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  • Eric Hewes

Kintsugi Radio - the story so far...

I came to the Kintsugi Project as an eager volunteer and found my place giving others a voice on Kintsugi Radio. I’ve worked in a variety of music and events roles in the past and I’m thrilled to be able to put that experience to use in creating a platform for disabled people to broadcast on their own terms. We are a small station based online which offers one to one radio and podcasting session s, we’re based on Spreaker and you can check out all our previous shows here: https://www.spreaker.com/user/kintsugiradio


Kintsugi Radio Started with the “Lewys Meets…” series, where our presenter and co-host of the Kintsugi Music store interviews an amazing array of writers artists and musicians. Seriously, stop reading and go and listen to his interview with Doctor Who writer Sophie Iles at: https://anchor.fm/kintsuginerd/episodes/Lewys-Meets-Sophie-Iles-ehkef8.


Lewys expressed an interest in hosting a weekly music show and with Mansel hard at work building the Kintsugi Community Garden in Keyham, I was given the opportunity to co-host a show with Lewys and the Kintsugi Music Store was born! Our first show was on August 25th quickly followed by the launch of my own show “The Unknown Quantity” in September.



The effects of Covid-19 on the launch and growth of the station are undeniable but despite the challenges we added DJ Gazza to our roster on the 9th of October, an 80s fan to his core Gary and I have been revelling in 80s nostalgia, TV trivia and trips down memory lane for several months now. Communicating via a reader and his PA, Gary demonstrates clearly what is possible when accessibility is a central consideration from the start of a project. You can check out DJ Gazza’s 80s Extravaganza here: https://www.spreaker.com/show/dj-gazza-kintsugi



Social distancing and risk assessment in place we were able to run a fundraiser on Halloween to support Kintsugi Radio! It was an emotional night, offering a glimpse Plymouth’s vibrant music scene once again. I’d like to take a moment to thank Andy Quick, RUE the DJ, our friendly sound engineer Bubba and the entire Leadworks & Pride in Plymouth team - we raised £365 for Kintsugi Radio from ticket sales kindly donated by the musicians and gave our little audience a night of joy in these challenging times.



November had been a month dominated by another national lockdown, but Kintsugi Radio continued to bring a steady stream of content from our DJs and just before the start of December we received the fantastic news that one of our long term projects: the Kintsugi Radio Rescue Pack had received funding from the Lotto Community Fund! Covid-19 has meant that lots of disabled people have had to shield, whilst many day services and vital opportunities for socialising and connecting have remained shut down since the original March 2020 lockdown, leaving disabled people more isolated than ever. Many of our DJs wanted to keep making content but needed to stay at home so we decided to launch a remote service, which allows accessible radio and DJ kit to be sent out in a handy package to our DJs homes so they can broadcast safely. We’re nearly finished building the packs so watch this space for the launch and if you are interested in starting a show, please get in contact at info@kintsugiproject.org and let’s make it happen!!!


In our main studio, we started off with a mixture of old equipment, bought and borrowed and have gradually built an accessible radio/podcasting hub. In December we upgraded our studio with a new mixing desk and sound treatment and ordered the first parts of the Kintsugi radio rescue packs. The desk’s new more user-friendly layout has allowed me to begin teaching presenters how to produce their own shows, and the one touch controls and room treatment have greatly improved the quality of our broadcasts.

The upgrades to the studio were made possible by the kind support of POP and the Esme Fairburne foundation. We are absolutely delighted to have the support of such fantastic organisations in our quest to bring accessible radio and podcasting to all.


In late December I had to self-isolate pending a Covid test so Mansel took over our Christmas send-off shows, and learnt that he shared a mutual interest in Starsky & Hutch, Minder and other classic 80s shows with DJ Gazza, so I’ll have to be careful I don’t get replaced!


Thanks to Zoom we ran the Kintsugi music store as a trio, and I’d like to take a moment to express how proud of Lewys I am for handling all the unexpected changes in the broadcast schedule like the professional he is.


The new year means new presenters to the station, Aoife, bringing you the best in Latin music and Stefan launching the Warrior Within Podcast where he discusses mental health with a particular focus on PTSD in the military community which is such a large and valuable part of the Plymouth community, so keep your eyes peeled in early February for the launch of their new shows! (you can find all our shows at: https://www.spreaker.com/user/kintsugiradio


So that’s it for now, from myself and the Kintsugi team I want to wish you a very happy new year and share the hope that 2021 is a year defined by recovery and growth for all. Thank you once again to POP the Esmiee Fairborne foundation, Andy Quick & friends and the Lotto Community fund for their generous support, none of this would have been possible without them.


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