Aircheck UK - Yorkshire

UPDATED: 06/11/2005

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ENGLAND                                                                                                                                  

BBC LOCAL RADIO

BBC RADIO TEESIDE / BBC RADIO CLEVELAND: It was in 1971 that the station was first known as Radio Teeside, when it was launched with award-winning presenter George Lambell, broadcasting from it's studios in Middlesbrough's Linthorpe Road, with a large department store, Tower House, as a neighbour.  But there was no prominent glass frontage with glitzy reception at ground level for all to see.  Access to upstairs premises was via a large black door with a simple name badge to denote what lay behind it.  However, those who got through the door were led to two upper floors of facilities.  These facilities included a production area, two studios, the obligatory offices and an engineering workshop.  At launch, the service was only carried on a VHF (FM) frequency, but eventually, a AM (MW) frequency was allocated to begin wider covering across Teeside, Durham and North Yorkshire.  Programming was provided by both paid and volunteer broadcasters, the latter behind specialist programmes they fronted for the purely for the love of radio.

Radio Teeside became Radio Cleveland in 1974 and moved to new premises near Middlesbrough's Bus Station, on the banks of the River Tees.  The station is part of the regional broadcasting house serving Whitby in North Yorkshire to Seaham in County Durham and inland around the dales of Wear, Swale and Wensley.  It also serves the old railway town of Darlington, South Durham and Richmond in North Yorkshire, the home of the garrison.  

As you would expect with a BBC local station, there's a lot of speech - BBC Radio Cleveland is 70% speech.  The station name has some considerable history - the actual county of Cleveland was created in 1974 but 14 years on, it was split into four authorities, Middlesbrough, Hartlepool, Redcar and Stockton - a region renowned for heavy industriies that have been the heart of the region for generations.    Radio Cleveland broadcasts on 95.0FM from Bilsdale Moor, and 95.8FM from the Whitby transmitter.

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BBC RADIO HUMBERSIDE came on-air on 25th February 1971 from studios above the Post Office at Chapel Street in Hull, but local radio in the area goes back to pre-war days when the BBC set up a network of strangely named regional trial stations - 6KH broadcast from the City of Hull - the City also featured in the campaign for BBC Local Radio stations when a presenter, Frank Gillard recorded one of his trial programmes in the council chamber of the Guildhall.  However, it wasn't until 1971 that things really got moving and the service commenced for East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire - three years before the actual country of Humberside was created.  

Today, it covers The East Riding of Yorkshire, Hull, North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire, the main studio centres being Hull, Bridlington, Beverley, Grimsby (St. James House), Scunthorpe and Goole.  The breakfast show comes from both Hull and Grimsby studios.  Football coverage features Grimsby Town, Scunthorpe Utd and Hull City plus the there's also coverage of the two Hull Rugby League clubs - all aired to approximately 250,000 people on 95.9FM and 1485AM.  Plans are in place for a studio move to new premises.

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BBC RADIO LEEDS came to air on 24th June 1968 - largely to the surprise of an unsusppecting West Yorkshire audience.  The station was one of a small group of pioneering, experimental local radio stations that were partly paid for out of local council rates.  During the first few months, the station ran a greyhound, were accused of kidnapping singer Anita Harris, featured a talking budgie and launched a coffin in the high seas off Scarborough!   

Early programmes bewildered listeners but today, the audience almost take the station for granted.  Back in 1968, based in premises in the Merrion Centre, there was an Alan Bennett monologue and that all important talking budgie!  The 30th birthday for the station, in 1998 included a mass baking of cakes, concerts, and special broadcasts made from shopping centres across the county.  The station has more than 30,000 listeners listening on 92.4, 95.3 FM & 774AM and now broadcasts from studios at Woodhouse Lane in Leeds.   Of note, Martin Kelner, ex-Radio 2 late night presenter, is one of the BBC Radio Leeds team.   An  interesting fact is that in the 1990s, there was a suggestion that the station should be renamed BBC West Yorkshire FM - of course, it never happened!  

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BBC RADIO SHEFFIELD commenced it's service on 15th November 1967, but has evolved a great deal since then.  It is designed to serve South Yorkshire & North Derbyshire and the major areas of the two counties.  Satellite studios are based in Barnsley, Rotherham, Chesterfield, Doncaster and Worksop.  Actual station history is difficult to track, but the current programming speaks volumes anyway.  As with standard BBC stations, the public have ample time to discuss a point, or make enquiries for information from studio guests.  Live commentary comes from local sporting events, also as you would expect and there entertainment from the legendary Tony Capstick and his team every weekday morning from 9:00am.  There's also programming for the ethnic communities, plus jazz, folk, country and Indie specialist music programming and a religious perspective every Sunday morning too.  It broadcasts on 94.1FM from the Holme Moss transmitter, 88.6 for for Sheffield from Crosspool's transmitter, 94.7FM for Chesterfield and North Derbyshire, and on AM 1035 from Broadfield Road in Sheffield.  

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BBC RADIO YORK started broadcasting to England's biggest county on Independence Day, July 4th 1983, at the height of summer and in a way that it's predecessors would never have thought of.  Very rapidly, it captured the interest of almost 40% of the county's radio listeners. 

Altogether, there are about 750,000 people in North Yorkshire, living across two national parks and cathedral cities, forty miles of seaside coastline and with beautiful valleys in between.  Five district studios make up a nucleus of Radio York facilities in Scarborough, Harrogate, Malton, Northallerton and Selby, in order to quickly react to local news stories.  Local groups can advertise their events daily through the 'Information Exchange', assisted by village correspondents who channel information in to broadcast control.  Queries are forwarded to the station's action line, as varied as you can imagine, but with remarkable results from the public.  

Over the years, many of the presenters and reporters have gone on to national television stardom. Chris Choi
, first on Newsround, is now a regular on ITN summaries, whilst Nik Wood and Gerard Tubb are among those who now appear on BBC TV and SKY TVRadio York is now subheaded under the BBC North Yorkshire banner, and broadcasts on 95.5, 103.7 and 104.3FM, plus AM frequencies of 666 and 1260 from studios at 20 Bootham Row, in York. It won a Sony Gold award in 2001 and a Silver in 2002.

COMMERCIAL:

RADIO AIRE 362 / RADIO AIRE / AIRE FM / RADIO AIRE FM / 96.3 RADIO AIRE is the hit music station for Leeds consisting of local and national news and full match commentaries of Leeds United in particular.  Transmissions started on 1st September 1981, with current broadcasts coming from studios at 51, Burley Road in Leeds.  It is part of EMAP Performance Group having been acquired in 1995.  Over it's history, it started off as Radio Aire, then became AIRE-FM, AIRE 96.3 but now holds station as 96.3 Radio Aire.  The station has won many awards including Sony Gold for presenters Si James and Hill in the afternoon and another Sony Gold Community Award.  It forms part of EMAP's Big City Network, one of the leading radio networks for UK 15-34 year-olds. It forms part of EMAP plc's music radio, magazines, television and events group, which includes magazines like Kerrang!, Mixmag, Mojo Q, and Smash Hits.

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RADIO AIRE 362 / RADIO AIRE / MAGIC 828 (Leeds): Transmissions started on 1st September 1981, with current broadcasts coming from studios at 51, Burley Road in Leeds.  When the IBA stipulated a requirement for simulcasting stations to separate their FM and AM services or face losing one of them, the MAGIC brand went to air on the old Radio Aire 828 AM frequency on the morning of 17th July 1990.  Five years on, and EMAP Performance Group took control of a swathe of northern radio stations, mostly the old Metro Radio Group, and it is from here that the brand began to develop.  At the outset, the name was merely another oldies brand, but with the development of the AM band as the home of oldies stations, MAGIC has evolved into a mix of music from all eras, of appeal to a more discerning, mature audience - there are memorable tunes from yesteryear as well as some of today's more melodic chart tunes from both young and old artists and groups.  

As with all stations in the brand group, this one focuses on the issues most affecting the social lives of 35-44 year olds who live in the Leeds, Wakefield, Pontefract & Castleford areas.  The local programming elements, i.e. not those of the majority broadcast on a networked basis, come from 51, Burley Road in Leeds.    www.magic828.co.uk.  

 

BRID 105 / BRID 102.4 / YORKSHIRE COAST RADIO: In October 1998, the Radio Authority invited applications for a new radio licence for the Bridlington area of Yorkshire.  By the closing date of 23rd February 1999, two applications had been received, those being from Brid 105 (Bridlington Radio Ltd), and Quay FM (Quay Broadcasting Ltd).  Both applications were considered with reference to the stations which were already serving the area, those being 96.9 Viking FM and Magic 1161AM (EMAP) for Humberside, Galaxy 105, the regional dance station owned by Chrysalis with reference also made to the neighbouring Yorkshire Coast Radio, which was audible in some parts of Bridlington.  Both applicant groups had been around for some time, Quay FM operated a trial broadcast from 8th August 1992, for 28 days, however, on research, we can find no reference to any Brid 105 trials.  Nevertheless, both had built up significant levels of support for their respective bids.  

On announcing the winner as Brid 105 on 30th June 1999, the RA members referred to the transmission area, at the time, being the third smallest in England, with a population of only 35,000, and felt that the winning bidder offered the financial security and management expertise to enable the service to be maintained.  In their application, Brid 105 proposed to provide 11 hours per weekday and 4 hours at the weekend of locally-originated programming, with the rest coming from Scarborough or York, i.e from sister stations - more on the backing of the bid follows.  Speech content was deemed to be relatively high at 25%, with music consisting of classic hits from the 70s, 80s, and (then) 90s with some contemporary hits and 60s material.  The RA figured this proposal would broaden choice in the area as well as providing a service of widespread popular appeal.  

The bid was backed by Minster Sound Radio, then the owner of Minster FM in York and Yorkshire Coast Radio in Scarborough.  Ninety per cent of the funding came from Minster with management skills coming from both stations.  Members accepted that the Brid FM service would largely be a satellite station of Yorkshire Coast Radio, but considered this to be appropriate. 

The station launched as Brid 102.4 on 7th November 1999, but later adopted the name of it's nearby coastal sister station, and quickly became Yorkshire Coast Radio - 'Bridlington's Best'.   Minster Sound Radio plc was built from the original Minster Sound station in York and in the space of ten years, the group included Huddersfield FM / Home 107.9 for Huddersfield, and Yorkshire Coast Radio.  Shareholders in the group latterly included GWR Group plc and Radio Investments Ltd (RIL).

In November 1999, GWR (owning 20.01%) and Radio Investments (already holding 29.99%) acquired the remaining 50% of Minster Sound Radio, for around �.  In February 2000, at a time where the group's stations had achieved good RAJAR results and good financial performance, Martyn Rose resigned as chairman when the ownership of the company was consolidated and its two largest shareholders, GWR and Radio Investments took joint control and the group was formally sold.  The deal was worth �75 per share.

GWR's difficulty with the Radio Authority's station ownership restrictions was probably a contributing factor, when, in December 2000, GWR disposed of their shareholdings in Minster Radio Group, TLRC (The Local Radio Company) & Harrogate's Stray FM to Radio InvestmentsGWR had owned 20% of TLRC, and exchanged this stake and it's 49% part of Minster and Stray for a 20% stake in RILGWR also took a seat on the board of RILRIL meanwhile is mainly owned by Guardian Media Group and Caledonia Investments.  RIL who have now taken away any previous brandings and logos instead rolling out the standard blue, white & yellow logo as befits all group stations.  An example can be seen by clicking on the RIL links, or by visiting the station's current site, as is shown below.  

2003 Weekday programming on the station includes 'The Gold Coast', from 09:00-10:00 featuring non-stop classic hits and a mystery year, a 15-minute news bulletin at 1:00pm, followed by 'All Hit Lunch', another mix of non-stop hits, another news bulletin, this time of ten minutes at 6:00pm, followed by music and entertainment news until 7:00pm, and a late show around midnight from 11:00pm to 1:00am (stars at 10:00pm on Fridays.)  Continuous music airs through the night.  At weekends, there's a regular local CD chart show, coverage of Scarborough, Whitby and Bridlington FC games, a Saturday night Beach Party of 'feel good' songs and another late show from 10:00pm to 1:00am. 

As part of it's licence remit, and as per it's application, at least 8 hours must be locally produced and presented during weekdays and 4 hours during weekends.  The station is music-led, also providing regular local news for the Bridlington and Scarborough areas, at least hourly during daytime as well as regional, national and international news, what's on, tourist entertainment guides, local public service information, features, interviews and live outside broadcasts.  The music played on the station is of a wide variety, no more than 40% of the output should be made up from hits of the last two or three years.  There should be an extended news bulletin each weekday lasting at least 15 minutes.   www.yorkshirecoastradio.com 

See also Yorkshire Coast Radio (Scarborough) below.  

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CLASSIC GOLD / MAGIC 990 / MAGIC 1548 / MAGIC 1305 is another part of the EMAP MAGIC network with this part having studios at Radio House, 900 Herries Road, Sheffield - to serve South Yorkshire and the North Midlands.  In particular, the service covers major towns of Doncaster, Rotherham, Chesterfield, Barnsley, Worksop and parts of the Peak District National Park.  

The MAGIC brand stations play quality, laid back songs 24 hours a day to their respective areas, and is aimed to be the ideal choice of listening when it's time to unwind.  Only well known songs from big names are played with a mix both older and newer songs.  Chat is kept to a minimum, however, international, national and local news and sport is aired at the times expected.  In a survey carried out independently, it was found that 7 out of 10 new MAGIC listeners quickly made the station their first choice when turning the radio on - and this matches the station's aims - i.e. to be personal to listeners.  

CLASSIC GOLD 1278/1530: See PENNINE RADIO. 

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DEARNE FM: On 15th February 2002, the Radio Authority advertised a new local radio licence for Barnsley and as much of the metropolitan area as feasibly possible considering technical data.  By the closing date of 28th May 2002, six applicants had submitted applications.  Dearne FM Ltd (Lincs FM plc), Locke FM (Radio Barnsley Ltd), Oakwell FM Ltd, FM 102 The Point (Cottage Broadcasting Ltd), Select FM (Barnsley FM Ltd) and Tyke FM Radio Ltd.

After a period of consideration, on 10th January 2003, the Radio Authority awarded the new eight year local radio FM licence to Dearne FM Ltd who proposed 'a truly local radio station from the Barnsley Borough, for the Barnsley Borough, with a high quality local news and information service that puts Barnsley first, with a popular and distinctive blend of music - a station that puts the people of the Barnsley Borough at the centre of everything it does and appeals to adults and children alike.'

In making their decision, the Radio Authority reflected that Barnsley was highly likely to be a difficult area in which to establish and maintain a new radio service.  The RA also said that a station would be challenged by the local economy conditions, and the fact that the area was well-served by existing commercial radio stations, these being two local and two regional services, as well as a number of local newspapers.  To this end, the Members of the deciding panel concluded that the Dearne FM bid provided the most realistic set of proposals.  They remarked on a good business plan with 'sensible' revenue and cost estimates deemed to be consistent with a company which 'knows it's business and the local constraints on the market', referring to geographically close, existing stations in the mother group's portfolio (see below) and the resources already utilised in operating these stations.  

Programming proposals were deemed 'realistic and achievable', i.e. a good mix of music from the past four decades, with tracks from the 60s and 70s taking up at least 20% of the output.  The difference between Dearne FM and it's competitors came in the lack of reliance on chart music and the amount of pre-1980s music of the winning bid, thus adhering to the Radio Authority's aims to broaden listener choice.  A specialist country music programme, part of the schedule, was also praised.  

Speech content is set at a minimum of 15% of weekday daytime output, with standard features of travel, local weather, what's on and of course, news coverage, the latter coming from journalists based in Barnsley.  Three trial broadcasts were operated in the area from 1999, which received a considerable level of support from individual listeners, who expressed their gratitude with letters of support for Dearne FM particularly, rather than support for a local station in any guise.  

The team behind the station were naturally overjoyed for both themselves and the local listeners who had previously used services in Sheffield and Leeds..  The station began test transmissions in early September 2003, but officially launched 5th October on 97.1 (Penistone) and 102FM (Ardsley) for Penistone & the Dearne Valley from Barnsley studios with a 'hits and memories' format - a mix from the Sixties to the present day.  Other than news and the standard features referred to above, the speech content of the service also includes a short daily feature aimed at children reflecting what's going on in local schools (each weekday during breakfast); a short weekly feature giving news and views from local churches and/or local religious groups (during Sunday breakfast); and a daily mentions and dedications feature for people celebrating their birthday (during breakfast).  A programme featuring a mixture of music and sport is broadcast on Saturday afternoons.

The station covers the following areas: Barnsley Borough, Penistone, Cudworth, Wombwell, Royston, Dodsworth and Worsbrough.  Dearne FM is part of Lincs FM plc which includes Yorkshire stations Trax FM (Doncaster & Bassetlaw), Ridings FM (Wakefield), Lincs FM (Lincolnshire), Fosseway Radio (Nuneaton & Hinckley, Leicestershire), Compass FM (North Lincs) and Rutland Radio (Stamford and Rutland).   www.dearnefm.co.uk 

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FRESH AM / FRESH RADIO: See YORKSHIRE DALES RADIO below.

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RADIO HALLAM / HALLAM FM: South Yorkshire's Radio Hallam is another of the old school of commercial radio, having launched on 1st October 1974.  In the May prior to launch, Keith Skues took the job of Programme Controller of Radio Hallam, moving on to be a full board member - he went on to become the longest serving Programme Controller in Independent Local Radio during 1980. 1987 saw the merger of Hallam with two other Yorkshire stations, Pennine (which later became The Pulse) and Hull's Viking Radio upon which time, Keith became programme consultant.  Classic Gold (later to become Magic) commenced AM broadcasting across the trio of stations in the May of 1989 and here, Keith was a presenter as well as controller.  His Sunday show received the highest audience figures across the group according to JICRAR. He remained with Hallam until he joined BBC Radio in the Eastern Counties in 1995.   During the eighties, the station's jingles (produced by Alfasound) featured the vocals of Jimmy Helms who had previously had a hit with 'Gonna Make You An Offer You Can't Refuse' and who was also the lead singer with Londonbeat (I've Been Thinking About You).

It's now part of EMAP Performance Group's Big City Network but was formerly part of the Metro Radio Group, as acquired by EMAP partially in 1990 and fully in 1995, along with Newcastle's Metro Radio, Hull's Viking Radio and Teeside's TFM. Radio Hallam spawned the career of Daryl Denham who went on to work in the same format for West Midlands Regional station 100.7 Heart FM and then onto Virgin Radio. In 2002, the station name was included as sponsorship of the Sheffield Arena which is now the Hallam FM Arena.   Hallam FM currently broadcasts on three frequencies: 97.4 (Sheffield - it's original transmitter from 1974), 102.9 (Barnsley) & 103.4 (Doncaster) from studios at Radio House, 900 Herries Road in Sheffield with a format consisting of chart & adult contemporary music, sport, phone-ins & news.

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HUDDERSFIELD FM / HOME FM: Having launched as Huddersfield FM 1st March 1998, and formerly backed by Minster Radio Group, it now comes under the Radio Investments Ltd family of stations.  The name change came after some financial difficulties for Huddersfield FM - today, as Home 107.9, it targets the 30-55 year old audience of the area with a mix of classics from the last four decades, interspersed with hits from recent years.  It broadcasts from studios at The Old Stableblock, Lockwood Park, Huddersfield.  Community output is prominent on the station with content reflecting the diversity of the local populus, with Afro/Caribbean, and Irish programming plus around 90 minutes per day in Hindustani, Urdu or English as appropriate with weekend programmes mainly in Urdu, Punjabi or English.  Specialist programmes feature outside of mainstream daytime output.

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MAGIC 1161:  See Viking Radio / Viking GOLD. 

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MINSTER RADIO / MINSTER SOUND / MINSTER FM: York's commercial radio station has had a quiet but nonetheless interesting life since it launched on 4th July 1992.  In just ten years, the station built itself up into Minster Sound Radio plc, consisting of Huddersfield's Home FM, and the two Yorkshire Coast Radio stations for Bridlington and Scarborough.  The group headquarters were based at Chessingham House, Chessingham Park, Dunnington, in York.  One of the co-founders alongside long standing radio manager, Lynn Bell was the aptly named Martyn Rose - also chairman of Minster Sound Radio plc.  The station is primarily targeted at the 25-45 age group with secondary audience of 45-55 year olds during the daytime and the 15-25 year olds during the evenings.  Musically, it plays new releases and current hits mixed with 80s & 90s tunes.  

Minster FM is a Sony Award-winning station, scooping a Silver in 1999 for a five week promotion 'Expect the Unexpected' for Nestl�'s new savoury chocolate snack Pretzel Flips.  Listeners were invited to contact the station with 'things they've always wanted to do even though they didn't perhaps know why' - selected entries were later surprised on-air, and their dreams were brought to life.  

Having launched in 1992, still operating as Minster FM & Minster Sound Radio plc, along with it's Chairperson, Lynn Bell, it was re-awarded it's licence for another eight years on 3rd June 1999 to run from 4th July 2000.  It was re-awarded under the Radio Authority's Fast-track procedure, which is relevant as long as the station formally reapplies, submits a suitable application, and agrees not to change the format.  

In November 1999, GWR (owning 20.01%) and Radio Investments (already holding 29.99%) acquired the remaining 50% of Minster Sound Radio, for around �.  In February 2000, at a time where the group's stations had achieved good RAJAR results and good financial performance, Martyn Rose resigned as chairman when the ownership of the company was consolidated and its two largest shareholders, GWR and Radio Investments took joint control and the group was formally sold.  The deal was worth �75 per share.

GWR's difficulty with the Radio Authority's station ownership restrictions was probably a contributing factor, when, in December 2000, GWR disposed of their shareholdings in Minster, TLRC (The Local Radio Company) & Harrogate's Stray FM to Radio InvestmentsGWR had owned 20% of TLRC, and exchanged this stake and it's 49% part of Minster and Stray for a 20% stake in RILGWR also took a seat on the board of RILRIL meanwhile is mainly owned by Guardian Media Group and Caledonia Investments.  RIL who have now taken away the separate 'Yorkshire Rose' branding instead rolling out the standard blue, white & yellow logo as befits all group stations.  An example can be seen by clicking on the RIL links, or by visiting the station's current site, as is shown below.  

For the station's 10th birthday, Independence Day July 4th 2002, the station broadcast live from the studios of WPLJ  in New York.  September 2002's RAJAR figures showed the station had 92,000 adults aged 25-54 tuning in on a regular basis.  

Today, Minster FM broadcasts from studios at the original Dunnington studios on the Thirsk transmitter of 102.3 & it's original 1992 frequency of 104.7 in York.  

www.minster-sound-radio.co.uk (original site)    www.minsterfm.com (RIL & current site)

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PENNINE RADIO 235  / PENNINE FM / THE PULSE: Not to be confused with a company working in transformers, electronics and sheet metal working that exists today (!!!), Pennine Radio was the brainchild of Steve Harris and Terry Bate, the latter being a founder member of  Metro Radio in Newcastle and Radio Trent in Nottingham.  It launched on September 16th 1975, with the one and only Steve Merike at the controls,  in a period which can arguably be called the birth of commercial radio.  

Little can be found on the history of Pennine Radio - all that is known is that it was apart of the Viking, Hallam & Pennine network, operated by the now defunct Transworld Communications Ltd, along with the very first form of Classic Gold, then just a small gold station by itself, as the Yorkshire Radio Network.  In 1991, EMAP, having just taken control of Metro Radio Group, took a small stake in Transworld, taking over 2 million sharesIn the same year, Transworld were forced, by new legislation, to split FM & AM networks - whilst Viking & Hallam continued on FM, Great Yorkshire Gold was heard on the AM frequencies.  PENNINE FM became THE PULSE in 1991 with Great Yorkshire Gold heard on the old Pennine 235 AM frequency.   

In 1994, EMAP took full control of all Transworld Communications radio businesses which included RED ROSE in Preston and RED DRAGON in Cardiff, Manchester's Piccadilly and Aire in Leeds.  A year later, in the November of 1995 to be precise, moving further towards the creation of their 'Big City' network, it was quite a surprise, (especially as the station had been part of the same group for so long) when EMAP sold both The Pulse and Great Yorkshire Gold to The Radio Partnership for �6m.  Earlier the same year, they'd paid �.7m for the Metro Radio Group.  It was evident then that both The Pulse and Great Yorkshire Gold didn't fit in with great EMAP scheme of things.  For another four years, The Radio Partnership operated The Pulse without too much drama, until 1999 when The Wireless Group acquired The Radio Partnership.  The once swallowing was then swallowed!

The link with Pennine hasn't been lost completely though, as the station continues to broadcast from Pennine House, in Forster Square, Bradford, on two frequencies.  97.5 (the original transmitter for Bradford) and 102.5FM (Halifax & Huddersfield) with a format of contemporary and classic hits, with strong commitment to local news and information.            www.pulse.co.uk 

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PENNINE RADIO / GREAT YORKSHIRE GOLD / WEST YORKSHIRE'S CLASSIC GOLD / CLASSIC GOLD 1278 & 1530 / BIG AM / WEST YORKSHIRE'S CLASSIC GOLD / PULSE CLASSIC GOLD: Not to be confused with a company working in transformers, electronics and sheet metal working that exists today (!!!), Pennine Radio was the brainchild of Steve Harris and Terry Bate, the latter being a founder member of Metro Radio in Newcastle and Radio Trent in Nottingham.  It launched on September 16th 1975, with the one and only Steve Merike at the controls,  in a period which can arguably be called the birth of commercial radio.  

Little can be found on the history of Pennine Radio - all that is known is that it was apart of the Viking, Hallam & Pennine network, operated by the now defunct Transworld Communications Ltd, along with the very first form of Classic Gold, then just a small gold station by itself, as the Yorkshire Radio Network.  In 1991, EMAP, having just taken control of Metro Radio Group, took a small stake in Transworld, taking over 2 million sharesIn the same year, Transworld were forced, by new legislation, to split FM & AM networks - whilst Viking & Hallam continued on FM, Great Yorkshire Gold was heard on the AM frequencies.  PENNINE FM became THE PULSE in 1991 with Great Yorkshire Gold heard on the old Pennine 235 AM frequency.   

In 1994, EMAP took full control of all Transworld Communications radio businesses which included RED ROSE in Preston and RED DRAGON in Cardiff, Manchester's Piccadilly and Aire in Leeds.  A year later, in the November of 1995 to be precise, moving further towards the creation of their 'Big City' network, it was quite a surprise, (especially as the station had been part of the same group for so long) when EMAP sold both The Pulse and Great Yorkshire Gold to The Radio Partnership for �6m.  Earlier the same year, they'd paid �.7m for the Metro Radio Group.  It was evident then that both The Pulse and Great Yorkshire Gold didn't fit in with great EMAP scheme of things.  For another four years, The Radio Partnership operated The Pulse without too much drama, until 1999 when The Wireless Group acquired The Radio Partnership.  The once swallowing was then swallowed!

The BIG AM name was an attempt to create a challenging brand to the other 'gold radio' networks, but it never really came off, and all stations in the group's portfolio reverted back to their previous names.  BIG AM reverted back to Classic Gold and more recently adopted the moniker of it's sister FM station - Pulse, to become Pulse Classic Gold.

The link with Pennine hasn't been lost completely though, as the station continues to broadcast from Pennine House, in Forster Square, Bradford, on two frequencies.  1278 (the original transmitter for Bradford) and 1530 (Halifax/Huddersfield) with a format of classic hits and oldies, with strong commitment to local news and information.  It is one of only two Classic Gold stations NOT owned by GWR, the other non-GWR station being Muff Murfin's station in Worcestershire.      www.wycg.co.uk / http://pulseclassicgold.co.uk/ 

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RIDINGS FM: On 3rd October 1999, probably the best radio group in the UK got one size bigger when Ridings FM took to the air on 106.8, to serve Wakefield and the five towns that surround it.  Previously, a trial service operated from 11th October 1997 on 87.7FM.  The station, owned by Lincs FM plc operates their familiar 'hits and memories' format with music from four decades plus local news, sport and weather, competitions, dedications, and of course, personality and conversation.  The station's website (see link below) quotes that they 'don't just play the same couple of hundred songs over and over again.  Our comprehensive music library holds over 5,000 songs ranging from the early 1960's right through to the best of the latest chart hits.'  Having a jibe at another radio group maybe? Who cares - if you've got it, flaunt it!  The station's official details lodged with the Radio Authority state that music programming will be a spread of adult contemporary hits from the sixties/seventies through to the present day.  Tracks less than two years old should never make up more than half the music output.  Specialist music programmes for the target audience, which complement the main music mix, may be broadcast in non daytime.

Hourly news bulletins containing local news must run at least during peak-time. National news will feature at other times. Speech should account for at least 15% of daytime output.  On the 2nd May 2000, at the Sony Awards, Ridings FM won Bronze in the News Awards Category for it's News at Six show.    www.ridingsfm.co.uk 

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97.2 STRAY FM a local radio service for the Yorkshire town of Harrogate and surrounding areas.  Geographically, the town in in the southern part of it's intended broadcast area, with only Wetherby and Boston Spa more southerly.  In it's northern reach are the towns of Ripon, Masham and Lofthouse, Pately Bridge and Boroughbridge.  Knaresborough is the only other major town missing from this list.  However, it's signal is also intended to reach an outer transmission radius covering York, Skipton, Otley & Thirsk.  This service commenced broadcasting on 4th July 1994 from studios at The Hamlet, Hornbeam Park Avenue, Harrogate.  Another of the Radio Investments Group, featuring the standard blue, yellow & white logo with the yellow circles, RAJAR/IPSOS-RSL December 2001 audience figures show 57,400 listeners every week - with Stray stating this beats every other national and local service including all the BBC networks, the local BBC service (York), TFM, Magic 1170, Classic FM, Talk Sport, Virgin Radio, Galaxy 105 & 105-106 and Century. This is therefore quite a claim on any count.  Stray FM provides a 1 hour early Breakfast show from 6:00am, with other programming including a non-stop music sweep from 6:00pm and a late show which runs up to 11:00pm.  Sustaining continuous music fills the gap Monday to Thursday.  Friday programming differs with the late show running up to 10:00pm and a late night phone-in from 10:00pm-1:00am.  Saturday programming slims down the amount of slots, breakfast starting at 6:00am with a further three shows leading up a sustaining services from 10:00pm.  Finally on Sunday, of note there's a late night Solid Gold show with music from the 60's, 70's and 80's from 8:00pm-Midnight.

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SUNRISE FM: First airing 9th December 1989, this station serves a large ethnic population of the Bradford area on 103.2FM from studios at Sunrise House 30 Chapel Street in the quaintly named Little Germany district of the City.  It is part of the varying levels of the Sunrise Radio network which can also be heard on AM and Satellite and on this licence, goes under the management name of Bradford City Radio Ltd.  In October 2000, the station unsuccessfully applied for a wide reaching regional licence that was later won by GMG's Variety FM, later to become Real Radio.  

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RADIO TEES / TFM: One of the oldest and most established commercial radio stations in the UK, Radio Tees began broadcasting across Teeside from it's Stockton-On-Tees studios at 74 Dovecot Street at 5:58am on 24th June 1975 as the twelfth ILR station.  However, for the first couple of months, it was heard only on AM 1170kHz.  This was due to continuing engineering work on the FM (VHF) transmitter.  Finally though, FM transmissions commenced on 95.0 - which allowed the station to bed in even further.  In 1986 Metro Radio Group took over Radio Tees and the IBA agreed a merger between the 3 Yorkshire stations Hallam, Pennine and Viking.  

During 1991 to 1992, the entire Radio Tees broadcast set up was transferred from Dovecot Street to a purpose-built 11,000 sq. ft studio and office facility in Stockton - the Dovecot Street studios became recording studios after purchase.  In 1995, EMAP, a dominant northern newspaper & magazine publishing business, paid a whopping �.7m for Metro Radio Group, which included TFM.

In January 1998, led by Brian Lister, (who'd become programme controller in October 1986), then (1988) one of the station's senior managers, the station re-launched as TFM - this was just one year before the FM/AM split.  TFM broadcasts on 96.6FM in Teesside, County Durham and North Yorkshire, including Darlington, Hartlepool, Stockton, Middlesbrough, through to Castleton and Northalleron.  Transmissions emanate from studios at Radio House, Yale Crescent, Thornaby, Stockton-on-Tees.

RADIO TEES / GREAT NORTH RADIO / MAGIC 1170: Management at Metro Radio Group launched an AM station, Great North Radio on April 8th 1989 for Teeside and Tyneside - Metro's AM frequency of 261metres, 1152kHz and Radio Tees' AM frequency of 1170kHz.  Great North Radio had a potential audience of 2,140,000 people.  In 1995, EMAP, a dominant northern newspaper & magazine publishing business, paid a whopping �.7m for Metro Radio Group - who, in February 1998, dropped the Great North Radio name and format, instead rolling out their easy listening GOLD radio brand MAGIC, so prevalently heard on EMAP's northern AM radio frequencies, and in London on FM.  The change of name was probably of great relief to station management and staff who probably quite frequently received telephone calls from people asking for train times, when they actually should have called GNER rather than GNR!

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TRAX FM: The name Trax FM was first heard around Doncaster on 107.4 - (then a well-known frequency to trial service broadcasters - at this time Trax FM was just that - trialing the viability of a service for the area) from 17th May to 13th June 1997, and again from 28th November to 24th December 1997.  In June 1998, the Radio Authority invited applications for a radio licence for the area.  By the closing date of 6th October 1998, just three applications had been received.  Doncaster 107FM (Danum Broadcasting Co. Ltd), DFM (Danum FM Ltd), and Trax FM (Trax FM Ltd).  Having considered the content of all three applications, it subsequently awarded a licence to the latter.  The area was already served by Hallam FM, Magic AM and the regional service Galaxy 105.  Some members of the public could also receive Viking FM and Magic 1161 for Humberside.  All services, bar the Galaxy service (owned by Chrysalis Radio) were owned by EMAP.  In making it's award decision, the Radio Authority noted what it described as 'a long and active history of commitment to the Doncaster area' and it's trial broadcasts, and it's first application for licence in the area back in 1995.  It considered that the work done had generated a considerable level of support from local decision-makers and the public.  Financially, the bid had the backing of the mighty Lincs FM plc - the RA felt that their financial forrecasts were a little optimistic but acknowledged the benefit of the mother group's resources for selling air-time (advertising).  The financial input allayed the RA's fears.  This station would, when on-air share some programming with it's sister station in Nottinghamshire, but the Radio Authority did not feel this would detract from the service's relevance and appeal.  

Trax FM (Doncaster) began tests in the August of 1999 and launched fully on 5th September 1999.  Described by the station management, Trax FM is a vibrant, adult contemporary radio station providing a broad blend of music and speech. It is aimed at adults aged between 25 and 54 but considers a family audience, acknowledging that children may be listening.  Presenters are real people who live and work in the area they broadcast to, reflecting the lives of the listeners.  

Trax FM (Doncaster) operates on 107.1FM and is a music and information station aimed primarily at 25-54 year olds in the Doncaster area, with a strong commitment to local news.  Music programming features a spread of adult contemporary hits from the sixties, seventies and eighties through to the present day.  Hits less than one year old are quoted in the licence remit as never making up more than 45% of the music output.  Specialist music programmes for the target audience, but of appeal to all, are broadcast out of peak-time hours.  News is broadcast hourly including local and regional news which must, under the terms of the licence, run at least during peak time.  National news is broadcast at other times.  Speech content accounts for at least 20% of daytime output.  

Perhaps most importantly of all, the difference between Trax (and for that matter, all Lincs FM plc stations) and other stations who profess to be local, but actually are no more than stations in a locality is simple:  programming is locally produced and presented 24 hours a day with the licence remit only referring to the occasional use of syndicated programmes, i.e. for example, Hit40 UK - a commercial radio norm.  It's sister station broadcasts on 107.9 to the Nottinghamshire districts of Bassetlaw and Worksop.                      www.traxfm.co.uk  

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VIKING RADIO / 96.9 VIKING FM:  Viking Radio came on air on 17th April 1984 on 102.7 vhf, 1161kHz, 258metres MW/AM targeting 15-34 year olds.  It was designed to provide an exciting and colourful new service of entertainment and information for listeners and advertisers.  The early presenter line up included Les Smith, David Fowster, Dave Jamieson Steve King, Kerry Evans and Mark Allen.  After less than six months on air, and with approximately 50% of it's target audience listening, the station extended it's hours to give listeners in East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire a better service.  Transmissions then started at 5:00am rather than the previous 5:30am, with the end of transmissions extended from 10:00pm previously up to midnight.  This took programming up to 19 hours per day.  and moved due to frequency changes and currently broadcasts from studios at Commercial Road in Hull.  operates for the Humberside area and is another of the EMAP Performance Group stations.n 1995, EMAP purchased the station along with others in the Metro Group - Metro Radio in Newcastle, Viking Radio in Hull, TFM in Teesside and Radio Hallam in Sheffield.  On 1st May 1989, the simulcasting stopped and Viking Gold was created on the AM frequency.  

Viking now has a potential audience of 1.1million people, and has won many awards in it's time on air.  It forms part of EMAP's Big City Network, one of the leading radio networks for UK 15-34 year-olds. It forms part of EMAP plc's music radio, magazines, television and events group, which includes magazines like Kerrang!, Mixmag, Mojo Q, and Smash Hits.  

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VIKING RADIO / VIKING GOLD / CLASSIC GOLD / MAGIC 1161:  Viking Radio came on air on 17th April 1984 on 102.7 vhf, 1161kHz, 258metres MW/AM targeting 15-34 year olds.  It was designed to provide an exciting and colourful new service of entertainment and information for listeners and advertisers.  The early presenter line up included Les Smith, David Fowster, Dave Jamieson Steve King, Kerry Evans and Mark Allen.  After less than six months on air, and with approximately 50% of it's target audience listening, the station extended it's hours to give listeners in East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire a better service.  Transmissions then started at 5:00am rather than the previous 5:30am, with the end of transmissions extended from 10:00pm previously up to midnight.  This took programming up to 19 hours per day.  and moved due to frequency changes and currently broadcasts from studios at Commercial Road in Hull.  

At the end of 1988, as one of the first radio stations to split it's AM & FM frequencies, Viking Gold was created on 1161kHz AM - it's life was short lived as by 1st May 1989, it became Classic Gold - and was networked to Hull, Bradford and Sheffield.  Very quickly, this particular version, indeed the first version of Classic Gold, quickly found it's feet and to such an extent infact that it was even beating local FM stations in all the three areas.  Figures from the time showed that each listener was tuning in for an average of 13 hours per day, with a reach of 37-39% reach across the group.  It is believed that this success formed the basis of the Classic Gold format as currently operated in the main by GWR.  The station operated using the selections of experienced, mature and knowledgeable presenters - i.e. no computer - or men in suits selecting the tracks, hence, a wide variety of oldies was heard, without the same old tired repetition on the oldies stations of today.  Classic Gold 1161 was snapped up by Metro Radio Group which latterly came under the control of current owners EMAP Performance Group in 1995.  In turn, the MAGIC brand was rolled out and this in turn led to a greater level of networking and less localised programming.  www.magic1161.co.uk 

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YORKSHIRE COAST RADIO (BRIDLINGTON): See BRID 105 above.  

YORKSHIRE COAST RADIO (SCARBOROUGH): In April 1993, having previously advertised the licence in late 1992, two groups applied for a new FM radio licence for Scarborough - All Music Radio and Yorkshire Coast Radio.  Despite there being a separately advertised licence on AM for the area at the time, there were no bidders!

Backed and launched by Minster Sound Radio plc, this particular station began broadcasting on 96.2FM for Scarborough and Filey on 7th November 1993.  A year later, a relay transmitter on 103.1 was switched on for Whitby.  The station was founded by the widely renowned ex-Radio Caroline (and others) man Paul Rusling.  Minster Sound Radio plc was built from the original Minster Sound station in York and in the space of ten years, the group included Huddersfield FM / Home 107.9 for Huddersfield, and Yorkshire Coast Radio.  Shareholders in the group latterly included GWR Group plc and Radio Investments Ltd (RIL).

In November 1999, GWR (owning 20.01%) and Radio Investments (already holding 29.99%) acquired the remaining 50% of Minster Sound Radio, for around �.  In February 2000, at a time where the group's stations had achieved good RAJAR results and good financial performance, Martyn Rose resigned as chairman when the ownership of the company was consolidated and its two largest shareholders, GWR and Radio Investments took joint control and the group was formally sold.  The deal was worth �75 per share.

In June 2000, almost towards the end of the eight year licence, the Radio Authority invited parties to submit declarations of intent to apply for the Scarborough radio licence, with the existing one expiring on 6th November 2001.  At the time, Yorkshire Coast Radio was serving around 80,000 people over 15 years of age across the Scarborough and Whitby area, with a classic hit radio service - the licence was still held by Minster Sound Radio plc, and was continuing to operate on 103.1 & 96.2FM.  Under the terms of the Broadcasting Act, interested parties including the existing licence holder, had until 4th July 2000 to submit a declaration of intent to apply for the new licence.  Where a contesting bid came in, full re-licensing procedures would be implemented, however, if the sole applicant was the existing licence holder, they would be allowed to submit a 'fast-track' application - meaning that subject to them NOT changing format, they would be highly likely to be allowed to continue subject to paying the appropriate fees.  Applications for the licence cost �0 plus a refundable deposit of �,000, only refundable on receipt of a full and valid application in response to the advertisement of the licence.  

By July 16th, the existing licence holder was the sole applicant, and had until mid-August 2000 to submit proposals for the new licence period.  The application was made, and the licence subsequently re-awarded with business as usual.  

GWR's difficulty with the Radio Authority's station ownership restrictions was probably a contributing factor, when, in December 2000, GWR disposed of their shareholdings in Minster Radio Group, TLRC (The Local Radio Company) & Harrogate's Stray FM to Radio InvestmentsGWR had owned 20% of TLRC, and exchanged this stake and it's 49% part of Minster and Stray for a 20% stake in RILGWR also took a seat on the board of RILRIL meanwhile is mainly owned by Guardian Media Group and Caledonia Investments.  RIL who have now taken away any previous brandings and logos instead rolling out the standard blue, white & yellow logo as befits all group stations.  An example can be seen by clicking on the RIL links, or by visiting the station's current site, as is shown below.  

2003 Weekday programming on the station includes 'The Gold Coast', from 09:00-10:00 featuring non-stop classic hits and a mystery year, a 15-minute news bulletin at 1:00pm, followed by 'All Hit Lunch', another mix of non-stop hits, another news bulletin, this time of ten minutes at 6:00pm, followed by music and entertainment news until 7:00pm, and a late show around midnight from 11:00pm to 1:00am (stars at 10:00pm on Fridays.)  Continuous music airs through the night.  At weekends, there's a regular local CD chart show, coverage of Scarborough, Whitby and Bridlington FC games, a Saturday night Beach Party of 'feel good' songs and another late show from 10:00pm to 1:00am. 

As part of it's licence remit, at least 11 hours must be locally produced and presented during weekdays and 18 hours during weekends.  The station is music-led, also providing regular local, national and international news plus information, community features, interviews and programming of interest to the people in the area.  The music played on the station is of a wide variety, no more than 40% of the output should be made up from hits of the last two or three years.  The licence permits specialist music programmes in non-daytime, although none are known to operate.     www.yorkshirecoastradio.com 

YORKSHIRE COAST RADIO (BRIDLINGTON): See BRID 105 above.  

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YORKSHIRE DALES RADIO / FRESH AM / FRESH RADIO: Firstly, there were two short term YDR broadcasts, firstly from 27/07/1995-25/08/1995 for Skipton, then secondly, but briefly from 29/09/1997 to 26/09/1997 for Pateley Bridge to cover an Agricultural Show.  Launched full time as Yorkshire Dales Radio 4th May 1997, the station underwent a name change as part of the rebranding exercise by the Programme Controller at the time, Mark Reason.  The station was branching out to cover more than just the Yorkshire Dales - the YDR name was carried over from previous RSL operations for Skipton only.  A later name change from Fresh AM to Fresh Radio remains in anticipation of being allowed to broadcast on FM as well as AM.  Efforts to put this into place have been ongoing for some time.  (Thanks to former YDR presenter Simon Parrock for providing details on the station name change and plans for frequency changes.)  

There were two short term YDR broadcasts, firstly from 27/07/1995-25/08/1995 for Skipton, then secondly, but briefly from 29/09/1997 to 26/09/1997 for Pateley Bridge to cover an Agricultural Show.  Serving an estimated 250,000 listeners, this is an AM only service, operating primarily for the over 25s in the Yorkshire Dales and Skipton area, with a community-orientated music-led service.  

Six transmitters, using three frequencies provide reception for what is a mainly rural and very large catchment area - some 2000 square miles.  These are 1413AM (Richmond - serving Richmond, Bedale, Catterick, Leeming Bar and Northallerton), 936AM (the Hawes transmitter for the Yorkshire Dales), 1431AM (Settle), 1413AM (Pateley Bridge), 1413AM (Skipton - serving Skipton, Keighley, Craven, Pendle & the Aire & Wharfe Valleys) & 1431AM (Ilkley).  Programming includes prominent local current affairs, traffic & travel, farming news, tourist information, sport and local advice, with speech content never falling below 20% during daytime hours, (15% at weekends).  Local news airs at least during breakfast, lunch and drivetime.  The Richmond transmitter on 1413 includes opt-outs and separate programming including regular what's on and community information features.  Output comes from studios at both Skipton and Richmond.  

Music output consists of ex-Top 40 hits from the 60s to today, with current and recent hits taking up no more than 40% of the total music output.  Specialist music programming is permitted as part of the licence.  The station is independently owned and operates from it's base at Firth Mill in Skipton.   www.freshradio.co.uk 

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COMMERCIAL: REGIONAL

CENTURY FM / 100-102 CENTURY FM: Originally part of the Border Radio Holdings stable, it came to air 1st September 1994 from studios at Century House, Gateshead.  It became part of the Capital Radio Group upon acquisition in May 2000.  Under the Border banner, the station was the subject of a television documentary which focused on the work of former top brass member John Myers (now with Guardian Media Group).  The first station for the Century brand, Capital beat off the other interested party in the fight for ownership, Scottish Radio Holdings, with Capital stumping up �6 million for Border Television which included the radio interests.  It then sold Border Television to Granada Television.  Border previously rejected the Scottish bid despite an increased offer of �1million and subsequent behind-the-scenes moves by other radio industry groups.  Scottish Radio withdrew from the bidding battle.  Richard Findlay, Chief Executive, said: "Capital's increased offer is a very high one and more than we are prepared to pay." adding that SRH would be looking to accept cash from Capital for 351,000 Border shares it had acquired - <t;"which more than covers our expenses," he said.  Capital had also acquired shares as part of the fight for the Border group. 

Other Century stations acquired in the deal were Century 105.4 (North West Regional) and East Midlands' based Century 106.  After the purchase, all stations including the North West franchise we're featuring here were re-branded with the standard Capital tradition of putting the frequency at the beginning of the station's title rather than at the end - hence 100-102 Century FM.  It has more recently been explained as 'music radio for adults' - the Capital format certainly obvious in sound - and a long way from it's original format under Border's tenure.  It currently broadcasts on several frequencies to warrant it's regional status: 96.2 (Fenham), 96.4 (Hexham), 100.7 & 101.8FM.  

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KISS 105:  Hot on the heels of success in Manchester as Kiss 102 in 1996, the sister station to London's Kiss 100 expanded again in 1997 when Kiss 105 won the Yorkshire and Humberside Independent Regional Radio licence.  But perhaps this rapid expansion was the cause of financial difficulties for the parent group - Kiss 105 and Kiss 102 were sold to the Chiltern Radio Group who renamed them with the Galaxy brand.  The format stayed as it was in order to avoid any unnecessary early, and possibly lengthy negotiations with the Radio Authority, and more than likely because it wasn't necessary to change much anyway.  With the coming of GWR to Chiltern Radio Group in the late 1990s, Chrysalis Radio took control of the Galaxy empire - but it was the fledgling service in Bristol (Galaxy 101) that has become a GWR station again, in partnership with Scottish Radio Holdings as Vibe 101 following it's sale by Chrysalis following a prolonged period of poor results.  What goes around comes around?  Meanwhile, the other Galaxy stations continue to prosper.

GALAXY 105: Chrysalis Radio's North Eastern / Yorkshire dance / r&b station began it's transmissions on 14th February 1997.  It has a total of four transmitters to cover the county of Yorkshire.  North Humberside is served by 105.8, Sheffield by 105.6, a general Yorkshire transmitter on 105.1 & a further 105.6 transmitter for Bradford.  Studios are based at Joseph's Well, Hanover Walk, Park Lane in Leeds. 

GALAXY 105/106 is not to be confused with the above regional.  This service didn't join it's nearby sister network until 1st June 1999 to cover the North East from studios at Kingfisher Way, Silverlink Business Park, Tyne & Wear.  Four transmitters provide output: the one most relevant for this page being on 106.4 for 'North East England' situated to the North East of Yorkshire.  105.3, 105.6 & Hexham's 105.8 are the other three.   It could've been very different - there were thirteen other applicants for the licence.  By 10th March 1998, the Radio Authority had received applications from:

  • CRASH FM (ALTERNATIVE & ROCK LTD) - an alternative rock and dance station for 15 -34s in the North East;
  • CRYSTAL FM (CRYSTAL RADIO LTD.) - a broad mix of 'contemporary easy' music featuring high quality melodic music from a wide range of eras and genres combined with concise authoritative and targeted news information and speech;
  • FUN RADIO (CAPITAL RADIO NORTH EAST LTD.) - a music-led interactive service targeting children aged 4-14 and their young parents featuring new fun music with news information and features designed to entertain its audience;
  • WINNING APPLICANT: GALAXY FM (CHRYSALIS RADIO NORTH EAST LTD.) - a fun upbeat lifestyle-led dance station playing a mix of contemporary and classic dance music together with news and information that matters to its target audience of 15-29 year olds;
  • ICE FM (ICE NORTH EAST LTD.) - a dance and 'dance related' music station for the youth of the North East at the forefront of new music trends and tastes with local youth information and regional national and international news;
  • JAZZ FM NORTH EAST LTD. - jazz, soul, blues and rhythm & blues with speech and information relevant to the region;
  • ICE-FM (ICE NORTH EAST LTD.) - a dance and 'dance related' music station for the youth of the North East at the forefront of new music trends and tastes with local youth information and regional national and international news;
  • N.E ROCK  (NORTHERN RADIO INITIATIVE LTD.) -  the finest classic and contemporary rock indie and blues music with national and local news information sport entertainment news and arts related information;
  • THE POINT (GET THE POINT LTD.) - The Radio Partnership - specialist in appeal, a progressive and vital young dance and alternative music station offering 15-30 year olds a constantly evolving environment of youth culture: a real and relevant source of music entertainment and information for a generation disaffected and dissatisfied with the same old voices and choices;
  • ROCK 105 LTD (ZENITH NORTH LTD)  - a 24 music station featuring current and classic rock tracks from the past four decades designed primarily for a 25-44 audience;
  • ROUTE FM LTD. - today's country music complemented by a service of headline regional news weather and travel for the North-East;
  • STATE FM (NORTH EAST BROADCASTING CO. PLC) - a greater variety of MOR/AC music from the 60s to the present day relevant to the over 35 year age-group with a blend of stimulating lifestyle features and a daily news service that will give listeners the North East world in three minutes;
  • VIBE FM (NORTH EAST WIRELESS LTD.) - c/o Essex Radio Group - a fresh fun and exciting classic and contemporary dance music station serving people in their teens and twenties across Tyne & Wear and Teesside;
  • VIRUS RADIO LTD. - headed by a chap called Pete Waterman - a sparkling new radio service featuring the very best of new music with interesting and provocative speech elements all clearly aimed at young people.
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    VARIETY FM / REAL RADIO YORKSHIRE: In October 2000, the Radio Authority advertised a regional radio licence for South and West Yorkshire - which would serve an adult population of around 2.5million people in and around Sheffield, Leeds and Bradford.  By the closing date of 6th February of the following year, a staggering 16 applications had been received. The applications came from:

    It was on American Independence Day (not that it's got anything to do with it!) July 4th 2001 that the Radio Authority announced it had awarded the licence to Variety FM, explaining it's decision on 23rd July.  This delay was due to the fact that GMG also produce daily newspapers The Guardian and The Observer - the 1996 Broadcast Act states that a national newspaper owner can't hold either a local or regional licence, unless the RA determines that the holding of such a licence would not be against the public interest.  And so, to make this assessment, a public interest test was carried out to assess if there would be any reduction in the diversity and plurality of information available to the public in the broadcast area.  There were relevant concerns raised, as is usually the case in such instances.  In making it's award decision, the Radio Authority had concluded that the winning applicant offered a well-resourced service, that it had carried out research that had shown the target audience to be under-served by existing services and that there is a demand for more local news.  They felt that Variety FM would do a great deal to address the needs of the area's audience, and that there was a great deal of investment planned for the station at such an early stage by GMG, including the creation of a training school.  

    On launch, Variety FM was to operate on a 60/40 music to speech ratio during daytime hours - something the RA members felt would further broaden choice in the area, a one-hour show at peaktime which would be totally speech based, plus Sunday arts and ents programming.  Extensive sports coverage was to include a one hour cricket programme during the cricket season, presented by retired umpire Dickie Bird.  A local newsroom offers 24 hour bulletins with extended peak time slots, with music being of the easy listening type drawing on a 'past forty years' playlist - matching only slightly in content withh neighbouring stations.  The RA also acknowledged that there had been a trial broadcast , a website and many local presentations, which had resulted in over 250 letters of support being sent in, from listeners who heard the trial, and local businesses and community organisations.

    The Variety FM logo was in the same style as the Real Radio logo, i.e. blue, yellow & white - and it was felt at an early stage that upon launch, the station would actually be known as Real Radio Yorkshire.  AIRCHECK research has shown that GMG regularly enter the running for local, sallie & regional licences under the Variety name - this is particularly prevalent in the North East and North West.  

    Real Radio Yorkshire began broadcasting on 25th March 2002 from studios at Sterling Court, Capitol Park in Leeds, using three FM broadcast frequencies: 107.6 (Bradford), 106.2 (South West Yorkshire) and 107.7 (Sheffield).  On the local presentation team, you'll find Yorkshire TV weather girl Debbie Lindley, ex-sportsman and A Question of Sport team leader Emlyn Hughes, and an AIRCHECK favourite, Diana Luke.    Networked, i.e., on all Real stations, there's Tony Blackburn, Mark Goodier and Gary Davies.          www.realradiofm.com 

    DIGITAL:  Ozone Radio, the brainchild of two ex-college students who are now the station's owners, years in the making, launched on 1st February 2003 after a six month growing period, providing a round-the-clock service via the Kingston KIT system.  Broadcasting on Channel 80, it occupies a prime slot on audio channels, highly likely to be selected by local subscribers, who can catch a wide range of specialist programmes, plus a selection of Dance and Rock tunes.  It's studios are based in the centre of Hull - also feeding a service via the internet.  It is anticipated that a number of events from clubs around the country and not just Yorkshire, will form a prominent part of transmissions.  It is fully licenced by the Radio Authority with all appropriate music play out licences also held.  Amongst presenters appearing are Timmy 'Bomballurina' Mallett who brings back his old TV-am show 'Wacaday', and ex-Derby County radio station RAMPAGE presenter Darren Fernando.  Hull has, for years, been renowned for having it's very own telephone network, although this has now become part of national communications networks, however, KIT, Kingston Interactive Television, is a TV company just for the Kingston area, offering a re-feed of SKY TV services to around 25,000 people as well as local news and what's on information. 

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    Having advertised a licence for a Yorkshire Regional Digital Multiplex, by the closing date of 18th June 2002, two groups had submitted applications to the Radio Authority to serve four and a quarter million people aged 15+ around North, South and West Yorkshire and Humberside.  They were:

    MXR LTD. This bidder is a consortium of mainly radio-orientated groups: Chrysalis owning 39.1%, Capital 16.7%, Guardian Media Group 13.1%, Jazz FM plc 11.2%, UBC Digital Ltd 7.5%, Soul Media 7.4% and the Ford Motor Company owning a 5.0% share.  MXR proposed a service of nine channels, all bar one being aired on a 24 hour basis: Capital's Capital Disney for Kids & teens, Soul Media's Urban Music based Urban Choice, Chrysalis' Heart (Melodic Adult Contemporary) The Arrow (Adult Rock) and Galaxy (Dance/R&B), Jazz FM's Jazz FM, GMG's Smooth, (an easy listening format trialled and submitted unsuccessfully for the analogue East Midlands regional licence) and Real Radio, a speech and music station, and DNN Ltd's Digital News Network, a rolling regional news service, the only one NOT to be 24 hours.  The MXR service would if successful, and based on a September 2002 award, commence broadcasting in April 2003 using ten transmission sites at Acklam Wold, Beecroft Hill, Belmont, Bilsdale, Cave Wold, Clifton, Emley Moor (2), Idle and Tapton Hill), which it estimated would provide 'outdoor coverage' of 90%, and 'indoor coverage' of 79%, of the adult population of the 'primary protected area'.

    and Leeds based YORKSHIRE & HUMBERSIDE DIGITAL RADIO (THE YORKSHIRE DIGITAL RADIO CO. LTD.), shareholders of whom were: GWR Group plc 20%, SCORE Digital Ltd. 20%, EMAP Performance Ltd. 20%, SAGA Regional Digital Radio Ltd. 20%, Sunrise Radio Ltd. 4%, Passion for the Planet Ltd. 4%, Clubmend Ltd. 4%, Campus Media plc 4% & Radio First plc 4%.  Eight 24-hour services were proposed: Chrysalis' Galaxy 105 (Dance/R&B), GMG's Real Radio, SAGA Radio for the over 50s, 3C, the Country station from SCORE Digital, EMAP's Smash Hits, GWR's The STORM, an Adult Contemporary music service - Passion and the Asian service Sunrise Radio.  A ninth channel was also proposed with four services sharing airtime: Children's service Abracadabra, Student service SBN, Purple Radio for the Gay & Lesbian community and a Sports service provided by Radio First plc.  This applicant proposed to transmit it's digital service (subject to the timing of contractual signatures) from April 2003, using a total, by June 2003 of thirteen transmitters at Acklam Wold, Belmont Hill, Bilsdale, Clifton, Emley Moor, High Hunsley, Holme Moss, Olivers Mount and Tapton Hill, Beecroft Hill, Chesterfield, Idle and Keighley, giving 'outdoor coverage' at an estimated 94% of the adult population at 'indoor coverage' at 84%.

    Maybe the number of transmitters, 13, was unlucky in some way for the second applicant, because on 7th November 2002, the Radio Authority announced that it was awarding the 12-year digital licence for the area to the first applicant - MXR.  On award, they commissioned ntl: broadcast to create the third largest digital radio network in the UK in the Yorkshire region.  A deal worth almost � was struck to install ten transmitters by Summer of 2003.  ntl: had previously created MXR networks in the North West, North East, West Midlands and Wales & the Severn Estuary area.  That series of work created the ability for local news content to be inserted into digital multiplex programming - a technological feat by today's standards.  When it launches (date TBA), it will transmit on the VHF band III frequency block 12A (centre-frequency 223.936MHz).    

    RESTRICTED SERVICE LICENCES (RSLs):

    HULL: The Noise came to the air for the first time from Sunday 1st August 2004 for 28-days on 106.8FM with a service of modern and classic rock, indie and alternative music.  The rock genre is considered by the station management as being largely ignored by local radio stations, but it feels there is a considerable demand for the genre in Hull.  The station aims to create something totally different to existing services and plays a broad range of artists' material including Nirvana, The White Stripes, The Rolling Stones and many more. 

    Local unsigned talent is incorporated into output in their 'Battle Of The Bands' feature where listeners get the chance to vote for their favourites.  The August 2004 broadcast saw the arrival of former late night Viking FM jock Allan Lake as The Noise's breakfast show presenter.  Find out more at  www.thenoiseradio.co.uk - link not working?  Please let us know via e-mail !

    LEEDS/BRADFORD: PUDSEY GRANGEFIELD FM: March 2003 saw the sixth RSL across Leeds and Bradford on 106.6 from Pudsey Grangefield School in West Yorkshire.  Broadcasting for 13 hours each weekday (the team resting at weekends), from 7am to 8pm, it operates a 60:40 music to speech policy.  Amongst programming, there's a traditional breakfast show, solely speech programming, schools programming featuring reflections of life at local schools, interviews with local media, chart and world music, requests, specialist and nostalgic music programming.  Local businesses provide sponsorship for the station which operates within the framework of the school curriculum.  It's history stems back to 1986 when it began as a school project during lunchtimes.  The first FM tasting came in 1990 together with the local Radio Cracker project, with the first school RSL coming in 1996.  Recent broadcasts have also been heard on the internet - heard on one occasion by an ex-pupil, now resident in New Zealand.  The station hopes to return again in October 2003.  

    SHEFFIELD: SURE FM / SURE RADIO: This is a Student-radio service and has made a number of broadcasts since the first on 23rd February 1998, with an ever varying presentation team.  In this time it has operated on 87.7, 106.6, 106.8, 107.5 and 107.7FM.  The station is based at Sheffield University's Student Union at Western Bank in Sheffield.  The idea for the station came from a first year student back in 1995, when she felt that the place needed it's own radio station.  A group was set up to get the ball rolling and to create a practical and live media training base.  After an initial financial input of �0000 and a strong base of over 200 members, the station began University-only based broadcasting on 27th April 1997, serving the Campus shop, cafe and a small part of a corridor.  This gave a strong base on which to build.  The first 1998 broadcast received local press and TV coverage with some presenters being entered into the year's Radio 1 Student Radio Awards.  Further accolades on later broadcasts included the 2000 BBC Talent Award for manager Mark Cohen's breakfast show and the Drive-time show with Dan Morfitt received the Student Radio Award for Best Male presenter in 2001.  Dan now works in commercial radio full time.  The station continues to go from strength to strength.  Find out more about the station at www.sureradio.com - link not working?  Please let us know via e-mail !

    YORK: 87.9 THE FOSS: Operated by pupils from Wilberfoss Primary School near York, Friday 20th June 2003 saw a one-day RSL which included discussion and information about the school as well as fun orientated features too, all presented and produced by the children to promote and celebrate the school's achievements.  The broadcast day was the end of a project started by Amanda Ball, the school governor and a Project Director of The Radio Business, who took the lead from the Radio Academy's 'Radio In Schools' project.  The studio included minidisc recorders and Cool Edit software as well as usual broadcast spec equipment.  The station was funded through sponsorship by local companies.  

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    HOSPITAL RADIO:

    YORK: Many hospital radio stations originated from football commentary services.  York Hospital Radio is no exception, having origins, albeit sketchy, to broadcasting as far back as the 1920s.  Output from Bootham Crescent was carried by The Friends Of York Hospital in the 1950s too.  A full-blown hospital radio service, i.e. in it's current form can be traced back to 1964 when the ATRA - Acomb Tape Recording Association, started making taped programmes for Acomb, Naburn and Fulford Hospitals, later more than doubling the circulation of these tapes to 9 hospitals.  After 1964, YHBS (York Hospital Broadcasting Service) developed from the Tape Recording Association and moved from it's base in Acomb to a Pathology Laboratory at Fulford's Military Hospital.  1966 saw a move to 2nd floor premises of the the Grange Block on Huntington Road, York's old workhouse.  A studio was built to offer live programming, and so the tape recorders began to gather dust.  

    It was not until 1968 that the first programmes considered to be live, were actually broadcast and to a greater extent than just request shows.  Since that time, output has expanded further still with regular football commentaries, music & magazine shows, outside broadcasts from local Theatres and Churches and many other events too.  Over time, YHBS became the only occupants of The Grange and quickly developed the need for their own premises anyway.  A decade was spent raising �,000 for a purpose-built single storey block in the grounds of The Grange and the official opening took place in 1983.

    Ten years later in 1993, the local Health Trust announced that it wanted to sell it's Grange site for a student accommodation development and subsequently re-housed what was then known as York Hospital Radio to it's current location - Bridge Lane.  2001 saw another landmark for the station when it began a 24-hour service using new broadcast computer equipment.  2002 saw the station placed 7th runner up of all UK hospital stations in the National Awards Ceremony and in 2003 it went further, winning the Silver Award in the 'Station of the Year' category.  

    York Hospital Radio, a registered charity, celebrated it's 40th anniversary on Monday 26th January 2004.  The occasion was marked by the visits of many local and national dignitaries including the Lord Mayor Of York and Mayoress, local BBC TV presenter and former station President Harry Gration, and representatives from the station and Hospital Radio's national association.  The day's output included regular presenters shows as well as historical programmes charting the previous 40 years.  From 2:00pm-5:00pm, BBC Radio York broadcast it's afternoon show live from the YHR studios with a simulcast from 4:00pm-5:00pm.  The station's acting Chairman Ian Clennan said: "January 26th is an important milestone for York Hospital Radio, not only looking back on 40 years of broadcasting to the patients of York's hospitals but also looking forward to the much improved broadcasting technology currently being introduced within the Hospitals Trust.  It is a time when past and present volunteer members can share their experience  and meet together, discussing how the station changed from a taping club to a modern 24 hour set-up."  The rest of the anniversary year was spent holding a range of events which aimed to reunite past & present members.   Station output can be heard on the in-hospital Patientline system on Channle 6.  To find out how to join the station as one of the team, or to find out more about the station, visit www.yhr.org.uk 

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    THE FUTURE:  The Radio Authority has awarded the new local radio licence for the town of Barnsley, in South Yorkshire.  The eight year FM licence was awarded to Dearne FM Ltd who propose 'a truly local radio station from the Barnsley Borough, for the Barnsley Borough, with a high quality local news and information service that puts Barnsley first, with a popular and distinctive blend of music - a station that puts the people of the Barnsley Borough at the centre of everything it does and appeals to adults and children alike.'

    Dearne FM was one of six applicants submitting for this licence.  The others applications were:  Locke FM, Oakwell FM, FM 102 The Point, Select FM and Tyke FM Radio.  The team behind the station are naturally overjoyed for both themselves and the local listeners who have, up to now, used services in Sheffield and Leeds..  The station will launch later this year from Barnsley studios with a 'hits and memories' format - more on this in a moment - a mix from the Sixties to the present day covering Barnsley Borough, Penistone, Cudworth, Wombwell, Royston, Dodsworth and Worsbrough.  Dearne FM is part of Lincs FM which includes Yorkshire stations Trax FM (Doncaster & Bassetlaw), Ridings FM (Wakefield), Lincs FM (Lincolnshire), Fosseway Radio (Nuneaton & Hinckley, Leicestershire), Compass FM (North Lincs) and Rutland Radio (Stamford and Rutland). 

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