7FM launched its Tommyfield Live program in October last year with the aim of taking radio out of traditional studios and into the public domain.

The station, currently based in Tommyfield Market, built a radio theater stage with limited budget and tools, and invited various guests to tell their stories with local musical acts.

Previous guests have included former Mayor of Oldham Cllr Jenny Harrison, chairman of Oldham Athletic Frank Rothwell and adventurer Steve Hill.

The Oldham Times: Ian Wolstenholme interviews former Mayor of Oldham Jennifer Harrison on Tommyfield Live Ian Wolstenholme interviewing former Mayor of Oldham Jennifer Harrison on Tommyfield Live (Image: Oldham Community Radio)

The program also aired live performances from acts such as The Parcel O ‘Rogues’, Vintage Pearls and Sam Warrener.

Commenting on the Tommyfield Live programme, the jury, who work in the radio, community and education sectors, said: “This entry demonstrated a beautiful way of interacting with the public, invigorating the programming and the bringing them back into contact with the community”.

In March, Oldham Community Radio celebrated its 15th anniversary and was awarded a further five years by regulator Ofcom.

Speaking about the importance of live radio earlier this year, Ian Wolstenholme, producer of Tommyfield Live, said: “Everyone talks about broadcasting, but we do ‘narrowcasting’. We talk to residents individually and they feel like part of a family.

“During the height of the pandemic, we provided a real lifeline for people who couldn’t see their family members.

“A family contacted the radio station to say they had lost a family member to Covid but could not have many funeral guests due to restrictions.

“They arranged with the funeral director to have the hearse driven through the streets where other family members lived and asked us at the station to play some music at that time. People took out their radios outside when the hearse passed This could only be achieved by a community radio.

Tommyfield Live can be heard Saturdays at noon on 99.7FM, online via the station’s website www.oldhamcommunityradio.com, and the program is streamed live at www.mixcloud.com.

The public can also go to the reception of the station and settle freely in the public to listen to the guests of the scene and take part in the action.