Bailrigg FM

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Bailrigg FM
The Original Student Sound
Media Type: Student Radio
Launched: 1969
Owner: Lancaster University Students' Union
Member of: Student Radio Association
University: Lancaster University
On campus 24/7 on 87.7 FM
Online Live Stream

Bailrigg FM (formerly known as University Radio Bailrigg (URB) and Radio Bailrigg) is the radio station for Lancaster University, operating in a music radio format predominantly featuring pop music. During evening and weekend hours programming moves to specialist content where the presenter is free (within reason) to play whatever they wish.

The station has a long history and is one of the oldest student radio stations in the country[1] Also as well as being the first student station licensed to broadcast on FM.[1] Bailrigg FM broadcasts 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - all year round. Bailrigg FM first broadcast on FM as part of a 25W Restricted Services Licence in March 1994 for 1 month under the directorship of Paul Dale.[2] It had previously applied for a licence to broadcast on FM for September 1993 but this was turned down by the Radio Authority due to the launch of The Bay (radio station) in March of that year.[citation needed]

It originally broadcast to the university campus on 312m medium wave using an inductive loop aerial system around the various halls of residence. Now listeners on campus can tune in on 87.7 MHz, or by going to the station's website and listening to the live webstream.

The station has received several awards in the national 'Student Radio Awards' over the years, including Best Website, Best Station Sound[3] and more recently Best Technical Achievement.[4]

Bailrigg FM hold several large events throughout the year, including a 7-day freshers week outside broadcast and coverage of the Student Union (LUSU) sabbatical elections. During the Roses Tournament they team up with University Radio York (URY) in order to provide programming across both campuses.


  • 1968 – Students at York University get permission to test-transmit programmes on medium wave, inspiring Lancaster to follow suit
  • 1969 - After problems with an over-eager student starting his own pirate radio station, permission is finally given to proceed with the project.
  • 1971 - The initial aerial and studio equipment is installed.
  • 1972 - URB is forced off air by the government for transmitting without a full licence.
  • 1973 - A new antenna system is installed, and URB gain a full licence from the government
  • 1974 - Twin studios are built in Fylde College.
  • 1994 - First 4-week 25-watt licence to broadcast on 87.7 MHz (under the name Bailrigg FM) was received. The broadcasts covered the City of Lancaster (including Morecambe).[5][6] Reception was reported as far afield as Preston, Blackpool and Barrow-In-Furness.
  • 1995 - A second 4-week FM licence was received, again on 87.7 MHz.[5][6]
  • 1996 - URB gain a licence to broadcast all year round on the FM band, although on a smaller power output to cover solely the campus at Bailrigg. Name is changed permanently to Bailrigg FM.[1][5][6][7]
  • 1996 - Bailrigg FM is nominated for the Best Student Radio Station Award.
  • 2002 - Bailrigg FM is nominated for the Best Student Radio Station Award.
  • 2003 - Bailrigg FM win Best Website award.[3]
  • 2004 - Bailrigg FM is awarded an extended licence to transmit across Lancaster and Morecambe for a week, as part of the university's 40th anniversary celebrations.
  • 2004 - Bailrigg FM win Best Station Sound award.[3]
  • 2006 - Bailrigg FM wins Silver for the Best Journalistic Programming.
  • 2006 - Bailrigg FM move to new studios in Furness College.
  • 2007 - Bailrigg FM's Kenny Donohue wins Best Male Presenter.[3]
  • 2008 - Bailrigg FM wins Bronze for Best Outside Broadcast.
  • 2012 - Bailrigg FM wins Gold for Best Technical Achievement, for the "Bailrigg Field Switchboard".[4]
  • 2012 - Bailrigg FM are awarded £8500 in funding from the University's Alumni Fund in order to purchase outside broadcast equipment. [8]
  • 2013 - Bailrigg FM are awarded £65,000 in Capex funds from LUSU in order to renovate their studios. This will keep Bailrigg FM on air for at least another 5 years.
  • 2014 - Bailrigg FM wins Most Improved Station at the I Love Student Radio Awards.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Although a contentious and hard to verify claim, this student society has long claimed it was the first of the UK student stations permitted a licence to actually start broadcasting. The claim of "first permanent FM student station" is a matter of interpretation. Radio Station Management reported back to society members during the negotiations that the Radio Authority believed the station to be the first to have a permanent FM licence; Oxford University later made the same claim, however Bailrigg FM was from 1996 onwards limited to the campus of Lancaster University and broadcast initially only during term-time - whereas the colleges of Oxford University are spread across the city of Oxford, which made it the first permanent FM radio station run by students but available to the general public (and a rival to local independent radio for advertising revenue). Potentially the only way to verify any of the claims would be to access the archive of the Radio Authority (which is now a part of Ofcom).
  2. ^ "Paul Dale is ITV CTO". "as a founder and director of community radio station Bailrigg FM" 
  3. ^ a b c d Student Radio Awards Winners (Archive) -
  4. ^ a b Winners announced for Student Radio Awards -
  5. ^ a b c Details would appear in the minutes of the weekly society meetings, which should be in the archives of Lancaster University Student Union.
  6. ^ a b c Details of each FM launch were reported in the Lancaster University Student Newspaper "Scan", and should be available in their archives within Lancaster University Student Union.
  7. ^ The preparations and launch of the permanent FM station in 1996 were captured in a video documentary entitled "Listening To Images" which was created by undergraduate students as a module towards a degree. This is available to watch via Bailrigg FM's Youtube channel -
  8. ^ Bailrigg FM awarded grant for outside broadcast equipment -

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 54°00′33″N 2°47′06″W / 54.009064°N 2.784949°W / 54.009064; -2.784949