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Northumberland News and Updates

Recent News and Updates

Northumberland Communities Set to Unite With New Radio Service

Radio listeners in Northumberland will soon be able to have more choice and listen to additional stations thanks to the introduction of new DAB transmitters.

A group of local broadcasters in and around Northumberland have got together to apply for an Ofcom licence for what’s known as small scale DAB to an area stretching from Cramlington to Alnwick.

The stations have set up a new not for profit company, “Northumberland Community Digital” which will oversee the application process. Should the bid be successful, listeners will hear Koast Radio, Radio Northumberland, Frisk Radio, Lionheart Radio, and other stations in DAB Digital quality for the first time. Up to 25 stations will be able to be hosted on the new system.

One of the main organisers is Richard Finch, who is part of the team at Tyneside Community Digital – the company which recently switched on its own DAB transmitters in Newcastle and Gateshead.

Richard said: “I’m delighted to help bring this exciting new service to the people of Northumberland. Small Scale DAB will bring a diverse range of new and local radio stations, increasing listener choice and helping to build stronger communities.”

Ian Conway, Managing Director at Ashington based Koast Radio said, “Koast Radio is delighted to be a partner in the bid to run the Northumberland and Morpeth DAB. We see this opportunity as a key part of extending our listenership, connecting more isolated communities, and offering greater choice of access to our listeners.

Radio Northumberland based in Bedlington is also looking forward to adding DAB to its online presence as station director, Stewart Allen explains. “We are a community radio station at heart and DAB will allow us to reach so many more people who perhaps can’t access the internet. It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring radio to the communities that we serve in Northumberland.”

Stuart Landreth of Frisk Radio said: ““Frisk Radio is a rhythm-driven lifestyle station based in Blyth, Northumberland. We commenced broadcasting on small-scale multiplexes in Tyneside, Newcastle, and Gateshead, and have gained a loyal following in these areas. We are delighted to have the chance to extend that coverage northward and finally have DAB reception in our own hometown.”

In the north of the county, Alnwick’s Lionheart Radio Garth Jeffery said:

“Lionheart Radio would strongly support the establishment of SSDAB in North Northumberland as it is an area which is currently not well served by local radio.”

The group will be submitting its application to Ofcom shortly and hope to hear whether they have been successful by the end of the year. If the group gets the licence, they hope to have the service on air by the middle of 2024.

Any stations interested should contact the Richard Finch as soon as possible at


Photo: Stewart Allen and Richard Finch (Highlights PR)

PR and media

Radio Northumberland to Air Interview with Grammy Award Winning Singer-Songwriter Rickie Lee Jones

Community Radio Station Radio Northumberland has announced that they will be airing an exclusive interview with Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter Rickie Lee Jones. The interview, conducted by volunteer presenter Karen Goldfinch, will cover Jones’ new album Pieces of Treasure, as well as her life and the role of accents in music.

Rickie Lee Jones is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and author with a career spanning five decades. She has recorded in various musical styles including rock, R&B, pop, soul, and jazz, and has won two Grammy Awards from seven nominations. Jones was listed at No. 30 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Women in Rock & Roll in 1999.

Karen, who runs a successful business consultancy, Karen Goldfinch – Your Business Pilot, said that Rickie made the interview very easy for her and that it was like chatting to an old friend.

“I never expected to be able to interview people like Rickie Lee Jones when I started presenting on Radio Northumberland, I love talking to people and enjoy finding out about them, so this was such an enjoyable interview for me to do.  I was initially a little nervous talking to her as she is incredibly well known and respected in the music industry. However, we started off talking about Northumberland and accents and we quickly had a rapport between us. We discussed her new album; her career and she even gave me an exclusive announcement that we feature in the show. It’s the most high-profile interview I’ve done so far and the most enjoyable and I’m sure that will come out in the show.”

The interview will air on Radio Northumberland every Sunday in May at 1pm. Listeners can tune in via the radio station’s website or through their mobile app.

“We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to interview Rickie Lee Jones and to share her insights with our listeners,” said Stewart Allen, Station Manager for Radio Northumberland. “Karen did an excellent job with the interview, and we can’t wait for our audience to hear it.”

Radio Northumberland is a volunteer-run community radio station that aims to provide a platform for local voices and to promote the arts, culture, and heritage of Northumberland. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can be accessed online or via the mobile app.

For more information on Radio Northumberland, visit their website at

Photo: Karen Goldfinch (Highlights PR) 

Photo: Rickie Lee Jones (Astor Morgan) 

PR and media

Beer and Cider Festival Pumps Up Audience from USA

The 45th Newcastle Beer and Cider Festival is set to go ahead, and it will be the first time back to normal after COVID.

Organiser Anthony McMullen from Seaton Burn started as a volunteer at the Newcastle Beer and Cider Festival seven years ago and is now pulling all the punches if not the pints.

The festival takes place from 29th of March till the 1st of April at the Northumbria Students Union Building in Newcastle with beer and cider lovers able to sample some of the UK’s finest – and possibly most weird and wonderful – craft beers and ciders. Some of the beers have been brewed exclusively for the festival and others will be premiered there before going on general sale. Local breweries from Tyneside and Northumberland have been invited to brew either a Chocolate Stout or a Red Ale that has never been seen before. Breweries including Camper Van Brewery from Edinburgh, Top Rope Brewing from Liverpool and Tiny Rebel Brewery from Newport Wales have already pledged to attend.

This year, around 100 beers and 50 ciders from quirky tiny unique micro-breweries to established names will be on tap at the Northumbria University campus for what’s become the biggest showcase of its kind in the region. For the first time this year, there will also be a spirits bar with rum whisky and gin to ensure that everyone’s tastes are met.

Anthony has a huge logistical task to organise getting literally hundreds of precious casks of ale in situ, conditioned and ready for the perfect pour every time. The event involves building several bars from scratch, organising the logistics of getting beers and ciders to the right places and ensuring that the attendees are well looked after.
There will be bands playing throughout the festival including Blistered Molly, a female fronted classic rock band covering songs by artists such as AC/DC, and Guns and Roses.
St Oswald’s Hospice, Women’s Detection of Cancer and the Great Air Ambulance have been chosen as the festival’s charities. On the Thursday, participants are encouraged to wear a hat, the more unusual the better and if anyone doesn’t have one, they can buy one from the St Oswald’s stall.
“Every year we get better and better both in terms of the breweries taking part and visitor numbers. Already we know that a real ale lover from Texas has booked his holiday around the festival, and it’s amazing that someone has decided to travel across the Atlantic to join us for the festival. Most people who attend are locals and we do have a growing fan base from across the UK who turn up every year but someone from the USA is fantastic. I’ll be buying him a pint or two to say thank you,” said Anthony.

The Festival runs from 29th of March till the 1st of April at Northumbria Students Union and fast track admission packages are now available £16.50 which includes a commemorative glass and five beer tokens.

For more information, including sponsorship and volunteering opportunities like the one that got Anthony started, check out the official website at

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