Tue 01 Jan, 2024

Behind the scenes at National Prison Radio

National Prison Radio is the world’s first national radio station for people in prison. It’s available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on in-cell TV. But what’s it like to work for NPR?

We asked some of the presenting team in HMP Brixton and HMP Styal to tell us what it’s like behind the scenes on the award-winning NPR.

K, HMP Brixton:

I’ve been working at NPR for about six months. I enjoy working here – it’s lit! When I get to work, it feels as if I’m in a workplace, not in a prison. It’s like a home away from home. On the outside I’m a university student studying contemporary music and performing arts. I’d never worked before in radio and I’m not sure if I’m any good. But I always do try my best. 

I present the Love Bug show, where I try to encourage listeners to call or write home to their loved ones. I also present Street Heat – this is one of the most listened-to shows. I also do interviews – I’ve met Colum McCann, an international best-selling author from Ireland. The whole team is great – it’s like a family and that’s why I love working here. Time has flown. My first day feels as it was yesterday. I’ve learnt so much, and I feel I’ve developed a radio voice. I’ve also worked on my producing skills like mixing and editing. If you don’t live you won’t learn and right now here at National Prison Radio I’m learning. See you soon on the airwaves!

H, HMP Styal:

I was a fan of NPR before I came to work here. Especially the Rock Show. I wanted to bring new ideas to NPR, and bring music to other people inside doing time. I produce and present NPR Friday, a talk show that ends the week and starts the weekend, and also NRG, which is a dance music request show that broadcasts on Fridays. I like coming up with new ideas. One idea I came up with was to do a NPR Friday Glastonbury Festival Special which was amazing to do. 

We have a great time working at NPR, we laugh while we’re in the office. We’re like a family and we make radio by prisoners for prisoners. I would say this is the best job role I’ve ever had. I can’t wait to put my radio skills to the test for when I’m released. Right now I’m working towards parole, but this is just a beginning of a new chapter for me. I want to walk out of the gates and say I’ve done my duty by bringing the music to everyone and making their day.

J, HMP Brixton:

I’ve been a producer with NPR for about 4 months. We work full days from Monday to Thursday every week. I work with NPR to improve my production skills and knowledge, but also to reach out to people positively so that they can deal with issues and problems in their lives. 

Since working with the NPR I’ve created a few shows such as Motherland (an Afrobeats show), Bob and Beyond (where we educate listeners about the history of reggae) and the Vibes show. We make programmes to be listened to by prisoners across England and Wales. The audience is made up of adults and young offenders of all ages, who come from varied backgrounds, ethnicities and faiths and who have a variety of needs and abilities. The team includes prisoners and also staff who have years of professional radio experience. We all work as a team to make sure our shows sound slick and are good enough for your ears!”.

National Prison Radio is the world’s first national radio station for people in prison. Made by prisoners, for prisoners.