Dan Kirouac from Westminster, Massachusets writes:
Heckington Living Community Radio (HLR) is an Internet radio station, set up, owned and managed by Andy and Patricia Mellett Brown in Heckington, Lincolnshire.
HLR is affiliated to and supported by Heckington Living, the voluntary group that publishes Heckington’s village magazine. Andy and Patricia established the station in March 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The idea was that by keeping connected with each other, families and friends, they could help to mitigate some of the effects of social isolation and loneliness caused by ‘lockdown’.
Since its launch HLR has expanded its offer so that today there are 11 live presenters and live programmes every day. The station also broadcasts a wide range of voice and music programmes 24 hours a day, every day. As well as music, there are dramas, documentaries and church services, all made in or around Heckington by local people. There is also a ‘Live Lounge’ where our listeners come together, especially during live shows, to chat with the presenters and each other. The HLR ‘Live Loungers’ have made connections well beyond HLR, extending the hand of friendship and goodwill across the country and, indeed, the world. The station is run entirely by volunteers, on a not-for-profit basis. They exist solely to serve the community, friends and families and to help keep us all connected.
In one unique presenter relationship, I, a musician in the northeast USA, had been reaching out to various college and community radio stations, looking for support of my original music by stations. Heckington staff were kind enough to accept and air one song. And then another, and then another. I became an active listener and contributor to the station and their music programme on Sunday and Thursday afternoons.
As independent shows were still in development, after several months Andy asked if I would be interested in hosting my own programme. After several weeks of shaking off my fear of technology, and with the support of my friend and local musician Sean Fullerton, we decided to develop The Massachusetts Experience - a (now) 90-minute programme on Thursdays which showcases music with songs about Massachusetts; as well as any song by artists who were born in or currently live in Massachusetts.
The results are surprisingly well-known and varied, and we mix in local/unsigned artists in our mix as well as showcasing the Aerosmiths and the James Taylors. It’s truly a unique station, in a unique arrangement, whereby we connect two countries over the many miles while retaining the community spirit. “From New England, to England” you can hear The Massachusetts Experience at Live Shows – Heckington Living and other shows all week long.