It began in 2014 as an offshoot of Matlock Record Club – a monthly gathering run by Martin Lockett, Alice Lockett and Rob James in the county town of Derbyshire.
And it began under the name Radio Free Smedley Street.
After a few years as an ultra-local station, broadcasting a few shows online each week for the residents of one small part of Matlock, in 2018 the decision was made to spread the word and expand the station’s line-up to include not just core weekly shows, but also monthly shows on rotation too.
The team grew. The station’s reputation grew.
Financial independence was retained, allowing the station to include many super-niche shows, as well as more general musical output.
The name was changed to Radio Free Matlock, to reflect the station’s growth. But as well as gathering a dedicated local listenership, the station’s new specialist shows began to pull in listeners from much further afield.
In 2020, the station found itself in a position to help people stay connected and keep a routine during the Covid-19 lockdown, broadcasting every weekday morning, and Saturday mornings too. As a result, the listenership to the station’s live broadcasts quadrupled, with a similar growth in ‘listen-back’ numbers on the RFM Mixcloud page.
Now back in its evening-focussed form, broadcasting every weeknight, as well as Saturday mornings, and with well over 30 regular shows, RFM continues to grow both its presenting team and its audience.
RFM has come a long way. But this still feels like the start…