Grantham Journal Big Interview: Volunteers keep Gravity on the air

Listeners' choice: Doug Hough, right, receives his Contribution to the Community Award from judges' representative Bijal Ladva
Listeners' choice: Doug Hough, right, receives his Contribution to the Community Award from judges' representative Bijal Ladva
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Gravity FM has been broadcasting since 2008, and its director, Doug Hough, won the Contribution to the Community Award at the Grantham Journal’s business awards.

Doug told the Journal what listeners can expect when they turn the dial to 97.2FM.

What did it mean to win?

It was a fantastic experience. It gave the entire team a big boost to be recognised and since the awards we have begun to develop strong links with Grantham Business Club, Grantham Retail Association and others.

At a personal level it is nice to know your efforts are appreciated. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day challenges of managing an organisation and lose sight of the significance of the achievements that have been made.

Your time and efforts are always focused on the problems and an award like this forces you to find time to celebrate the achievements as well.

What does Gravity FM bring to the community?

In a rural community it can be difficult for people to keep in touch and find out what is going on, particularly for the elderly, infirm and residents in outlying villages. Through our broadcasts, Gravity FM provides this communication.

To our volunteers, we provide development opportunities and support including help reading and completing forms, use of our computers to find and apply for jobs, help with budgeting and a host of other things most would consider unrelated to a radio station.

Also with the Gravity Youth Project young people provide valuable support to the station and community whilst receiving support in exchange. It is much more than just providing an activity to keep them off the streets as they learn vocational skills, gain confidence and support community groups and events across South Lincolnshire, North Leicestershire, and East Nottinghamshire.

Our record of success in this area includes Ross Garrigan leaving our presenting team this summer as he takes up a professional post with Lincs FM Group having progressed from the basic skills he learnt with us. Ben Morrison was rewarded for his efforts having become an East Midlands Regional Winner in vInspired National Volunteering Awards this year and Andrew Kidd is shortlisted in the final five for the Lincolnshire Media Education Awards this July.

These achievements are tribute to the great calibre of volunteers we have involved in the station but also reflect the support and encouragement the organisation provides in allowing them to aspire to and achieve their full potential.

Tell us about the volunteers.

Gravity FM no longer employs any paid staff - everything is done by volunteers. Besides the presenters, co-presenters and technical staff we have an army of volunteers who contribute thousands of hours of their time every year.

As part of our annual reporting we tried to put a value on this using national average wages for the role performed and found it exceeded £325,000 annually.

We also require more volunteers as we extend our work with other organisations. We are developing an exciting new partnership with Grantham Town FC to provide match coverage and stadium entertainment.

With the second Gravity Fields Festival just around the corner we are working with organisers to expand radio involvement.

What can listeners expect?

Gravity FM is music-led with local news, information and chat. During the day there is a range of music leading into more specialist broadcasts in the evenings. These include the internationally respected “Global House Session” on Wednesday evenings with Steve Watts and the popular Marcus Wesley with “Everything 80’s” every Friday evening.

Our Key Commitments to OfCOM require us to reach out to under-represented sections of the community so we also now include “Falar Portugues” or Portuguese Speaking every Monday evening.

This is a dual language broadcast in Portuguese and English exploring international Portuguese speaking culture and matters of interest to the migrant community.

We are very pleased to be able to provide this service thanks to a partnership with a locally based international Portuguese language broadcaster.

Not wanting to give too much away at this stage, the station is undergoing an upgrade and we are working on a project to introduce a more modern, livelier and even more professional sound. If all goes well, this will be launched in August.

How can people get involved?

The easiest way is to join The Friends of Gravity FM for just £25 per year (and you can pay in instalments). You will find out about the station and have an input in developing our broadcasts and projects. To volunteer drop us an email at

You can also call Gravity FM on 01476 573300 or visit their website where you can listen online.