BBC Night Network
|Broadcast area||Northern England|
|First air date||May 1989|
|Format||Contemporary and various specialist music programming|
|Owner||BBC Local Radio|
The BBC Night Network (sometimes referred to on-air as BBC North FM and originally Radio North East) was a radio network which linked up the North East England, Yorkshire and the Humber, and North West England regions of BBC Local Radio. Each station would share the same programming from 7:00 p.m. until closedown at 1:00 a.m.
From August 1986 to the launch of the Night Network, the four Yorkshire stations (Leeds, York, Sheffield and Humberside) had been simulcasting specialist music programmes on weeknights between 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm, later extending to six days a week (Wednesday to Monday) between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm – Tuesday night was reserved for local sports coverage.
The BBC Night Network was launched in May 1989 in the then BBC North and BBC North East regions – broadcast on Radio Newcastle, Radio Cleveland, Radio York, Radio Leeds, Radio Humberside and Radio Sheffield between 6:00 pm and 12:00 am every night. Any local programming broadcast after 6 pm, such as weeknight sport and ethnic minority output, was broadcast only on medium-wave frequencies with Night Network output broadcasting on FM.
The network was expanded in 1991 to include the four BBC North West stations – BBC GMR (now Radio Manchester), Radio Merseyside, Radio Lancashire and Radio Cumbria. The stations had previously run their own Network North West simulcast service. The Night Network now broadcast from 7:00 pm until midnight with specialist music programmes on-air between 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm (the exception being made for midweek sports coverage) and a late show from Lancaster, presented by Bob Roberts.
The late show was extended to 12:30 a.m. a year later and eventually to 1:00 a.m. When Bob Roberts left the 2200-0100 slot was taken over by a programme called Late Night North. The all talk format was hosted by Mike Parr from the Newcastle studios and later became the biggest talk show in the North with David Dunning hosting a mix of interviews and phone-in in 1997 when Parr moved to Radio Newcastle breakfast. Late Night North would usually come from Newcastle but Dunning would broadcast from York, Sheffield, Hull, Leeds, GMR and Merseyside on regular occasions too. Late Night North, developed by Radio Newcastle editor Tony Fish, was very popular. Eventually after Dunning left and Alex Trelinski had taken over, the show moved to Manchester and a more music based format was introduced when Andy Peebles hosted the programme. In 2002 Yorkshire stations parted from the network to bring back a phone-in with Alex Hall, who had hosted a similar show on Pulse, as presenter.
Each region opted-out for the news; there would be three bulletins broadcast lasting exactly five minutes long, one for Yorkshire and Humberside, one for the North East and one for the North West.
- Charles Lees read the news in the Yorkshire and Lincolnshire for BBC Radios Humberside, York, Sheffield and Leeds.
- Sharon Barbour read the news in the North East area for BBC Radios Newcastle, Cumbria and Cleveland.
BBC Night Network's jingles were produced by TM Century, now TM Studios. The original package was just for the Yorkshire and the North-East while a second package was produced for the rest of the network.
Current simulcast arrangements
Since the Night Network arrangement was abandoned, the stations involved have taken steps to produce more locally produced programming and in some cases, extend broadcasting hours.
- BBC Yorkshire: Radio Leeds, Radio York and Radio Sheffield simulcast late-night shows from Sunday to Friday nights. Radio York also carries some programming from the BBC North East and Cumbria region.
- BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire: Radio Humberside shares the late show from Radio Leeds, prior to cost cutting the late show was live and locally produced in Hull.
- BBC North East and Cumbria: John Caine's Rock Show is simulcast across the region with Radio Cumbria and BBC Tees also simulcasting Braithwaite's Country on Sunday evenings. Radio Newcastle broadcasts 24 hours a day throughout the week and BBC Tees broadcasts 24 hours a day on weekdays.
- BBC North West: Indus is broadcast on Radio Manchester and Radio Lancashire on Sunday evenings and both stations broadcast the Alison Butterworth programme between 10.00pm and 1am each Monday to Thursday night from Radio Lancashire's studios in Blackburn.
- transdiffusion.org – Details of Newcastle studios.
- northeastradio.co.uk – Details of Nicky Brown's involvement.