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Monday, 10 February 2014

RICK WAKEMAN: Volunteers create new local sound and vision

Oxford Mail: Gavin Hyatt sets up the recording roomGavin Hyatt sets up the recording room
OxBox was formed from former members of Witney TV – a community TV project – and has spread across the county.
As the group looks to celebrate its third birthday on March 18, it will launch a new online radio station for Oxfordshire.
But all of its 50 contributors work on the project in their spare time, balancing full-time jobs with the demands of an ever-growing website.
OxBox can now boast an audience of 30,000 people, which in part could be put down to its match highlights of Oxford City FC matches and its promotion of upcoming county bands.
Director and co-founder Gavin Hyatt is a plumber and former fireman and is proud of what the website has achieved in the past three years.
The Hailey father-of-four explained: “It started off with us doing a couple of hours as and when but we are needing to spend more time on it as it grows.
“We hit our peak last year when we had 30,000 unique visitors and we now have people contributing from all over the county.”
The group now aims to make money by selling advertising spots during broadcasts and hopes this will generate enough to hire full-time staff.
Mr Hyatt said: “We are hoping to expand our sports coverage with Oxford City and with the ice hockey. We are the main people providing coverage for them and more and more people are coming to us now.

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“And we are able to give upcoming bands a place to feature their music and give them a forum they may not neccesarily get. We’ve found those have been our key places where we are getting a lot of interest.”
Oxford Mail:
  • Richard Kibbey designed the website
In the meantime the labour of love provides enough glamour to keep volunteers interested. Website designer Richard Kibbey, for example, was invited to film some work for Henley-based charity Sunflower Jam, run by Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice’s wife Jacky, but the encounter ended up being far more glitzy than he had imagined.
Mr Kibbey, 41, of Carterton, said: “I turned up, expecting there to be other music media there but it was just me. Then not only was Ian there, but Jeremy Irons, Newton Faulkner, Rick Wakeman and singer Joe Brown.
Oxford Mail:
  • Jeremy Irons
Oxford Mail:
  •  Newton Faulkner
“It was so surreal. I was sat down having dinner with them.
“That is just one thing that I love about it here. It makes all the hard work worth it when you can say things like that.
“It would be amazing if this could be something which meant we could do it as a full-time job.”

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