We find out about the world through the media - how to define ourselves, who to trust, what to buy, how to vote, what to believe in. Media is a powerful force, and yet often funded by advertising. For advertisers, stereotypes are powerful and effective. We need corners of our culture to be kept free from commercial interests.
Many of us don't fit in to the expectations we feel society has of us. We feel inadequate, pigeonholed, unacceptable. It's easy to say 'blame the media' but there is no such one thing as 'the media', just many individuals working in many organisations. Any of us can be 'the media' and step up to make sure our point of view is heard.
In the radio studio we are safe to express ourselves. The audience is invisible, and we do not feel their judgement. Yet we are performing, we are focused on our task, speaking and listening to the best of our abilities. Our radio persona can be just ourselves - but our best selves. The audience can walk away, tune out, if they wish, without that affecting our performance.
Some of the people who find Soundart Radio have not found another place where they are welcomed and accepted. As we grow in confidence as radio presenters, meet one another and collaborate, things change in our lives, and our expectations of what we can achieve is heightened.
Most of the radio we hear on BBC or commercial channels is extremely slick. Listeners hear a polished up version of the world. We take to the airwaves nervous and confused at times, there are off mic moments, silences, muddles. To the listeners we are broadcasting - "you are ok as you are."
It's nonsense to talk of 'hard to reach' people. People outside the mainstream are not hard to reach, they are just easy to reject.