107.1 Rugby FM
|First air date||31 August 2002|
|Audience share||14.8% (December 2009, )|
Rugby FM is an Independent Local Radio station in Warwickshire owned by Quidem Ltd and operated as part of its Midlands division. The station follows the 'great music, local news' format of its sister stations (branded as Touch Radio) in the area, but has retained its launch name.
From 2002 until 2008 it operated from studios on Spring Street in the heart of the town centre. Nowadays, along with the Touch Radio stations in Warwick, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Coventry, the station operates from a new complex based on the Holly Farm Business Park near Kenilworth.
Under the directorship of Martin Mumford, Rugby FM launched on 31 August 2002—former Silk FM controller Trevor Thomas was the first voice on-air, also working as the station's programme manager, before leaving to join Warwickshire neighbour The Bear 102.
The station, then owned by the Milestone Group, enjoyed considerable success, and was lauded at one point as the UK's most successful local commercial radio station in terms of audience reach - once at 44% (RAJAR Q2 2005) - attributed to an emphasis on local presence, and presenters who were recruited on the basis of quality. They also enjoyed a substantially different music policy to that of its competitors. Following Mumford's departure in 2005, Julian Hotchkiss became Managing Director of Rugby FM but left a year later following the CN Group's acquisition of the station in early 2006. The group had been a minority shareholder until this point.
The CN Group acquisition had a number of far-reaching consequences on the output, notably the loss of 20 hours a day of local programming, and the studios being moved out of Rugby town centre into a regional hub in Kenilworth.
Between 2007 and 2009, the CN Group divested of its Midlands radio stations. First to go was Oak 107 FM, which went to the Lincs FM Group, who merged it with their license in nearby Hinckley. Touch FM Banbury was sold a year later to a private consortium, and was subsequently rebranded as Banbury Sound. The remaining Touch stations, with Rugby FM, were sold to Quidem Ltd in Summer 2009, with Banbury Sound picked back up in October 2010 and Oak FM picked up in 2012.