BBC Wiltshire

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BBC Wiltshire
BBC Radio Wiltshire.png
City Swindon
Broadcast area Wiltshire
Slogan A Passion for Wiltshire Life
Frequency 103.5FM, 103.6FM, 104.3FM, 104.9FM, 1332 MW, 1368 MW, DAB (NOW Wiltshire) Freeview channel 721
First air date 4 April 1989
Format Local news, talk and music
Language(s) English
Audience share 5.0%B (March 2010, [1])
Owner BBC Local Radio,
BBC West/BBC South
Website BBC Wiltshire

BBC Wiltshire is the BBC Local Radio station and BBC Online service for the English county of Wiltshire. The station marked its 20th anniversary in 2009.


BBC Wiltshire Sound (1989–2002)[edit]

The station was launched as BBC Wiltshire Sound on 4 April 1989, with its main studios and headquarters in Prospect Place, Swindon. The station was not initially titled 'BBC Radio Wiltshire' because at that time its competitor GWR owned the copyright of 'Wiltshire' and 'Radio' in whatever combination.[1]

The first presenter heard on air was Paul Chantler. The early logo of the station featured the White Horse at Westbury. BBC Wiltshire Sound had a reputation for solid local programming focusing on news and information.

From 1991 to 1994 the station's Programme Editor was Mike Gray, who left to found the successful Kiss 102 and Kiss 105 radio stations in Manchester and Yorkshire. Amongst Gray's innovations was giving 17-year-old Swindon student Mark Franklin his own programmes, which led to him being spotted and hired as a presenter on Top Of The Pops. Other specialist music presenters at the time included leading jazz singer Rosemary Squires.

One of BBC Wiltshire Sound's best-known features was the long-running soap opera Acrebury in which all the characters were voiced by presenter and actor Gerry Hughes, for which he was awarded a Guinness World Record. The city of Salisbury was given its own breakfast show for a time, due to its relative isolation in the south of the county. However both the Salisbury breakfast show and Acrebury were discontinued as part of a virtual relaunch of the station in 2000. Along with a number of presenter departures, the changes led to listener protests at the station's headquarters and unflattering headlines in the local newspaper.

The 2000 relaunch gave listeners in Swindon separate programmes from the rest of the county, introduced in response to the rapid growth of the town and its new unitary authority status. New presenters brought in for the Swindon programmes included Dan Chisholm and Peter Heaton-Jones.

BBC Radio Wiltshire and BBC Radio Swindon (2002–2009)[edit]

On 11 November 2002, the separation was enhanced when the station was effectively split into two different services: BBC Radio Swindon, covering the town and surrounding areas, and BBC Radio Wiltshire for the rest of the county. Originally the two stations had their own discrete programmes for most of the day, but by 2007, following a number of schedule changes and presenter departures, only the breakfast shows remained separate. All other programmes were simulcast on both stations.

BBC Wiltshire (2009–present)[edit]

On 4 April 2009, exactly 20 years after the original launch, the two stations effectively merged again and became a single entity branded as BBC Wiltshire. This became the umbrella name for the radio station and online service, in common with branding policy across most of the BBC local radio network. Swindon initially retained its own breakfast show, for which the branding Swindon's BBC Wiltshire was used. Currently all programmes across the week are broadcast on all BBC Wiltshire frequencies with no Swindon opt outs.


Radio studios on Victoria Hill, Swindon

BBC Wiltshire broadcasts from its studios in Swindon on 103.5 (Newton Barrow, near A360, 5 miles north-west of Salisbury), 104.3 (Naish Hill, near A342 4 miles west of Calne which is for west Wiltshire), 104.9 (Marlborough for east Wiltshire) FM; 1332 (Lacock, near A350, 4 miles south of Chippenham) and 1368 (Old Town, Swindon, near B4006) AM; DAB and via the BBC iPlayer. Swindon's BBC Wiltshire broadcasts on 103.6 and its transmitter is located at Blunsdon which is two miles north of Swindon next to the A419 with a terrain height of 450ft.

The station is also carried on the NOW Wiltshire DAB Digital Radio multiplex and can also be heard live on the station's website.[2] It also now broadcasts on Freeview channel 721.


The majority of the station's programming is produced and broadcast from the Swindon studios. During off-peak hours, BBC Wiltshire also carries regional programming for the West and South West, produced from various sister stations. As with all BBC Local Radio stations, it also airs the networked weekday evening shows, originating from BBC Radio Leeds and produced independently by Wire Free Productions. During the station's downtime, BBC Wiltshire simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°33′14″N 1°46′39″W / 51.5539°N 1.7776°W / 51.5539; -1.7776