Connect Radio 106.8
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|Frequency||106.8 MHz RDS: CONNECT|
|First air date||July 24, 1999|
|Audience share||5.80% (Q3 / 2011, )|
The brain child of Wayne Fitzgerald, the owner of the commercial production firm CAP Media and a former Hereward FM presenter and producer. Initially, the station first broadcast on 106 FM from the Fitzgerald family garage using a Restricted Service Licence for the first 3 broadcasts. In the first half of 1997 the station moved to Church Street, where it broadcast its 4th RSL. Also during this time the station was simulcast on the Local Channel, as well as the cable FM hook-up (106.3 MHz), via the local cable companies system (Bell Cable Media originally).
The dates of the restricted service licence broadcasts were:
- 17 September 1995 – 14 October 1995
- 17 March 1996 – 13 April 1996
- 27 October 1996 – 23 November 1996
- 20 June 1997 – 17 July 1997
The station was awarded a permanent FM licence on 106.8 MHz and launched at 10:00am on Saturday 24 July 1999 with a live outside broadcast in Cathedral Square, hosted by Wayne Fitzgerald, Stuart Francis and various local dignitaries, was also held. The first song played was 'Back For Good' by Take That. This was a pre - recorded piece produced by Wayne Fitzgerald the night before broadcast. The first scheduled programme was Saturday Sport, with Keith Hazelton & Neil Evans.
The station was originally owned by GP Broadcasting Limited, and was almost sold to GWR, for £2 million, in 2000, before finally being bought by Forward Media Ltd in March 2001. In 2009 Adventure Radio purchased the station.
On January 4, 2010 Lite FM rebranded as Connect Radio 106.8 in line with sister station Connect Radio 97.2 & 107.4. The station now shares resources with the other Connect FM, Chelmsford Radio and Southend Radio which are all owned by the same group. Some programming is unique for Connect FM but most weekend and some weekday programmes are either automated or are broadcast from Southend-on-Sea, sharing output with other Adventure Radio group stations.
Simon Potter and Sharon McAllister were the original newsreaders and served the station for six years before changes within the station saw a variety of different people reading bulletins. Simon Potter rejoined the station on a part-time basis in December 2007 to compile and read the breakfast news. National and international news is provided to the station by IRN. The news is currently edited by Carlo Fiorentino.
The station has two studios consisting of two identical broadcast studios (Studios 1 & 2). The stations music output is controlled by RCS Master Control which allows for extensive automation. Mixing is through RPL Radionet desks taken from the original Lite FM studios.
- "Recording of Lite FM launch". Retrieved October 11, 2009.
- "Media UK - First Track Played". Retrieved October 13, 2009.[dead link]