Swindon 105.5

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Swindon 105.5
Logo used since 2015
Broadcast areaSwindon, England
Frequency105.5 MHz
FormatCommunity Radio
OwnerCommunity Radio Swindon Limited
First air date
15 March 2008
Websitewww.swindon1055.co.uk Edit this at Wikidata

Swindon 105.5 is a community non-for-profit radio station based in Swindon, England, launched in March 2008.[1] The station manager is former BBC Wiltshire Sound, GWR FM and Swindon Viewpoint Presenter, Shirley Ludford. Aside from Shirley being paid part-time, the station is run entirely by volunteers. Shirley also dedicates many voluntary hours each week. [2] The station obtains its funding from grants, donations, fundraising events, training courses and limited on-air sponsorship.[3]

The station has received numerous awards for its programmes and general service to the community of Swindon. It was presented the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service by Prince Edward, the Duke of Kent in October 2014, the highest award available to a voluntary group.[4] Patrons of the service include Lord Joel Joffe (now deceased), Whoopi Goldberg, Simon May and Boyzone's Shane Lynch.[5]



The original project was founded in 2004 by Ian Rowe, Johnny Robinson and Shirley Ludford, along with Richard Grace and Greg Stevens who had all met previously working at local station Swindon FM. They continued to work together forming a new group.[6] Shirley Ludford was a former employee of both BBC Wiltshire Sound and GWR FM. She was subsequently appointed Station Manager of the project.[7]

Prior to the launch of the full-time station, Swindon Community Broadcasting, a RSL (Restricted Service Licence) station, was set up in order to discover whether a community radio station could work in the area. Broadcasts took place from The Bulldog pub in Swindon. After positive feedback about the station's success throughout the four-week broadcast, it was decided the project would proceed to the next step and apply for a full-time Community Radio Licence from Ofcom.[8]

In 2006, two groups applied for the community radio licence for the Swindon area: Swindon FM, which had run a local DAB only service in Swindon 2002, and Community Radio Swindon, broadcasting as Swindon 105.5. Ofcom decided in favour of Community Radio Swindon and the station was awarded its licence in February 2007. Some of Swindon FM's presenters moved to or have subsequently moved to Swindon 105.5.[1]


The station's first studio was at the County Ground, home of Swindon Town F.C.,[9] and was for a short time shared with ITV Thames Valley. The inaugural show on 15 March 2008 was presented by Shirley Ludford with a former broadcasting colleague from BBC Wiltshire Sound Peter Heaton-Jones. The station’s first officially played song was the 1964 Martha & The Vandellas single – Dancing in the Street. The original music database was developed by the station's Head of Music and co-founder, Johnny Robinson. The first regular show to air was The Johnny Robinson Show at 7-9 pm on Saturday 15 March. Robinson was apparently "tired and shattered" after helping with preparations for the launch, and had gone without sleep for 36 hours before presenting the show.[10] The event was attended by a senior member of Ofcom.

Further expansion[edit]

In the summer of 2010, the station moved premises, relocating near to Stratton Road at the Bentley Centre, Stratton Road, due to the need for more space to cope with demand for training. The move to much larger premises allowed the station to expand to three studios and to have large administration and training areas.[11] Shirley Ludford ran the first accredited radio course for nine-year-olds at Drove Primary School in 2011, making them the youngest in the country to gain this certificate. The station's transmitter was moved to the top of the ninety meter high David Murray John Building in the centre of Swindon on 15 March 2013, coincidentally on the station's fifth birthday.[12]

Shirley Ludford was featured in the 2014 Mothers' Day edition of ITV's Surprise Surprise programme which saw Boyzone visit the station, with Shirley also visiting New York to meet Whoopi Goldberg. She was selected to appear on the show due to her long-term work for the Swindon community.[13] Shirley Ludford received the High Sheriff's Award for long service to the community in February 2014, and later in the year The Duke Of Kent visited the station to present it Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in November 2014.[14][15] Dave Woods was nominated for his programme, Europe: Does it Matter to Swindon?, in the Current Affairs Documentary category at the Radio Academy’s fifth annual Radio Production Awards.[16] Three Station music presenters received music awards.

Due to conversion of the Bentley Centre into flats, the station moved to its third and current home, former office space at Liden Library, in January 2016. This move saw expansion into studios of a similar size to that of their previous location, with three studios and a large space for administration and training purposes. The studios' close proximity to Liden's library, community centre and village has enabled it to host numerous local events and promotional opportunities.[17]


The Station Manager was influential in changing legislation to allow community radio stations in the United Kingdom to receive limited advertising and commercial sponsorship to support their operations; on-air commercial activity was previously banned to community radio stations. Minister for Culture Ed Vaizey visited Swindon 105.5 in December 2012 and July 2014, and with support from local MP Robert Buckland, Shirley Ludford was invited to present the case at the House of Commons to encourage a relaxation of restrictions. Legislation in March 2015 allowed Ofcom to make community radio licence conditions which permitted stations to seek a specific percentage of their income through on-air commercial activity, namely sponsored programmes and advertising.[18][19] After approva; in the House of Lords, the law was changed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ofcom awards new community radio licences Archived 2009-07-12 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Speaker Meeting, 6.15 for 6.30pm". Swindon North. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  3. ^ "Radio Swindon 105.5 Cycle Challenge". localgiving.org. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Swindon 105.5 given Queens Award". media.info. 31 October 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  5. ^ "SWINDON 105.5: Swindon's Local Community Radio". www.swindon1055.co.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  6. ^ "COMMUNITY RADIO SWINDON LIMITED - Filing history (free information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  7. ^ "COMMUNITY RADIO SWINDON LIMITED - Filing history (free information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  8. ^ "Shirley is grand dame of Swindon's airwaves". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  9. ^ Perrin, Ben (16 March 2008). "New radio station switches on". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  10. ^ jonkable (5 November 2014). "Swindon 105.5 2007 – 2009". Johnny Robinson. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  11. ^ "Community Radio service Swindon 105.5 celebrates nine years on air with launch of new studio". swindonlink.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  12. ^ "Page 4 - link magazine". swindonlink.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  13. ^ "Band catch Shirley unaware as she stars in hit TV show". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  14. ^ "The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service 2014: recipients" (PDF). Cabinet Office. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  15. ^ Jones, Craig (28 October 2014). "Duke of Kent presents radio champion with award". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  16. ^ "Swindon 105.5's Dave Woods sets sight on radio prize". Swindon Advertiser. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  17. ^ "Liden Library and Swindon 105.5 to host a Christmas fair and market". swindonlink.com. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
  18. ^ Paul Dixon. "SWINDON 105.5: Swindon's Local Community Radio". www.swindon1055.co.uk. Retrieved 15 January 2021.
  19. ^ "The Community Radio (Amendment) Order 2015". legislation.gov.uk. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2021.

External links[edit]