October 2016 Breakfast Briefing

Date: 13 Oct 2016

Radio station boss presents breakfast show for business leaders

With a population of more than 250,000 and growing, Milton Keynes deserves a truly local, local radio station, Darren Dorrington, managing director of MKFM has told Milton Keynes business leaders.

He was speaking at the latest Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership Breakfast Briefing event. MKFM, a not-for-profit community station, opened online in 2011, moved to DAB in 2013 and from September 2015 has broadcast on FM 106.3 and reaches an estimated 120,000 people.

Darren said MKFM’s aim is ‘to become the glue that binds the community’. Gaining an FM licence had seen audiences increase ten-fold with thousands more following on social media. The strategy, he said, is to build online and broadcast audiences.

‘The number of people listening has increased along with the business opportunities and we are making the most of them, said Darren. ‘We must sustain ourselves as a business, building revenues, selling advertising and attracting sponsorship.’

The station wants to grow its current handful of staff to cover more events and news, including business news he said. MKFM has a business news slot and is supporting the Milton Keynes Business Achievement Awards 2017 run by MK BLP and now attracting entries for the dozen award categories.

Darren said radio listening was rising as local newspaper circulation falls and in Milton Keynes listeners looking for local output had a choice of MKFM, another community local radio, BBC local radio covering three neighbouring counties and a national commercial station which covers four.

‘In the radio industry there is a lot of talk about providing more listener choice but not a lot about how to maintain local output, and in Milton Keynes much of the media landscape is owned by organisations from outside the city and not by those who have first-hand knowledge of and a passion for Milton Keynes, and who know what a great place it is,’ he said.

Dr Philip Smith MBE, chairman of MK BLP said Darren had given members and guests an insight into what was a growing business and a community asset.

‘We are also pleased to have MKFM on board for MK BAA 2017, encouraging local businesses to enter and to be there on the night broadcasting from what will be a great event,’ he said.