|Broadcast area||Eastbourne & Hailsham|
|Slogan||Where great music lives|
|First air date||17 November 1997|
|Owner||Media Sound Holdings|
|Sister stations||Arrow FM, Bright FM, Splash FM|
Sovereign FM is a United Kingdom radio station, based in Hailsham, East Sussex, and operated by Media Sound Holdings Ltd. The station plays a selection of hit songs from the last forty years, and offers regular updates on local news, sport, travel and events. The station also works with a number of local charities and organisations, and can regularly be seen broadcasting from events in their transmission area. The station serves the towns of Eastbourne, Hailsham and Polegate - plus the many surrounding villages.
The station began its life as "Sovereign Radio"; founded by Sussex radio entrepreneurs Mark Briggs and Matthew Wheeler, who established trial broadcasts in December 1992 and the summer of 1993. They located the second broadcast on board an old ferry from the Shetland Islands called the Earl of Zetland which was temporarily moored in Sovereign Harbour. Some of the original presenters included Gavin Lawrence, Paul Martin, Terry James and Zora Suleman.
The radio trials were part of a campaign to demonstrate viability to the Radio Authority (a legacy regulator now part of Ofcom) to advertise a full licence. The full licence was eventually awarded in 1994 to a group which included many of the original team. It was later acquired by The Local Radio Company in 2000 and was, for 12 months, once again managed by co-founder Mark Briggs, who also managed neighbouring sister stations Arrow FM in Hastings and Neptune Radio in Dover / Folkestone.
Media Sound Holdings acquired the station from The Local Radio Company in June 2009 along with Arrow FM, which serves Hastings; both stations were operating at a loss. This adds to the two stations, Splash FM and Bright FM which Media Sound Holdings acquired in April 2008.
In October 2009, the station relaunched as Sovereign FM.
In November 2010, Ofcom approved Media Sound Holdings's application to share all programmes across their four stations Arrow FM, Bright FM, Sovereign FM and Splash FM, given that the stations "already share all programming outside of breakfast, so these changes will not substantially alter the character of the service."
Chris Copsey's death
On 11 January 2011, breakfast show host Chris Copsey died suddenly. It is believed he collapsed in a Sainsbury's store, just hours after presenting his breakfast show.
Chris (also known as Coppo) had been on the airwaves across Sussex for over 25 years. He was a former presenter for the breakfast show on Southern Sound,which later became Southern FM.
In 2009, shortly after the Heart brand took over Southern FM, Chris moved to Media Sound Holdings to present the mid-morning show and revive his 'Retro Show' on Sunday afternoons. He moved to do the breakfast show shortly after that. As well as Sovereign FM, Chris could also be heard on the other three stations owned by Media Sound Holdings.
Chris leaves behind his wife Yvonne and two children.
- Alan Lewis (Head of News)
- Lorraine White
- Sharon Williams
- Alex Williams
- "Disposal of Arrow FM Limited and Sovereign Radio Limited". 29 June 2009. Retrieved 18 September 2009.
- Bright and Splash to merge Radio Today, 8 April 2008
- "More sharing for Sussex stations". 7 December 2010. Retrieved 2011-02-21. "Sussex radio stations Splash, Sovereign, Bright and Arrow have been given permission to share all programmes across the stations, Ofcom has announced."
- Daughter of tragic Sussex radio DJ pays tribute to "best dad in the world" The Argus, 13 January 2011
- Chris Copsey comes back for more Radio Today, 4 August 2009
- Tributes paid to Scaynes Hill radio star Mid Sussex Times, 12 January 2011