Timeline of BBC Local Radio

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This is a timeline of BBC Local Radio.


  • 1962
    • 27 June – The Pilkington Committee on Broadcasting publishes its report and recommends that the BBC should extend its activities to the creation of local radio stations in order to prevent the introduction of commercial radio.
    • The BBC runs a series of closed circuit experiments in local radio from a variety of locations across England.[1]
  • 1966
    • A government White Paper paves the way for the launch of a small number (eight) of two-year experimental BBC Local Radio stations.[2]
  • 1969
    • 10 July – The BBC publishes a report called "Broadcasting in the Seventies" proposing replacing regional broadcasting on BBC Radio 4 with BBC Local Radio.
    • BBC Local Radio is made permanent after the two-year experiment is judged to have been a success.


  • 1972
    • 25 August – When the government restricted the BBC to twenty local radio stations, the corporation responds by closing BBC Radio Durham. Its resources are transferred to Carlisle where BBC Radio Carlisle, now BBC Radio Cumbria, is formed.
  • 1975
    • No events.
  • 1976
    • No events.
  • 1977
    • No events.
  • 1978
    • No events.
  • 1979
    • No events.


  • 1980
  • 1984
    • The BBC conducts five trials of citywide community stations in Greater Manchester. Each trial lasts for a few weeks and was on air for a few hours each day, opting out of BBC Radio Manchester. The experiment has not been repeated.
  • 1986
    • 25 August – An early evening service of specialist music programmes launches on the BBC's four local radio stations in Yorkshire. The programmes are broadcast on weeknights between 6pm and 7.30pm.
    • 5 November – BBC Essex launches.
  • 1987
    • September – The service of specialist music programmes broadcast on the BBC’s four local stations in Yorkshire is expanded. Programmes are broadcast on six nights a week (Wednesday to Monday) and the length of each programme is increased by 30 minutes. Consequently, the four stations now stay on air into the mid evening as the programmes are transmitted between 7pm and 9pm.
  • 1988
    • 11 April – BBC Somerset Sound launches as an opt-out station from BBC Radio Bristol.
    • 20 September – The Radio Data System (RDS) launches, allowing car radios to automatically retune, display station identifiers and switch to local travel news.
    • 3 October – BBC Radio Gloucestershire launches.
    • 7 October – BBC Radio London stops broadcasting.
    • 25 October – BBC GLR launches.
    • 30 October –
    • By the end of 1988, regular evening programming on weeknights has launched in some areas. The programming is mostly regional rather than local with the same programme networked on all the stations in that area. Consequently, stations are now starting to provide local/regional programming on weeknights until midnight. Previously stations had ended local programming by mid-evening, handing over to BBC Radio 2 until the following morning.


  • 1997
    • 1 September – BBC Southern Counties Radio is relaunched. The all-speech format is dropped and the station reverts to a more traditional mix of music and speech.
    • For a brief period in 1997, BBC GMR is renamed GMR Talk.
  • 1999
    • No events.


  • 2003
    • No events.
  • 2004
    • No events.
  • 2007
    • 11 August – BBC Radio Cleveland is rebranded as BBC Tees due to its broadcasting area no longer being associated with the name Cleveland.
    • 3 December - BBC Somerset Sound is rebranded as BBC Somerset and becomes available on FM for the first time.[6]
  • 2008
    • No events.
  • 2009
    • 30 March – BBC Southern Counties Radio closes resulting in the return of BBC Surrey and BBC Sussex as stand-alone separate stations.
    • 4 April – BBC Radio Swindon, which had opted out of BBC Radio Wiltshire, is closed. The two stations are merged as BBC Wiltshire.
    • October – As part of a drive to create a more unified sound for BBC Local Radio, a generic jingle package produced by Mcasso Music Production begins to be gradually rolled out across the network.


  • 2010
    • No events.
  • 2011
    • No events.
  • 2012
    • April – All BBC local stations are now using the Mcasso Music Production jingle package.
    • May – BBC Somerset launches as a full-time station.
    • 17 August – A five-week trial to find out if listeners will miss or complain about the lack of AM services begins when BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Lincolnshire, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Nottingham stop broadcasting regular programmes on medium wave.[7]
    • 2 October – The BBC decides that BBC Radio Nottingham’s MW transmitter and Radio Kent’s relay at Rusthall near Tunbridge Wells, will remain off-air after the BBC says that the trial switch-off attracted very few complaints from listeners.[8]
  • 2013
    • 5 January – The BBC Local Radio stations begin a new Saturday evening show titled BBC Introducing. Hosted by a local presenter on each station, the programme's aim is to promote musicians from the area.[9]
    • 7 January – The debut of the BBC's networked evening programme takes place, hosted by former Classic FM presenter Mark Forrest.[10] The show replaces all local programming, apart from local sport coverage.
    • 8 July – After eight years, BBC Local Radio returns to Dorset when a breakfast show for the county, as an opt-out from BBC Radio Solent, is launched.
  • 2014
    • No events.
  • 2015
    • 3 March – Several BBC local radio stations are launched on Freeview, with ten of the 40 local stations in England now broadcasting on the platform. They can be found on channels 719 to 722.[11]
    • 6 October – After 27 years, the name BBC Radio London returns to the airwaves following a name change from BBC London 94.9.
  • 2016
    • 19 February – BBC Radio Bristol stops broadcasting on MW following the sale of the land, on which the transmitter was located, to developers.
    • 21 June – The BBC completes its roll-out of BBC Local Radio on Freeview.[12]
  • 2017
    • 8 October – In a speech marking the 50th anniversary of local radio, The Director-General of the BBC, Tony Hall, announces that the national evening show will be axed, resulting in local programming returning to weeknight evenings.[13]
  • 2018
    • 15 January – The MW transmissions of BBC Radios Sussex, Surrey, Humberside, Wiltshire, Nottingham, Kent and Lincolnshire end and MW coverage for BBC Devon, Lancashire and Essex is reduced. Altogether a total of 13 MW transmitters are switched off.[14][15][16]
    • 16 January – The death is announced of Midlands-based broadcaster Ed Doolan, who presented for BBC WM and BRMB in Birmingham, and who in 2004 became the first local presenter to be inducted into the Radio Academy Hall of Fame.[17]
    • Summer – The BBC local stations start reintroducing local weekday evening programmes with all stations broadcasting their own evening output by the end of September.
  • 2019
    • No events.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BBC Radio Durham documentary about BBC local radio
  2. ^ BBC Radio Durham documentary about BBC local radio
  3. ^ "We need to talk: why Britain loves radio phone-ins". theguardian.com. 28 January 2018.
  4. ^ "BBC Engineering Press Release" (PDF). 27 November 1991.
  5. ^ "AM/FM Online Edition #17: November 1993".
  6. ^ BBC Somerset goes FM, 2007-11-20
  7. ^ BBC local radio starts switching off AM
  8. ^ "MW switch-off remains at BBC Local Radio". Radio Today. 2 October 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  9. ^ "New Saturday night show for BBC Locals". Radio Today. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Mark Forrest to host BBC networked show". Radio Today. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  11. ^ Martin, Roy (3 March 2015). "BBC local radio stations launch on Freeview". Radio Today. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
  12. ^ "BBC Local Radio roll-out on Freeview to complete on 21st June". A516Digital. 16 June 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2019.
  13. ^ BBC Media Centre Tony Hall pledges a "renaissance" for BBC local radio as the service marks its 50th anniversary
  14. ^ Clifton, Keiran, 'About the BBC', 2017-08-10
  15. ^ "BBC Starts MW Switch-off". a516digital.com. 12 August 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  16. ^ BBC confirms local radio MW switch-offs
  17. ^ "BBC presenter Ed Doolan dies aged 76". BBC News. BBC. 16 January 2018. Retrieved 16 January 2018.