Meet the Hartlepool pupils making waves with community radio station

Hartlepool school pupils have been making waves with their biggest ever live radio broadcast.

Stranton Primary School in Stockton Road has its own radio studio to give pupils the chance to experience life as a broadcast journalist.

Gavin Lancaster at the controls with Stranton Primary school radio reporters Liam Simpson, Jacob Hill, Imogen Davies, Ellie Suttill, Amelia Stanczak, Annabelle Wright, Elisha Allen and Emily Hall in the Stranton FM school radio station room.

Gavin Lancaster at the controls with Stranton Primary school radio reporters Liam Simpson, Jacob Hill, Imogen Davies, Ellie Suttill, Amelia Stanczak, Annabelle Wright, Elisha Allen and Emily Hall in the Stranton FM school radio station room.

A team of eight pupils led by radio teacher and station manager Gavin Lancaster run Straton FM - a community internet radio station that broadcasts music, and news bulletins and radio shows 24/7.

To mark World Book Day on Thursday, March 7, pupils held their longest live radio broadcast.

The team of pupils, aged from nine to 11, were broken in to teams made up of junior and senior reporters to go live on air interviewing guests and delivering news and weather bulletins.

It was their longest live broadcast since the studio opened more than four years ago, with pupils live on air from 9am to 3pm.

Stranton Primary school pupil and junior radio reporter Amelia Stanczak.

Stranton Primary school pupil and junior radio reporter Amelia Stanczak.

To keep the station running normally, content is pre-recorded by the young reporting team.

Throughout the course of the day pupils invited their classmates onto the radio to share their favourite books and read excerpts from them.

They also held book related quizzes on the likes of authors and content from well-known stories.

Radio teacher Gavin, 38, from Stranton, said he was so proud of the pupil’s achievements.

The dad-of-four, who started his career working on BBC radio in the Tees area, said his current role in giving children and experience in radio was incredibly rewarding.

He said: “It was their biggest live broadcast in over four years since launching and it was an absolutely brilliant day.

“We have done a few live broadcasts before but not for as long and generally they have had four to six weeks of planning.
“But this was three times as long and I only decided to do it a week ago, so it was totally different experience.
“The only script they had was the news bulletin and weather report and rest was unscripted.”

Stranton FM is a community internet radio station, which means that members of the public can listen to the broadcasts, even if they are from outside of the area.

The studio on the school grounds is also open to members of the community to use the facilities, and schools have been known to book a session at the studio to learn the basics with teacher Gavin.

He added: “Managing the radio station is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done.
“The kids have made me so proud.”