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Gateway 97.8 Founder awarded BEM in King’s Birthday Honours

16th June 2024
Posted by Danny Lawrence

Gateway 97.8 Director and Founder Ros Connors has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the King’s Birthday Honours list.

Ros established the Basildon radio station in 2006 alongside the late Yvonne Williams. 

Connors, who started in broadcasting in 1988, has been awarded the BEM for services to radio broadcasting. Her first job was as a film librarian.

At Gateway, Ros oversees all shows and station programming. Ros developed a feature called Community Action, giving charities a platform and airtime to make their appeals and directly ‘speak’ to the community – over 100 charities have benefited from free airtime. 

Ros also introduced the Job Spot, a twice weekly opportunity for local people to apply for jobs through the station and on Sundays. Ros has developed programming specifically for the older community.

During her shows, Ros has conducted thousands of interviews and has dedicated over 2,000 hours volunteering per year. The radio station has also offered training to 7,000 young people. 

Today, the station is funded by grants from bodies such as the National Lottery and Children in Need, but was initially funded by Ros and co-founder and best friend Yvonne Williams. 

Ros Connors said: “It is awesome to be recognised in the King’s Birthday Honours for my work over the years bringing truly local radio to Basildon, and I also want to thank His Majesty and wish him well.  

“When I co-founded Gateway Community Media CIC in 2006 there was a plan, but one never really knows where the road is going to take you. Much of the radio station’s success of course is due to the wonderful team that it has built up.”

“Gateway is such a wonderful resource for Basildon. The radio station encourages young people who live in the area to consider a career in the media industry, and can provide the necessary training through a series of nationally recognised courses. Also it provides great entertainment with a diverse range of programmes.”

Gateway 97.8 Director Danny Lawrence added: “This is brilliant news for Ros. It is so well deserved. Everybody at Gateway 97.8 is so proud of her.”

Gateway 97.8 is based in the Eastgate Centre in Basildon. Ros Connors presents Drivetime and Sunday Delight. Listen at or on 97.8FM in Basildon and East Thurrock.