Aircheck UK - Lothian, Fife, Kinross & Edinnburghshire

UPDATED: 13/09/2003

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SCOTLAND

BBC LOCAL RADIOBBC Radio Scotland provides a national service on FM frequencies 92-95FM & 810 MW.  The Gaelic service BBC Radio nan Gaidheal broadcasts on 103.5 - 105FM.  

COMMERCIAL:  LOCAL (ILR)

RADIO FORTH / RADIO FORTH FM / FORTH FM / FORTH 1: First appearing as far back as 8:00am, 22nd January 1975, this is the ILR station primarily for Edinburgh and surrounding areas.  Today, it is part of Scottish Radio Holdings, and broadcasts from studios at the aptly named Forth House, in Forth Street, Edinburgh with a service of chart and contemporary hits, news and information.  It's transmission radius spans a 'C' shape from Dunbar to the extreme lower east, through to Grangemouth and Falkirk in the extreme inland west, and back up and around to Dunfermline, Cowdenbeath and Cupar to the north and extreme upper east back out towards the coast.  It's target audience is the 15-35 age group.  It now has three transmitters: 97.6 (Edinburgh), 97.4 (Edinburgh), and 102.2 FM (Penicuik).  A little known fact is that Radio Forth was the first home of Mark Goodier back in 1980.  

RADIO FORTH / MAX AM / FORTH AM / FORTH 2: After the mass splitting of services and the ending of simulcasting by radio stations, it was February 1990 when FM became Radio Forth FM and AM became Max AM.  The service also had the responsibility of looking after the listeners of Radio Borders when it went off-air.  The next name change as the 90s hit middle age and Forth AM took over.  Today, Forth 2, it's name since 2001, on 1152AM, continues on it's AM frequency with a mix of music from four classic decades for the over 35s, taking on where it's FM sister station leaves off.  It features the parent group's prominent sports show Superscoreboard.

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KINGDOM FM: Certainly in Scottish word association terms, thinking of Scotland and the term 'Kingdom' should instantly make you think of 'The Kingdom Of Fife'.  So it seems appropriate that a local radio station for the area be called Kingdom FM.  Kingdom FM Radio Ltd was awarded it's licence on 2nd April 1998, and launched 5th October 1998 from studios at Haig House on the Haig Business Park in Markinch with a format of 'Greatest hits ever & today's best music, local news, information and community involvement'.  It started off being owned by a group of local shareholders, however back in November 2001, Scottish Radio Holdings and the Kingdom management agreed for SRH to take 25% of the share capital of the station for 1m in cash, as agreed by the shareholders of the owners at the time The Wireless Group (TWG).  This, along with an agreement for SRH to take TWG's total share of Solent regional station, allowed to TWG to repay it's banking debts.

As the UK arguably becomes more mountainous as you continue north, it would be reasonable to suggest that several transmitters are needed for this radio station - Dunfermline is serviced on 95.2, Kirkcaldy 96.6, Glenrothes 96.1, and two transmitters for Fife, 106.3 & 105.4FM.  2002 RAJAR audience figures showed a listenership of 92,400 people listening for around 11 hours a week, a 38% reach and 21% share.  The station has it's own charity campaign, 'Kingdom Kids' which raises and distributes funds to groups who support under privileged children and those who support positive child development.                                                www.kingdomfm.co.uk 

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RIVER FM: In October 2002, the Radio Authority advertised a new local radio licence for West Lothian.  This wasn't the first time for a new local station.  In 1990, an AM station Radio West Lothian / RWL 1368AM went on, and came off-air.  See below for more on this issue (but not a lot more!!)  The 2002 advertisement was for a service to cover as much of the West Lothian area of Central Scotland as technicalities would allow.  The closing date for applications was Tuesday 28th January 2003, with applicants required to pay a non-refundable application fee of 1,500.  

Just one applicant entered the running.  Almond Radio Ltd, broadcasting as River FM proposed a full time 24 hour, seven days a week service focusing on the people, (primarily those over 25) and communities of West Lothian, with extensive coverage of local news, people, sports and community issues and a blend of music reflecting the demographics of the county.  They spent four years researching, consulting, promoting and carrying out short term restricted service licence broadcasts prior to applying the full time licence.  

On 11th April 2003, the sole applicant was awarded the licence after submitting satisfactory documentation (totalling over 500 pages) which included hundreds of letters of support.  In making their decision, the Radio Authority remarked on the station's history, and the fact that the majority of the members live within the station's broadcast area.  One of the major shareholders in the station is radio group UKRD operators of North Lanarkshire station Clan FM.  

Prior to launch, the station management made a commitment to providing locally originated programming from 7:00am to 7:00pm weekdays and from 8:00am to 2:00pm at weekends.   Speech content is from 15-35% during weekday daytime hours, dropping to 10-15% from 7:00pm-6:00am.  News bulletins, produced locally, but incorporating elements of the national Independent Radio News service, and IRN main bulletins at other times, feature alongside sports bulletins on the half-hour in weekdays.  The station has formed strong links with local newspaper the West Lothian Courier, with which news stories are pooled, and with which community stories are cross-promoted.  River FM plays music from the 1960s to current chart, with a particular emphasis on tracks from the 1990s.  Locally originated Scottish music is also featured during general music programming, and there are four specialist shows at weekends, including dance, rock and country.  The RA, in making their decision, felt that the programming proposals made by the station management would significantly broaden listener choice and would cater effectively for the tastes and interests of the audience.  

River FM initially planned a launch in the Summer of 2003 to serve West Lothian, between Edinburgh and Glasgow.  On Wednesday 3rd September 2003, pre-launch, a business breakfast was held in which the station manager, ex-Clyde 1, Scot FM and Northsound Radio's Gerry Burke, said that the station would focus on having good fun.   Later, at 7:00am, the station launched with a welcome message from the Chairman of the board Paul Gerbal.  Then, the first presenter, 'Wee Fat Bob' announced "Live from Almondvale, this is Wee Fat Bob and River FM".  As with most radio station launches, there has to be a bit of relativity, and Billy Joel's 'River Of Dreams' was the first tune heard.  The station broadcasts on 103.4 for the southern part of it's broadcast area, and in the SALLIE waveband range of 107.7FM for Linlithgow.  The launch was marked by the release of 107 helium filled balloons and the hillside creation of the the number 3 by pupils of St. Ninian's Primary School, this being in relation to the station's launch date.  Programmes come from studios based at Livingston FC's stadium.  

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RADIO TAY / TAY FM: It was the 17th October 1980 when what was then Radio Tay began broadcasting to Perth and Dundee.  It originally launched under simulcasting, i.e. broadcasting the same service on both AM & FM.  Upon launch, the station's presenters were criticised for being 'Dundonian' - less professional that national radio presenters who were actually better and different than that emanating from radios playing the Radio Tay service.   

In 1983, the station was heard in London!  But this wasn't a wierd atmospheric quirk.  Scottish ILR stations took out a Restricted Service Licence in Central London for four weeks using 100.5FM.  Radio Clyde, Forth, West Sound, Borders, North Sound, Central Radio, Moray Firth Radio and Radio Tay programming aired, targeted at London advertising execs who would not normally hear the Scottish stations, with the aim to get them to send some business northwards.  

Whilst other UK commercial radio stations had split a long time ago, it wasn't until 9th January 1995 that Radio Tay split into separate FM & AM services, giving the Dundee area, around 160,000 a choice of listening.  TAY FM continued on with the usual pop hit radio so recognisable and so traditional on the band.  Now owned by Scottish Radio Holdings, it originally started out as a completely separate station - however, in the 1980s,  Radio Tay merged with neighbouring Radio Forth, who in-turn also owned Radio Borders - an attractive acquisitional target - and having acquired Aberdeen's Northsound Radio SRH took over Forth, Tay & Borders in 1992. 

December 2000 saw the announcement of the start of takeover talks..  The mother group received approaches from a number of bodies and entered talks with a view to receiving an offer.  In November of 2000, SRH was the target of a stock market raid by the other big Scottish radio group SMG, owner of the two major television channels.  Shares in SRH rose and speculation was rife and the group appointed an investment banker to make a study of the group's strategies.  Groups linked with a takeover included SMG, EMAP & Capital Radio.  

However, SRH has continued under it's own steam, and Tay FM now operates on two frequencies - 102.8 for Dundee and 96.4 for Perth, broadcasting from studios at 6 North Isla Street in Dundee with a service of chart hits, AOR music, dance, sport, news and information.              www.radiotay.co.uk 

RADIO TAY / TAY AM:  It was the 17th October 1980 when what was then Radio Tay began broadcasting to Perth and Dundee.  It originally launched under simulcasting, i.e. broadcasting the same service on both AM & FM.  Upon launch, the station's presenters were criticised for being 'Dundonian' - less professional that national radio presenters who were actually better and different than that emanating from radios playing the Radio Tay service.   

In 1983, the station was heard in London!  But this wasn't a wierd atmospheric quirk.  Scottish ILR stations took out a Restricted Service Licence in Central London for four weeks using 100.5FM.  Radio Clyde, Forth, West Sound, Borders, North Sound, Central Radio, Moray Firth Radio and Radio Tay programming aired, targeted at London advertising execs who would not normally hear the Scottish stations, with the aim to get them to send some business northwards.  

Whilst other UK commercial radio stations had split a long time ago, it wasn't until 9th January 1995 that Radio Tay split into separate FM & AM services, giving the Dundee area, totalling around 160,000 a choice of listening.  TAY AM continued on with the usual classic hit and oldies format so recognisable and so traditional on the band.  Now owned by Scottish Radio Holdings, it originally started out as a completely separate station - however, in the 1980s,  Radio Tay merged with neighbouring Radio Forth, who in-turn also owned Radio Borders - an attractive acquisitional target - and having acquired Aberdeen's Northsound Radio SRH took over Forth, Tay & Borders in 1992. 

December 2000 saw the announcement of the start of takeover talks..  The mother group received approaches from a number of bodies and entered talks with a view to receiving an offer.  In November of 2000, SRH was the target of a stock market raid by the other big Scottish radio group SMG, owner of the two major television channels.  Shares in SRH rose and speculation was rife and the group appointed an investment banker to make a study of the group's strategies.  Groups linked with a takeover included SMG, EMAP & Capital Radio.  

However, SRH has continued under it's own steam, and Tay AM now operates on two frequencies - 1161 AM for Dundee and 1584 for Perth, broadcasting from studios at 6 North Isla Street in Dundee with a service of chart & classic hits, sport, news and information - it now reaches an estimated 200,000 people across Tayside, Perthshire and North East Fife.           www.radiotay.co.uk 

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RADIO WEST LOTHIAN / RWL 1368AM: Probably one of the shortest lived radio station, Radio West Lothian came on-air and went off-air in 1990.  Efforts to research the rapid rise and demise of the station have come to nothing.  We'd be glad to receive details to place here if you know anything!  E-mail us for a site credit!

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COMMERCIAL:  REGIONAL (IRR):

BEAT FM / BEAT 106 serves Central Scotland with 'fresh and innovative music' from studios at Four Winds Pavilion, at Glasgow's Pacific Quay using two frequencies 105.7 & 106.1FM.  Broadcasting from the station commenced on 19th November 1999.  The station is a recent acquisition for Capital Radio Group who have re-branded it with the corporate colours and typeface.  Appealing to a youth audience, aged 15 to 24, the station broadcasts a wide range of music from trance to rock, with an evening focus on dance music.  According to RAJAR Wave 3 results 2002, Beat 106 reaches 385,000 of it's total survey audience (15%) and has a listening share of 5.5%. 

Initial research carried out prior to launch indicated that none of the existing services were catering for the target audience - Radio 1 was seen as being metropolitan, with a strong bias to Southern England.  Local commercial stations were seen as narrow-minded and parochial, commanding loyalty largely through inertia.  Both sets of stations attracted criticism for 'poppy, teenybob' music played.  There was a demand for a more serious-minded rock and dance music policy - and Beat 106 aimed to fill this void.  In the first three months after launch, the station achieved an adult reach of over three hundred thousand people (13% of the populus), and 42% of 15-24 year olds - making it the most successful regional radio launch ever in the UK.  This success was put down to it's innovative marketing campaign.  TTwo tongue-in-cheek TV ads were broadcast which dramatised the consequences of listening to a station that foregrounds music - you simply don't want anything to interrupt it.  The TV campaign ran alongside bill board posters and on the sides and backs of buses.  

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SCOT FM / REAL RADIO SCOTLAND: Having won the regional radio licence for Central Scotland, Independent Radio Group began operating Scot FM on the 16th September 1994 from dual studios in Edinburgh and Glasgow, serving almost 3m potential listeners.  It was the first regional radio licence to be awarded north of the border, transmitting on two frequencies: 100.3 & 101.1FM.  In December 1999, The Wireless Group purchased the station for 10m when it acquired IRG.  

One of the most openly controversial moments of the station's history was the sacking of station presenter Mark Judge in December 2000 - this is reported to have been due to the failure to press the 7-second delay button during the airing of an abusive telephone caller - resulting in the obscenities being transmitted as they happened during a 1-6am weekday overnight show.  If the sacking of a presenter were applicable in all similar circumstances nationally, then many more jocks would have been sacked than actually have been.  In the same year, it is thought Scot FM lost 900,000 on turnover of 3.7m during the Millennium year.

By August of the following year, the Radio Authority announced it would be renewing the licence held by Scot FM Ltd, running for a further eight years from 16th September 2001, to 15th September 2009.  The renewal was made due to the station's commitment to supplying a feed on the Central Scotland regional digital platform.  Broadcasting Act '96 terms state a local licence holder can apply for automatic renewal if it is providing or is going to provide a digital programme service locally.

The Wireless Group were going through some considerable financial difficulties during 2001, but as things worsened, TWG Chairman Kelvin MacKenzie sold the station in a move of genius, to the Guardian Media Group for 25.5m (with approval from the Radio Authority) in June 2001 - a net profit of 15m.  The sale was unexpected in radio circles, with most insiders expecting TWG to sell smaller stations, which totalled 18 at the time, but nevertheless Scot FM's sale followed a fierce ownership battle between GMG, Chrysalis and the locally dominant Scottish Radio Holdings during an auction which was arranged for maximum results by TWG.  It is believed that selling just one large station cleared TWG's debts in one go and allowed it to work on it's development of talkSPORT and it's in-roads into digital radio.  Meanwhile both losers are understood to have offered more for the station but are believed not to be able to have presented a quick deal.  It is believed that Chrysalis needed more time to gather funding whilst SRH may have caused competition concerns in a market they already dominated.  GMG were able to complete a deal quickly using existing capital, and in line with it's intentions to purchase stations and further roll out the Real Radio brand which was already established in Wales & Yorkshire.  GMG closed Scot FM on 21st December 2001 and re-launched it as Real Radio Scotland on 8th January 2002.

HOSPITAL RADIO:  

RSL:  

DIGITAL:

THE FUTURE:  After advertising a new FM licence for the West Lothian area of Central Scotland, just one applicant has entered the running.  Almond Radio Ltd, who intend to broadcast as River FM propose a full time 24 hour, seven days a week service focusing on the people and communities of West Lothian, with extensive coverage of local news, people, sports and community issues and a blend of music that reflects the demographics of the county.  They spent four years researching, consulting and carrying out short term restricted service licence broadcasts prior to applying the full time licence.  The group were subsequently awarded the licence after submitting satisfactory documentation (totalling over 500 pages) which included hundreds of letters of support.  River FM now plan to launch in the Summer of 2003 to serve West Lothian, between Edinburgh and Glasgow.  Listeners can look forward to more locally relevant news, sport, community information and travel news, along with a mix of music from the last forty years and today.  Moving across from Aberdeen based Northsound Radio is ex-Clyde 1 and Scot FM man Gerry Burke to be River FM's Station Manager.  Programmes will come from studios based at Livingston FM's stadium.  


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