Sam FM (Swindon)
|Broadcast area||Swindon and surrounding areas|
|Slogan||We're in Charge|
|Frequency||FM: 107.7 MHz|
|First air date||2 September 2006 (as Brunel FM)|
|Audience share||3% (March 2016, RAJAR)|
|Sister stations||Sam FM Bristol
Sam FM South Coast
In 2005, after radio group Swindon FM lobbied for a second FM licence for the area, Ofcom invited applications for a 12-year broadcasting licence. The Local Radio Company applied, proposing a station called Now FM. After being awarded the licence, it was renamed as Brunel FM after Isambard Kingdom Brunel, chief engineer of the railway which had converted Swindon from a small village to a large town. Brunel was also the previous name for AM station Classic Gold Radio (now DAB station Gold) when Wiltshire Radio / GWR-FM (now Heart Wiltshire) launched on FM. However, Brunel FM and Brunel Radio / Brunel Classic Gold did not have any connection other than their name and studio location.
Brunel FM launched at 10am on 2 September 2006, and remained under control of The Local Radio Company until its sale to Laser Broadcasting in June 2008, along with sister stations Bath FM and 3TR FM. Following the buyout a number of the station's staff resigned, allegedly due to lack of payment.
In August 2009, South West Radio itself collapsed and was also placed into administration. Brunel FM was then acquired by YMC Ltd, along with Bath FM, 3TR FM, Quay West 107.4 and Quay West 102.4/100.8. YMC Ltd then ran the five licensed stations as a group, with local programming throughout the day and some networked output over the weekend. On 24 March 2010, the YMC Ltd stations were closed by administrators after multiple refusals on the part of regulator Ofcom to transfer the licences, amid a number of financial issues at the stations following TLRC's sale.
Total Star Swindon
Brunel FM and its sister stations - 3TR FM, Bath FM and the two Quaywest stations - were eventually bought by One Gold Radio Ltd. All five stations were rebranded Total Star as part of an agreement with Total Star 107.5 in Gloucestershire, owned by Storm Radio Ltd.
In May 2011, it was announced Total Star Swindon (along with sister stations in West Wiltshire and Bath) would be rebranded to More Radio from June 2011, after owners One Gold Radio Ltd (now More FM Ltd) ended their partnership with the Cheltenham-based Total Star group. The group also decided not to contest the renewal of the Bath licence, which was awarded to Celador - and was rebranded as The Breeze in September 2011. The company also purchased the 107.5 Warminster/Frome area licence, turning it into The Breeze in November 2011.
Jack FM Swindon
Sam FM rebrand and merger
Less than three years later, on 1 April 2015, the station was rebranded again to Sam FM.
On 25 May 2016, OFCOM announced it had granted Celador permission to merge the station with its sister station in Bristol. The company said the Swindon station was not financially viable as a stand-alone service, having made a £50,000 loss in 2015. The station's sole local programme - the weekday breakast show That Swindon Thing - will be axed, although opt outs for local news bulletins, traffic updates and what's on information will continue.
- "Five Laser stations sold". Radio Today. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 5 November. Check date values in:
- "Wiltshire radio station's owner goes into administration". Gazette & Herald. 28 October 2008. Retrieved 5 November 2008.
- Plunkett, John (25 March 2010). "Brunel FM among five other radio stations to close". The Guardian. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
- RadioToday: Total Star stations in Swindon and Wiltshire to become More FM
- RadioToday: Celador buys Swindon More licence: 16 Apr 2012
- RadioToday: Celador launches Jack FM in Swindon: 28 May 2012
- Radio Today: Celador's JACK stations to become Sam FM: 1 April 2015
- Sam FM Swindon to merge with Sam FM Bristol, Radio Today, 25 May 2016