Patrons and friends of Commonweal School
Shirley Ludford - Broadcaster and Station Manager at 105.5 Community Radio.
Swindon born, I’ve used my local knowledge and contacts in a range of communications-based rolls during my career, and my acquired knowledge and experience in local and regional PR.
First employed 2 years with Plessey, Swindon, trainee secretary in the apprentices and sandwich students training school. On the closure of the unit, I moved to London to join Burmah Oil as Secretary to a Finance Director. When the company moved to Swindon, I returned home.
Keen on languages, I taught conversational English to Polish women in their own homes in the evenings, then, took the opportunity to work with a French family as Governess and teach English in a Corsican school, so 3 years after joining Burmah, flew to Bastia in northern Corsica for a year.
Returning to England and after freelance secretarial work:
A 3-month secretarial contract with a Cable TV station. During that time another challenge - to present a one-off sound-only programme. This led to a weekly programme, training volunteers in the various aspects of radio and working as a team, plus running the organisation’s administration. I ran the longest non-stop live televised radio broadcast and was involved in the first commercial Lottery in the region, launched by Henry Cooper, both projects to pay for service to go colour. Organised a variety of promotional activities plus the re-launch of the service when it moved to new premises.
A plea for help to start a Talking Newspaper for Blind People led to me setting up and running a regular service from my family home. Found funds for equipment. Volunteers found and trained. Relevant PR carried out. The weekly service, now 21 years old, is in studios of its own and serves over 200 people.
I was the very first employee of the first Commercial Radio for Wiltshire, GWR, (and even lived at the Lime Kiln Studios for several months!!) as P.A. to the Managing Direct and presenting various programmes, moving fully into presentation, training and community projects. I helped start and run the highly successful annual GWR Christmas Charity Appeal. Heavily involved in PR campaigns both on and off-air.
After 8 years and a call from the BBC to join their new local radio station, I produced and presented a wide range of programmes. Travelled across Wiltisre, and Europe to record documentaries. Became heavily involved in community events. Compering shows. Ran the Children In Need Appeal for 8 years, organising sell-out shows at the Wyvern Theatre and liaising considerably with TV and press throughout 12 years with the BBC. Writing press releases, setting up photo opportunities, organising PR campaigns. Ran courses on how to use the media.
May 2002 I left the BBC to work Freelance. I joined a local digital radio service for 18 months as a volunteer Presenter and to help launch them. AND joined SWINDON DANCE in September 2002 on a 7 month contract as Marketing Officer – I stayed on in a part-time capacity with responsibilities from writing press releases and articles to event co-ordination, marketing performances, updated and upkeep the website. Profile-raising, promoting the amazing range of activities the Agency is involved in.
Feel the importance of training and encouragement…
I have always felt there should be more positive encouragement for people to be given opportunities and encouraged to take part, with relevant skills being recognised… … love making things “happen” for people… and have, for example, helped set up a campus radio facility for a Wiltshire School, start indoor bowling for blind people, helped realised peoples dreams… encouraged many young people in the early stages of their careers…
Autumn 2005 Another challenge.. to help set up a community radio station for Swindon. The aim – to provide an alternative station for the town, which offers opportunities for local people and organisations to promote themselves or learn how to do just that! And it’s getting very good reaction from all walks of life.
I enjoy:- Challenges. Travel. Writing. Event co-ordination. Project management.
Being creative. Work well both on my own and with a team.
I’ve had opportunities to work elsewhere in recent years, but there’s something about promoting ones home town and the communities within it… that keeps me here most of the time!
I don’t enjoy:
Getting up too early. Tea!
BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF BROADCASTING AND MEDIA RELATED HISTORY
4 years I joined invited to join this Home Office licences community television project in 1977.
Secretarial, station admin… led on to occasional TV presentation, TV camerawork, and quickly to a weekly 3-hour radio programme.
Training volunteers, Researching. Producing.
Considerable liaison with all aspects and levels of local and business community
8 ½ years
I was asked to join the station a year before it went on air.
Personal Assistant to the M.D.
Led to presenting regular features. Co-presenting the afternoon show. Producing and presenting a weekly programme for blind/partially sighted listeners….
Arranging schemes for trainees of all ages.
PR and press liaison
I started the Talking Newspaper for the Blind. Obtained donations for equipment. Established a studio in my attic. Trained volunteers of all ages – students, teachers, business and retired people.
Service moved to Craven House – and has developed well over its 22 years, now serving over
200 people a week. I left after training volunteer producers, but still keep in touch and
provide occasional features for inclusion in tapes.
Considerable liaison with press and other media.
Started and initially co-ordinated the now annual charity Christmas Appeal
BBC WILTSHIRE SOUND
12 ½ years
I was invited to join in 1989.
* Considerable research, producing, presenting.
* Studio-based topical discussion programmes. Outside broadcasts. Music programmes.
Celebrity interviews. Dessert Island discs style programmes. Arts programmes.
* Writing/recording childrens’ short stories weekly for broadcast.
* Documentaries recorded locally, regionally and abroad.
* Final 2 years producing and co-presenting a daily topical and consumer programme, which included the interviewing of local Councillors, Council representatives, MPs.
* Training students.
* Took part in training sessions for Head Teachers on how to use the Media.
* Individual projects with schools in Wiltshire.
* Was a judge for international short story competition for several years through my work