Radio Victory launched as the first local commercial radio service in the South of England in 1975, transmitting to a small area around Portsmouth. The licence was re-advertised by the Independent Broadcasting Authority The extended licence, now to include Southampton and Winchester, was won by Ocean Sound Ltd. Radio Victory ceased operations in June 1986, a couple of weeks earlier than the expiry date of its franchise, with a test transmission informing listeners of the closure.
Ocean Sound launched on 12 October 1986 from a new purpose-built broadcast unit, built in just a year, in a business park in Segensworth West, outside Fareham, Hampshire and near the M27 motorway, a strategic location to prevent bias towards the two major cities of Southampton and Portsmouth, as well as removing association with Radio Victory, who were Portsmouth biased, however, some staff were hired from Radio Victory, such as sales managers and a Head of News.
Two services were launched, Ocean Sound (West), using 103.2 MHz FM and 1557 kHz AM covering Southampton and Winchester, and Ocean Sound (East) using 97.5 MHz FM, moving from Radio Victory's 95.0 MHz FM, and 1170 kHz AM serving Portsmouth and the surrounding area. Two stations launched, rather than one station, as then Managing Director David Lucas identified two potential audiences, the East area familiar with commercial radio (in the East area) and the West area familiar with BBC, specifically the popular BBC station, BBC Radio Solent. The East area sounded livelier and there was a more softer sound for the West. The two stations were later joined by a separate service provided for Winchester and the surrounding areas on 96.7 MHz FM, entitled Ocean Sound (North) - The Light FM, launched on 6 December 1987,
The two original stations shared daytime output with specialist programmes for each station, such as a Saturday evening Isle of Wight programme with Jean-Paul Hansford on the West station on 103.2, while Guy Hornsby's Saturday Soul Club on East, with the North service having its own programmes initially between 6am to 2pm and then 5pm to 9pm also, but relayed West at other times. The new station's slogan was "We're on your wavelength."
In 1987, as part of IBA's demand to end simulcasting on FM and AM, the services were reorganised. The FM West service became The Power FM and East service became Ocean Sound, with the respective AM services becoming The Gold AM. The North service became The Light FM.
Power FM launched on Sunday 4 December 1988 at 10 am. Power FM was designed as a direct competitor to BBC Radio 1 in the area, with a heavy rotation of chart and Top 40 pop and mainstream dance, with quick hourly news and information. The station was a music-intensive approach designed to get at the emerging demand for chart music which wasn't available locally, whereas sister station Ocean Sound now provided significantly more speech, coupled with slightly older adult contemporary music. The opening presenter line-up included Pete Wardman, Bernie Simmons, Chris Kelly, Adrian Lovett, Chris Pearson and Judy James. The launch of Power FM was one hour after that of Ocean Sound and The Gold AM so that the presenters on Power could say that they were Britain's newest radio station.
Power FM went on to become a very popular radio station, hosting many events including Power in the Park on Southampton Common. Ten in all were held between 1995 and 2004. The station has had many notable presenters including Scott Mills and Rick Jackson, now with Wave 105. Rick joined the station in 1996 from 2CRFM in Bournemouth, having started his career at Isle of Wight Radio as Richard Pocock. Rick hosted the breakfast show for 11 years, firstly known as "Rick's Rude Awakening", then co-hosting with Ana Schofield, Rachel Brookes and Donna Alos. "Handy Andy" (Andy Telling) produced the show with also featured 'street-boy' Maximum Bob. Rick moved to sister station Ocean FM before leaving altogether to join the rival regional station to host its drive time show. Other presenters included Nik Goodman, Darren Parks, Mike'n'Rich, Des Paul, Rik Scott and Rachel Brookes.
In 1992, the station and its sister stations were subsequently merged with Sussex radio station Southern Sound to form Southern Radio plc, which was due to its location in a prosperous and commercially attractive area of England. The merger saw Ocean Sound and The Light FM merging to create Ocean Sound - Classic Hits, later Ocean FM, and The Gold AM and Southern Sound's AM frequencies merging to create South Coast Radio.
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In 1994, Capital Radio Group, looking for expansion possibilities, purchased Southern Radio plc, which led to on-air sound changes. Whilst sister-station Ocean FM would take on a softer sound, Power FM took on Capital FM's long-established, successful and highly polished sound, with news bulletins at the top of the hour finishing with the sentence "And that's the way it is at