The Ark that Rocked

Continued from last week’s edition: By the end of 2011, it is safe to say that our great NCB Radio plan was in trouble financially. 

Bearing in mind internet radio’s capabilities were really quite primitive, for this was a time where there were no cloud servers to run automation from and the services close to it that were available were prohibitively expensive. So, how did we run a 24 hour a day, seven day a week station? 

Simply, the second hand computer we had, running Windows XP on 768mb RAM and a small hard-drive and bought for about £100, ran for 24 hours a day. 

Sure, it sometimes had faults, and there was a spell where it seemed to break down every Sunday evening during David Hatton’s reggae show. We never did work out how that happened. 

But by the end of the year, the money was running tight and it was clear as day something needed to change. It turned out that the shed where we’d called home for our first year wasn’t a particularly friendly place to be when it got cold, and the equipment that had guided us through the year was breaking down more frequently. 

How we got through those months was thanks to a demonstration of true team work and enterprise – for we got through it by organising music events in venues across Cornwall, to buy us enough time to get through to the new year when new opportunities would arise. 

It did mean we have to be off air for a few weeks, while we transitioned into our new home, offered to us by a community centre which had just opened in Bodmin, called The Ark. Sadly, that doesn’t exist anymore, but we had a lot of fun there. 

The tie-up with The Ark was also a huge lifeline for it allowed us to apply for funding in order to purchase equipment and our founder obtained £2,100 from a charity called Live Unltd, which bought new equipment comprising of a computer built by our technical team, new monitors, new sound equipment and a contribution to The Ark for the studio. 

While our studio was built upstairs, we made ourselves a temporary base in the basement, and from there we began to plot. How do we return to the airwaves? 

The answer lay in attempting to do a 24 hour radio show. The core team doing the show would be awake for all 24 hours, while other presenters and guests would drop in for stints during the 24 hour show. 

And so, on January 27, at 6pm, NCB Radio roared back into life with the first track being ‘This is the Day’ by Manic Street Preachers, chosen simply for the line ‘This is the day, where things fall into place’. 

The first 24 hours were a loud kaleidoscope of what the surviving, thriving, rejuvenated station would sound like as it intended to make any sort of noise it could. 

2012 would also be the year of many new arrivals, some of which would become integral to NCB across the years to come and in some cases, to the present. 

We’ll tell you about that another time – but the radio rebellion had truly begun. 

Pictured: Moving to The Ark offered us opportunities to invite in guests to join us on air. In this picture, the Full Metal Mania team invite in James Rotheram of Kernuyck to take over their show for the week.