7 Days on Ujima Radio | LOUD MagazinePosted on: 28 Apr 2020
This article was first published in the second edition of LOUD Magazine, 365Bristol's dedicated music publication.
Read LOUD Magazine Issue #2 here:
We catch up with Ujima Radio Director, Presenter and Producer Sandra Green to talk the station’s beginnings, its diverse broadcast schedule and the importance of helping young people into the media
Bristol’s radio waves are about as varied as any nowadays, the regular slew of major and commercial stations joined by much-loved local platforms like BcFM, Noods and Ujima Radio. Most, if not all, Bristolians should be familiar with the latter: a vital channel for news, views, music and much more broadcasting twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Ujima operates much like any other radio station. Breakfast shows go out daily, as well as news, travel and weather updates, chart shows, a drive-time show for the way home from work and specialised musical programming in the evenings. On the face of it, you could be forgiven for assuming it was no different from its competitors, but you’d be wrong.
Now a major part of Bristol’s radio output, Ujima was established in 2009 as a service for the city’s African-Caribbean community. An essential platform for a large section of the local population, Ujima is dedicated to getting relevant information to the right people, providing updates on issues that affect African-Caribbean communities locally, across the UK and around the world.
Part of the Ujima Radio team at St Pauls Carnival. Photo: Ujima Archives
The station’s musical schedule is diverse and engaging, combining contemporary sounds with journeys through a wide range of genres, from reggae to hip-hop and dub, dancehall, afrobeat, soul, soca, jazz and much more. It’s a volunteer-run organisation, with an extensive roster of presenters and a handful of paid staff supported by a team of supremely dedicated people behind the scenes.
A community-based project itself, Ujima proudly supports young people looking to get experience in radio, offering skills development and training in editing, interviewing, presenting, newsgathering, researching, fact-checking, using computer programmes, scheduling and more. Experience in a variety of roles is, of course, vital for young people seeking a career in the media, and Ujima is committed to providing opportunities to people in the area as part of its mission statement.
“There’s something for everyone on Ujima - we’re constantly working on that”
- Sandra Green
“We try to encourage people, who wouldn’t get into big organisations like the BBC, to have media skills,” Sandra Green (pictured, bottom left), Director, Producer and Presenter at Ujima since the station’s early days, tells me. “Whether it’s on radio, social media, researching or whatever else, we try and set people up for a career in media if that’s what they want.”
As audience habits change and people’s tastes continue to develop, the Ujima team make every effort to keep ahead of the curve and provide the Bristol public with entertaining radio output. Musicians and notable personalities are regularly invited on the air as guest presenters and DJs, and the station is expected to make its first foray into the world of podcasts later this year.
Producer Coco on the decks as part of a Ujima Radio stage takeover. Photo: Ujima Archives
“There’s something for everyone on Ujima, and we’re constantly working on that,” Sandra says. “Having volunteers here and having so many different people with so many different life experiences helps us shape the shows, and there’s always more we can do, and more we can put together.”
Those of you familiar with Ujima Radio from journeys to work or rush-hour taxi rides may not give it a second thought, but in spinning the dial to 98FM you’re tuning in to a one-of-a-kind Bristol station, run by a team full of passion for what they’re doing. Ujima remains an integral part of the airwaves, and an irreplaceable platform for thousands of Bristolians.
But what - or who - should you be tuning in to if you're not already familiar with Ujima? Here Sandra takes us through seven of her favourite weekly shows on the station, from Dancehall with DJ Johnny Bling & DJ Mega to African cultural affairs and contemporary jazz from established and emerging artists around the world:
Late Night Boutique with Benito / 20:00 - 22:00
"A selection of weekly features, including ‘Old Skool Album of the Week’, ‘Bristol Nites Out’, Weekly Chart, News Selection, Interviews and Exclusive Releases."
Alternative Review / 14:00 - 16:00
"Hosted by proper film buffs Coco, Dan, Mike and Gertie, the Alternative Review is Ujima’s weekly bout of critical dissection of the breathtaking world of Celluloid. You really have to hear this one to believe it!"
Dancehall Generals / 20:00 - 22:00
"Box fresh Dancehall and the very best of the genre from DJ Johnny Bling & DJ Mega."
Rise Up BREAKFAST / 07:00 - 09:00
"Produced by Jazz, Rise Up BREAKFAST sees a team of our favourite presenters take listeners through a mix of classic and cutting-edge music, accompanied by exclusive interviews and community news."
Glocal w/Sister Jendayi and Brother Ajani / 12:00 - 14:00
"Focuses on African political, cultural and social affairs as you approach the end of the working week."
Breakfast Show with Sandra Green / 09:00 - 11:00
"An engaging breakfast show exploring the roots of black music as well as current and contemporary sounds, featuring classic tracks, artist bios and interviews as well as discussions on film, art and spoken word."
The Journi with Asher / 14:00 - 16:00
"See out the weekend with Asher by exploring the very best in jazz from all corners of the globe."
LOUD Magazine, Issue #2 | Interview: Katy J Pearson
LOUD Magazine, Issue #2 | A brief history of the Trinity Centre
Having moved to Bristol from Cornwall in 2015, Matt graduated from UWE with a degree in Journalism in 2018. He's keen on a wide variety of musical genres, as well as taking an interest in art and illustration, producing his own work in his spare time. Matt makes the most of Bristol's diverse nightlife and attends gigs and club nights regularly. Get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.