|This article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
|City of license||Taunton|
|Frequency||96.5, 97.1 and 102.6 MHz|
|First air date||26 November 1989|
|Audience share||18.1% (December 2009, )|
Heart Somerset (formerly Orchard FM) was an Independent Local Radio station serving Somerset, England. Originally owned by (and officially remains licensed to) Orchard Media Ltd, the company was purchased by GWR Group in 1999, and who subsequently became GCap Media in 2005. The station broadcast from studios at Haygrove House, Shoreditch near Taunton, adjacent to the M5.
In November 2005 it was announced that GCap's local radio stations in the South West, including Orchard FM, were to be sold. This is because they were outside of the company's primary target area. This sale was called off in Spring 2006 because the bids received were much lower than hoped.
2008 saw the takeover of GCap Media by Global Radio. On 20 January 2009, it was announced that Orchard FM, along with 11 other stations in Southern England, would be rebranded as Heart on 23 March 2009.
Presenters on the station included Bob McCreadie, Steve Bulley (now at Wessex FM), Jennie Gow (now covering MotoGP for the BBC), Steve Carpenter, Jon White (now Palm 105.5), Mike Harwood, Dan Jennings, Alex James, Tim Ley, Gregory Steven's, Dave Gould, Robert D'Ovidio (now Capital 95.8), Jeremy Kyle, Ian Burrage, Laura James, Ben Clark. Newsreaders included Rachel Hart and Helen Martin.
On 21 June 2010, Global Radio announced plans to close Heart Somerset and merge the station with Heart Bristol and Heart Bath as part of plans to reduce the Heart network of stations from 33 to 16. The final local programme was broadcast on Friday 16 July 2010 by long-standing breakfast presenters Ian Burrage and Laura James. The new station, Heart West Country, begin broadcasting from Bristol on the same date.
The main frequency is on 102.6 MHz FM from the Mendip TV Mast. This is at 4 kW, mixed polarisation. The signal is highly directional, with the maximum ERP only being radiated to the south and into Somerset in order to prevent a coverage and thus programming overlap with Heart from Bristol.
Other frequencies are 97.1 MHz FM from Chedington (near Crewkerne), which is at 400 watts, but again directional in order to prevent interference with nearby Wessex FM from the Dorchester area, which broadcasts on 97.2 MHz FM. This transmitter exists to reinforce coverage in the Yeovil, North Dorset and South Somerset areas.
96.5 MHz FM radiates from a 60 watt transmitter located in the gardens of the converted house at Shoreditch in Taunton, from which Heart Somerset was based. This transmitter reinforces signal in the Taunton area.
- Global Radio to halve number of local Heart stations, mediaguardian.co.uk, 21 June 2010
- Heart slims but strengthens, RadioToday, 21 June 2010