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BBC Radio Wales
BBC Radio Wales logo
City of license Cardiff
Broadcast area Wales Wales
Frequency FM: various
MW: 657 and 882 kHz
DAB
Freeview: 719 (Wales only)
Freesat: 714
Sky: 0117
Virgin Media: 931
Online: [1]
First air date 1978
Format News, Music, Sport, Entertainment
Audience share 7.8% (September 2009, [2])
Owner BBC,
BBC Wales
Website BBC Radio Wales

BBC Radio Wales is the BBC's national radio station broadcasting to Wales in the English language. Operated by BBC Wales, it began broadcasting on 12 November 1978 following the demise of the old "Radio 4 Wales" (previously the Welsh Home Service) when BBC Radio 4 became a national network and moved from medium wave to long wave.

Contents

History

In November 1978, BBC Radio Scotland and BBC Radio Wales were created as distinct stations on the former Radio 4 Scottish and Welsh medium wave opt-out frequencies of 810 and 882kHz. They would be part time initially, broadcasting for only 20 hours per week, still relaying Radio 4 at other times, however the groundwork had been laid for the stations to become important, respected full-time services. In the case of Radio Wales, the station now broadcasts for 19 hours each weekday and 20 hours on Saturday & Sunday with a simulcast of the BBC World Service following closedown every night.

BBC Radio Wales was preceded in the autumn of 1978 by a number of local 1 week experimental radio stations that included BBC Radio Wrexham and Radio Rhondda. The first editor of BBC Radio Wales was Teleri Bevan, a former BBC Radio 4 Wales producer. Anita Morgan presented a breakfast show called AM, but this soon gave way to a more modern show for the period presented by Chris Stuart. The main daily presenters for the first decade were Chris Stuart, Mike Flynn, Vincent Kane, Noreen Bray and Alun Williams.

By the mid 1980s, Roy Noble was also a regular daily voice. Old Radio 4 type continuity studios were modified to become 'self operated' by the early 1980s. Outside broadcasts from different towns in Wales were also introduced with Mike Flynn and Alun Williams hosting a weekly three-hour Friday morning live programme. BBC Radio Wales also started to embrace publicity similar to that used by UK commercial radio. Part of this included sponsorship of a light aircraft (G-ARRP) flown by Mike Flynn. Other early presenters included Wyn Calvin, Maureen Staffer, Sylvia Horn, GV Wynne Jones (Geevers), Claire Vincent, Piet Brinton, Jackie Emlyn and HRH Princess Anne's biographer Brian Hoey.

Transmission

For many years Radio Wales was broadcast only on medium wave using a 750,000 watt transmitter broadcasting on 882 kHz from Washford in Somerset; as the BBC considered that because the Welsh language network BBC Radio Cymru was the only network using that language, it merited a higher quality of transmission. The only exception to the rule was in Gwent, where from 1983, the opt-out service Radio Gwent broadcast to the county on two FM frequencies and simulcast most of Radio Wales' output outside of breakfast. When the station closed in 1991, the frequencies continued to relay Radio Wales. Since 1999, Radio Wales has been expanding its FM network, starting in areas like Cardiff and Wrexham where the Welsh language has the fewest speakers. Because of the power of the medium wave transmitter, BBC Radio Wales can also be heard outside the intended transmission area and is audible across Somerset and the Bristol area, most parts of Devon and northern Cornwall, as well as in areas of south-western Ireland.

BBC Radio Wales is also broadcast on DAB Digital Radio and Freeview across Wales, as well as across the UK and Europe on satellite.

Programmes

Current programmes include the flagship breakfast and drivetime news programmes Good Morning Wales & Good Evening Wales, All Things Considered, Jamie and Louise with Jamie Owen and Louise Elliott, Roy Noble's afternoon show, The Evening Show (a show covering current rock/pop music and entertainment), Adam Walton's Sunday night new music show, 'Celtic Heartbeat' with Frank Hennessy, and Chris Needs' Friendly Garden which goes out every weeknight evening from 10pm.

Sports coverage

Radio Wales's sports coverage includes Sportstime, presented by Steve James and broadcast on Saturdays between 14.03 and 18.30 during the football and rugby season. The programme is also transmitted every Tuesday night from 19.03 to 21.00 and is again hosted by Steve James, who took over the presenting role from Rob Phillips in early 2007. Sportstime is also aired on other days if there is other football happening throughout the week, usually on MW only.

Both programmes feature localised FM commentary of Cardiff City in the south-east of Wales, Swansea City in the south west and Wrexham in the north of Wales with a rolling service of match updates and results on medium wave. The station's commentators are Ian Gwyn Hughes (also BBC Wales Football Editor), Ian Beddow, Rob Phillips and Simon Davies. The summarisers are former Wales captain Kevin Ratcliffe, former Wales and Norwich striker Iwan Roberts, ex Wales and Crystal Palace striker Ian Walsh, Malcolm Allen, the ex Wales and Newcastle centre forward, and Jason Perry, a former Cardiff City defender.

Radio Gwent and Radio Clwyd opt-outs

After a number of experiments with temporary special-event stations in various parts of Wales prior to the launch in November 1978, two long-standing opt-out stations were established: Radio Gwent, based in Cwmbran, on the air between April 1983 and March 1991, and Mold-based Radio Clwyd which was broadcast between October 1981 and October 1993. Both of these stations operated at peak times only, and carried Radio Wales at other times. But the growth of commercial local radio dedicated to a local audience meant these stations found it hard to compete. Radio Clwyd offered just a few hours a day against its competitor Marcher Sound which was broadcasting 24 hours a day with local accents. Following the closure of Radio Clwyd, local bulletins for north-east Wales continued until 2002, staff having moved from Mold to Wrexham in the summer of 1998.

A tribute site is now online with a new edition (2006) of the magazine programme "Roundabout", looking back at the history of Radio Clwyd. [3]

External links








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