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BBC WM 95.6
BBC WM.png
City Birmingham
Broadcast area West Midlands, south Staffordshire
Slogan Your Voice in the West Midlands
Frequency 95.6 MHz, DAB, Freeview channel 722.
First air date 9 November 1970
Format Local news, talk and music
Language(s) English
Owner BBC Local Radio,
BBC Midlands
Website BBC WM

BBC WM 95.6 (previously BBC Radio WM) is the BBC Local Radio service serving the West Midlands conurbation and parts of south Staffordshire, operated by BBC Birmingham.[1] Launched on 9 November 1970[2] as BBC Radio Birmingham, it broadcasts from central Birmingham on 95.6 FM, DAB, Freeview and on the internet.


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Until 2004, BBC WM broadcast from the Pebble Mill studios, in Edgbaston.[1] On 4 July of that year, the station moved to the new BBC Birmingham city centre offices in The Mailbox.[1] Its facilities include two broadcast studios, a talk studio, an operations and production area, and a studio shared with the BBC Asian Network.[citation needed]

In 1981, the station changed its name to BBC WM [3] and had a studio in the back of a shop in New Street. The shop sold trinkets branded with the Radio WM identity.

As a 1990s economy measure, the station took over BBC CWR (Coventry and Warwickshire radio). On 3 September 2005, CWR resumed the production of separate programming between 5.00 and 22.00 each weekday (6.00 - 18.00 at weekends).

In late 2011, the station began using the on air identity of BBC WM 95.6 as opposed to BBC WM as it had previously used. BBC WM 95.6 now broadcasts from 0500 to 0100 hours on Monday - Thursday, 0500 on Friday to 0100 on Sunday and from 0600 to 0100 hours on Sundays.

The Mailbox, home to BBC WM's studios in Birmingham


When launched, the station had a monopoly of local radio in the Birmingham area. The station's low audience since the advent of independent local radio has led to reports of threatened closure on various occasions. In the mid-1980s, a new manager, Tony Inchley, brought in extensive format changes with a view to stabilising the audience, although the station remained small in listenership numbers. According to RAJAR as of April - June 2016 BBC WM 95.6 had 241,000 listeners, which represents 9% of the reach audience.[4]


The majority of the station's programming is produced and broadcast from Birmingham, alongside regional programming for sister stations in the BBC Midlands and BBC East Midlands regions. As with all BBC Local Radio stations, BBC WM also airs the networked weekday evening shows, originating from BBC Radio Leeds and produced independently by Wire Free Productions. It also simulcasts overnight programming from BBC Radio 5 Live.

The station also broadcasts specialist music programming and shows serving the local Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities.

Notable presenters[edit]

Notable presenters include Ed Doolan, Les Ross, Gordon Astley, Malcolm Boyden, Andrew Peach, Janice Long, Alex Lester, and Tony Butler.


  1. ^ a b c "BBC WM - 40th anniversary". BBC News Online. BBC Birmingham. 8 Nov 2010. In November 1981 Radio Birmingham changed its name to BBC Radio WM (the 'Radio' was later dropped) to give a better reflection of the area it covered. 
  2. ^ "BBC WM - Familiar voices from 40 years of broadcasting". BBC News. 8 Nov 2010. Archived from the original on 11 November 2010. Retrieved 8 Nov 2010. 
  3. ^ BBC WM: The first 40 years
  4. ^

External links[edit]