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NE1fm 102.5
NE1fm 102.5 Logo 2017.png
CityNewcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead
Broadcast areaNewcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead (FM)
Worldwide (Online)
SloganCommunity radio for Newcastle and Gateshead
Frequency102.5 MHz
RDS Name: NE1fm
First air date8 June 2007
FormatCommunity radio
OwnerCommunity Broadcast Initiative Tyneside

NE1fm is an FM community radio station based in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. Launched in 2007, the station broadcasts 24 hours a day on 102.5 FM, and online via its website.[1] The station is owned by CBIT (Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside Ltd)[2] and runs on a not-for-profit basis. NE1fm is operated entirely by volunteers.[3] NE1fm was awarded a five-year community broadcast licence by Ofcom in 2006, which has since been extended to 2022.[4]

NE1fm carries a wide variety of content, catering for both mainstream and niche musical genres, and also broadcasts interviews and sports, talk and comedy-based shows. NE1fm has broadcast more than 100 different shows during its time on-air, including enabling members of the local community to present as part of its open access programming.[5] The station also broadcasts from musical and other events in the local area,[6] promotes local bands,[7] and highlights community issues on a regular basis.[8]

NE1fm's name is a play on the postcode district NE1 (where the station was originally located), although strangely, and possibly uniquely, doesn't actually cover Newcastle upon Tyne central. In addition to the station's community radio status where "anyone" can broadcast or help out with the station's off-air operation.[9]


2004–2007: Pre-NE1fm projects and station launch[edit]

Prior to the formation of the project leading to the launch of NE1fm, a number of Restricted Service Licence broadcasts had taken place in Newcastle upon Tyne, many of which were operated by or involved founding members of NE1fm.[10] These included ACE Radio, West End Broadcast and City FM, the latter of which ran from 13 September 2004 to 9 October 2004.[11] Following this broadcast, an application for Ofcom's advertised community radio licence for the area was made on 19 November 2004.[12] The application of Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside was successful, with a five-year licence awarded in 2006.

NE1fm launched on 8 June 2007 with a weekend of broadcasts from Newcastle's Green Festival, resulting in much of the launch weekend being conducted via an outside broadcast studio at Leazes Park. During the weekend, the station broadcast a large amount of live music, particularly electronic music, interspersed with interviews with festival participants and general continuity from a variety of on-air personnel. On Monday 11 June 2007, NE1fm's regular schedule commenced with the long-running alternative music show Unknown Pleasures.[13]

2007–2009: Transmitter thefts and programming expansions[edit]

NE1fm logo used from June 2007-August 2012

In the months following the launch of NE1fm, regular programming included Alternation, Atomic, Pavement Pizza and The Hedley Show.[14] Broadcasts also took place from a number of other festivals, including the Asian-orientated Mela Festival,[15] and the Newcastle stage of the AV Festival in March 2008,[16] although broadcasts from the latter were met with problems and resulted in broadcasts ceasing before the festival's conclusion. Other festivals and outside events covered throughout the station's first year included the 2008 Irish Festival and the 2008 Eat Festival.

The station was, in November 2007, presented with a plaque by hardware chain B&Q as part of their annual You Can Do It awards, resulting in £5,000 of funding to fully construct a second studio and improve the station's primitive facilities. The second studio was completed shortly thereafter. The station also during this period had its transmission equipment stolen, resulting in two off-air stints in December 2007 and March 2008, the latter of which was covered as the headline story on local news programme North East Tonight later that day.[17]

Throughout 2008 and 2009, NE1fm continued to broadcast a wide variety of on-air content, with a number of long-running shows catering to audiences largely ignored by commercial radio stations in the region. Long-running shows included The Groove Principle, a soul music show, and Anyone For Country, a specialist country music broadcast. During this time period, however, a number of long-running shows ended their tenure on the station – either permanently or temporarily – including Ghetto Method and The Takeover. NE1fm also occasionally broadcast breakfast and lunchtime shows, although largely focused on evening broadcasts, with largely uninterrupted music broadcast overnight and during the day.

2009–2010: Station relocation and programming changes[edit]

In late 2009, NE1fm went through its most significant period of change since its launch in 2007, relocating from the Shieldfield area of Newcastle upon Tyne to purpose-built studios at Virginia House, which are shared with the community group The Cyrenians.[18] Although this did not affect the broadcast area of NE1fm, it marked the end of thirty months of broadcast in a church building that had not typically been designed for radio broadcast, and allowed for the station to make further changes to its operation and sound. Shortly after the move, shifts in the station's management structure also occurred, with a number of founding members quoted on the initial Ofcom application ceasing to be involved with the station.[19] The station also updated its website after three years of limited updates, and changed its domain from to[18]

Along with NE1fm's relocation, a number of programming changes also occurred during this time period. One significant change was the end of The Live Session, a weekly acoustic broadcast that had featured and given exposure to a large quantity of local and little-known bands during NE1fm's time on-air; The Live Session's departure, however, was intended to be brief, with the station advertising for a replacement presenter for the show.[20] A new live music show, Hit the North (East), debuted in late 2010. The station also began to focus areas of its programming toward younger people, with a larger amount of new music played during the day and coverage of popular events including Evolution Festival.[18]

2011 – 2012: Recent developments, downtime and return to FM[edit]

The NE1fm Logo launched in August 2012 and used until June 2017

The first months of 2011 included the announcement that the station's soul programming, featured prominently on Sundays since launch, would be discontinued.[21] Soul music has since returned in a smaller capacity.[22] Programming of significance early in the year included special programmes covering Gateshead F.C.'s run in the 2011 FA Trophy, the launch of the community-focused broadcast No Excuse, and the re-branding of the weekend breakfast shows to include live music, including a variety from the 2011 Evolution Emerging line-up.[23]

The digital presence of NE1fm was overhauled during Spring of 2011, including visibly heightened usage of their Facebook and Twitter accounts[24] and the launch of a new website. A second edition of the new website appeared in February 2012, including the introduction of show blogs and a section promoting music from local artists.[25]

On 27 September 2011, station volunteers Rob Davies and Gary Barnes launched a locally high-profile attempt to break the current world record for the longest team radio broadcast, previously held by Chris Moyles of BBC Radio 1, for the benefit of two local charities. Their attempt finished at midday on Friday 30 September, lasting a total of 76 hours, exceeding the previous record.[26]

In early 2012, NE1fm added ethnic programming to the broadcast schedule for the first time in several years, offering representation to the Chinese, Polish and Persian-speaking Iranian communities of Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead.[27] A Spanish language broadcast was added at a later date[28]

NE1fm announced the award of a five-year extension to its community radio licence on 9 February 2012, taking the project through until June 2017.[29] However, in April 2012, the station ceased FM broadcasts due to an issue with the location of the station's transmitter requiring a full move of broadcast equipment.[30] Although the station declared on its website that operations were continuing as normal online during this downtime,[30] the station was cited as in breach of its broadcast licence by Ofcom in June 2012.[31] NE1fm successfully returned to 102.5 FM on 7 August 2012.[32]

2014 - Present[edit]

In October 2014, the station relocated from Virginia House to Westgate Community College, on the West side of Newcastle Upon Tyne.

In June 2017, the station celebrated their 10th Birthday with a series of special broadcasts and the release of a new logo, shown below.


  1. ^ "NE1fm's official website".
  2. ^ "Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside".
  3. ^ "About NE1fm 102.5". 24 January 2012.
  4. ^ "Ofcom – Radio Broadcast Update January 2012".
  5. ^ " – Open Access Programming".
  6. ^ " – A Station History".
  7. ^ "Show Profiles – Hit The North (East)". 24 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Show Profiles – No Excuse". 24 January 2012.
  9. ^ Article in The Evening Chronicle, 7 June 2007
  10. ^ "NE1fm's licence application to Ofcom, pages 7 to 13" (PDF).
  11. ^ "NE1fm's licence application to Ofcom, page 13" (PDF).
  12. ^ "NE1fm's licence application to Ofcom, page 37" (PDF).
  13. ^ Unknown Pleasures, June 2007
  14. ^ " – A Station History".
  15. ^ NE1fm Myspace blog, 30 August 2007
  16. ^ AV Festival official website
  17. ^ "YouTube".
  18. ^ a b c "NE1fm 102.5". NE1fm 102.5.
  19. ^ "Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside".
  20. ^ "NE1fm 102.5". NE1fm 102.5.
  21. ^ 102.5, NE1fm. "Schedule Update - Change to 7-9PM on Sundays, The Groove Principle is no longer on the schedule. The 5-7PM soul slot remains".
  22. ^ "NE1fm Schedule". 1 November 2017.
  23. ^ ", 1 April 2011".
  24. ^ ", 22 April 2011".
  25. ^ " – Welcome To The New NE1fm 102.5 Website".
  26. ^ "NE1fm to Attempt to Break Broadcast Marathon Record from September 27th". Retrieved 8 September 2011.
  27. ^ "New Shows in Chinese and Farsi on NE1fm". Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  28. ^ "New Shows For April 2012 – The Hedley Show and Spanish Stereo". Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  29. ^ "NE1fm Granted Licence Extension to 2017". Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  30. ^ a b "NE1fm Returns To FM Broadcasts Soon". Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  31. ^ "Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin Issue 207, June 2012". Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  32. ^ "Radio Today – NE1fm Returns After Three Month Absence". Retrieved 8 August 2012.

External links[edit]