The Audio & Radio Emergency Fund

The Radio Academy has launched The Audio & Radio Emergency Fund.

The fund has been created to provide short term financial support to active audio and radio freelancers facing significant financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

The new fund has been kick-started with a contribution from the Radio Academy’s benevolent fund and boosted by contributions from the BBC, and internet audio company Audible. Funding from other organisations will be announced shortly.

The fund can provide one-off grants of up to £1,000 to recent active workers in UK audio and radio, including podcasts and audiobooks who are freelancers and whose main source of income is from freelance work in the audio and radio sector. It is for individuals who need extra support at this time who may not qualify for any of the government support schemes; people who need help with radio or audio development projects, or those who need new equipment or software.

The fund has brought together AudioUK, the BBC, Audible and Reelworld with The Radio Academy. The Radio Academy is administering the fund and has appointed an independent panel who will decide how it will be distributed. It is chaired by Dom Chambers, a director of the Community Media Association, and will include: Aradhna Tayal, director of Radio TechCon; Ahmed Hussain, BBC producer; Camilla Byk, founder of Podium.me; Cathy Fitzgerald, documentary maker; and Stuart Morgan, managing director at Audio Always.

The first round will open for applications on Monday 20th April and close the following Monday. The panel meets on Tuesday 28th April and applicants will be notified the next day on Wednesday 29th April. The fund then operates on a rolling weekly basis, with second round funding opening at noon on Monday 27th April. This enables the Radio Academy to keep a rolling fund going and distribute funds as quickly as possible to meet immediate needs. As a priority, the new Fund will be engaging with the freelance community, to ensure it fully reflects the diversity of the whole podcast, audiobook and radio sector across the UK.

Dom Chambers said: “As society works out how best to meet the challenges of COVID-19 what has clearly emerged is the need for connection and community and those trusted voices and content makers who bring us information, news and entertainment. It is essential that those who communicate are able to do what they do best”.

James Purnell, director of BBC radio and education said: “We are privileged to have such a talented, world-class pool of freelancers working with us and their contribution to the success of our services is enormous. Covid-19 is having a devastating impact on so many people’s lives, and now more than ever we must support our colleagues in the freelance community who are facing hardship. This fund is a vital initiative to help safeguard the creative future of the radio industry.”

People can apply to the fund through radioacademy.org from Monday 20th April.