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BBC WM 95.6
BBC WM.png
City of license Birmingham
Broadcast area South Staffordshire, the West Midlands and the Black Country
Slogan The Voice Of Birmingham And The Black Country
Frequency 95.6 MHz, DAB, Freeview channel 722.
First air date 9 November 1970
Format Local news, talk and music
Language(s) English
Audience share 10% (July 2014, [1])
Owner BBC Local Radio,
BBC Midlands
Website BBC WM

BBC WM 95.6 (previously BBC Radio WM) is the BBC Local Radio service for the West Midlands, South Staffordshire, north Worcestershire and north Warwickshire, 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.


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 the 1980s, the station also 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 operates from 0500 to 0100 hours Monday-Thursday, 0500 to 0000 hours on Fridays, 0500 to 0100 on Saturdays and from 0600 to 0100 hours on Sundays with specialist music programming,and shows serving the local Afro-Caribbean and Asian communities.

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 July 2014 BBC WM 95.6 has 240,000 listeners, which represents 10% of the reach audience.[3]


The station has experimented with introducing music into talk shows, and a shock jock in the form of Jon Gaunt. A small amount of programming, including Network Gold (old hits) is networked on counterpart BBC local radio stations in the BBC Midlands region. During the station's downtime, the BBC WM frequency broadcasts BBC Radio 5 Live.

Notable presenters[edit]


  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 - the West Midlands, south Staffordshire, north Worcestershire and north Warwickshire. 
  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. ^

External links[edit]