|Broadcast area||Leicester, Leicestershire|
|First air date||5 March 2002|
|Owner||Takeover Radio Children's Media Trust|
|Broadcast area||Ashfield, Nottinghamshire|
|First air date||16 January 2010|
|Owner||Sutton Youth Radio Ltd|
Takeover Radio is a community radio station broadcasting on FM to Leicester, to the Ashfield district in Nottinghamshire and on the Internet, specialising in helping children gain experience and direct participative involvement in radio broadcasting.
Takeover Radio 103.2FM was the first 'Takeover' station to be set up, which broadcasts to Leicestershire on 103.2FM and Worldwide on the Web. Takeover Radio 106.9 was the second, and most recent 'Takeover' station to be set up, which broadcasts to the district of Ashfield on 106.9FM and Worldwide on the Web. Both stations have a 24/7 on-air schedule.
Created in 1996, it enjoyed several years output as a programme format on short-term temporary licence stations. Takeover Radio's first full-time broadcasting output was achieved with the award of one of the first 15 licensed UK Pilot Access Radio stations by the (then) UK Radio Authority in 2001. This was followed by the grant of a Community Radio licence by the now current UK Government regulator Ofcom in 2005.
Takeover Radio is the first station in the UK that gives children editorial control over their programmes and allows them to present the shows live. This rare gamble of giving them full control has paid off and has taken critics by surprise. Rather than hearing a mish-mash of songs and unstructured chatter, programmes worthy of any other commercial or BBC station are being formulated with behind the scenes guidance from a dedicated crew of adult radio professionals. The crew are trained to the highest ability putting together a professional radio show. Takeover Radio never has a shortage of young people wanted to get involved.
The brainchild behind Takeover Radio was Philip Solo, an entrepreneur and visionary with experience of business in the City of London. Philip's vision was to allow children to gain access to the media of radio and let them entertain their peers. Philip worked closely with business partner Graham Coley to create a station that would give a new perspective in children's radio.
The concept of Takeover Radio started in September 1996 when three children took over a Saturday night slot on a temporary radio station in Market Harborough, Leicestershire called 'Valley FM'. The station was run under the (then) Radio Authority format called Restricted Service Licence or RSL for short term broadcasts (up to 28days). For 2 hours Ellie (15) [Fenian] (14) Sam (12) and Rayne (10) Menzies took over Philip's show by bursting in, tying him up and creating a 'hostage situation' in the studio. Inspector Lawton of 'The Radio Police' had to promise pizza and chocolate before they would 'release' Mr Solo and allow him to finish the last half hour of his show.
The following year the three kids took over a similar RSL station in Wigston called NOW FM. This time they captured it on 4 consecutive weekends and produced 4 one-hour programmes. They recorded a radio version of Roald Dahl's The Twits, gave out video game information in The Nerd Zone, local information for kids in Radio Activity and produced competitions and played great music. They convinced local companies - including Megazone, Computer Cave and Bounceaway Bouncy Castles - to sponsor the four programmes and recruited more mercenaries to help the team including Ruth Truslove (14) as resident kids reporter on Radio Activity and Seth and Louis Bland as actors in The Twits story.
In 1998, the "Takeover Radio children" were invited to conduct four programmes on "Big Dial Radio 106.6 FM", an RSL radio station based in Market Harborough. An article in the local paper about the project increased the crew number to thirteen regular presenters. After an intensive training programme they were all ready took over the station, it was a great success raising money for local charities.
In January 1999, the children were allowed to work on "The Wall 95.1 FM" another RSL radio station based in Leicester. An advert placed in the local paper ensured that this time 80 more children would be involved in radio production. On 2 May 1999 the children did their first ever Takeover show on The Wall. "Kids on the Wall" proved a great success and the children returned to take over the airwaves again in June 2000. The proliferation of programmes by the children under the supervising eye of Philip and Graham gained the attention of the House of Lords in London. The Lords invited the children to talk about young peoples use of radio. By August 2000 the group of children had grown so big that it was decided that they needed their own radio station. They took over the studios at The Wall and ran their very own station for 9 days, from 9am until 9pm each day. The project was called "Radio Activity".
In September 2000, the building of a new Takeover Radio headquarters took place at a 6-storey building based on Leicester's Inner City Ring Road on Vaughn Way. The setting up of the Takeover Radio Children's Media Trust rolled into action. The function of the Trust was to enable more children to participate in this unique venture.
In July 2001, Charity status by the Charity's Commission took place and Takeover Radio was chosen to be one of only 15 radio stations to trial the new Access Radio project for the Radio Authority . This took a great deal of time by the children, Philip and Graham to get the station on the air. Finally on 5 March 2002, Takeover Radio was officially launched on 103.2 FM across the City of Leicester and live on the web at www.takeoverradio.com
In 2004, The Government agreed to allow the new radio regulator Ofcom to issue full-time radio licences. Takeover Radio were successful in applying for one of these, called a Community Radio License. This was a true indication of the importance a government backed agency gives to the vision of Children's radio in the UK. The license was extended for another 5 years in 2010, meaning that Takeover Radio will be on air in Leicester until at least 31 December 2015 – almost 14 years after first broadcasting full-time.
As well as the radio, "Takeover Radio" branched out into other areas. In 2003, the organisation began publishing a magazine for young people entitled Retune. The magazine gave readers further insight into the radio station and the presenters, along with information on other organisations and events specifically for young people in and around the Leicestershire area. The magazine ceased publication in 2005 due to the end of funding that had previously been awarded to run the project.
In 2005, due to the redevelopment of The Shires Shopping Centre, later to become Highcross Leicester, the organisation moved its offices and studios to a new location within a local business area known as St. John's Business Park. This would be the home of Takeover Radio until March 2010, when a move to the current home of the historic Abbey Park, Leicester was completed.
In 2008, Sutton Centre Community College, backed by Takeover Radio in Leicester, were successful in an application to Ofcom for a Community Radio License. The project was awarded a 5-year license and went on air in January 2010, broadcasting to Sutton-in-Ashfield and surrounding areas in North Nottinghamshire on 106.9 FM.
Core age group audience
Takeover Radio aims its music and programming at its core audience of 12- to 25-year-olds.
Takeover Radio broadcasts news bulletins at 8:00 a.m, 1:00 p.m and 5:00 p.m on weekdays. Weather and traffic reports are broadcast throughout the day, along with news of local events.
Former presenters and daytime presenters
- Jim Gray (Jim Salveson) – Now at XFM Manchester as Breakfast Show producer
- Andy May – former presenter at BBC Radio 5 Live, Newsbeat and 60 Seconds and presently presenting on 'Real Madrid TV'.
- Will Kisby – currently a producer at Classic FM (UK) and LBC 97.3
Takeover Radio offers training to children and young people aged between 8 and 24 years. Training courses usually last for 10 weeks, covering everything from production to presenting.
As well as this, Takeover Radio also has links with local education organisations and runs similar courses for children and teenagers involved in those organisations and groups.
- – Takeover Radio 103.2 – Leicester Official Site
- – Takeover Radio 106.9 – Ashfield Official Site
- – Charity Website
- – Leicester Media UK
- – Sutton Media UK