BBC Somerset

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BBC Somerset
BBC Somerset logo
CityTaunton
Broadcast areaSomerset
FrequencyFM: 95.5 MHz
MW: 1566 kHz
DAB: 10B Freeview channel 722 (Somerset Only)
First air date11 April 1988
FormatLocal news, talk and music
Language(s)English
OwnerBBC Local Radio,
BBC West,
BBC South West
WebsiteBBC Somerset

BBC Somerset, formerly BBC Somerset Sound, is the BBC Local Radio service for the ceremonial county of Somerset, England. The northern parts of Somerset – Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset - are also served by BBC Radio Bristol.

History[edit]

The first BBC service for the county of Somerset was established in 1978, as an emergency measure following storms in the county.[1] The station proper was launched as BBC Somerset Sound on 11 April 1988, broadcasting on BBC Radio Bristol's former frequency of 1323AM. It was based in studios above a cafe on Paul St, Taunton, with a smaller satellite studio in Yeovil. The signal on 1323AM was for many years interfered with by a Russian radio station.[2]

In August 2002, BBC Somerset moved to new premises in Park Street, Taunton, and acquired a more robust frequency of 1566AM. On 3 December 2007, it was also given BBC Radio Bristol's former FM frequency of 95.5FM. It currently broadcasts on both of these, to the whole of the historic county of Somerset and beyond. Listeners from as far afield as Finland have reported hearing the station clearly. BBC Somerset sometimes uses its AM frequency for cricket commentary while regular programming continues on FM. BBC Somerset began broadcasting in DAB in September 2014.

BBC Somerset was for many years an 'opt-out' from Radio Bristol, but in May 2012, the BBC established it as a station in its own right. The BBC's Annual Report and Accounts for 2005/2006 stated:[3] "The BBC is committed to extending its network of local radio stations to a limited number of under served areas, and BBC management is carrying out preparatory work for new stations in Somerset, Dorset and Cheshire.".

On 6 October 2011, the BBC announced that it intended to close BBC Somerset's 1566MW frequency as part of its Delivering Quality First (DQF)[4] program of cutbacks. No decision on the timing of the medium wave switch-off has yet been made.

In November 2017, BBC Somerset moved from the Park Street premises to a new building on the edge of Taunton in Blackbrook.

The current editor of BBC Somerset is Nick Bull, with Andrew Enever as news editor.

According to RAJAR, the station has a weekly audience of 68,000 listeners and a 6% share as of December 2018.[5]

BBC Somerset bus[edit]

BBC Somerset got a new mobile radio studio in the shape of a single-decker bus in May 2007. The role of the BBC Somerset bus across the county includes:

  • To bring BBC Somerset out into local communities across the county
  • To help to improve what people in county want from their local radio station, and from the BBC in general
  • To promote the major BBC campaigns, such as the Reading and Writing project (RaW) and Springwatch and Autumnwatch among many others
  • To feedback to the BBC any brickbats and bouquets - from listeners/viewers who might not usually have the chance to comment
  • To broadcast live shows from towns and villages around Somerset

Programming for the bus, as well as the day-to-day operation and technical support was managed by Paul George.

In 2016, the bus became victim to cutbacks, and is no longer used by the station.

The Challenge[edit]

BBC Somerset took part in The Challenge

In 2007, BBC Somerset took part in an initiative to create the first carbon-zero radio station in the UK known as The Challenge.[6]

Carbon auditors CO2balance analysed at every aspect of the operation - from the mileage of the transport fleet down to what happens to the office tea bags.[7]

At the time of the audit, the station generated more than 64 tonnes of CO2 each year. On hearing the results the staff voluntarily dipped into their pockets to fund the three main accredited methods of carbon offsetting – tree planting, sustainable projects and carbon trading. On average the cost to each member of staff was between £25 and £50, depending on their salary. Staff also looked at all areas where pollution is generated to reduce the station's carbon footprint and make it more environmentally friendly. These included:

  • The fleet of cars for reporters were swapped for fuel-efficient vans.
  • Lighting systems were replaced with more energy-efficient ones.
  • Loft insulation was improved and double glazing was considered.
  • The electricity and paper supplies were checked to make sure they are eco-friendly.
  • Water coolers were removed in favour of tap water.
  • New recycling measures were introduced.
  • Eco-friendly cleaning products were introduced.

Programming[edit]

The station also carries off-peak regional programming for the West of England, including early morning and late night shows on weekdays (produced from Bristol and Swindon respectively), Sunday afternoon output from BBC Radio Gloucestershire and joint programming with BBC South West stations on Saturday evenings and Sunday nights.

Notable presenters[edit]

Local presenters[edit]

Former presenters[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2017 Diversity in Media Awards Radio Programme / Station of the Year BBC Somerset Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Aircheck UK, Avon and Somerset". BBC. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  2. ^ "Aircheck UK, Avon and Somerset". BBC. Archived from the original on 5 October 2009. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  3. ^ "Annual Report and Accounts for 2005/2006". BBC. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  4. ^ "BBC Delivering Quality First". BBC. Retrieved 22 October 2011.
  5. ^ "RAJAR". RAJAR. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  6. ^ "The Challenge". BBC. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  7. ^ "co2balance.com". co2balance.com. Archived from the original on 23 November 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°00′50″N 3°06′25″W / 51.0140°N 3.1069°W / 51.0140; -3.1069 (BBC Somerset studios)