Burst Radio

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Burst Red 2012.jpg
FormatMusic & Speech
OperatorOscar Edmondson (Station Manager), Rhiannon Du Cann (Operations Manager)
OwnerUniversity of Bristol Students’ Union

Bristol University’s Radio Station (Burst) is a radio station run by students of the University of Bristol, UK. Its studios are located within the University of Bristol Students’ Union building, and it broadcasts online.[1] The station was initially known as ‘BURST FM’, but this name was dropped as the station no longer broadcasts on FM frequencies. The station is off air during university vacations.[2]

The former logo used by Burst Radio
Burst Radio presenters in the studio, March 2012


In 1995, students from Bristol University and the University of the West of England (UWE) co-operated to run Fresh FM. When Fresh FM closed, Burst FM was started by Bristol University students in 1997, with a one-month licence to broadcast on 106.6 FM awarded for March 1998.[3]

However, the unavailability of further FM licences, due to the launch of a new full-time station The Eagle (now renamed Star), prevented further broadcasts. In early 2000 speakers were installed in the Bristol Union (now the University of Bristol Student Union) building, and broadcasts mounted during ‘Fresh’ (Bristol University's Freshers' Week) 2000. A grant from Bristol University’s Alumni Foundation and fundraising through advertising and sponsorship allowed Burst to build new studios inside the Union, and to stream programming online.

An application was made for a further FM licence in Autumn 2000, giving Burst the rights to 106.6 FM with a Restricted Service Licence.[4] An application was made for another one-month licence in Summer 2001. This licence was also awarded, as well as a subsequent licence in November 2001, promoted by club nights and coverage in student and local press.[5] In 2003, Burst began broadcasting via the internet on a permanent basis.[1]

In 2005, talks began to start using an AM signal. Broadcasting on 1134 AM commenced in October 2007 via a transmitter in Stoke Bishop.[4] The start of AM broadcasting coincided with new management and re-branding of the station. Burst went from an orange/blue logo to a new orange/red/white colour scheme. This has now been replaced by a 'headphones' style logo and, in 2010/2011, the colours of Burst were changed again to red and white.[6]

In September 2007, the station updated its systems in preparation for the AM launch. Under the flag of ‘Project Excalibur’, the on-air studio was refurbished and new equipment installed.[7] This culminated in a live broadcast with BBC Radio 6 Music.[8] In December 2007, Burst's production studio was also updated, bringing it in line with the changes in the on-air studio.[4]

In 2008, Burst launched the first ever student radio soap, ‘The Arches’, in collaboration with Epigram (newspaper), the student newspaper.[9][10] A new Union show was also launched.[11] This was, however, cut short after a multiple computer breakdown in 2008.

Burst recommenced broadcasting in 2010, and now airs from 10am-10pm every day during term time. Specialist programming is combined with dedicated breakfast and ‘Hangover Brunch’ slots on weekdays, and 10am-12pm brunch shows at weekends. These are currently presented by Xander Brett on Saturday and George Ruskin on Sunday.


The station's facilities consist of an on-air studio, from which most live programmes are presented, and a production studio, used for editing and recording live music sessions and podcasts. This studio can also be used as a backup live studio should the on-air studio be unavailable. News bulletins are broadcast hourly and sourced from outside. Additionally, music sessions may be recorded in the ‘Burst Music Room’, housed on another floor of the Student Union building.


Notable former broadcasters include the comedian Marcus Brigstocke, BBC presenter Chris Cox and Theofanis Gekas.


  1. ^ a b Clubs and gigs in Bristol – Burst goes online. BBC (3 May 2003).
  2. ^ "End of Year". Archived from the original on 29 June 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  3. ^ Bristol University Archived 22 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine. unofficial-guides.com.
  4. ^ a b c "About Burst Radio". Burst Radio. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  5. ^ Publicity and press materials from 2000 and 2001 broadcasts. Flickr.com.
  6. ^ Welcome To. Burst Radio (13 August 2013).
  7. ^ "Epigram Online – BURSTing to be heard!". University of Bristol Student Union. 1 October 2007. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  8. ^ "Epigram Online – Burst Radio back with a bang after renovation". University of Bristol Student Union. Archived from the original on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  9. ^ "The Arches". Burst Radio. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  10. ^ "Epigram Online – The Arches on Bristol student radio". University of Bristol Student Union. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  11. ^ "SAB-otage". Burst Radio. Archived from the original on 6 March 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2015.