|Broadcast area||North and Mid Staffordshire & South, East and Central Cheshire|
|Slogan||More of the Music You Love|
|Audience share||13.5% (July 2016, )|
|Sister stations||Signal 2|
|Website||Signal 1 Website|
Signal 1 is a British Independent Local Radio station broadcasting from studios in Shelton, Stoke-on-Trent to Staffordshire and South, Central and East Cheshire. The station is owned by Wireless Group. Signal 1 is home to Foxy and Jennie - who front the weekday Signal 1 Breakfast programme. It is also home to Chris Bovaird on Mid-Mornings, and Matt Spokes on the Homerun.
The station also broadcasts shows from Signal studios to other radio stations across the Wireless Group network.
The station began as Signal Radio which first broadcast at 6am, 5 September 1983, with DJ John Evington selecting Neil Diamond's "Beautiful Noise" as its first track. The station initially broadcast on 104.3 MHz and 1170 kHz (a wavelength of 257 metres, with the phrase "2 5 7" becoming a distinctive leitmotif), changing to 102.6 MHz soon after. The station's name is derived from "Signal" the name of the newspaper in Arnold Bennett's local novels.
In 1989, Signal Radio started a six-hour output on the new 96.4 Cheshire frequency. In early 1990, Signal also launched the new Stafford transmitter broadcasting on 96.9 FM. For a time this was a simple pick up relay for Signal Radio, however, in October 1990, a new service called Echo 96 started on the 96.4 and 96.9 frequencies. This operated as an alternative AOR station. In 1991 both KFM and Echo 96 Cheshire were rebranded as Signal Cheshire, broadcasting on 96.4 FM and 104.9 FM. This meant Echo 96 was only running on the 96.9 Stafford transmitter. However, by the end of 1991, Echo 96 had become Signal Stafford which later morphed into an opt out service of Signal 1. In 2000 the 96.4 transmitter also returned to Signal 1 from Imagine FM, previously Signal Cheshire. Nowadays, apart from split ads, all transmitters carry the same programming.
Since the early 1990s, the Stafford area has had a range of split programming on 96.9 and the alternative older targeted Signal 2 service has evolved from what was initially a "Golden Breakfast Show" only, on the original accompanying 1170 AM frequency, from back in 1992.
Signal 1 celebrated its 30th Birthday on 10 August 2013 with a special concert at Betley Court Farm in Crewe.
Signal 1's studios are located on Stoke Road in the Shelton area of Stoke-on-Trent in a building that was 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 Wireless Group's networked programming service.
Occasional outside broadcasts are made in a specially built outside broadcast studio on a converted bus. Signal Radio hosts events for local children's charities every year under the "Help a Signal Child" banner.
Studio 7 at Signal Radio is also used to host shows for other stations across the Wireless Network including Virgin Radio, TalkSport and TalkRadio, for presenters that are based in the north of England.
Signal 1's main transmitter is at Alsagers Bank, which broadcasts 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 filler transmitters at Pye Green, which covers Stafford and the surrounding area, and at Sutton Common, which covers Congleton, Macclesfield and the surrounding area. All of Signal 1's transmitters carry specific advertising for the local transmission area, 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 and taught by Stoke on Trent College with Signal 1 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 Signal staff.
Outside Broadcasting and Events
Signal 1 regularly broadcasts live from various locations across the TSA. It has a purpose built roadshow/outside broadcast unit which 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.
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 presently the only show that is outsourced, produced by Global Radio at its Capital studios in London for broadcast on 145 commercial radio stations in the UK.
The station's main presenter is Matt Spokes who presents the weekday Home Run, 14:00 - 19:00. Chris Bovaird is now the station's longest running presenter, presenting the mid-morning show, following the departure of Louise Stones who presented Signal 1 Breakfast for 16 years. Other shows on the station include Total Access with Elliot Holman, The Late Show, Saeed Atcha's Saturday Night Playlist, and Baz Todd Anthems, all of which are also networked across the Wireless Group's platform of Local Radio stations.
Local programming begins weekdays at 6am and ends at 7pm. On Saturdays it ends an hour earlier; whilst on Sunday, local programming is confined to an 8am - 12pm slot. Overnight programming is currently going through a phase of upheaval, along with other recent schedule culls. A team of various students of the media academy, freelancers, and backup presenters man the station's overnight networked shows - with a particular presenter only running nighttime programming on a short term basis.
- (N) - Networked
- (L) - Local
- 01:00 - 06:00 Gaz Drinkwater (N)
- 06:00 - 10:00 Signal 1 Breakfast with Foxy and Jennie (L)
- 10:00 - 14:00 Chris Bovaird (L)
- 14:00 - 15:00 The 2 O'Clock Takeover (L)
- 15:00 - 19:00 The Home Run with Matt Spokes (L)
- 19:00 - 22:00 Total Access with Elliot Holman (N)
- 22:00 - 01:00 The Late Show (N)
- 01:00 - 06:00 The Late Show (N)
- 06:00 - 10:00 Chris Bovaird (L)
- 10:00 - 14:00 Al Booth (L)
- 14:00 - 18:00 Chris Bovaird (L)
- 18:00 - 22:00 Saturday Night Playlist: Saeed Atcha (N)
- 22:00 - 01:00 The Late Show (N)
- 01:00 - 05:00 Tommie Watts (N)
- 05:00 - 08:00 Sam Harper (N)
- 08:00 - 12:00 Al Booth (N)
- 12:00 - 16:00 Elliot Holman on Sunday (N)
- 16:00 - 19:00 The Vodafone Big Top 40 (N)
- 19:00 - 22:00 Baz Todd's Old Skool Anthems (N)
- 22:00 - 01:00 The Late Show (N)
Dismissal of Andy and Louise
On 13 February 2017, Louise Stones made an emotional announcement that Andy Cook and herself would be leaving the breakfast show - presenting their final show on Friday 24th February. This announcement came amidst lively local rumour and confirmed that following a meeting with bosses at Signal Radio which had taken place on the previous Friday, the show would be ending on a non-mutal basis; with the duo, along with producer Jonty Sargeant "forced out of the seat". This was a shock to listeners and the radio industry as Louise, a critically acclaimed and universally popular local figure has been co-hosting the show for the past 16 years. Throughout the show during a series of extensive links, several calls from listeners were put to air expressing shock, disapproval with the station's decision to wind up the show on such short notice, and good wishes. When asked about the station's reasoning for laying them off so suddenly, the presenters admitted that they were equally bemused stating simply that "we were just told it's time for a change", a notion later corroborated by a Signal spokesperson. Stones stressed that they too were shocked at this revelation and that they merely wished to be "honest" with their "amazing" listeners. A number of the calls that were permitted involved listeners openly expressing anger and discontent with the station's management, with several live threats to boycott the station airing without objection.
Following the tumultuous show, the events described became a major local news story, and a nationally significant moment within the industry. Pressed for a statement, a Signal 1 spokesperson said of the happenings:
"After 16 years we felt the time was right to make some changes and refresh the breakfast show programme.
"We are super excited about the new line-up and look forward to announcing it to our listeners very soon. They need to tune in for more information."
In the wake of this news the station suffered a severe backlash from listeners across social media. In addition, several petitions were made in a bid to dissuade Signal management from executing their decision, with one petition garnering almost 6,000 listener signatories. By 22 February, this had increased to nearly 10,000.
These efforts however appear to be in vain. On the morning of Thursday 16 February, Andy and Louise were not on air. Bosses at Signal later confirmed that Andy and Louise had left the station with immediate effect. The reason for this is unknown. One theory is that Andy and Louise were terminated or else suspended for the remaining duration of their tenure in the light of events following the way they went about their departure on air, wherein their continued presence might further jeopardize the station's commercial feasibility and scar the outlet with bad publicity. Another theory is that they have decided to leave themselves after disagreements with bosses. However, this seems unlikely, as Louise stated that she "would never leave the show out of choice...". A tweet sent by Cook on Wednesday evening stated that "[The Jobless total across Staffordshire and Cheshire] had definitely gone up by two" and further, alluded the station to be "rubbing salt in the very salty wound" (in reference to a news story regarding unemployment). Thus, insinuating that they were removed earlier than announced, forcefully.
On Saturday 18th, Cook sent a final farewell via a string of tweets thanking Stones and listeners - remarking: "Before I change my twitter handle, I want to say a huge thank you to all the Signal 1 listeners that have supported the Breakfast Show over the last 3 years, and more importantly, the last 16 years supporting Louise Stones, who, in my opinion, is one of the most professional, dedicated, conscientious, industrious, intelligent, witty, and passionate presenters in the country at the moment. The outpouring of love and support we have received since leaving has truly taken our breath away and we thank you for it! It has been a ray of sunshine in a very dark last few weeks. You guys have provided that warm glow and, if nothing else, we can take that with us - cherish it - and remember that we didn't do that bad a job. All we wanted to do is talk to you like human beings and hopefully put a smile on your faces between the hours of 6-10am, brightening that school run and drive to work. So thank you once again for your support and lovely kind messages, we really do appreciate them!!"
Jason King covered the show for the following weeks. the show.
On the Morning of March 6 2017, the new lineup of Signal 1 Breakfast, John "Foxy" Fox and Jennie Longdon assumed control. The pair have both previously presented on Signal before, with Jennie most recently hosting The Late Show from Signal 1 to the Wireless Network and John "Foxy" Fox, covering weekends and Christmas. Foxy and Jennie have met and presented before at BRMB, now Free Radio. Jennie also currently hosts Gem Anthems at Gem106.
Signal 1 broadcasts local news bulletins hourly from 6am to 6pm on weekdays and from 8am to 12pm on weekends.
Headlines are broadcast at 6.30am, 7.30am and 8.30am during the weekday breakfast show, as well as at 5.30pm and 6.30pm during Matt Spoke's Home Run.
In the evenings, during networked Total Access (Monday to Friday), Saeed Atcha's Saturday Night Playlist (Saturday) and following late show (Saturday) Sky News Radio is not simulcast, and no other news is broadcast, except on the top of the hour at the commencement of those shows.
The station simulcasts hourly Sky News Radio bulletins at all other times.
- "Quarterly listening figures". RAJAR.
- "Jennie & Foxy lined up for Signal 1 Breakfast". RadioToday. 22 February 2017. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
- Natasha, Hardy (22 February 2017). "Jennie Longdon and John Fox to replace Andy and Louise on Signal 1 Breakfast show". The Sentinel. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
- "Listeners stunned as Andy and Louise are leaving Signal One's breakfast show". The Sentinel. 13 February 2017.
- "Axed Signal 1 DJs Andy and Louise have presented their final breakfast". 16 February 2017. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
- "John Evington".
- "Signal's Andy and Louise say they're leaving – RadioToday". radiotoday.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
- Signal 1 Breakfast Audio - 13/02/17, retrieved 2017-02-16
- "Devastated listeners sign petition for Signal 1's Andy and Louise". Stoke Sentinel. 2017-02-14. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
- "Andy Cook on Twitter: Now you're just rubbing salt in the already very salty wound! Definitely gone up by 2.". Twitter. Retrieved 2017-02-16.
- Signal 1 public file
- 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