Aircheck UK - Nottinghamshire

UPDATED: 08/10/2003

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BBC LOCAL RADIOBBC RADIO NOTTINGHAM: Many believe that Radio Trent was the first radio service for the county, however, you can go right back to 16th September 1924 for the early roots of local BBC radio in the county - 5NG was a relay of Manchester's 2ZY service.  Read more about the advent of BBC local radio from this time via this link.  BBC local radio as we know it still started in the county before the commercial radio service - on the evening of 31st January 1968 to be precise.  The Little John Town Hall chimes in 'Slab Square' aired first, with the station's arrival being announced in clear precise English, with no sign of local dialect, by Robert McLeish, on '...vhf 94.8 and Rediffusion Channel C.'  He very quickly handed over to the then Station Manager Gerald Nethercott, who in turn asked the then the right worshipful Mayor of Nottingham Cllr A.F Roberts why he thought the station was a good idea.  The Mayor referred to the old service of 5NG and how things had gone full circle.

The Post Master General, the Rt Hon Edward Short MP started his announcement by saying that the station was 'Britain's first local home town radio station...'  He went on to say that '...one of the station's call signs will be the sound of a flight of Sherwood arrows.  This means that Radio Nottingham intends to be right on the mark.'  He also announced the appointment of a local Broadcasting Council made up of members from across the community.   Their job was to co-operate with the BBC to produce 'bright and attractive radio'.  Mr. Short said that the only instruction to the station was that the programmes must '...always be lively, never dull, but above all, tailor made for Nottingham.  He then wished the 'Nottingham Home Town Station every success', referring that the station was influential on the whole development of local radio in the country.  But his announcement came with stark advice for the listeners; '...if you feel that your station is not on the mark, for goodness sake, contact your local Broadcasting Council, or the Station Manager and let them know.'  

Someone wasn't on the mark on the morning after the first evening.  The first programme of the day, the Breakfast Show, was 30 minutes late to air.  Gerald Nethercott referred to technical problems and rebuffed suggestions that staff were hung over from the night before and had forgotten to switch the station on.  The launch, quite a prominent one, made national news as a result.  Before the advent of commercial radio locally, host of TV show 'Opportunity Knocks' wanted to take the station over and turn it into a commercial broadcaster - he must have 'meant that most sincerely' but, of course, it never happened.   Early programming was only aired for just a few short hours per day - and within those few hours, 'Town Crier' used to give the weather forecast, daily what's on and travel news.  Children were entertained with 'Bran Tub' and housewives had 'Elevenses'.  News came from a news agency, based some distance from the station itself - bulletins were biked across the city to be aired from the newsdesk.  

Perhaps the most notable member of the station's line up was the incomparable and hugely popular Dennis McCarthy, later awarded an MBE for his services to broadcasting.  For 25 years, he provided both local and regional programming, interviewing many stars of stage, screen and society.  His programme was removed from the airwaves of neighbouring BBC Radio Derby by the then station manager Alex Trelinski to widespread shock and amazement - Dennis was believed to be equally as dismayed about this.  Totally unrelated, and very sadly later, Dennis died - his funeral, on 17th January 1996 attended by over 20 thousand people lining the Nottingham streets, bringing the City to a standstill - this showing quite clearly, the popullarity that the great man had built over the years.  

Radio Nottingham broadcasts on 95.5 (Fishponds Hill, Mansfield), 103.8 FM (Mapperley Hill) and the lesser publicised 1584 AM transmitter at Clipstone, with programming coming from from the new London Road BBC Nottingham Centre, also home of the local BBC TV news service, called the 'Island Site', which it moved to it 1998.  As of the time of the compilation of this profile, staff working at the station include former Radio Nottingham, ex-Radio Derby presenter John Holmes, former station manager of BBC Radio Derby and reporter for Five Live, now East Mids night-time network presenter Alex Trelinski, and former Radio Trent & GEM-AM presenter, now occasional TV news reader, Brian Tansley.        www.bbc.co.uk/england/radionottingham 

COMMERCIAL:    LOCAL

RADIO TRENT/TRENT FM: 3rd July 1975 was an epic day in national radio history with one of the greatest ILR stations outside London, probably partially because it was one of the first outside London to launch.  By 1980, the station's output had expanded to 20 hours per day.  Studios have always been at 29-31 Castle Gate, Nottingham.  It has operated throughout it's broadcasting life on 96.2, and in it's Radio Trent AM days, 999 kHz Medium Wave.  Seventies presenters of note include Dale Winton, Radio Derby's Chris Baird and the late great Peter TaitChris Hughes became Programme Controller at Radio Trent in July 1980, then took on similar position at sister station Leicester Sound, then Radio Trent 945 in Derbyshire.  

Midlands Radio plc, also the home to BRMB, Beacon, Mercia & Xtra-AM, and Trent-FM 102.8 was purchased by a company called GWR in 1993  - this put a dread fear through everyone as the GWR company had already gained a reputation for taking over stations and wielding various sizes of axe upon doing so.  Trent-FM lost all it's American jingles and personality led presenters in favour of the same presenters, reading liner cards for 'a better music mix' and playing a standard set of records.  Arguably a GWR trade mark replicated all too often around the country.  Trent-FM is, to fans at least, a mere shadow of it's former self - and is Trent in name only.  

The Radio Authority website refers that they serve Derby & Nottingham - this is certainly true on signal coverage but not on-air content!  They are currently only too happy to slag off their near neighbours, especially from a footballing perspective.  The current business director is one of the old Trent school, ex-Derby FM manager Chris Hughes, with ex-Derby hospital radio and Trent-FM Derby presenter Richard 'Dick' Stone as the Programme Controller.  He recently took over the post from another Trent legend, Rob Wagstaff, who recently left. 

Prior to the launch of the SALLIE station, Mansfield 103.2, it was felt by both Trent management and the Radio Authority that Mansfield was having reception problems with the 96.2 frequency and, as Mansfield was in Nottinghamshire, it needed some assistance for listener satisfaction - Mansfield is now served by a separate relay on 96.5FM.  

See our museum pages for reference to the Derby Radio Trent/Trent FM/GEM-AM franchises.  

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GEM-AM/CLASSIC GOLD 'DIGITAL' GEM: Chris Hughes became Programme Controller at Radio Trent in July 1980, then took on similar position at sister station Leicester Sound, then Radio Trent 945 in Derbyshire. Upon the launch of GEM AM on 4th October 1988, he would be overseeing 76 hours of local programming and 55 news bulletins amongst them.  In a final interview with John Shaw on Radio Trent's final 'Conversations' programme, when asked by John what the 'sudden commercial expansion of ILR was about', i.e. the end of simulcasting, Chris said that the 'Government said we could do it'  In the previous three years, approximately six areas of the country trialled a split frequency format - Leicestershire carried Leicester Sound on FM and the Asian service Sabras on 1260kHz as part of the trial.  A subsequent Government Green paper said it would be unreasonable to 'waste' spectrum space by simulcasting so stations could either have an FM or an AM service.  Therefore to beat this new legislation, it was a case of 'use it or lose it' and so Trent (Midlands Radio plc) created GEM-AM, (Great East Midlands-AM) which turned out to be one of, if not the best UK GOLD station.  It launched on 945, 999 & 1260 kHz, at 12:00noon by paying a possible homage to the offshore stations that had built a long standing reputation for GOLD radio - John Peters played The Beatles' 'All You Need Is Love'.  With John's fondness for offshore radio, this could be nothing else.  

GEM was designed to play 'records that people know and love, that they like singing along to in their bath, music they can shave by, music they can drive by, everything from Frank Sinatra to Peggy Lee, through the decades of rock and roll: the 50's & the emergence of Elvis Presley & Cliff Richard, into the sixties with The Beatles, all the best music there has ever been from Tamla Motown, through the seventies and right up to date with artists of broad melodic appeal.....personality led, by mature professionals...and local - part of the life of the cities served...' said Chris Hughes in his Trent interview.  Interestingly, he also said that..'....if we ever lose sight of the localness, then we'll be sunk....I don't ever want to lose sight of the skills, ideas and personality of our presenters and if we lose sight of that, then again, we'll be sunk.....that is why we are so successful.....'

Here's the opening schedule for GEM-AM.

MONDAY - FRIDAY

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

And so, GEM-AM became the great GOLD station for the three counties.  In 1992, a decision was taken to remove GEM completely from the 1260 AM frequency and replace it with 24-hour Asian programming - effective from 14th September of that year.  It was perhaps felt that Leicestershire would be covered quite adaquately by the other frequencies.   No real damage done then....

Midlands Radio plc, also the home to BRMB, Beacon, Mercia & Xtra-AM, and Trent-FM 102.8 was purchased by a company called GWR in 1993  - this put a dread fear through everyone as the GWR company had already gained a reputation for taking over stations and wielding various sizes of axe upon doing so - networking their own Classic Gold service on AM from Swindon.  GWR didn't dare touch GEM - at least not straightaway.  Evenn in 1994, GEM continued live and local 24 hours a day much to the temporary relief of local interested parties.  

But the cloud of networking hung heavy throughout that time and in 1997, a decision was taken to network Tony Lyman across the Classic Gold network encapsulating the Midlands and the Home Counties - GEM was sneaked onto the end of the Classic Gold name to form Classic Gold GEM.   Once the rather clever covert methods of networking had been started, it could only go to it's full anticipated state.  Today's extent is one of minimalistic localness - i.e. four hours weekdays 14:00-18:00, formerly, before his move to new regional station SAGA 106.6FM, presented by John Peters, who himself had been freelancing all over the place in between times.  And, safety wins at all costs, with the usual replicated worn set of safe oldies feature with all the other greats cast into oblivion, probably never to be heard again.  

Radio Authority ownership restrictions hit the intentions of GWR group in a way they didn't like - as they continued to buy up stations, they were told to offload stations - GWR retained FM stations and offloaded AM.  Relieved, previously aggravated fans and listeners to the old GEM rejoiced.  But there is some bad news for this good news.  GWR sold Classic Gold to UBC, United Broadcasting - on the understanding that GWR can buy the stations back again when ownership rules are relaxed.  

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LINCS FM: And this is where the term 'Independent Local Radio' is popularly centred - from one commercial station, an industry giant has grown.  On 1st March 1992, this station lit up the radio dial across Lincolnshire in particular, and became the local radio competition to the BBC station in the same country, which, by this date, had been on-air for twelve years.  Lincs FM broadcasts from studios at Witham Park on the banks of the River Witham in Lincoln, a site well known by locals as 'The Titanic Works'.  Programming is sent underground to it's main transmitter in the Lincolnshire Wolds at Belmont.  From it's original frequency of 102.2, it now has relays on 96.7 (Grantham) for the South & 97.6 (Scunthorpe) for the North.  As far as the history of the station is concerned, after departing Nottingham & Derby's Trent FM this was the home for David Lloyd and Paul Robey - who went some considerable way to maintaining the overall quality and localness that this service and it's sister stations today, are renowned for.  On it's website, the station uses the line 'your truly local station'.  

Even though it is fair to say that there are now only three stations directly targeting the area (BBC Radio Lincolnshire, Lincs FM & SAGA 106.6), Lincs FM has continued to take a massive slice of the local radio listenership with it's popular 'hits and memories' format which plays music from the 70s onwards.  It did use to play a significant amount of tracks from the previous decade, although this has been filtered out to an extent over recent years, without greatly affecting the overall quality of the service.  

Such has been the success experienced by the station, a whole radio group has been created (Lincs FM plc) with stations starting in the outer lying regions of North Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire & Leicestershire.  The only other main East Midlands region yet to see the managing group's involvement is Derbyshire - radio fans and residents of that counnty yearn for their arrival at the earliest opportunity.  Having said that, Lincs FM could be heard clearly in East Derby until the Birmingham station Galaxy 102 started broadcasting.  It can still be heard on the Derbyshire side of the northbound M1 for some distance.  

Broadcasting it's service '...from the Humber to the Wash', and for Newark in Nottinghamshire, on-air, the station uses the strapline 'playing hits, making memories'.  It's news and information service is excellent, and there are regular competitions, opportunities for requests and dedications and, above all, in today's otherwise bland commercial radio market, personality radio lives here and at other Lincs FM Group stations.                                                    www.lincsfm.co.uk

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RADIO MANSFIELD / MANSFIELD 103.2: Radio Mansfield started out in life as an RSL service, broadcasting in the locality on this basis as recently as 1996 and overall for a period of three years.  The station was founded by local man Philip Smith.  With the advertisement of a radio licence specifically for the area, even though Nottingham's Trent FM has a relay for the area, on 7th May 1998, the RSL services carried out by the station, had obviously stood it in good stead, as the Radio Authority awarded the licence for Mansfield, the Ashfields and communities to them under their application group name Mansfield & Ashfield Broadcasting Co Ltd which was, at the time, based at Brunts Business Centre, on Samuel Brunts Way in Mansfield.  The men at the helm of the short term broadcasts were Alex McKie and Tom Beesley - the station launched using the frequency formerly vacated by Leicester Sound, (who moved to the more powerful 105.4), 103.2.  

The award of the licence caused a great deal of problem internally for the group when a new broom dramatically swept through the station.  http://website.lineone.net/~star12/ChadRadMans.htm is a worthwhile read - this is an article taken from the local paper, the Mansfield Chad from 29th December 1998 which details the dramatic events.  

It launched post award of it's licence at 8:00am on 1st February 1999 and has remained in the studios occupied by the RSL broadcasts. Katie Trinder is Head of News, and ex-Radio Trent & Radio 106 Head Of Sport, Tony Delahunty is the Managing Director.  Alex McKie remains as Chairman.  Oddly, the Mansfield 103.2 licence award was made at the same time as that of Peak 107 in Chesterfield, which was won by Grand Central Broadcasting, run by Wayne Chadwick and subsequently sold to Forever Broadcasting by the same.  Whilst at Peak, Mr. Chadwick brought in presenters Katie Trinder, James Hilton & the man who played Andy McDonald in Coronation Street, Nick Cochrane. Wayne, Katie, James & Nick all feature on Mansfield as at the time of writing this section of this site!  Katie was one of the original RSL broadcast team.              www.mansfield103.co.uk

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TRAX FM: During the latter part of 1997, the Radio Authority advertised new SALLIE (small-scale alternative local licences) within Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.  A total of eight applications went in - of the eight, three got licences awarded on 7th May 1998 - Radio Mansfield (Mansfield andd Ashfield Broadcasting Co Ltd - see above), Peak 107FM (Grand Central Broadcasting Ltd) (see our Derbyshire page) and Trax FM Ltd who, in their application, summarised as planning to provide news and information for Bassetlaw and Worksop with current hits and classic oldies.  Trax FM (Bassetlaw) had previously carried out one trial (RSL) broadcast from 15th February to 14th March 1997.  

Test transmissions for this new service commenced on 17th November 1998, with full programming kicking off on 22nd November.  As with all of their licence applications, the team behind the station let the application do all the talking - but the team behind the station is prrobably the most consistent, pro-personality, pro-local, pro-radio radio group in the UK - Lincs FM plc.  According to the RAJAR/Ipsos-RSL March 2003 audience figures, 33% of all adults in the area tune in for an average of 10.8 hours per week, with the station serving 416,000 people across the transmission area.  It aims to offer a broad blend of quality music alongside essential local, national and international news and information.  The owning group believes in locally focused, locally managed popular commercial radio.  Trax FM is described by the group as a vibrant, adult contemporary radio station, aimed at adults aged between 25 and 54, but considering a family audience and state that they are sensitive to the fact that children may be listening.  Presenters are real people, who live and work in the area they broadcast to, and who reflect the lives of the station's listeners.  

One of two Trax FM stations, it broadcasts on 107.9FM.  The other station is in Doncaster which broadcasts on 107.1.  www.traxfm.co.uk  

COMMERCIAL: REGIONAL

   

Radio 106FM/CENTURY: The man deemed to be at the helm of Midlands Radio plc until it's takeover by GWR was a Mr. Ron Coles.  Having relinquished control to GWR, he was probably well delighted to be at the helm of the new and first East Midlands (Notts/Derbys/Leics) regional licence.  Backed by Border Radio Holdings (BRH) based in Cumbria and part of Border TV, Radio 106 ran simple test transmissions of adult contemporary music interspersed with simple announcements about the station's programming.  On board was Ron's Trent colleague, Mr. Sport, Tony Delahunty who, for station launch was in Valderama in Spain, watching local golfer Lee Westwood in action for Radio 106.

                                                                           

Ken Warburton at Radio 106                                                                        Ron Coles at Radio 106

On 23/09/1997, Radio 106 was launched at 6:00am by Dickie Dodd with later programming from Kevin Fernihough on the morning show and Ken Warburton on afternoons.  As Border further established it's Century brand, this led to a rebranding of Radio 106, which was perhaps, in hindsight going to be inevitable anyway.  Out went Ron who, my memory tells me, couldn't bare the pending changes, and in came John Myers. (Ron then took control of the radio division of SAGA plc, who were planning some radio activities).  Hiring and firing seemed the norm and the obligatory changing of personnel took place.  Names such as Mark Keen, Gordon Astley, Adrian Allen & Ian Skye have all passed through the 'revolving doors' 

One person who did come in the doors of note, and fresh from the Radio Authority was a Mr. David Lloyd.  Having spent a considerable time at Radio Trent, then Lincs FM in Lincolnshire, and in other radio areas including Classic FM, and then the Authority itself, David's arrival at what was then Century 106 saw what was almost a hark back to the Radio Trent days with David himself taking up some air time, the arrival on air of Ian Chilvers, who had been working in the background at Century as a producer and formerly as travel presenter in the Radio 106 days as 'Jimmy Jams'(!), the brief appearance of current Radio Derby sport reporter, Nigel Cash, along with Ian, also an ex-Radio Link (hospital radio) member, Colin Woolley and Tony Lyman and John Peters to daytime programming, and, the return to radio of Andy Marriott, continuity announcer for Central/Carlton TV, (who at that stage was not working on radio) who brought with him his ex-GEM-AM programme 'The Andy Marriott Television Show' to Sunday evenings.  David also brought in Steve Jordan, ex-Lincs FM colleague, to afternoons and latterly, before Graham Mack, and after Sean Goldsmith, breakfast.  Programming echoed the Trent feel, which no doubt was of huge appeal to the population of the counties it served.  David is no longer associated with Century again, but does still have a firm footing in the radio business, mostly advisory once more.

Big groups are normally taken over by bigger groups, and following negotiations, Century 106 became property of Capital Radio plc.  This led to a slight rebranding to 106 Century FM, scrapping of sung jingles, a clear out of presenters, most of the above either leaving or getting the push in some way, copious amounts of SPORT and phone-ins, fronted by ex-Trent news reader and sports reporter Darren Fletcher and a more Capital styled music mix.  Although maintaining it's older target audience, the music mix is generally more targeted that it has ever been with regulars like TEXAS, TRAVIS, STEREOPHONICS, et al doing the rounds (and arounds).  To their credit though, weekends break the mould with each Saturday and Sunday currently being 80's themed.  Capital GOLD presenters Mike Sweeney and Noddy Holder have also appeared with relevant sixties and seventies programming, although this has been dumbed down or scrapped over more recent months.  Other presenters include Stuart Ellis, ex Heart FM 100.7 Breakfast & BRMB.  Century 106's current licence expires 22nd September 2005.

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The AIRCHECK Editor adds: 

SAGA 106.6FM (101.4 Derby): Since tests began on Tuesday 28th February (30th for 101.4 Derby) - a 'who's who' of local radio has gradually appeared with the airing of pre-recorded test announcements - John Peters & David Hamilton started things off, later being joined by Tony Lyman, David Lloyd, Paul Robey, Erica Hughes and night-time presenter Tim Gough.  A sizeable playlist has been aired with only long term listeners hearing a repeat of some tunes - with a music mix which combines Radio 2 and the classic days of East Midlands great gold station GEM-AM.  Sunday 2nd February also saw the use of the first SAGA 106.6 jingles.  Cheekily, the tests continued to trail the station as serving '...the Great East Midlands...' -  undoubtedly a 'ha-ha we're back' sideswipe at the dumbing down of local radio and the downsizing of GEM-AM

Summarising the tests, Day 2 saw a short period off air for approximately 90 minutes with tests heard returning at 4:30 in the afternoon.  Other intermittent drop outs of sound were heard although less and less over the last few days of tests.  These then, were truly tests in every sense.   Other interesting facts, include the referral to Lincolnshire as being served, along with the other three inland East Mids counties, Notts, Derbys & Leics - Lincs doesn't get a mention by the other regional, 106 Century FM.   More recent tests have included programme trailers.  Prior to launch, perhaps a negative side is that there were seemingly no large adverts being carried on lorries - no billboards spotted - no leaflets through doors, but Derby's Evening Telegraph Entertainment supplement on Friday 7th featured an interview and photographs with David Hamilton.  Some locals who have previously made contact with SAGA in any guise, received a small magazine featuring articles and schedules. It confirmed, after recent omissions from the test announcements, the appearance of Andy Marriott, with 'Pure Nostalgia' on a Sunday - this is already aired by Andy on the West Midlands sister station so we assume that this is networked on both stations.  Diana Luke e-mailed confirmation to us here at AIRCHECK that she would be presenting a weekend JAZZ show on SAGA 106.6 whilst maintaining a weekday show on Peak 107 (Chesterfield) and also at weekends on Yorkshire's Real Radio.

Overnight presenter, Mike Wyer started his first shift warming up for launch, providing regular live test announcements, counting down to the launch throughout the night - and at 7:00am, John Peters burst onto the air, clearly excited with what lay ahead.  It's the third time he's launched a local station in his 28 years of broadcasting locally - the original Radio Trent 301 in 1975 and GEM-AM in 1988.  Airing a re-sung Radio London jingle, (of which the style would be familiar, with John being a fan and having worked on recent Big L broadcasts), he announced that SAGA was 'about to take off' - the first songs aired were Frank Sinatra's 'Come Fly With Me'  and The Carpenters' 'We've Only Just Begun', with other songs from The Beatles, The Seekers and Abba following.  It seems SAGA have done what Radio 106 / Century didn't/doesn't  - and that's to show clear evidence of being interested in it's different counties and their audience - it is already involved with all locall papers in each county - evident from the pre-launch magazine and by John on-air - there was also interactivity by mentioning the many e-mails and letters received and a request.  The 'Great East Midlands' theme looks set to continue, along with a constant, although tricky reference to the Derby transmitter on 101.4 despite the station being on 106.6 in the main.  The first advertiser/sponsor to appear came with the first travel bulletin, British Airways, closely followed by the first commercial proper - again a National advertiser - Sainsburys.  At 7:25, 500 was up for grabs on the Mystery Voice competition - and the station phone number was announced -  0845 650 1066.  Claire Bailey presented a detailed news, sport and weather bulletin at 7:30pm.  Overall reflections on the opening 30 minutes from AIRCHECK?   SAGA RADIO is fronted by ex-Trent and Radio 106 man Ron Coles.  It would seem that real, local radio (with JINGLES!!!) is finally back in the East Midlands - the ghost of Trent & GEM past returns to haunt once more.  Happy haunting!

So, who else is doing what then?  Trent, GEM, Big L, Century 106 & Lincs FM group jock John Peters is the Breakfast show presenter upon launch, a local radio star for 28 years, Erica Hughes fills the morning show (9am-Noon), and David Hamilton takes on the afternoon show (1-4pm) moving from the Breakfast show on the West Midlands sister station on 105.7 which can be heard well over the East Midlands coverage area.   Ex-BRMB star Les Ross has taken over in Birmingham's SAGA Breakfast from January 6th following a short break after his departure from BRMB.   Ex Trent and GEM presenter Tony Lyman is moving back home to present the drivetime afternoon slot from his similar position in Birmingham's SAGA station - he also presents Saturday Breakfast - and ex-Trent/GEM links continue because Paul Robey has left his job with the Lincs-FM group to become the SAGA 106.6 Programme Controller, and Head Of Music and will present 'The SAGA Collection weekdays at 12noon and 7pm.   Tim Gough controls the late night show, weekdays 8pm-Midnight (Tim is ex-96 Trent-FM) ex-golden Trent era star Peter Quinn was scheduled to finally return to local airwaves Friday 8pm-Midnight, Saturday afternoon 2pm-6pm and Sunday breakfast from 6:00am-10:00am. However, a few days into the start of transmissions, his name was removed from the list of presenters on the station's website.  Peter was unable to appear due to personal reasons.  The aptly named ex-travel news presenter Mike Wyer presents the graveyard shift, with Mark Burrows making a welcome return to local radio, in a slot he's familiar with - in this case Midnight - 2am, with another familiar title 'A Little Night Music'  and both Sheila Tracey and Diana Luke appear in the schedule too.  As David Lloyd's dulcet tones have been heard on test announcements, fans of the great Steve Merike have been jumping for joy as David included Steve in a list of presenters cited as appearing on the station.  It is known from inside AIRCHECK circles, that Steve has a fondness for the music of the 1930s, however, it was not on a specialist show that Steve made a return - with no start for Peter Quinn, this freed up Sunday breakfast, a show which Steve has seemingly stepped straight into as if he'd never been away.  We were the first to be told by the man himself on December 12th 2002 - and we promised we wouldn't tell, but it's been formally announced by the station itself - David Lloyd returns to the East Midlands with the Sunday request show 10:00am - 1:00pm.  On his first show, one of David's first links enthused about being back and referred to having been 'interrupted last time'.  

Speaking about the launch, David Hamilton who also presents a Saturday show called 'Million Sellers', said: 'Radio for people aged 50 and over is something new on the airwaves and I am delighted to be one of the pioneers and part of the launch team at SAGA 106.6FM.'   Studios are based at Nottingham's Riverside Business Park. Saga has invested 2.5million in the new radio station.

SAGA 106.6fm is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Saga Group Ltd which was founded in 1952 and is now the market leader in travel, financial and other services for people aged 50 and over, and also publishes the award-winning 1.2 million circulation Saga magazine

Click here to see who SAGA beat to get to air!

DIGITAL: Just one application for the Nottingham Digital Multiplex licence has been received by The Radio Authority - who decided that their application was suitable and subsequently awarded the licence to them.  It means that GWR have an even tighter grip on the local radio business because it is GWR who, with 52.5% are the major shareholders of sole applicant Now Digital (East Midlands) Ltd.  Other shareholders are Sabras Sound with 20%, Capital Radio with 20% and Chrysalis Radio who have a minority stake of just 7%.   

The licence will run for twelve years to serve just over one million listeners aged 15+ in the Nottingham area.  Now Digital propose a nine-channel 24 hour line up of five present analogue services and four digital exclusive channels: 96 Trent FM (GWR), Classic Gold GEM (UBC), 106 Century FM (Capital), SAGA 106.6FM (SAGA Radio), BBC Radio Nottingham (BBC!) and digital exclusive channels Galaxy (Chrysalis - Dance format), The Storm (GWR - Rock format), Capital Disney ((Capital - Childrens format) (Capital Disney bid unsuccessfully for the East Midlands 2nd regional analogue licence as won by SAGA), and A Plus (Young Asian & Community).  

Upon award, services will air on VHF band III frequency block 12c (centre frequency 227.360MHz from April 2004, using transmission facilities at Fishpond Hill in Mansfield, the television transmitter at Waltham, and the third at Mapperley.  These transmission facilities should reach almost 80% of the potential audience figure.

RESTRICTED SERVICE LICENCES (RSLs):

87.7 SHERWOOD FM: This is a camp radio station. It's not what you think, but the wrong placing of a key word can send you completely the wrong way!  Sherwood 2003, a congregation of 5000 Scouts and Guides in the Sherwood Forest of Nottinghamshire was held from 1st to 9th August 2003 - the event is held every five years - but in 2003, it's the first time a radio station has covered the event.  Based in Walesby, attendees had the chance to choose the music and have a go at being a DJ 'on the camp radio station',  (See what I mean?  I had to laugh when I first found out about this news story...Ed) 87.7 Sherwood FM.  The station was run voluntarily featuring some experienced radio presenters alongside radio virgins (!).  The station was the idea of Richard Wollacott, who ran some short term stations in the late 1990s and worked with the Essex Radio Group on the Vibe FM East of England licence.  Richard is a Venture Scout leader in Nottingham and saw the station's potential over a year before it actually launched.  The station was targeted at the 8-15 year old audience at camp but could be heard around the Walesby and Ollerton areas of North Notts.    www.sherwoodfm.com 

HOSPITAL RADIO

THE FUTURE: With the pending 3rd West Midlands regional (in addition to Heart and Saga), it is expected that a 3rd East Midlands regional will be advertised, giving the disappointed groups who missed out with their bids for the 2nd East Mids regional, a second bite at the cherry.  The RA, soon to be OFCOM, have yet to make an announcement of plans for a 3rd East Midlands licence as yet.  When industry discussions and RA trials have concluded, it is not deemed unreasonable for Leicester and other large populated areas of the county to have a community-based access station.

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