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The Sheffield culture guide written by in-the-know locals

Mondo Radio

Founded in 2016, Mondo Radio was relaunched in 2022 as an online radio station independent of ads and corporate sponsors. The internal team and volunteer producers are unpaid and dedicate their time, money and energy to serving the community with the help of more than 60 resident DJs and musicians based in Sheffield and the north. They also collaborate with writers, visual artists, photographers and live musicians.

In addition to online streaming, they run events and activities that are free of charge or as affordable as possible. Mondo Radio is one of the last grassroots creative hubs in Sheffield, facing the same politically hostile environment that saw several venues and projects close down in recent years.

They’re currently crowdfunding for their survival, to replace and insure equipment and to plan for their sustainability. Reaching their £10k goal will allow them to fund more community projects and events. I hope music lovers reading this interview feel called to spread the word and support them.

How do you describe Mondo Radio? What should people know about you?
Mondo Radio is an online community radio station broadcasting from Sheffield. Our purpose-built studio is housed in The Night Kitchen, a historical venue with deep roots in the north's underground music scene. Mondo focuses on providing a platform and communal space for artists to meet, share ideas and explore their crafts individually and collectively.

We are driven by a desire to address under-representation in the local music industry and a passion for providing opportunities for people from marginalised communities to progress in their respective disciplines.

Today, Mondo Radio is at the centre of a thriving community of creators – not just DJs but also designers, illustrators, music producers, writers and, significantly, activists focused on increasing access to music and arts at a grassroots level.

What makes Mondo Radio unique? What role does it play in Sheffield?
Mondo Radio extends further than live streaming on-air content. We also deliver workshops, book launches, exhibitions, panel discussions, live music performances and club nights. We host both day and nighttime parties as well as other events that celebrate arts from Sheffield and beyond.

Mondo aims to provide an alternative to the conventional way of enjoying music. Some people who have come to Mondo have said that they never felt the pressure to over-drink, consume things, be seen in a certain way or perform.

What are your plans for the future?
Currently, we are fundraising for £10k to create a sustainable platform for our projects. We have relied on community support and older equipment, which made it hard for us to be consistent and serve our community. Reaching our fundraiser target will allow us to buy the right equipment and plan for longevity.

We are looking to launch a website and a membership scheme to platform our residents and provide extra perks and exclusive content to the community that supports us. The membership scheme will also generate recurrent revenue for the radio to stay alive.

We want to expand the residency to include more DJs from marginalised backgrounds and provide them with a platform for expression. Over time we want to run more regular workshops to support developing artists and use our space more, turning it into a creative hub for artists.

What would you do to improve the city?
The council needs to be more open to conversations with local creatives about licensing. They should protect spaces that celebrate Sheffield's DIY culture. The closure of DINA, and other venues in the last years, is a massive loss. There is a lack of affordable space and a monopoly of ownership by those who don’t seem to value the arts. Developers who are turning much of the city centre into "luxury accommodation" are being given unchecked priority, leaving no space for valuable community arts endeavours that will not turn profits. The reality is that projects like ours are no longer welcome in the city centre, which is upsetting.

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