Swindon 105.5

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Swindon 105.5
Swindon 105.5 station Logo
Broadcast area Swindon
Slogan Daring to be different...
Frequency 105.5 MHz and Online [1]
First air date 15 March 2008
Format Community Radio
Owner Community Radio Swindon
Website www.swindon1055.com

Swindon 105.5 is a community radio station for Swindon, Wiltshire fully licensed by media and communications regulator Ofcom.[1] The station provides at least an hours programming a week for every major music genre as well as broadcasting many features about local people and organisations as well as features about the history of the town. The station manager is former BBC and GWR FM presenter, Shirley Ludford. Aside from Ludford being paid part-time, the station is totally run by volunteers. The station obtains its funding through seeking grants, donations, fundraising events and training courses.

History

Pre-Launch (2004-2007)

The original project was founded by Ian Rowe, Johnny Robinson, Richard Grace and Greg Stevens in 2004, who were all presenters at Swindon FM at the time, along with Shirley Ludford a former employee of both BBC Radio Wiltshire and GWR FM and who was subsequently appointed Station Manager of the project.

Prior to the launch of the actual station, Swindon Community Broadcasting, a RSL (Restricted Service License) station, was set up in order to discover whether a community radio station could feasibly work in the area. After positive feedback about the station's success throughout the twenty eight day broadcast it was decided the project would proceed to the next step and apply for a full-time Community Radio License from Ofcom.

In 2006, there were two groups that applied for the community radio license for the Swindon area, Swindon FM Community Radio, which had run a local DAB only service in Swindon since 2002, and then Community Radio Swindon, broadcasting as Swindon 105.5. Ofcom decided in favour of Community Radio Swindon and the station was awarded their license in February 2007. The vast majority of Swindon FM presenters moved to Community Radio Swindon, creating an unofficial merger.[1]

Launch and The County Ground (2008-2010)

Swindon 105.5 was launched on Saturday the 15th of March 2008 at The County Ground, Home of Swindon Town F.C. [2] with the Town Crier of Swindon, Fred Ferris. The inaugural show was presented by Ludford with former broadcasting colleague BBC Radio Swindon Peter Heaton-Jones. The station’s first officially played song was the 1964 Martha & The Vandellas single – Dancing in the Street. The station's appointed broadcast facilitation company, Transplan UK, together with the station's own Technical Team, had worked continuously for two days to ensure that the station’s equipment was functioning correctly in time for the Official Launch at 10 am. The original music database was developed by the station's Head of Music and co-founder, Johnny Robinson. The first regular show to air was The Johnny Robinson Show at 7-9 pm on Saturday 15 March. Robinson was apparently "tired and shattered" after helping out the rest of the Technical Team, and had gone without sleep for 36 hours before presenting the show.

Further Expansions and The Bentley Centre (2010 to present)

The station moved to its current location at The Bentley Centre, Stratton Road, Swindon in the summer of 2010. The move to much larger premises allowed the station to expand to three studios and to have large administration and training areas. Ludford ran the first accredited radio course for nine-year-olds at Drove multicultural school in 2011, they are the youngest in the country to gain this certificate. DJ Ron Travolta took management of the music database and successfully restored the system after it was hacked in early 2012. Ron managed the system until he died in August 2012. Its transmitter was moved to the top of the ninety meter high David Murray John Building (Brunel Tower) in the centre of Swindon on 15 March 2013 - coincidentally on the station's fifth birthday.

Ludford was featured in the 2014 Mothers Day edition of ITV's "Surprise Surprise" programme which saw Boyzone visit the station and Ludford additionally visited New York to meet Whoopi Goldberg. Ludford was picked to be on the show due to her longtime work for the Swindon community. Ludford received the High Sheriffs Award for long service to the community in February 2014 and later in the year, his royal highness, The Duke Of Kent, visited the Station to present The Queens Award (MBE) in November 2014. In the mid of 2015, for the first time in history, the station reported their first funding crisis through the Swindon Advertiser.[3] Shortly after this announcement, Sainsbury's Supermarket and Kaspas Dessert House became charity sponsors of the station.

Programmes

The majority of programmes between 6 am and 11 pm are live, with some repeats of certain shows in the daytime. Other programmes are repeated during the 'Nightshift' time - usually from 12 pm until 6 am. Pre-recorded programmes are also produced by local schools and colleges and community groups. The station was the first legal radio station to have a regular Drum & Bass show in the UK outside of the BBC and has pro-actively promoted live and local music and musical talent, including both it regular programmes as well as across the week's general broadcasting. The Station Manager has ensured this remains a key part of the Station's programming.

Trivia

  • The studios were situated at Swindon's County Ground, the football stadium for Swindon Town Football Club. The station formerly shared the studio with ITV Thames Valley until it vacated the building following the 'ITV Local' restructuring programme.
  • Martin Upfold, who is a volunteer at the station appeared on a Sky News feature, focusing on the recession in Swindon. Martin created a video diary, and was also interviewed live by leading Sky News anchor Jeremy Thompson.
  • Christina Strang, (co-presenter with Ann-Marie Stanford) of Health Matters attended an international scientific conference in Australia and presented a research paper on handwriting in disease.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ofcom awards new community radio licences
  2. Perrin, Ben (March 16, 2008). "New radio station switches on". Swindon Advertiser.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/12901427.Funding_crisis_threatens_to_put_radio_station_105_5FM_off_air/

External links