The Wave 96.4 FM
|City of license||Swansea|
Neath Port Talbot
|Branding||96.4 FM The Wave|
|Slogan||Today's Best Mix|
|Frequency||96.4 MHz, DAB, Online|
|First air date||30 September 1974
(as Swansea Sound)
30 September 1995
(as Sound Wave FM)
|Format||Contemporary hit radio|
|Audience share||12.1% (March 2012, )|
|Sister stations||Swansea Sound|
96.4 The Wave is a British independent local radio station serving the Swansea, Llanelli, Neath and Port Talbot areas of South Wales. The station is owned by UTV Radio and mainly broadcasts chart and contemporary music, alongside news and local information, for an audience of under 40s.
Initially broadcasting as Swansea Sound, the station split into two separate services on 30 September 1995, creating a new music-led station called 96.4 Sound Wave on 96.4 FM, while Swansea Sound continued to broadcast on 1170 AM. The separate stations are based at studios in Gorseinon, from where Swansea Sound began broadcasting in September 1974. In 1998, the FM station changed its name to The Wave, due to some listeners having inexplicably refer to it as "Swansea Soundwave".
The Wave continued providing a local service to the Swansea area. In 2002, The Radio Authority announced plans for a Swansea DAB multiplex to form, allowing The Wave to broadcast on a digital platform under the format of contemporary hit radio. 2003 saw the station adding the South Wales' Hit Music tagline as their slogan as well as issuing out a highly popular competition called A Week On Wheels, which returned the following year as a promotion.
In January 2004, The Wave was officially launched on the new DAB multiplex. The Wave came under management of UTV Radio in 2005, when the company acquired The Wireless Group, the owner of the station in the early 2000s. The station had a tradition of organising Party in the Park in Singleton Park, Swansea for many years, but due to the financial cost, the event ended in 2006. Instead, The Wave began a partnership with Escape into the Park, a similar music event involving mostly contemporary dance music. In 2008, The Wave began using the marketing brand You Love It, We Play It which was processed by UTV Radio. A year later, the station switched to the Today's Best Mix strapline.
The Wave and Swansea Sound were involved in UTV Media's Wales Live scheme, an aborted attempt to provide a service designed to support local news through radio, television and online mediums. The project was set to launch by October 2010, but ultimately failed.
The Wave received an updated logo design which was made into a car sticker, with the inclusion of "DAB and Online" displayed alongside "96.4 FM" on the bottom of the logo. The Wave, along with other local commercial radio stations within the UK, became a part of the Radioplayer UK project, an internet service formed by the BBC, Global Radio and the Guardian Media Group that supplies a listen live feed of UK radio stations across the world.
The station's official Ofcom transmitted service area (TSA) covers Swansea, Neath, Port Talbot and Llanelli, although The Wave can also be received further east in places such as Bridgend and the South Wales Valleys (particularly on DAB). The station can also be faintly picked up in further areas of South West Wales, such as Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire, as well as across the Bristol Channel in North Devon.
96.4 The Wave broadcasts local programming 6am-10pm Monday to Thursday, 6am-7pm Friday, 6am-6pm Saturday and 8am-12pm Sundays. At other times, programming is networked along with the rest of the UTV network from the studios of Signal 1 in Stoke-on-Trent. The Vodafone Big Top 40 on a Sunday is produced by Global Radio and is broadcast from its studios in Leicester Square, London.
The Wave airs a Top 40-leaning mix of music from a number of styles and genres within pop, urban, rock and dance, therefore making up contemporary hit radio. This format, specified by media regulator Ofcom, is formed mainly by current chart and contemporary hits, along with an optional 'spice' of older music. The Wave broadcasts the network chart show The Vodafone Big Top 40, as well as a local chart show, The Wave Chart Show, on Saturday mornings.
The Wave's current jingle set is provided by Music 4, who also produce the jingles for the rest of the UTV Network and provided the imaging for The Wave in June 2000. The production creator is Mark Powell who is also the Drive Show presenter. The main voice overs on The Wave are Dan Harper and Richard Cope, who are used to shape the upbeat imaging, which contains the slogan today's best mix, the station ID and the feature or show.
The Wave have produced various events throughout the local area. Notable events include the Local Hero Awards, where The Wave rewards local people for "making a difference" to the area; the Cash for Kids Appeal, which consists of an on-air auction; and the Style Awards. An events guide is also broadcast on The Wave, known as The Lowdown.