Connecting people and preventing loneliness through the airwaves | Vicky Meets

Vicky meets... Justin Cottrell, founder of V2 Radio.

• V2 has been on air since January. How did the radio station come about?

I sold my business in September last year having built it up over 15 years. We had recruited people locally, we were a top 100 employer and had really raised our corporate responsibility through charitable fundraising. But because of how we were structured (having shareholders) I had to sell to a big corporate that very quickly destroyed the economic value and the people value, which was really sad. So suddenly there I was with not a lot to do. I was sitting in my garage listening to the radio and I heard Milly do her last show on Spirit FM. I went indoors and said to my wife that it was sad that the local radio station was going because it had been such a voice for local people. I remember it starting and how it filled the gap between Brighton and Portsmouth. I had always been attracted to media so, to cut a long story short, I met the Spirit FM team and we came up with the idea for V2. As well as being a businessman I am a bit of a closet techie, so it ticked a few boxes for me. Predominately, though, it was a way of putting something back. I then had a crash course in radio!

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• Tell me about V2 radio...

Justin Cottrell, founder of V2 Radio

Although we are super-serving locally our reach is from Hastings to the New Forest. Local radio doesn’t mean that you have to be local when you listen to it. We exist both for our listeners and as a result of them. As well as music and chat we are also a charitable endeavour. We have created our Community Chest fund that people can apply for, be it an individual in need of a special wheelchair or a charity that needs funds. It’s in its infancy at the moment, but we’ll be developing it. As we come out of lockdown we’ll be developing the content, too. Including things like the workplace quiz, we’ll also be looking at campaigning and getting out and about at local events. We are also collaborating on news stories with the Observer. Content is going to evolve, but we’re very pleased with the response we have had from listeners and advertisers so far.

• So the response has reinforced your belief that local media is important?

Yes. With local radio it’s the chat in between the songs that prevents loneliness and it connects people on a local level. Whether that’s campaigning, telling people about events or what the traffic is like on Bognor Road, it’s all important. Being a voice for local people is for the greater good and we have quite a unique opportunity to do this.

• How can people listen to V2?

On digital radio (DAB) – you might need to do a rescan – online via the website, on smart speaker or via our app. So tune in and listen local!

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