BBC Radio Cymru
|Frequency||FM: 93-104.9 MHz
Freeview: 720 (Wales only)
Sky (UK only): 0152
Virgin Media: 936
|First air date||3 January 1977|
|Format||News, Music, Sport, Entertainment|
|Operator||BBC Cymru Wales|
|Webcast||BBC iPlayer Radio|
BBC Radio Cymru is BBC Cymru Wales' Welsh-language national radio station. It broadcasts throughout Wales from studios in Cardiff, Bangor, Aberystwyth and Carmarthen on FM, DAB, digital TV and online.
The station broadcasts for 18½ hours a day from 5.30am to midnight with overnight programming carried from BBC Radio 5 Live during downtime. Its managing editor is Betsan Powys.
BBC Radio Cymru began broadcasting on the morning of Monday 3 January 1977, its first programme being an extended news bulletin presented at 6.45am by Gwyn Llewellyn and Geraint Jones. This was followed at 7.00am by the first edition of the breakfast magazine show Helo Bobol!, presented by Hywel Gwynfryn with contributions from a network of local reporters in studios across Wales. The first record played on Radio Cymru was Ffrindiau Bore Oes by Hergest.
The station was the first broadcasting outlet dedicated wholly to programmes in Welsh, allowing much more airtime for such output than had previously been available on the old Radio 4 Wales (or its predecessors the Welsh Home Service and, before that, the BBC Welsh Regional Programme).
At the time of the station's launch, it was the only radio service in the UK broadcasting exclusively on FM (VHF). Initially, the service was part-time and restricted to breakfast shows, extended news bulletins at breakfast, lunchtime & early evening and a number of off-peak opt outs from a sustaining Radio 4 Wales feed.
In November 1979, Radio Cymru's programming was expanded to 65 hours a week, introducing mid-morning output on weekdays, along with a growing line-up of dramas, light entertainment and documentaries. The network continued to expand over the next two decades before achieving a continuous service of up to 20 hours a day.
Later developments in the 21st century saw Radio Cymru introducing a nightly youth strand, C2, and regional opt-outs for South West Wales, which were axed in 2008 but later reintroduced to provide live commentary of Swansea City A.F.C. matches. The station has also been streaming online since January 2005.
Radio Cymru is similar in format to many "general" radio stations, with news programmes at breakfast (Post Cyntaf, 'First Post'), lunchtime (Taro'r Post – a debate-centred programme), and drive-time (Post Prynhawn, 'Afternoon Post'); together with presenter-driven sequences mixing music with chat to invited studio guests, calls from listeners, competitions etc. Radio Cymru also produces drama, features, current affairs, youth, and sports programming.
Over the years, it has done much to promote the language, with its sports commentators coining new terms which later became accepted by Welsh linguists. One of its more unusual - and longest-running - programmes is Y Talwrn, a poetry competition in which teams must come up with poetry in specific styles on specific topics.
Radio Cymru 2
On Monday 19 September 2016, BBC Cymru launched a second radio service, Radio Cymru Mwy, as a trial pop-up station broadcasting for three months in the run-up to the station's 40th anniversary. Consisting of five hours of music-led entertainment programming each weekday, Radio Cymru Mwy was available on DAB in south east Wales and online.
Six months after the station closed, BBC Cymru announced it would launch a permanent second station, Radio Cymru 2 in the future. The new service will air from 7-10am each weekday on digital and online platforms, as a music and entertainment alternative to the main network. Radio Cymru's morning output consists of the breakfast news programme, Post Cyntaf, and a topical magazine show presented by Aled Hughes.
As of June 2017, the station has 128,000 weekly listeners and a 2.7% market share. Radio Cymru has seen its weekly audience increase by 25,000 listeners since June 2016, where its weekly audience amounted to 103,000 listeners.
Transmitters and frequencies
- "BBC re-launches internet radio - everything in one place" (Press release). BBC. 24 January 2005. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- BBC Radio Cymru Mwy takes to the digital airwaves, bbc.co.uk, 2 August 2016
- BBC to boost Wales' national radio stations, bbc.co.uk, 23 June 2017
- "BBC Radio Cymru - listening figures". media.info. Retrieved 2017-08-10.