Building Futures participants wired for sound

Pippa Sawyer is a co-founder and Programme Director at Wycombe Sound 106.6fm (Pic above)

Pippa Sawyer is a co-founder and Programme Director at Wycombe Sound 106.6fm (Pic above)

“Once radio is in your blood, it never leaves you”

Heartfelt words according to Pippa Sawyer, Radio Presenter, co-founder and Programme, Director at Wycombe Sound.  “I remember listening to the radio under the bedcovers as a teenager, falling asleep to the voices of my favourite DJs.   The voice is an amazing tool with the power to convey so much more than the written word.”

“I love working in radio.  Every day is different and brings the opportunity to learn something new.” says Pippa who set up Wycombe Sound 106.6FM in 2013.

 “For me, 'local' is the key narrative and what sets Wycombe Sound apart from other stations on the dial.  Every aspect of our output has a local connection, from news and traffic, to arts, sport and music”

Pippa has worked at a number of radio stations throughout her career, however one of her proudest moments in radio broadcasting came when her beloved Wycombe Sound 106.6fm was voted and crowned “Station of the Year” at the CRAs (Community Radio Awards), in 2017 after just eight months on air.

“It's not just about what happens On-Air though”, Pippa goes on to explain, “At Wycombe Sound we do a lot of work behind the scenes which we don't shout about.  This includes providing training and work experience opportunities, and working with local organisations to understand their audience and how best to reach them.”

“Our programmes are made by volunteers and many get a boost to their self-confidence and the opportunity to make new friends and learn new skills.” 

In February 2019, a new and exciting opportunity has arisen for the High Wycombe based social enterprise at their studios:

Wycombe Sound 106.6fm has partnered up with Building Futures, a Building Better Opportunities project jointly funded by the National Lottery through the Big Lottery Fund, and the European Social Fund.

Employment FM is the name of new course to be delivered by Keith Higgins and Pippa Sawyer of Wycombe Sound.

The course will give unemployed people local to Buckinghamshire an opportunity to learn skills in radio production. They will learn a host of techniques around research, the audience, digital audio technology and will produce their own radio content.

This course will run for a few hours twice a week over the duration of five weeks, from the Wycombe Sound studios just a glance away from the Town’s Eden shopping centre and the bus station.
The course participants will not only learn skills in radio production, but will also brush up on key employability skills such as communication, team-working, problem-solving, interview techniques and creating a fantastic CV, with support from the Building Futures team.

“We are really not surprised at the interest in the Employment FM course,” said Allan Potter, Building Futures Programme Manager. “There is a need for innovative programmes to really excite and motivate those who are struggling with barriers to employment and training.

“Employment FM is exactly that kind of initiative to really bring out the talents, skills and experience to date of our participants.

“Employment FM is a fantastic example of delivering great partnership and community cohesion.”

Building Futures is a dynamic partnership focussed on changing the lives of adults and young people lacking opportunities across Buckinghamshire. The programme is jointly funded by the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund.

Joseph West