University Radio York

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"URY" redirects here. For other uses, see URY (disambiguation).
University Radio York
Slogan On Air Online On Demand
Frequency 1350 AM (on campus)
First air date 1967
Format University Radio
Sister stations YSTV (television)
Webcast Live stream online and iTunes

University Radio York (commonly known as URY) is a campus radio covering the campus of the University of York. It was the first legal independent radio station in the United Kingdom.[1]


Like most student radio stations, University Radio York is run entirely by volunteers, all students studying at the University of York. The station broadcasts 24 hours a day during university term time (a total of 30 weeks per year). The schedule is made up of a variety of shows including entertainment, news, speech, drama and music. With a new intake of students each academic year, the station's output can change significantly.


Studio 2 in operation in 1984

In 1967 Mike Greasley then a student of the university, obtained a testing and development license for "Radio Heslington".[2] Then, entering his final year in 1968, he handed the project over to Ranjan Karunaratne, an overseas student who changed the name to Radio York and broadcast illegally through the summer of 1968, to drum up support for the project which had been dismissed in all quarters as impossible: the GPO said it was legally impossible, the professor of physics said it was physically impossible and the Student Executive said it was financially impossible. (Volunteered that they might consider part of a £200 equipment fund but Ranjan's budget of £1,500 was out of the question). The illegal broadcasting (signal was picked up as far afield as Norway, when it was supposed to be contained to the campus) was a successful tactic: Ranjan's motion for full funding was passed at the next annual general meeting. The following issue of Nouse, the student newspaper, emblazoned the headline: "King of Radio York Triumphs!"

The other limitations were strategically overcome and in 1969 the name Radio York not being available, University Radio York was licensed, becoming the first station independent of the BBC to broadcast legally in the UK. The station launch was a joint show with BBC local radio Station (Radio Leeds, if my memory serves me) and featured a guest broadcast by DJ John Peel.[3][4]

The station switched from its original 999 kHz induction loop system to a LPAM licence in 1999, and now broadcasts across the both of The University of York's Heslington West and Heslington East campuses on 1350AM. The station has also conducted several RSL FM broadcasts across the whole of the city, the last of these being in 2008.

Initially the station's purpose was to broadcast current affairs, and programmes of general interest in the arts and sciences as well as popular music, however the output is now mainly entertainment-based, with additional specialist arts and speech programming. News was provided by The Student Broadcast Network until its demise however, the station's long-running news programme URY Newshour (previously York 60 and York Report) at 6pm is still a pivotal part of the weekly schedule.[5]

In 2008, URY broadcast 12 hours of US Presidential Election coverage.[6]

URY's longest ever show, the URY Marathon was broadcast in March 2013 for 40 hours in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.[7][8] The two presenters, William Chalk and Tom Edwards, and one newsreader, Ben Bason, broadcast without sleep for the duration, raising over £1,800.[9]

Achievements and awards[edit]

URY won the Student Radio Association / BBC Radio 1 Student Radio Station of the Year award for the first time in its history in 2005.[10] This was also the first time the station had even been nominated for a Student Radio Award. URY's Programme Controller at the time, Matt Wareham, was also nominated for the Best Station Sound category in the same year, but did not receive an award.

As part of the prize for winning Student Radio Station of the Year, on 29 May 2006 URY was broadcast on BBC Radio 1, taking over the 4 to 7am Early Breakfast slot usually occupied by JK and Joel. The show was broadcast nationally on 97-99 FM and DAB, across the USA on Sirius Satellite Radio and online through the BBC Radio 1 website. It was also made available by both URY and BBC Radio 1 on their websites.

At the same awards in 2008, Rob Watts won bronze for best male presenter,[11] URY Breakfast with Rob Watts and Steve Gardner won bronze for best entertainment programme,[12] Rob Watts interviewing Greg Dyke won gold for best interview[13] and The Technical Difficulties won the Kevin Greening Creativity Award.[14]

At the Student Radio Awards in 2009, The Technical Difficulties won bronze for best entertainment programme, Joshua Chambers' interview: "Hilary Benn on Binyam Mohamed" won gold for best interview and York Report won gold for best journalistic programming.[15]

2010 was another successful year for URY at the Student Radio Awards, where they picked up two accolades. For the second year running, the URY News Team were award-winning by getting Silver for Best Journalistic Programming and also CoCo Cole managed to win the Silver Best Female award.[16]

In 2011 URY received six nominations at the Student Radio Awards. Four of these were successful: The Chalk and Charles Show won Gold Best Entertainment Show, James Bugg's The More Beautiful Game won Bronze Best Speech. On top of this, URY picked up Silver Best Station and The Kevin Greening Award for Tess Humphrey's Prince of Humberside.

In the 2012 Student Radio Awards, URY received seven nominations; for Best Station, Best Female, Best Specialist Music Programming, Best Journalistic Programming, Best Technical Achievement, Best Speech Programming and Best Interview.[citation needed] For the second year in a row, URY won Silver Best Station behind URN.

At the 2013 Student Radio Awards, URY received nine nominations, with six awards being won on the night - Silver Best Technical Achievement, Gold and Silver awards for Best Speech Programming, with 'Trimble' also being awarded a silver award in the Kevin Greening category, a Bronze Best Entertainment award for 'The Harry Whittaker Show', and a Silver Newcomer award for Harry Whittaker.

URY at the 2014 Student Radio Awards won Silver Best Journalistic Programming, for the News and Sports teams special programme, 'River Safety: York's Rising Problems'. The one hour special, presented by former Head of News and Sport Ben Bason and produced by News Editors George Lane and Carys Brain, discussed the issue of river safety in York after a number of fatalities in 2014.

At the 2015 I Love Student Radio Awards URY were shortlisted for 4 awards, 2 in Best Audience Initiative for Freshers 2014 and YorkNext, Best Outreach Project for Alex and Tom: Getting Cold for Charity and Outstanding Contribution to Student Radio for Jay Glover. The Freshers 2014 marketing and OB setup ended up winning the overall prize for Best Audience Initiative.


University Radio York is run by students volunteering in their spare time and the committee are elected in annual elections within the society. These often occur annually in the Autumn term but can happen at the end of Summer term if final years leave the University.

Station Manager Assistant Station Manager(s) Date
Alex Light Joshua Kerr and Andrew Durant June 2015 – Present
Alex Light Harry Whittaker and Andrew Durant November 2014 – June 2015
Harry Whittaker Alex Light June 2014 – November 2014
Al Riddell Rebecca Elson and Carys Brain November 2013 – June 2014
Al Riddell Rebecca Elson and Ben Bason June 2013 – November 2013
Tom Edwards Will Chalk November 2012 – June 2013
Jennifer Rothery Will Chalk and Charles Lewis June 2012 - November 2012
Rob Stonehouse Jack Luckett and Emily Hall November 2011 - June 2012
Darren Webb Helen Marrison November 2010 - November 2011
Oliver Julian Dave Tracz November 2009 - November 2010
Scott Bryan Martyn Williams June 2009 - November 2009
Tim Wallace Harriet Jennings November 2008 - June 2009
Rob Watts Charlotte Millar November 2007 - November 2008
Hannah Green Unknown November 2006 - November 2007
Jo Ellis Unknown June 2005 - November 2006
James Haigh Mark Fenton November 2004 - June 2005
Owen Murphy Tim Bateson November 2003 - November 2004
James Dickin Lizzie Whitebread November 2002 - November 2003
Gill Rickson James Dickin November 2001 - November 2002
Simon Hildrew Gill Rickson November 2000 - November 2001
Ste Curran Leo Warner November 1999 - November 2000
... ... ...
Ranjan Karunaratne Unknown 1969 - Unknown


  1. ^ "The Arts at York". University of York. 8 January 2009. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  2. ^ "40 Years of URY". University Radio York. 9 June 2007. Retrieved 2012-11-23. 
  3. ^ "University Radio York - John Peel First Show". University Radio York. 9 February 2007. Retrieved 2010-01-03. [dead link]
  4. ^ "University Radio York - 40 Years of URY". University Radio York. 2008. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  5. ^ "University Radio York Schedule". University Radio York. 7 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-07. 
  6. ^ "URY's US Election Results Live". University Radio York. Retrieved 2013-08-30. 
  7. ^ "URY's Longest Show Ever in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support". University Radio York. Retrieved 2013-11-11. 
  8. ^ "Macmillan Marathon". York Vision. Retrieved 2013-11-11. 
  9. ^ "URY's Longest Show Ever in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support". Retrieved 2013-11-11. 
  10. ^ "Student station grabs top prize". BBC News. 27 November 2005. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  11. ^ "The Student Radio Awards Winner 2008: Best Male Presenter". Student Radio Association. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  12. ^ "The Student Radio Awards Winner 2008: Best Entertainment Programme". Student Radio Association. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  13. ^ "The Student Radio Awards Winner 2008: Best Interview". Student Radio Association. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  14. ^ "The Student Radio Awards Winners: The Kevin Greening Creativity Award". Student Radio Association. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  15. ^ "The Student Radio Awards Winners 2009". Student Radio Association. Retrieved 2010-01-03. 
  16. ^ "The Student Radio Awards Winners 2010". Student Radio Association. Retrieved 2010-11-20. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°56′53″N 1°03′15″W / 53.948061°N 1.05413°W / 53.948061; -1.05413