BBC Somerset

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BBC Somerset
BBC Somerset logo
City of license Taunton
Broadcast area Somerset
Frequency 95.5 MHz, 1566 kHz
First air date 11 April 1988
Format Local news, talk and music
Language(s) English
Audience share 6.5% (March 2011, [1])
Owner BBC Local Radio,
BBC West
Website BBC Somerset

BBC Somerset, formerly BBC Somerset Sound, is the BBC Local Radio service for the shire county of Somerset and the Unitary Authorities of Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset, England. BBC Radio Bristol also serves the northern parts of the ceremonial county of Somerset – Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset.

History[edit]

The first BBC service for the county of Somerset was established in 1978, as an emergency measure following storms in the county.[1] The station proper was launched as BBC Somerset Sound on 11 April 1988, broadcasting on BBC Radio Bristol's former frequency of 1323AM. It was based in studios above a cafe on Paul St, Taunton, with a smaller satellite studio in Yeovil. The signal on 1323AM was for many years interfered with by a Russian radio station.[2]

In August 2002, BBC Somerset moved to new premises in Park Street, Taunton, and acquired a more robust frequency of 1566AM. On 3 December 2007, it was also given BBC Radio Bristol's former FM frequency of 95.5FM. It currently broadcasts on both of these, to the whole of the historic county of Somerset and beyond. Listeners from as far afield as Finland have reported hearing the station clearly. BBC Somerset sometimes uses its AM frequency for cricket commentary while regular programming continues on FM. Because Somerset currently does not have its own DAB multiplex, the station cannot be heard on digital radio.

BBC Somerset was for many years an 'opt-out' from Radio Bristol, but in May 2012, the BBC established it as a station in its own right. The BBC's Annual Report and Accounts for 2005/2006 stated:[3] "The BBC is committed to extending its network of local radio stations to a limited number of under served areas, and BBC management is carrying out preparatory work for new stations in Somerset, Dorset and Cheshire.".

On 6 October 2011, the BBC announced that it intended to close BBC Somerset's 1566MW frequency as part of its Delivering Quality First (DQF)[4] program of cutbacks. No decision on the timing of the medium wave switch-off has yet been made.

The current managing editor of BBC Somerset is Tasmin Curnow, with Andrew Enever as news editor.

BBC Somerset bus[edit]

BBC Somerset got a new mobile radio studio in the shape of a single-decker bus in May 2007. The role of the BBC Somerset bus across the county includes:

  • To bring BBC Somerset out into local communities across the county
  • To help to improve what people in county want from their local radio station, and from the BBC in general
  • To promote the major BBC campaigns, such as the Reading and Writing project (RaW) and Springwatch and Autumnwatch among many others
  • To feedback to the BBC any brickbats and bouquets - from listeners/viewers who might not usually have the chance to comment
  • To broadcast live shows from towns and villages around Somerset

Programming for the bus, as well as the day-to-day operation and technical support is managed by Paul George.

The Challenge[edit]

BBC Somerset took part in The Challenge

In 2007, BBC Somerset took part in an initiative to create the first carbon-zero radio station in the UK known as The Challenge.[5]

'Eco-auditors' looked at every aspect of the operation - from the mileage of the transport fleet down to what happens to the office tea bags.[6]

At the time of the audit, the station generated more than 64 tonnes of CO2 each year. On hearing the results the staff voluntarily dipped into their pockets to fund the three main accredited methods of carbon offsetting – tree planting, sustainable projects and carbon trading. On average the cost to each member of staff was between £25 and £50, depending on their salary. Staff also looked at all areas where pollution is generated to reduce the station's carbon footprint and make it more environmentally friendly. These included:

  • The fleet of cars for reporters were swapped for fuel-efficient vans.
  • Lighting systems were replaced with more energy-efficient ones.
  • Loft insulation was improved and double glazing was considered.
  • The electricity and paper supplies were checked to make sure they are eco-friendly.
  • Water coolers were removed in favour of tap water.
  • New recycling measures were introduced.
  • Eco-friendly cleaning products were introduced.

Programming[edit]

On normal weekdays, BBC Somerset broadcasts three of its own programmes - breakfast, mid-mornings and drivetime, alongside weekend morning shows, a Pick of the Week compilation and local news bulletins.

Much of BBC Somerset's off-peak broadcast schedule carries shared programming from BBC Radio Bristol with weekend evening output originating from BBC Radio Devon in Plymouth and Sunday afternoon programming from BBC Radio Gloucestershire. From Sunday to Thursday, the station simulcasts Radio 5 Live's Up All Night and Morning Reports after closedown.

Presenters[edit]

Local presenters
Radio Bristol presenters (syndicated)
Networked presenters

Former presenters include Carrie Davis, Fi Glover, Adam Thomas (the station's longest serving presenter) and Steve Haigh (a member of the launch team in 1988)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aircheck UK, Avon and Somerset". BBC. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  2. ^ "Aircheck UK, Avon and Somerset". BBC. Retrieved 2012-08-26. 
  3. ^ "Annual Report and Accounts for 2005/2006". BBC. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  4. ^ "BBC Delivering Quality First". BBC. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  5. ^ "The Challenge". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  6. ^ "co2balance.com". co2balance.com. Archived from the original on 23 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°00′50″N 3°06′25″W / 51.0140°N 3.1069°W / 51.0140; -3.1069 (BBC Somerset studios)