Sunderland lecturer honoured for her part in broadcasting history

Caroline Mitchell
Caroline Mitchell
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A WEARSIDE academic who helped make broadcasting history is to have her achievement celebrated.

Caroline Mitchell, University of Sunderland senior lecturer in radio, along with Trish Caverly, came up with the idea of Fem FM, the UK’s first all-female radio in 1992.

She then co-led the funding, training and broadcasting teams who made it happen.

To celebrate the story of its success, a digital archive dedicated to Fem FM will open on Saturday – International Women’s Day.

The original programme tapes have been digitised by Bristol Record Office and available alongside these recordings are original photographs, publicity materials and background documents saved by some of the 200 women who put Fem FM on air from March 8-15, 1992.

To mark the opening, a reunion will take place in Bristol, featuring a discussion on the status of women in broadcasting today. Caroline, who will chair the panel, said: “Back then, we were driven by a belief that women weren’t getting a fair share of radio air-time and that this should, and could, change if only more women were given the right technical know-how and experience.

“One obvious outcome of the project is that several Fem FM graduates have gone on to make their mark as media or music professionals but what is perhaps less well known is the impact this relatively short-lived Bristol-based initiative had on the wider world – inspiring many other community radio projects in Britain and internationally.

“The Fem FM story is definitely one worth exploring. Even a re-read of the meeting notes sheds light on what women’s lives and broadcasting were like in the 1990s and who was following the project then.”