|Broadcast area||North and Mid Staffordshire & South, East and Central Cheshire|
|Slogan||The Best Music Mix|
|Frequency||FM: 96.4, 96.9 102.6 MHz
|First air date||5 September 1983|
|Sister stations||Signal 2|
Signal 1 is an Independent Local Radio station serving Staffordshire and south Cheshire. The station is owned and operated by the Wireless Group and broadcasts from studios in the Shelton area of Stoke-on-Trent alongside sister station Signal 2.
Signal Radio began broadcasting at 6am on Monday 5 September 1983. The first voice on air was breakfast presenter John Evington and the first song played was Beautiful Noise by Neil Diamond. Originally, Signal Radio aired as a single full service station on 104.3 MHz and 1170 kHz (257 metres). The station's branding was derived from Signal, the local newspaper in the Five Town novels by Staffordshire writer Arnold Bennett.
Signal began broadcasting to south Cheshire on 96.4 FM in 1989, before opening a new frequency for the Stafford area on 96.9 FM a year later. The two frequencies began carrying a new alternative AOR-led service, Echo 96, in October 1990. Echo continued for around a year in Stafford while the Cheshire frequency was merged with that of the short-lived Stockport ILR station KFM to form Signal Cheshire in 1991. By the end of the year, the Stafford service was relaunched as Signal Stafford, carrying opt-out programming from the Stoke-based service.
In Staffordshire, Signal Radio began carrying a separate Golden Breakfast Show on 1170 AM in 1992 in order to provide separate services on AM and FM and avoid relinquishing frequencies. The AM opt-out gradually expanded into a full-time separate station, Signal 2.
Signal Radio was brought in 1999 by The Wireless Group, which was subsequently acquired by UTV Media six years later for £97 million. Following the sale of its television assets, the group was latterly brought by News Corp in September 2016.
In 2000, Signal's Cheshire service was split into two - 96.4 FM was merged with the Staffordshire service while 104.9 FM was relaunched as Imagine FM, a dedicated service for south Manchester and Cheshire, which was latterly sold onto become an wholly independent station in 2009.
Signal 1 celebrated its 30th birthday on Saturday 10 August 2013 with a special concert at Betley Court Farm in Crewe.
Signal 1's studios are based on Stoke Road in the Shelton area of Stoke-on-Trent in a building previously occupied as a warehouse. There are seven dedicated studios as well as a studio used for live music recordings, shared with sister station Signal 2 and networked output for the Wireless Group.
Studio 7 at Signal Radio is also used to broadcast shows for other stations across Wireless Group stations including Virgin Radio, Talksport and Talkradio, for presenters that are based in northern England and the Midlands.
Signal 1's main transmitter is at Alsagers Bank, broadcasting on 102.6 FM. As well as covering North Staffordshire and South Cheshire, the transmitter can be received well into the North West and down into the West Midlands, due to the height of the transmitter. Signal 1 also has relay transmitters at Pye Green, covering Stafford and the surrounding area on 96.9 FM, and at Sutton Common, covering Congleton, Macclesfield and surrounding areas on 96.4 FM. All of Signal 1's transmitters carry split advertising for their specific areas, and both Sutton Common and Pye Green are BT backbone link towers.
Signal 1 also broadcasts on the local Stoke and Stafford DAB multiplex 12D.
Signal Radio Media Academy
In 2012, Signal 1 lent its name to the Signal Radio Media Academy, a course run by Stoke on Trent College as a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Radio Production. For two days a week, the course is based at the Burslem Campus of Stoke on Trent College where the students also run their own radio station, Heatwave Radio. Teaching takes places both at the college in Burslem as well at Signal's studios in Shelton, with specialist input from the station's staff.
Outside Broadcasting and Events
Occasional outside broadcasts are made in a specially built OB studio on a converted bus. The station's roadshow unit has a self-contained stage and PA system on board. The Signal Radio Street Team also go out and about the TSA representing the station. Most Street Team members are part of the Signal Radio Media Academy and many have gone on to other roles across the network including presenting, producing and sales.
Signal Radio also hosts events for local children's charities every year under the Help a Signal Child banner.
The majority of Signal 1's programming is produced and presented from its Stoke-on-Trent studios, including both local and networked output. The Vodafone Big Top 40 airing on Sunday afternoons, is produced by Global Radio at its Capital studios in London for broadcast on 145 commercial radio stations in the UK.
Local programming airs from 6am-7pm on weekdays, 6am-6pm on Saturdays and 8am-12pm on Sundays. The station's local presenters include John Fox and Jennie Longdon (Signal 1 Breakfast), Matt Spokes (The Home Run) and Sam Harper. Networked presenters based at Signal 1 include Elliot Holman (Total Access) and Spence Macdonald.
Signal 1 airs local news bulletins hourly from 8am-6pm on weekdays and 8am-midday at weekends, with headlines on the half hour during breakfast and drivetime on weekdays. National bulletins from Sky News Radio in London are broadcast on the hour at most other times.
- Official page
- Signal Radio jingles
- Listening Room – first 25 years of Signal Radio
- History of local radio in Staffordshire
- Alsagers Bank transmitter, near to Newcastle-under-Lyme
- Sutton Common transmitter, near Macclesfield
- Pye Green transmitter, near Stafford