BBC Radio York

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BBC Radio York
BBC Radio York.png
City of license York
Broadcast area North Yorkshire
Slogan At the heart of North Yorkshire
Frequency 103.7, 104.3 MHz, 666 & 1260 kHz
First air date 4 July 1983
Format Local news, talk and music
Language(s) English
Audience share 6.2% (September 2013, [1])
Former callsigns BBC North Yorkshire
Owner BBC Local Radio,
BBC Yorkshire
Website BBC Radio York

BBC Radio York is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of North Yorkshire. The broadcast studio is in Bootham, York.

Early history[edit]

The station was launched at 6:30am on 4 July 1983 - a launch featured on the cover of the Radio Times. A year prior to its launch, a temporary AM service was broadcast for coverage of the visit to the city by Pope John Paul II.

BBC Radio York was the only local radio station in North Yorkshire in its first nine years of operation. The independent commercial rival, Minster FM, began broadcasting on 4 July 1992. Stray FM, the independent station covering the Harrogate and Ripon areas, made its first transmission exactly two years to the day after Minster's launch and eleven years to the day after Radio York's launch.

The first station manager was John Jefferson with the late Tony Fish as Programme Organiser. The original team included David Farwig, Derm Tanner, Andy Joynson, Will Hanrahan, Graham Pass, Andy Hitchcock, Chris Loveder and Chris Choi, Charlotte Counsel, Shirley Lewis and Sandy Barton.

Initially, the station was only on air for a few hours a day (6.30am to 1pm and 4pm to 6pm during the week with weekend programming restricted to 8am until around 2pm) and carried BBC Radio 2 the rest of the time. At first, local sports coverage was produced by BBC Radio Leeds. During the second half of the 1980s broadcast hours slowly expanded. Afternoon broadcasting was introduced and programming started earlier in the day - 6am during the week and 7am over the weekend. Radio York also started producing its own sports programmes on Saturday afternoons but did not introduce its own Sunday afternoon programming until the end of the decade.

Evening programming started in August 1986 when it joined with the other BBC local stations in Yorkshire in broadcasting an early evening service of specialist music programmes. But it was the launch of the BBC Night Network, in May 1989, which provided BBC Radio York with a full-time service of regional evening programming, keeping the station on air until midnight seven days a week, extended until 12.30am in the early 1990s, and to 1am by the end of that decade.


BBC Radio York broadcasts from its studios in York on 95.5 (Olivers Mount, Scarborough), 103.7 (Acklam Wold transmitter near Leavening, midway between York and Malton) and 104.3 (Woolmoor, near Upsall four miles north of Thirsk close to the A19 - for Harrogate, Northallerton and the Yorkshire Dales) FM, 666 (Fulford), 1260 (Row Brow, Scarborough) AM and by RealPlayer from their website. It is not on DAB yet. BBC Local Radio stations have reserved space on the local commercial DAB multiplex. No such multiplex is on air yet for North Yorkshire, however there is an MXR (Chrysalis) regional multiplex broadcasting from Acklam Wold, but BBC York is not part of this.

Acklam Wold is the strongest frequency on 103.7 which is for Ryedale and the Vale of York, and the 140 ft transmitter also has the commercial station, Minster FM on 104.7. The 103.7 signal can be heard as far south as Mansfield on the M1, and can be received in West and South Yorkshire. The transmitter used to broadcast on 90.2 FM, and another on 97.2. The Olivers Mount transmitter also has Yorkshire Coast Radio on 96.2, as well as television and national radio frequencies. The Woolmoor transmitter has national radio frequencies.

Much of BBC York's studio infrastructure was the original Mk3 installation, dating from the station's inception in 1983. This aging equipment had become unreliable, causing the station to "fall off air" regularly [2]. Because the refurbishment required was significant, it would not be possible to continue to broadcast from the existing premised during the refurbishment, and no suitable alternative premises could be identified. Therefore plans were drawn up for BBC York to move in with BBC Leeds temporarily [3] and to retain a presence in North Yorkshire through the BBC Bus, and through increased contributions from district studios in Harrogate and Scarborough. BBC York has since completed refurbishment of studio equipment and news room.

DAB licence[edit]

The DAB licence that BBC Radio York will use only covers the eastern part of North Yorkshire, York, and the north part of East Yorkshire (York and Scarborough). The licence was advertised in June 2007, and will be taken by MuxCo, as it submitted the only application in September 2007. It was supposed be ready in June 2009, then revised to December 2009, but as of December 2009 there is still no sign of anything happening.


Regional and networked programming on BBC Radio York is produced and broadcast from sister stations BBC Radio Leeds and BBC Radio Sheffield.

News, sport and weather[edit]

BBC Radio York provides local news bulletins and weather forecasts every half hour from 6am until 6pm on weekdays, followed by a regional service from Leeds until 10pm. On weekends local news and weather run from 7am until 1pm.

Former presenters[edit]

Former presenters at the station include ITV Sport commentator Jon Champion, Sky Sports commentator Rob Hawthorne and Will Hanrahan - who went on to present Look North and report for Good Morning with Anne and Nick. Victor Lewis-Smith started his BBC career here, presenting his chat and music programme, Snooze Button, on Sunday mornings in 1984. Countdown host Richard Whiteley made several guest appearances in the early 2000s. Top Gear front-man Richard Hammond was also once a presenter.[1]

Past programming[edit]

Up until 2007, BBC Radio York simulcast evening and weekend programming with counterpart stations in the BBC Yorkshire region (Radio Leeds and Radio Sheffield) including Martin Kelner's Late Thing and The Alex Hall Late Night Phone In. The Early Show from BBC Radio Humberside (within the BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire region) was also carried. Recently, networked programming has been replaced with further local output. However, some networked output from the BBC Yorkshire region continues to air.

BBC Radio York was also a part of The BBC Night Network, a group of ten BBC Local Radio stations in the North of England which featured networked programming every evening. One of those shows, Late Night North with David Dunning, often aired from the York studios.


In 2011 BBC Radio York's news team won the Gillard award for Original Journalism.[2] The awards are given out each year and are open to the entire BBC local radio network.

In 2012 BBC Radio York's programme Adam Tomlinson at Breakfast was nominated for a Sony award for Breakfast Show of the Year.[3]

In 2013 BBC Radio York's Jonathan Cowap wins Gillard Gold for Best Hotseat


North Yorkshire County Council and the City of York Council criticised the national media for over dramatising the flood of 19 June 2005, which led to the sudden drop of tourism in North Yorkshire for the remainder of 2005. However their reports on the floods of 2005 praised BBC Radio York for its balanced coverage.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Top Gear TV Program, Season 14, Episode 5
  2. ^ BBC Ariel website
  3. ^ Radio Today

Coordinates: 53°57′51″N 1°05′05″W / 53.964277°N 1.084829°W / 53.964277; -1.084829