Aircheck UK - Glamorgan 

UPDATED: 08/10/2003

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AIRCHECK Wales

BBC LOCAL RADIO: BBC Radio Wales is the English language national broadcaster for Wales.  Since it became broadcasting in 1978, when the station's output lasted for just a few hours a day, with Radio 4 in between the local programming, airtime has now expanded to over 19 hours of programming produced all over the country, specifically for the people living in the west of Offa's Dyke, however, the internet provides ex-pats and other interested parties with a service internationally.  

The station's schedule focuses on the kind of information deemed relevant to life in the country, with all the usual features plus tide times, inshore water forecasts, surf conditions and hillwalkers information aired regularly.  From 6:00am to 6:00pm, the phone lines are open (08700 100110) to provide programme content in whatever form.  Monday nights include the Welsh Top 40 Chart Show.

The station broadcasts nationally on 93.9 (Swansea, Llanelli & Carmarthenshire), 94.8 (Anglesey, Bangor, Gwynedd, Carnaefonshire & Conwy), 95.4 (Wrexham), 95.9 (Newport & Monmouthshire), 95.1 (Blaenavon, Torfaen & Carmarthenshire) & 104.0 (Cardiff, Penarth & Vale Of Glamorgan) and on AM bands 882 (South Wales), 657 (North Wales) & 1125 (Mid Wales).

COMMERCIAL:  LOCAL (ILR)

106.3 BRIDGE FM serves the South Glamorgan town of Bridgend with 'a broad mix of classic and contemporary hit music ranging from the 1960's to current and a comprehensive service of local news and information'.  It is owned by Tindle Radio and came on-air 1st May 2000, therefore licenced until 30th April 2008.  Studios are based at Cambria House, Wyndam, Street Bridgend.

(Tindle Radio is the only family-owned radio operator in the UK. It operates six radio stations across the UK. It owns Channel 103, Jersey; Island FM, Guernsey; The Beach, Lowestoft (Suffolk/Norfolk); Dream 100, Colchester/Clacton; Dream 107, Chelmsford; Bridge FM, Bridgend; as well as minority stakes in Kick FM, Newbury; and Kestrel FM, Basingstoke, Hampshire.)

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SOUND WAVE/96.4 THE WAVE is Swansea's radio station, providing contemporary hit music, headline news, sport, travel, weather and local information from Swansea studios, and a Kilvey Hill transmitter, since it's current licence began on 30th September 1995.  It originally launched as Swansea Sound on both AM (1170AM) & FM on 30th September 1974, and more recently became SOUND WAVE on FM whilst continuing as Swansea Sound on AM .  It is currently part of TWG (The Wireless Group), the head office of which is at 18, Hatfields in London.  The Wave is a very popular choice of radio station and consequently is the number radio station in South Wales.  Since it's launch, The Wave has been associated with some high profile competitions - 2000 saw the chance win a Ford KA or Mondeo in association with the local Marina based Tesco store.  CDs and Cinema tickets are on regular offer too.  An idea taken from Capital, 'Party In The Park' has been a regular fixture in the station's calendar, attracting an average crowd of 10,000 people to the Singleton Park in Swansea.  Headlining acts have previously included All Saints, Steps, A1, Lollym Liberty X, H & Claire & Blue.  The station's music policy covers a broad spectrum over various decades along with current or recent chart hits.  It's TSA, i.e. it's potential audience (aged 15+) is 516,000 with around 30% (157,000) actually listening for 12.5 hours per week per listener, according to April - September 2002 IPSOS/RSL audience figures.  Swansea Sound, The Wave and Valleys all share overnights, starting from 10pm and each opt out at breakfast time.  

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SWANSEA SOUND 1170MW is the region's original local radio station, coming to air on 96.4 FM & 1170 AM on 30th September 1974 - it is Wales' most successful Medium Wave radio station and thousands of people have grown up with it.  It plays a variety of songs from the past four decades with evening specialist programmes, detailed news, sport, weather, local information and Welsh language news and programmes.  

COMMERCIAL:  REGIONAL (IRR):

REAL RADIO (SOUTH WALES): In August 1999, the Radio Authority invited applications for a new regional radio licence for South Wales to be submitted by 23rd November of the same year.  A total of seven applications were received: 

On 6th April 2000, the Radio Authority awarded the licence to Real Radio to run for eight years from the date the station commenced broadcasting.  By 20th April, the RA had conducted a 'public interest test'.  This was done due to the fact that the winning station is owned by the Guardian Media Group, publishers of newspapers The Guardian and The Observer. Under the Broadcasting Act 1996, a national newspaper proprietor cannot hold a local or regional radio licence, unless the Radio Authority determines that the holding is not against the public interest.  The public were consulted to see if there was likely to be any effect on plurality and diversity of information available locally, but there were no large scale concerns raised.  

Announcing the reason for awarding the licence to Real Radio, the RA considered it offered a well-resourced, professional, full service station, likely to make a dominant contribution to the locale by providing a platform for debate on local issues.  The RA reflected on the management's experience of the same format in other parts of the country.  They acknowledged that the station targeted the older end of the 25-54 age bracket and that 30% of output would be speech based, including current affairs output daily - called Wales Today, phone-ins on sport and business plus a regular soap opera.  It was also noted that Welsh language was warmly welcomed by the station.  In comparison to other stations, Real Radio offered a different music format, one of 70% of melodic hits from the last forty years from a cross-section of genres.  The direct competition was seen as BBC Radio Wales.  The RA felt the new licensee was suitably equipped to meet it's promises and noted that the station management had operated presentations to local business and the public in the run up to the licence application.  Real Radio also carried out it's own research which concluded it's target audience was under-served by existing stations, and that their format would be popular.  

At the end of August 2000, Real Radio announced it would start testing it's transmitters from Monday September 4th on three FM frequencies: 105.4 (Cardiff), 106.0 (Swansea) and 105.9 (Newport).  It took around three days to activate the three, with assistance from the Radio Authority and from transmission providers, NTL.  Test transmissions were to last for four weeks - and a launch date was set for 8:00am on Tuesday 3rd October.  Overall, plans for the launch of the station were completed within five months.  Today, there is also another transmitter purely for Carmarthenshire on 105.2FM.  

As planned, on 3rd October 2000, the station began broadcasting to an estimated one-million people aged 15 or over, across South Wales from studios at Taffs Well, just off the M4 near Cardifff.  On launch, it housed the country's first 24-hour newsroom which would provide extended and regional bulletins 24 hours a day.  12 journalists, three of whom spoke fluent Welsh, were recruited for launch, and a separate newsroom and studio was planned for operation from Swansea.  In addition, on-air presenters were quickly hired and included seven Welsh folk.  As it launched, 500,000+ had been put into promoting the new station, including promotion on HTV Wales, the largest single advertiser on the TV channel over the next two months.  

The station provides exclusive commentary on Cardiff and Swansea City FC as well as the dominant Welsh sport of rugby.  As the licence application promised, there's a weekly business programme and a number of Welsh based features.  Programming is transmitted using five studios installed by the Oxford Sound Company and using the RCS Master Control System in each.  

On-air, you'll find the presenting talents of ex-Century 106 presenter Sarah Graham, ex-BBC Childrens TV presenter Simon Parkin, ex-Welsh footballer, Leighton James, and networked shows from Tony Blackburn, Gary Davies and Mark Goodier.  

HOSPITAL RADIO:  

RSL: Afan FM is led by 18 year old Craig Williams, who has been spending some considerable time seeking station funding.  The station plays what Craig describes as 'the essential mix of dance, trance, rock and indie' and has long term aims to bring the station on-air full time.  www.afanfm.co.uk has more information on the station.  Craig Williams has contacted us with the latest update: 'The station will begin the first of it's pilot broadcasts on 87.7FM across Neath-Port Talbot for 3 days from October 31st 2003 providing a music-based information service to young people between 11 and 25 years old.

STUDENT: XPRESS FM is the student radio station for Cardiff University and has over 10 RSL broadcasts to it's credit.  It was created in 1994 as a radio society, and has applied for two short-term licences (the maximum permitted) since 1997.  Only in 2000, was the station refused a licence, this being due to the start of a new full time licence in Cardiff itself.  It's RSLs reach around a seven-mile radius of the transmitter around Cardiff City Centre.  When not on-air, the station airs internally around the shop, food halls and communal areas of the University for around six hours a day.   As with other student stations, it offers a live and practical learning resource for media students and others who just wish to take part.  RSL broadcasts feature mainstream music by day, specialist programming by night - there are hourly news bulletins and student related talk features too.  The station's presenter Vicki Blight won a Radio 1 Student Radio Award for 'Best Female' and 'Priority' won Best Show.  Altogether the station was nominated for ten awards at the ceremony.  The 2003 broadcast included soap opera 'Woodville Road' set in the centre of the Cardiff student village, exploring the lives and loves of first year students as they become used to student life.  For station information and to listen on-line (when available) visit www.xpressradio.co.uk 

DIGITAL:  TWG EMAP Digital has been awarded the twelve year digital multiplex licence for the Swansea area of South Wales.  The shareholders in TWG EMAP Digital Ltd. are The Wireless Group plc who own 70.0% and EMAP Digital Radio Ltd who own the remaining 30.0%.  TWG EMAP was the sole applicant for this licence, proposing a total of 8 services:, comprising: 96.4 The Wave, 1170 Swansea Sound, Kiss, Smash Hits, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Cymru with later services of Gold/easy listening and Rock or Country, providers to be confirmed.

TWG EMAP Digital proposes to commence its service in January 2004, broadcasting on the VHF band III frequency block 12A (centre frequency: 223.936 MHz).  Digital listeners in Swansea can already receive programmes from regional digital providers on the MXR network, as well as national services from the BBC and Digital One.

Kelvin MacKenzie, TWG's Chief Executive, said: "We are delighted to win Swansea, which is a significant market. I believe the combination of TWG's heritage brands with EMAP's music brands will make a terrific digital line up. It is also another advance in our firm and committed alignment with the digital future."

TWG operates the national commercial speech station talkSPORT on Digital One, and has 80.5% stake in the London II Multiplex and 22% of London III, which both reach 9.5 million adults.  TWG also has a 92% stake in SwitchDigital (Scotland), which has won the multiplex licences for Central Scotland (incorporating Glasgow and Edinburgh), reaching 2.75 million adults, and Aberdeen, reaching 0.3 million adults; and an 80% stake in the local digital multiplex licence for Bradford and Huddersfield.

EMAP also operates seven wholly owned digital radio multiplexes: South Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, Liverpool, Leeds, Teesside, Central Lancashire and Humberside. It also operates three joint ventures in Manchester, Birmingham and London. 

Both companies also have programme services on local / regional networks around the UK.

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