Tucked away in the heart of Barnstaple lies The Voice studios. We knocked on a black door painted with stickers titled 'The Voice, North Devon's truly local radio station'. Out came Paul Hopper, who was in the middle of his breakfast show. He greeted Amanda McCormack and I majestically and whisked us up a flight of stairs to where the action happens. To our left was a multi-use 'office' where Paul Andrews was sat studying what seemed like a complex computer programme. Also in this large room was Daryl Monnart who was at a mixing desk and mic - which they call studio 2 - cutting some audio clips. Lest we forget the resembling presence of coffee and tea!
Before long, it was time to enter the alive atmosphere inside studio 1 - where the presenters broadcast from. Paul Hopper was sat in the reflection of a red sign which read 'On Air' as he spoke in his warming voice to North Devon. By this point, it had just gone 10am and Paul was preparing to invite Ro Richardson from the North Devon Theaters Trust into the studio for her weekly update on the arts scene in north Devon. At the press of a button, Paul resumed the pre-set playlist of songs for his show whilst Ro entered the studio.
After Ro had finished her interview with Paul, she spoke to us about how she feels about The Voice. As she headed back to the workplace, 'Rock God Ali' entered the building and spoke to us alongside Daryl about their acoustic rock show and about how they feel about the local community radio station.
As Martin King took over from Paul Hopper with his localised magazine show at 11am, we caught Paul Andrews alongside Hopps for an interview in which we delved beneath the skin of The Voice. It was astounding at how determined and passionate every presenter was about the local radio station. They made it clear that developing the station to this point has been an uphill struggle and the hard work does not stop now. It is just as difficult keeping the station afloat as it is establishing it.
Above all, everyone involved in The Voice - who are all volunteers - believe in a radio station right at the heart of North Devon's community.
Ewan Somerville, 13/3/14
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