BBC Coventry & Warwickshire
|City of license||Coventry|
|Broadcast area||Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire|
|Frequency||RDS: BBC C&W, 94.8 MHz, 103.7 MHz, 104.0 MHz, DAB Digital Radio|
|First air date||January 1990 (original)
3 September 2005 (relaunch after ten years of absence)
|Format||Local news, talk and music|
|Audience share||6.1% (December 2012, )|
|Owner||BBC Local Radio,
BBC West Midlands
BBC Coventry and Warwickshire is the BBC Local Radio service serving the City of Coventry and the county of Warwickshire. The station broadcasts on 94.8, 103.7 and 104 MHz FM, DAB Digital Radio and is streamed on the internet via the BBC Website.
Based in the Priory Place Shopping Precinct at the heart of Coventry City Centre, its studio complex is home to radio, online services, an interactive open centre and facilities for regional TV news. It is also the only Coventry local radio station based in the city itself.
BBC Coventry & Warwickshire broadcasts local programming from 5am to 7pm every weekday, 6am – 6pm on Saturday, and 6am – 7pm on Sunday. It also airs evening simulcasts with other BBC Local Radio stations, and BBC Radio 5 Live programming overnight.
- 1 History
- 2 Transmission
- 3 Programming
- 4 Production & Management Team
- 5 Slogans
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
BBC Local Radio in the 1990s underwent an expansion programme where counties and other areas without a local radio station were identified and five stations were to launch: BBC Radio Surrey, BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Wiltshire Sound and BBC Radio Warwickshire.
The Radio Warwickshire working title was changed to BBC CWR by the time the station launched in January 1990. The name CWR (Coventry and Warwickshire Radio) reflected the wider area that the new station would cover, taking in the city of Coventry with the whole of the county of Warwickshire, which was then also served by BBC Radio WM. The station broadcast from a Victorian-style mansion on Warwick Road, close to Coventry railway station. Smaller studios were located in Atherstone, Nuneaton, Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick.
1990 weekday launch schedule
- 0600 Neil Pringle's Breakfast Show
- 0900 Eric Dixon's Really Useful Radio Show
- 1100 Michelle Guinness: A Taste of Guinness
- 1400 Peter McGarry: McGarry and Friends
- 1600 Steve Woodhall: Day to Day
- 1900 Specialist evening programming
- Monday: Matthew Carr's Country Show
- Tuesday: Carousel (arts magazine)
- Wednesday: 1900 The World of Music, 2000 Mel Hill's Jazz Beat
- Thursday: 1900 East in West (94.8FM) or Richard Walker's Folk Show (103.7FM), 2000 Richard Walker's Folk Show (103.7FM), 2030 The Local Network (94.8FM)
- Friday: East in West (94.8FM) or Record Collectors
- 2100 John Taynton
1993 weekday schedule
- 0600 Pete Sylvester (Early breakfast show)
- 0700 Breakfast with Jim Lee
- 1000 Maurice Dee and Stevie Price
- 1200 Lunchtime with Anna King
- 1400 Charles Hodkinson
- 1600 Duncan Stanworth
- 1900 Specialist evening programming
- Monday: 1900 FEM FM, 2000 Poles Apart
- Tuesday: Irish Extra
- Wednesday/Thursday: East in West
- Friday: Grapevine
- 2100 John Taynton
- 0000 Simulcast with BBC Radio 2
Problems and closure
From day one, BBC CWR faced strong competition from the established commercial radio stations in the area. Mercia Sound had been an outstanding success since its own launch ten years earlier in 1980. Xtra AM, the AM-only sister station from Mercia Sound, also enjoyed high listenership since it split from Mercia and launched in 1989.
CWR seemed to find it difficult to compete for the very large audiences built up by Mercia and Xtra. It was, however, well respected and highly regarded with its regular audience.
The BBC, under Director-General John Birt, deemed that CWR was not sufficiently successful in audience terms to warrant its continuation, and within increasing financial constraints in February 1995 CWR was to close. Regular listeners were hugely disappointed and phoned presenter Jon Gaunt to protest about the decision.
In 1995 BBC CWR merged with neighbouring BBC Radio WM in Birmingham, was renamed BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and would operate as an opt-out service from BBC WM with the remainder of the schedule as shared programming. This had the effect of alienating local listeners, whilst paradoxically presenters from WM, such as Ed Doolan, Malcolm Boyden and Tony Butler received high listening figures and distinctions with three Sony Radio Academy Awards, including Radio Station of the Year in 1996.
Its studios were relocated from Warwick Road to much smaller premises on Greyfriars Road. All local programmes except breakfast with Annie Othen, the afternoon show with Bob Brolly, Poles Apart on Wednesdays, and weekend football coverage of Coventry City F.C. were replaced with programmes from Birmingham.
2003 saw the station re-labelled as BBC WM across Coventry and Warwickshire.
BBC Coventry and Warwickshire relaunches
In 2003, the then Director-General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, announced on-air that Coventry and Warwickshire was again to have its own BBC Local Radio station. Describing the situation with presenter Annie Othen, Mr Dyke said that the station would be added to the BBC's Local Radio portfolio:
"I'm very pleased to announce that we're planning to open a new radio station in Coventry – an area that's been served by BBC WM since 1995. We hope the new station will be housed in a modern, vibrant building close to Coventry Cathedral in the heart of the city. Alongside the radio studios, there'll also be an open centre to provide access to BBC Learning facilities similar to the already established centres in Blackburn, Sheffield and Stoke. Open Centres provide a valuable community role, so this is an exciting venture for the BBC."
He also added that the 1995 closure of CWR was a mistake:
"The decision was made under different circumstances – and now we're in a position to change it."
BBC Coventry and Warwickshire relaunched as a stand-alone station on 3 September 2005 with full local programming for 15 hours a day.
BBC Coventry and Warwickshire has a varied mixed programming format, and plays much more music than other BBC Local Radio stations, such as BBC Three Counties Radio, which is predominantly speech-based. The local diverse make-up of the region also plays a part in the station's schedule, although Asian programmes have been transferred to the BBC Asian Network, on medium-wave in the area.
The station also runs an Open Centre at Priory Place, where people take part in learning and creative activities.
The BBC initially supplied two powerful FM transmitters for BBC CWR to cover the whole of the county. A 2.2 kilowatt transmitter at an existing tower at Meriden provides Coventry and North Warwickshire with good signals on 94.8 MHz, a frequency vacated by BRMB Radio in Birmingham before it moved to 96.4 MHz in 1989.
The South Warwickshire area receives a strong signal on 103.7 MHz from a 1.4 kW transmitter located at an existing television relay site on a hill at Lark Stoke, 7.5 km west-northwest of Shipston-on-Stour and 12 km south of Stratford-upon-Avon.
A small pocket of poor reception in Nuneaton was later resolved by adding a low power relay transmitter on 104.0 MHz
BBC CWR went digital shortly after the launch of the local DAB multiplex on 31 January 2001 with NOW Digital 12D Coventry in the Coventry area with transmissions from Samuel Vale House (central Coventry), Barwell Water Tower near Hinckley, Meriden and Leamington Spa. BBC C&W is carried along with other local stations Free Radio formerly Mercia FM, Classic Gold 1359 and Touch FM.
The station provides coverage of a range of sports, both live commentary and reports. The flagship sports programme is BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Sport (also referred on air as Sky Blues Sport). It is broadcast mostly on Saturdays (and occasionally on Sundays & weeknights). The mainstay of this coverage is live commentary (home and away in all competitions) of Coventry City games. The main commentators are Clive Eakin & Geoff Foster. Online commentary & radio reports of Nuneaton Town games is also provided (usually by Dave Sharpe). The station also covers Coventry RFC, with regular reports of games from John Butler and Richard Moone. If there is no Coventry City game being broadcast, both Nuneaton Town games and Coventry Rugby Club games have been broadcast live. Commentary of Warwickshire Cricket Club games can be found on the website and on radio.
The station also covers the wider sporting scene in the area. The are monthly sports programmes following the non-league football scene, Ice Hockey (particularly Coventry Blaze), Speedway, Rugby Union and Cricket.
Production & Management Team
- 1990 BBC CWR – Now You're Talking, The News Leader, The Sports Leader, Someone to turn to...
- 2002 BBC WM – Across Coventry and Warwickshire
- 2005 BBC Coventry and Warwickshire – A New Adventure Every Day
- 2010 BBC Coventry and Warwickshire – Be Part of It
- 2013 BBC Coventry and Warwickshire – We are BBC Coventry & Warwickshire
- MDS975 – BBC CWR History 
- Aircheck – History of Radio articles .
- BBC Coventry and Warwickshire .
- BBC Coventry and Warwickshire
- Media UK BBC Coventry and Warwickshire
- MDS975's BBC CWR page
- History of local radio in Warwickshire
- MDS975's Memories of Mercia Sound page
- MDS975's Warwickshire radio transmitter coverage maps
- Barwell Water Tower (Digital)
- MB21's Lark Stoke transmitter page
- Leamington Spa (Digital)
- Meriden transmitter
- Nuneaton transmitter
- Samuel Vale House (Digital)
- David's Transmitter World