The History of Hillz FM

Happy 16th Birthday to Hillz FM!!!!

I have been a young person (a part of the young people scheme and the young Hillz takeover) at Hillz FM since November 2017 and it has been an absolute whirlwind for me and I have loved every second of being at Hillz. Since I work with Hillz on a regular basis I have always wondered what it was like in the past and the history of Hillz and what it was like at the very beginning. I was excited to discover more about the journey of Hillz FM and to see what it had done before my time at Hillz FM. To celebrate 15 years since Hillz FM first broadcast and Hillz becoming an iconic popular station in the community, I thought I’d write an article about my journey of discovering more about Hillz FM, the place that ultimately changed my life for the better by inspiring my passion of radio
and journalism. This helped me through a difficult time, and gave me the opportunity to do things I never thought I was capable of. Here is what I was able to learn about Hillz FM. I was really pleased with what I had discovered and how brilliant Hillz FM has been to the community over the years.

So, to kickstart this trip down memory lane for Hillz FM we shall begin in 2004 (a year before the first-ever broadcast in June 2005) when Hillz FM was first established by WATCH Charity, who had just gained its charitable status in 2005 after being officially launched in April 1998 and renovated in 2001. After the community loved the first broadcast, Hillz FM broadcast again in November 2005 on a temporary schedule. The station was originally known as “The Hillz Radio” and used to be on 102.6 FM at this point in time.

A year later in 2006 the youth became more involved in Hillz because there was an open mic session live on radio. This same year there was a Karaoke to raise money for BBC Children in need. This was released on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire. Open mics continued into 2007 with a talent show called “Hillz Factor” in May judged by “The Kray twinz”. There were 2 heats and it was to encourage artists to spread the love. The winner was able to perform at Godiva festival 2007.

A few years later Auditions were also held at Hillz FM for the Universal records in September 2011 for unsigned artists. Fast forward to 2013 Hillz FM began to raise money for Children in Need by doing the Harlem Shake.

In 2014 Hillz FM presenters dressed up to raise awareness for Mental Health. In 2015 Hillz FM became an arts award charity. There was a project called imagine heritage between 2013-15. There was Hillzmas in 2014 and the Hillfields community festival in 2015, which was a part of the Positive images festival and the imagine Hillfields photography exhibition. There were awards given for people’s hard work in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in November 2014 and November 2015. These awards are given out each year. In April 2015 there was also a Ska fundraiser held by Hillz FM in the 2-Tone Village. This same year in November Hillz FM worked in partnership with the peace festival. In 2015 young people were invited to Hillz FM as part of the open days and BBC’s Trish Addu was there with her children. Also in 2015 Hillz FM celebrated 6 years of broadcasting on a permanent license. In May Hillz FM hosted the 2015 Earlsdon Festival. In April of 2015 Hillz FM’s first fundraiser of the year sells out. In 2015 NCS joined young Hillz to talk about fundraising. Hillz FM also attended Godiva festival. This year Hillz FM also hosted the college end of year festival in 2015. Fargo Village is somewhere where Hillz FM holds a lot of events and Fargo Village had its first birthday in 2015. Another thing to happen in 2015 Stephen Rimmer was interviewed in October. Hillz FM celebrated world radio day in February 2015.

In 2016/17 Hillz FM received funding for the young Hillz takeover which meant young people 8-18 could receive radio training and media training as well. This gave the young people new skills. Hillz FM celebrated world radio day in February 2016. C R A S H a live music set was on Hillz FM in 2016. In November 2016 as part of the peace festival young hillz participated in a peace writing course and they wrote scripts related to peace and also participated in some arts and crafts related to peace. The people also wrote peace messages on a tree painting- “community family tree” which was painted by a volunteer. There was also Hillzmas this year which is a festival in the square celebrating Christmas and children can visit Father Christmas for free. In 2017 the Hillfields library was put into WATCH Charity and this encouraged many of the young hillz to get a library card. In 2016 work schemes were also released such as Skillz with Hillz (formally Music Leads To Work) to help people gain training. In the AGM meeting young Hillz and volunteers in WATCH receive awards for their work. These awards take place each year.

In 2018 for the peace festival in November young Hillz created peace lamps and visited the cathedral in Coventry to learn about the history of Coventry and the Blitz. Young Hillz also created peace raps as well. Young Hillz also went to the Godiva festival being in the press pit of Jona Blue’s Performance to take photos and Hillz FM volunteers reported on the BBC biggest weekend interviewing Paloma Faith. The shoot festival which Hillz FM was apart of was back in 2018 for artists, performers, rappers, musicians or poets and many more. Hillz FM also participated in Community Fusion as well. In 2019 there were the AGM awards in November and the Hillfields community festival and also lots of other family days and a fundraiser at 2-Tone Village. Hillz FM also presented the Positive images

2020, the year of COVID-19.
Hillz FM has been producing pre-recorded shows so people can still have entertainment in lockdown.
It was a wonderful opportunity to be able to dig deeper into Hillz FM history. I hope you enjoyed learning more about your favourite radio station and looking back down memory lane. Everyone here at Hillz FM would like to thank our loyal listeners of the present and the past and people that have only recently started to listen to our station for always supporting us and for keeping 98.6 locked!

Article written by Aimee (15)

Presenter of Aimee’s Afternoon Show

Thursdays 4pm – 5pm