Radio couple’s lockdown broadcasts from home help community station win award


A radio station is now award-winning after bagging a top community broadcasting prize.

Canalside Radio was crowned the Best Community Radio Broadcaster across Cheshire at the Northern Enterprise Awards 2020.

Congleton residents will be familiar with husband and wife duo Sharon and Stuart Neild, who host their weekly ‘Congleton News and Views Show’ on the station – which coincides with their local community Facebook group.

Sharon and Stuart, who live in Congleton, had only been recording their show for a few short months when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

Lockdown meant that they were unable to go into the studio in Bollington, so they recorded the show from their kitchen instead. And for nearly a year, their show – along with Nick Wright’s breakfast show – was the only original weekly show on Canalside.



Stuart and Sharon Neild

Stuart said: “Luckilym community radio allows us to do certain things which commercial radio shies away from. Over Christmas, the station broadcast a full cast, hour-and-a-half pantomime, which was written by myself and performed by Black Sheep Theatre.

“There was nothing like that on any other radio station over Christmas, not even Radio 4 with the budget they have, but we managed it.

“We’ve also held our own with high-brow documentary quality content. We did a special with the British Library, real in depth interviews with the people behind the scenes who run that amazing institute of knowledge.

“We’ve talked to editors of well-known magazines like Cheshire Life and the Darkside as well as the directors of TV channels like Talking Pictures. We’ve had authors, board game designers, religious leaders and councillors. And this is all on our show alone.”

Since the start of the pandemic, Stuart has interviewed lots of guests including Electric Six lead singer Dick Valentine, 90s singer Kym Sims and Stephen Jones, lead singer of Babybird.

But it’s not just well-known names that have become guests on the show. Local people have had their voices heard over the airwaves too.

Stuart added: “To me, interviews are an important part of any community radio station – it’s what makes us different to commercial radio.


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“It’s about local voices and opinions and debates being heard. If we don’t have that, we might as well stop doing radio and just listen to a Spotify playlist.”

Sharon said: “We can’t thank station head Nick Wright and chairman Brian Moore enough for the faith they’ve put in us.

“We’ve been able to present shows from early breakfast to late Sunday night. It’s been an honour and we look forward to carrying on our broadcast journey at Canalside.”

You can listen to Sharon and Stuart’s show, ‘Congleton News and Views’ on Canalside Radio on 102.8FM. You can also listen on the Macc App, the Congleton App, online, and through your phone or smart speaker.



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