Uckfield FM

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Uckfield FM
Broadcast area Uckfield
Frequency 105.0 MHz
First air date 23 July 2003
Format Community
Owner Uckfield Community Radio Limited
Website www.uckfieldfm.co.uk

Uckfield FM is a community radio station based in the town of Uckfield, East Sussex.

The broadcast area is approximately 5 miles from studios at Bird In Eye Farm, which is to the south east of the town in the direction of Framfield.

Original idea[edit]

The original concept for Uckfield FM materialised during the Uckfield Festival of Summer 2002, when the original founders of Alan French, Paddy Rea, Gary King and Mike Skinner decided that the Festival needed its own radio station every summer. The comment made by Mike Skinner at the time was simple 'What this town needs is a radio station' The rest is history.

RSL broadcasts (2003 - 2010)[edit]

Gary King was the first voice on Uckfield FM at 8:00am on Monday, 23 July 2003. From the original, temporary studios above The Picture House Cinema in Uckfield High Street, broadcasting locally on 87.9 FM and online elsewhere. Subsequent temporary broadcasts took place on the same frequency.

The station broadcast during the Summer in support of the Festival by way of a Restricted Service Licence for the following 7 years. In 2006, Uckfield Community Radio Limited was formed and the station moved into the current premises at Bird In Eye Farm. Original founders Mike Skinner and Gary King (who are both still involved in the management of the station as Chairman and Business Development Manager respectively) founded the new company. Alan French is no longer involved with the management of the station, but does occasionally present programmes and Paddy Rea died in 2007. Breakfast presenter Mike Ziolek joined the board, along with Phil Moon as Company Secretary, Ian Rennison as IT Director and Barry Horsman as Director of Community Affairs (he has since left the organisation).

In May 2012, Philip Garland (who co-ordinates outside events for the station) and Membership Secretary Jerry Miller also joined the board.

An application to was submitted to OFCOM in November 2008 for the station to broadcast 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a Community Radio License.[1]

In 2007 and 2008, the station also broadcast via a Restricted Service Licence during December to support build up to Christmas including the Uckfield Late Night Shopping events.

The final Restricted Service Licence broadcast took place during July 2009. On 22 July (just a few days after this broadcast ended) OFCOM announced that Uckfield Community Radio Limited had been awarded a full-time Community Radio Licence, valid for 5 years.[2]

Full-time broadcasting (2010 - present)[edit]

As Uckfield FM holds a Community Radio Licence and does not broadcast as a Commercial Radio Station,the output has a much more local focus on the town and the villages. As part of the application the group set out a number of key commitments for the output.[3]

Uckfield FM began broadcasting full-time at 1.05pm (to mark the current frequency of 105FM) on Thursday 1 July 2010. Uckfield Town Mayor John Carvey officially cut the ribbon in the studio with Gary King and Mike Skinner.[4]

Work was completed on the second studio (known by the team as studio 1) in early 2011. This studio was put into live operation on 9 May 2011 and provides more space for guests and also gives presenters a view out over the farm. Studio 1 is favoured by the majority of mainstream presenters. The original studio is still used for live specialist programmes including New Roots where local musicians perform live.

A number of presenters still remain from the first broadcast in 2003 including Mike Skinner, Mike Ziolek, Gary King, Tony Williams and Martyn Grenfell.

Studio guests[edit]

Interviews take place with local people and organisations on most weekdays, including a monthly 'surgery' with The Rt Hon Charles Hendry MP where local issues are discussed and listeners concerns are addressed. The vast majority of interviews are made available to listen on demand via the station's website.

Since full-time broadcasting began, the station has also featured a number of familiar voices. John Marsh[disambiguation needed] best known from BBC Radio 2 who lives locally and has been a long term supporter of the station has featured a number of times, most recently to read the weekly Friday recipe during the Good Morning Uckfield Breakfast Programme.[5]

In October 2010, legendary cricket commentator Henry Blofeld joined Tony Williams on the Drivetime Programme ahead of his show 'An Evening With Blowers' at Uckfield Civic Centre.

During January 2012, renowned virtuoso Carlo Curley came in when he was in the area for a performance at East Sussex National.[6] There was also an interview with singer/songwriter Paul Carrack[7]

In June 2012 country singer Frank Ifield joined Paul Hazell at the studio for his World of Country programme.[8]

Outside broadcasts[edit]

Outside broadcasts take place at many of the major events in the town and surrounding areas.

The big event of the summer is the annual Uckfield Festival which takes place during July.

In 2012, there will be a live programme from the launch event at The Highlands Inn during the evening of Friday 13 July, then on the following Saturday the Big Day Out takes place which is a huge event at Luxford Field in the centre of the town and includes a procession. A 4 hour broadcast usually takes place from 10am to 2pm, this year it will be anchored by Mike Ziolek, Mike Skinner, Paul Crowe and Mike Mitchell.

The Uckfield Carnival takes place on the first Saturday in September, thousands of people line the high street for the torchlight procession followed by a number of floats. Uckfield FM has entered a float for many years (even when off air to keep the profile up in the community). The station was not usually on air in September but since 2010 live broadcasts from the High Street have been possible. In 2010 this was presented by Gary King and Tina Murphy. Tina returned in 2011 but was joined primarily by Mike Ziolek, with Gary King presenting from other areas of the town.

During December the Late Night Shopping event takes place and the station broadcasts a festive programme including live inserts from the town, the main focus for this are the live performances of carols and other Christmas related songs performed by local school children on the 'Uckfield FM Stage'.

The programme in 2011 was broadcast on Friday 9 December and featured Gary King and Martyn Grenfell in the studio, with Mike Ziolek in the town.

Carols are also recorded at local schools and played out on the station during the festive period. These recordings are also made available for download and proved to be very popular.

Future[edit]

The station continues to grow in popularity and has a waiting list for new presenters to get involved. Almost all of the team are volunteers. Along with presenters, there is also a local news team, a technical department and outside events team.

References[edit]