One in a million: Gary Johnson, of Cat 107.9 FM

Gary Johnson is one in a million. 

The Nantwich-based presenter at the community radio station Cat 107.9 FM is just some of the one million people already helped by the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund since it was launched in March 2020. Here’s his and the radio station’s story.

By day Gary Johnson is a specialist in R&D tax relief but between the hours of 7am-9am you’ll hear him on the airwaves of Cat 107.9 FM.

The Cat, as the radio station is affectionately known, has a catchment area of 170,000 with its hub being in and around Crewe and Nantwich.

The Cat is run by an army of 40 volunteers and the station has proved essential local listening, especially with its half-hourly Covid-19 updates.

However the not-for-profit-making South Cheshire community radio station faced going off air because of the pandemic until being awarded £2,500 by the Steve Morgan Foundation.

For Gary the grant has helped keep his breakfast show and the CAT on air during Covid-19.

He said: “It’s fair to say I fell into radio. I volunteered to help at the 2018 Nantwich Food Festival and ended up managing the two music stages.

“I then got involved in Cat 107.9 FM and started filling in when certain presenters were off. I kept asking if I could host the breakfast show and after an initial trial and 220 live shows later, the rest is history.

“We’re unashamedly local, whether it’s news, sport or music. It’s about making a difference and we’ve been able to get our message out during Covid-19.

“The Steve Morgan Foundation has been brilliant for us because the grant came at a time when the advertising, sponsorship and events we relied on dried up because of the pandemic.

“There are so many community radio stations folding because of Covid-19 however, with the fantastic help of the Foundation, we are able to continue to pay our licence fees and acquire the essential technical equipment needed to keep us going.”

Philanthropist and businessman Steve Morgan announced in March he would be giving up to £1m a week to charities in Merseyside, North Wales and Cheshire faced with a cash flow crisis as a result of Covid-19.

In the first eight weeks the Covid-19 Emergency Fund has made more than 400 awards to frontline charities and organisations – including Cat 107.9 FM – helping over one million people in the process.

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