Aircheck UK - Monmouthshire

UPDATED: 24/10/2003

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WALES (South)

Lisa Dance reports: Here in Newport, Gwent, we have Red Dragon Radio which is excellent and is available on 97.4 or 103.2FM.  It plays mostly chart music and 
does get a bit boring on times as they repeat the same songs from the charts all day long.  I wondered if you could help with this one what has happened to John Dash who used to work on there?

We also have Real Radio which is broadcast on 105.9 - that station is excellent it broadcasts from as far as Chepstow to Swansea.  It seems to appeal to all ages it plays music from the 60s to present.  It has a lot of good DJs (one which they lost called Adrian Allen - where is he?)

AIRCHECK says: Thanks Lisa...our links will take you to either the presenter's very own Tracker page or the Tracker Homepage (if the former does not yet already exist) 

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).


GB (GWENT BROADCASTING) RADIO 230 / CBC 221, RED DRAGON RADIO / RED DRAGON FM / TOUCH AM / TOUCH RADIO / CAPITAL GOLD WALES: Gwent Broadcasting was on the air for less than two years from it's launch on 13th June 1983 and ceased trading in April 1985.  After a period of silence, the transmitters began to relay CBC from Cardiff - Cardiff Broadcasting Company - which latterly combined both Touch & Red DragonTouch AM was created following broadcasting requirements to split FM & AM frequencies.  On 15th July 1990, Red Dragon's AM service on 1359 & 1305 became Touch AM, the logo for which included the outline of a finger (with nail) 'touching' the station name.   In 1994, it went under a slight rebranding as Touch Radio latterly adapting the strapline 'Best Songs Ever Made'.  Muff Murfin and AJ Productions produced the station's jingles up to this time.  1998 saw Touch Radio, along with it's FM sister station, Red Dragon, acquired by Capital Radio Group.   Touch Radio was then re-branded Capital Gold, forming part of the Capital Gold network.  The service broadcasts on 1359 from the Hadfield Road transmitter in Cardiff and on 1305 from Christchurch in Newport, Gwent.

RED DRAGON serves Cardiff & Newport with contemporary hit music, news and information on two frequencies; 97.4FM & 103.2.  It came to air 11th April 1980 and currently broadcasts from studios at Atlantic Wharf, Cardiff Bay.  In 1998, Red Dragon FM became part of the Capital Radio Group, forming part of the Capital Gold network.

Together, the two stations form Capital Radio South Wales, a standalone part of the main Capital Radio Group.  


VALLEYS RADIO runs an AM service on 999 & 1116khz for the Heads of the South Wales Valleys consisting of current and classic hits including some tunes from the 80s and 90s, news, sport and local information, from studios at Festival Park, Victoria in Ebbw Vale. Transmissions started 23rd November 1996 with the current licence expiring 22nd November 2004.  It is part of The Wireless Group, who supplied the only declaration of intent when the Radio Authority pre-advertised the local radio licence for the Heads of the Valleys area, in South Wales.  Under the 1996 Broadcasting Act, providing no changes are made to the existing format, the RA will re-award the licence providing the current licence owner (Valley Radio Ltd - a TWG subsidiary) applies formally by early February 2003.  


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.  




XPRESS RADIO: Run specifically for students by students, this station broadcasts on 107.2 using RSLs on an annual basis to Cardiff Centre and a 5-mile radius..  Programming includes hourly news bulletins, it's very own radio soap 'Woodville Road', and a fresh alternative music policy.  When not on terrestrial airwaves, there is also 24 hour service on the station's website.  (See link below).  Students run the station during their free time, and this has been done each year since 1994.  In that time, Xpress has been commended in the Radio 1 Student Awards and in the Cardiff Student Media Awards.  The station provides an opportunity for any student interested in radio to have a go.  It provides the opportunity for anyone interested in the various aspects to become involved, providing full training in whatever element, technical, production or presentation.  

DIGITAL:  On 1st December 1999, the Radio Authority confirmed the award of the digital multiplex licence for Cardiff, Newport and surrounding parts of South-East Wales to Capital Radio Digital Ltd.  The Authority made a conditional award to Capital Radio Digital on 4 November 1999.   This was upon the Authority's condition that it should modify its proposed transmission arrangements in order to reduce coverage overspill beyond the area for which the licence was advertised.

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