Aircheck UK - Buckinghamshire

UPDATED: 19/09/2003

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ENGLAND

BBC LOCAL RADIO

BBC RADIO BEDFORDSHIRE: This BBC local station launched on the morning of 24th June 1985.  Over it's 7 years 10 months of transmissions, presentation staff included Derbyshire resident and ex-Blue Peter presenter Simon Groom, and the man who would go on to be the first black presenter to front BBC Radio 1ís weekly chart show broadcast on a Sunday beginning a run of presenters who wouldn't use their own names - on this occasion it was The Man Ezeke.  Despite it's name, it's also served Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire.  Extended transmission coverage and a crossing of boundaries by the same, required a wider outlook and a fresher, more relevant name.  BBC Radio Bedfordshire closed on April 4th 1993. 

BBC THREE COUNTIES RADIO serves Bedfordshire on 95.5, Buckinghamshire on 104.5 & Hertfordshire on 103.8FM.  AM services are on 630 & 1161.  It launched on April 5th 1993 as a short-lived mouthful - BBC Radio Bedfordshire with Herts and Bucks.  It was not long before sense prevailed.  Two years on, the station dropped it's music and speech format in favour of the national BBC format for local radio - speech, speech and more speech.  But this seems to have been to great success for the station - add to this it's weighty 25 hours of programming per week for the Afro-Caribbean, Irish, Italian and Asian communities, and you begin to see what a mark the station has made on it's audience in a comparatively short space of time.  The station prides itself on it's coverage of football (Watford & Luton Town FC) & rugby (Bedford and Saracens). Joining networked presenters Keith Skues and Steve Madden, is local resident, but Derbyshire born, Dave Lee Travis, who joined for a weekend show from March 10th 2003.  The station broadcasts from it's transmission facilities at Hastings Street in Luton.                              www.bbc.co.uk/england/threecounties

COMMERCIAL:  LOCAL (ILR)

FOX FM: Serving Oxfordshire and West Buckinghamshire, this is arguably not the kind of station that really fits in with Capital Radio's 'Capital Cities' portfolio of stations, but they own and operate it nevertheless.  It came to life as long ago as 15th September 1989, but it was not under Capital's tenure at this point. They purchased the station in 1996.   Famed for it's familiar logo, albeit in Capital Radio style, with the cartoon fox whose tail forms the tuning meter on the dial, it operates on two frequencies for 15-44 year olds: 97.4 for Banbury & it's original frequency of 102.6FM for Oxford from studios at Brush House, Pony Road in Oxford.  The station name stems from it's former owners 'First Oxfordshire Radio Co Ltd'.

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HORIZON RADIO 103.3 / FM 103 HORIZON launched 15th October 1989 as part of the mighty Chiltern Radio Network, also the home to Galaxy 101, Chiltern Radio, Northants Radio & Supergold.  We have to say that information about the early days of Horizon are not to be found, unless you can add any more.  The Chiltern Radio network was acquired by GWR in 1995 and this led to the rebranding under the 'Better Music Mix' policy.  It currently broadcasts from studios at 14 Vincent Avenue, in the Crownhill area of Milton Keynes.  E-mail us with your Horizon memories to ianmsperry@hotmail.com.  

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MIX 96 is the Buckinghamshire town of Aylesbury's commercial radio station.  It started broadcasting on 96.2FM on 15th April 1994 from studios at Friars Square 11 Bourbon Street in Aylesbury.  It won the licence under the application title of Mix 96 (Bucks Broadcasting Limited) and was re-awarded it's licence under the Radio Authority's fast-track procedures in November 2000, to run from 15th April 2002.  First Oxfordshire Radio Company (Fox-FM) owned 64% of Bucks Broadcasting, and Bucks held 32% of Hastings station Arrow FM, 30% of Wolverhampton's The Wolf, 38.3% of Staffordshire's Centre-FM and 30% of Stratford's The Bear.  When Capital Radio plc purchased First Oxfordshire Radio, it took on Mix 96 which by April 2000, it fully owned.  However in March 2001, Capital disposed of the station to Radio Investments Ltd.

The station can be heard by a potential audience of 130,000 adults aged 15-55 across Buckinghamshire, and parts of Hertfordshire and Oxfordshire. The station primarily plays a general mix of music to cater for a wide audience.  RAJAR 2001 figures showed that of those 130,000 people, 45,700 or 35% of it's intended audience were listening for around 9.5 hours per week.  

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RADIO WYE / ELEVENSEVENTY AM / ELEVENSEVENTY / SWAN FM: Radio Wye Ltd has been the working name for this Buckinghamshire group since it's inception.  Having won the licence, it commenced transmissions on 1170AM, and merely took the name from it's frequency - Elevenseventy. Broadcasts commenced on 31st December 1993.  

In May/June 2000, Elevenseventy was purchased for an undisclosed sum by Radio Services Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of Radio Investments Limited, which at the time had interests in 28 radio stations throughout the country.    In late 2000, Elevenseventy's licence was up for renewal and was re-advertised.  The Radio Authority offered all applicants a choice of wavebands.  There was only one applicant - the incumbent broadcaster.  In their re-application, Radio Wye Ltd broadcasting as Elevenseventy opted to apply for a licence on the FM band and would relaunch as Swan FM.  Because of this change of wave band, the RA were required to fully readvertise the licence, rather than run it through the 'Fast-Track' procedure, which would have applied if the licensee had elected to stay on AM.  

On 22nd January 2001, the RA chose to award the licence once more, to provide engaging, entertaining and informative local radio for the 25-54 age bracket primarily, but to the entire age range locally across the High Wycombe area, including Amersham, Chesham, Marlow, Bourne End and western Beaconsfield.  Speech content forms at least 20% of the output, news coverage was extended upon the band switch, and there's a range of specialist programming for the local Asian and African-Caribbean populations - something which went down well with RA members.  

Back on-air, whilst all the nitty-gritty went on behind the scenes, the usual April 1st tom-foolery which goes off on such a date also went off on Peter Clarke's show at Elevenseventy.  Listeners were aghast at around 11:30 when experiencing interruptions to transmissions with the apparent existence of a pirate broadcaster breaking through.  That station called itself Radio London with the voices of Kenny Everett, Dave Cash, Duncan Johnson and Tommy Vance being heard.  It was the end of April 1st sillies, Noon to be precise when the 'interference' faded away and Peter admitted to winding his audience up just a little.   However, the bluff was actually a double bluff, for the recording he'd been playing was actually a recording of the Kenny & Cash show first aired April 1st 1974 in which they'd pretended to be Radio London from 1966.  The spoof was not without advantage for Radio London nor totally fooled listeners.  Some spotted the joke straightaway, and rang in to state as such, whilst also referring to their Big L memories, and the anticipated 2001 Radio London RSL was also plugged.  

With all the varying licence processes complete, Swan FM began test transmissions of the new FM 107.4 frequency on the 26th October 2001, and took to the FM airwaves fully at 8:00am on Wednesday 31st October 2001.  Research indicates that the AM frequency was expected have have fallen silent by 31st December 2001, eight years after the initial AM launch, but that an extension was granted to allow listeners to get used to the change - the frequency simulcasting the new FM service until March 2002.  The FM transmissions are on 107.4 (October 2001 - High Wycombe) and 107.7 (July 2002 - Amersham) reaching an estimated 180,000 people with local news and information and mix of music from the past thirty years.  www.swanfm.com 

COMMERCIAL:  REGIONAL (IRR)

JAZZ FM London / JFM / JAZZ FM 102.2: Broadcasting from 26-27 Castlereagh Street in London, this specialist station began broadcasting on 4th March 1990 as Jazz FM (London).   It's sister station in the North West started four years later.  This particular station's format is one of jazz, soul, blues and r `n` b, with regional, national and world news in with the speech content.  The Jazz FM brand belongs to the Guardian Media Group - the 100.4 North West IRR MD is the ex-Border Radio/Century boss John Myers.  The service is also available to DTT Freeview customers, on SKY Digital channel 917, via cable TV operators, DAB Digital Radio and on line at www.jazzfm.co.uk.  Daytime output includes a general mix of popular jazz and soul music - with evening programming taking on an increasingly more laid back feel as the night progresses.  Specialist shows also feature.  Among well known presenters to appear, there's Tony Blackburn, Paul Jones (Manfred Mann & Radio 2),  and Jim Colvin (Chiltern Radio & Choice FM).  There are also experienced Jazz musicians in the presenter line-up.  As far as regional coverage is concerned, we're talking outwards from the Capital, as far as Stevenage & Luton in Bedfordshire in the North, Chelmsford and Essex, Maidstone & Kent in the East, Camberley & Woking, Guildford, Reigate & Crawley in Surrey to the South, High Wycombe & Hemel Hempstead in Buckinghamshire, and all points inbetween, to approximately 10million people.  Although it was known as JFM for a short time, it has now reverted back to it's original branding, albeit with an additional frequency tag. 

HOSPITAL RADIO:  

RSL:  

WYCOMBE: BLINK FM: This is a youth station which operates for the benefit of young people, by young people.  It promises friendly DJs and crazy antics, with music, chat and gossip for the 16-25 year old set, and anyone else who's young at heart.  It broadcasts a mix of music including rock, pop, dance and the sounds of local bands, from studios based in the centre of High Wycombe, at 45 St Mary's Street, just opposide the local Swan Theatre.  Studio and broadcast facilities are supplied by Transplan UK.  The station aims to be on-air every August using Radio Authority short term licences.  Further information on the station can be found at their website - www.blink.fm

DIGITAL:  

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