A RADIO station launched out of a garage in Tyldesley is now thriving and connecting to thousands of listeners every month.

With the idea to create a radio show that connects with local people, Radio M29 was first broadcast back in March 2022 to report on community news, shine a light on feel-good stories, and play an eclectic mix of good music.

Originally broadcasting one day a week, the volunteer-led project now goes out all weekend and has around 6000 listeners every month, with people tuning in from Tyldesley, Atherton, and Leigh, and even some who have left the country but want to feel connected to their hometown.

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Leigh Journal: 'Breakfast Buffet' DJ Bevan Thompson at the studio in Tyldesley'Breakfast Buffet' DJ Bevan Thompson at the studio in Tyldesley (Image: Leigh Journal)

Joe Graham, who presents the eclectic 'Curveball' music show on Sunday evenings, said: "The idea for Radio M29 came from Tony Hampson, who put out a message on Facebook and enough people seemed interested enough to take it forward.

"It's just grown from there really. We see ourselves as different than any other station because of the focus on the local community around the M29 area."

Leigh Journal: DJ Paula M's recording her 'Dance Directive' showDJ Paula M's recording her 'Dance Directive' show (Image: Radio M29)

With programmes varying from breakfast shows to music mixes, and local nostalgia to sports results, there is a regular dose of community news that runs through M29; interrupting each broadcast to let people know what is going on in and around Tyldesley.

This often includes sending a Roving Reporter - or the 'Ginger Ninja' Ian Tomlinson - who travels to events such as local music festivals, makers markets, sports games, or fundraisers to encourage residents to get down and show their support.

There is also a big focus on the local music scene, with presenters shining a light on upcoming acts and often inviting them on the show for an interview or a 'live lounge' performance.

Leigh Journal: The M29 team also send roving reporters to report on community eventsThe M29 team also send roving reporters to report on community events (Image: Radio M29)

With a dedicated team of around 30 volunteers, all with a passion for their area, the plan is to continue growing Radio M29, extend its programme schedule, and obtain a DAB licence.

This will allow even more listeners to tune in on their home or car radios, and open up the possibility of the station going full-time and broadcasting seven days a week.

Leigh Journal: Adrian White, DJ for the 'Dancin Thru Bent & Bongs' nostalgia showAdrian White, DJ for the 'Dancin Thru Bent & Bongs' nostalgia show (Image: Radio M29)

Schedule and content manager Tony King, who has decades of radio experience on BBC Five Live and Radio 4, said: "It's still early days but the station has been doing really well so far, and we have had great feedback.

"It's all about connecting with local people and making them feel like they're not on their own. We're talking about your streets and your area, so that's what people connect to and gives the station that traction.

"There's a range of different people who come together to produce this every week, so we are really proud of what we have achieved so far.

"But we want to continue getting the word out there so that we can grow even further, with more presenters, more volunteers, and more listeners."

Leigh Journal: The station has been a big success after its first year in operationThe station has been a big success after its first year in operation (Image: Radio M29)

With sponsors such as the National Lottery, Historic England, For Tyldesley, and Wigan Council, the M29 team expressed their desire for further sponsors to help extend the station's schedule and become a self-funded business.

People can listen to Radio M29 live or on their 'Rewind' playbacks on the station's app, website, or smart speaker. For more information, you can visit the M29 website here.