Fem FM - UK’s first women’s radio station - marks 30 years with special university broadcast

The three-part series to mark the station’s 30th anniversary ties in with Women’s International Day

In March 1992, Fem FM became the first all-female radio station in the UK making history here in Bristol.

The station broadcast for 19 hours a day over eight days on a restricted service license for several weeks.

The project was fronted by Trish Caverly, then head community producer of Radio For The People (FTP) and Caroline Mitchell, radio producer and media lecturer at South Bristol College.

The combined effort of more than 200 female volunteers pioneered change for women as both practitioners and audiences in the radio industry, acting as a catalyst to encourage the creation of other female-led stations such as Brazen Radio, Elle FM, Celebration Radio, and Venus FM.

There decades later the station is airing a three-part radio series re-telling the revolutionary story of Fem FM.

Story of fem fm Poster

Students at the University of the West of England have teamed up with Sound Women South West to produce the project.

Sound Women South West was set up in 2007 as an offshoot of the national organisation Sound Women. Miranda Rae took it over in 2017, it offers support to women and girls in the radio, podcast and audio industries, and has taught more than 1,000 people in radio and podcasting skills in the past three years.

Libby Sharp, student lead and co-producer of The Story of Fem FM got involved in the project after she wrote an article over summer about Fem FM, what it was and how it set about change for women.

She said: “It is really special for me as I wrote the article over the summer and since then it has just snowballed, and its been really great to take my friends along for the ride”.

She added: “As students from History, Journalism, English and Media, we are beyond excited to immerse ourselves in Fem FM’s anniversary project and we are looking forward to seeing what doorways this opportunity will open for us as young creatives.”

UWE students in the recording studio

The Story of Fem FM will be a series of three episodes the first looking at the history of Fem FM, the other will look at the origins and there will also be an episode of the impact Fem FM has had on women wanting to get involved in radio.

Lauren Corfield, content editor of the show, said: “its great to be part of something like this especially at the moment where there is a big push for equality in the work place, young girls seeing this will be able to think, yeah, there’s a place for me in radio”.

Lauren Corfield (Left)

The series will be broadcast on 19 radio stations, not just here in Bristol but all across the country reaching as far down as Cornwall and as far up as Newcastle.

You can see full interviews of all the contributors on the story of Fem FM website and a list of the places it will be broadcast below.

Dates for the broadcast of the story of fem fm