Although the BBC had begun in the 1920s as a network of local radio stations, 'true' local radio, focused around local news and happenings, didn't get off the ground until the 1960s. Championed by the BBC executive Frank Gillard, in 1961-62 a series of 15 non-broadcast pilot stations were set up around the UK. However it took until 1966 for the corporation to be given permission to open eight local radio stations on an experimental basis, funded jointly with local authorities. Leicester was the first to launch, in November 1967, followed by Sheffield, Merseyside, Nottingham, Brighton, Stoke-on-Trent, Leeds and Durham. Each broadcast for limited periods throughout the day, opting into the BBC's national networks for the remainder of the time.
Despite being available only on VHF, the experiment was deemed enough of a success for the stations to become permanent, and in November 1969 plans were announced for twelve more stations. And so the long process of extending BBC Local Radio right across England began.
From now on, all stations would be fully funded from the licence fee. However, the expansion of the local radio network had only just got going when it was halted by the incoming Conservative government, who were in favour of the development of local commercial radio, and limited the BBC to twenty local stations.
From September 1972, many more people became able to hear their local radio station when they began broadcasting on the more widely available medium wave as well as VHF, with the frequencies reallocated from Radio 3 and Radio 4.
It wasn't until late 1978 that the BBC was permitted to resume the development of local radio. The new stations, beginning with Radio Norfolk, opened from 1980 onwards, and would now mostly be based around counties rather than cities. Most of the existing city stations expanded to become county stations, such as Radio Brighton becoming Radio Sussex, and Radio Blackburn becoming Radio Lancashire.
The local network was never fully completed - in 1990, plans for the last three stations were curtailed, with Radios Surrey and Berkshire launching as part-time opt-outs from neighbouring Sussex and Oxford respectively, and a planned station for Dorset cancelled altogether. In 2004 new proposals were announced to expand local radio in some underserved areas, including Cheshire, Dorset, Bradford, the Black Country and Somerset - but when the BBC failed to get an increase in the licence fee it was expecting, these plans were cancelled, even though plans for some of the new stations were apparently already well advanced.
In 1997 some individuality between the stations was lost when standardised logos were introduced, and then again from 2009-2012 when a generic jingle package was rolled out across the network.
In the early 2010s, the need to make major cost savings led to some drastic suggestions, such as merging the network with Radio 5 Live. Proposals to combine afternoon shows across regions were tested, and then dispensed with. However one controversial plan did get put into practice - the introduction of a single nationwide show each weekday evening.
In 2011 proposals were put forward to end what, in many cases, had become a needless duplication of transmission of stations on medium wave. A few stations had already handed over their AM transmitters to commercial radio in the early 90s, while some of the later launched stations never had them at all. It took until early 2018 until a number of MW transmitters were finally switched off - but many still remain. Between 2014 and 2016 all BBC Local Radio stations were made available on Freeview, and all but three stations (Cumbria, Guernsey and Jersey) are now transmitted via their local DAB multiplex.
On the 50th anniversary of BBC Local Radio in 2017, Director General Tony Hall announced that further planned cutbacks were to be cancelled, and that each station would regain a level of autonomy that had been lost over the years. Additionally, the networked evening show would come to an end, with each station returning to local programmes after 7pm.
Over the years, some stations have been merged and de-merged, and some renamed. Today the network consists of 39 or 40 stations (depending on whether Sussex and Surrey are being counted separately or not). Below are listed all BBC Local Radio stations past and present. Part-time opt-out stations that operated within the area covered by its parent station are shown with their names in mixed case.
BBC RADIO BEDFORDSHIRE - The original name of Three Counties Radio, from 24 June 1985 to 4 April 1993. Despite the name, it also covered Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire; indeed, in its final months it was known as 'Radio Bedfordshire with Herts and Bucks'. Blue Peter's Simon Groom presented on the station for a while.
BBC RADIO BERKSHIRE - Station covering Berkshire and North Hampshire. Radio Berkshire opened 21 January 1992, originally as an opt-out from Radio Oxford with seven hours a day of its own programming from its Reading studio, but gaining its own full-time schedule in December of that year. On 9 April 1996 the station merged with Radio Oxford to form Thames Valley FM. It then relaunched on 14 February 2000, again sharing parts of its output with Radio Oxford. By 2004 it had virtually become a stand-alone station once more. It has attracted many nationally-known names over the years - presenters past and present have included Henry Kelly, Anne Diamond, Debbie McGee, Mike Read, Richard Skinner, Paul Ross, Maggie Philbin, Paul Coia and Joe Brown.
BBC RADIO BIRMINGHAM - The original name of Radio WM. It launched from its studios at Pebble Mill on 7 November 1970, changing its name on 23 November 1981.
BBC RADIO BLACKBURN - The original name of Radio Lancashire, from 26 January 1971 until 3 July 1981.
BBC RADIO BRIGHTON - The first local radio station in the South of England, Radio Brighton opened on 14 February 1968, although it went on air unofficially in December 1967 to cover snowstorms, from a makeshift studio at the Brighton Dome. Des Lynam began his broadcasting career here. On 22 October 1983 the station expanded its coverage area and was renamed Radio Sussex.
BBC RADIO BRISTOL - Station covering the (now defunct) county of Avon, and (until 2007) Somerset, opened 4 September 1970. In April 1988 the 1323kHz service split to become Somerset Sound. The station boasted the UK's longest serving breakfast show presenter - Roger Bennett, who stepped down in 2002 after more than 25 years of early mornings. The first voice heard on air was Michael Buerk; Kate Adie and Tony Robinson also worked on the station in its early days. Other Radio Bristol presenters have included John Turner, Keith Warmington, Jenny Lacey, Keith Warmington, Susan Osman and Steve Yabsley. The station handed over the signal from its Mendip transmitter on 95.5 FM to BBC Somerset in December 2007. The existing 94.9 frequency therefore had its power boosted to cover Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset, with a new transmitter added to cover Weston-Super-Mare on 103.6.
BBC Radio Bury - This was one of a number of experimental opt-out stations run in turn by Radio Manchester, using the 1296kHz frequency. Radio Bury ran in late 1983/early 1984; the others were Radio Rochdale, Radio Oldham, Radio Trafford and Radio Wigan.
BBC RADIO CAMBRIDGESHIRE - Opened 1 May 1982. The station formerly operated a separate breakfast show for the Peterborough area - at one time this went under the Radio Peterborough name. One of Radio Cambridgeshire's most popular presenters, Richard Spendlove, claimed to have the longest running chat show in broadcasting; his Saturday night show ran from the late 1980s until 2017 and was heard on several BBC local radio stations across the Eastern Counties. Spendlove, a former railway announcer, co-wrote the sitcom Oh Doctor Beeching! and was awarded an MBE in 2000.
BBC RADIO CARLISLE - The original name for Radio Cumbria, from 24 November 1973 to May 1982. In 1974, the station began its long-running Lamb Bank feature. An experimental community station, Radio West Cumbria, opted out from Radio Carlisle for three weeks in 1976.
BBC RADIO CLEVELAND - Station covering the former administrative county of Cleveland. The station was originally known as Radio Teesside, and was renamed on 1 April 1974. On 11 August 2007 it was renamed once again, to BBC Tees.
BBC RADIO CORNWALL - Opened alongside Radio Devon on 17 January 1983, covering Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Radio Cornwall is one of the BBC's most popular local radio stations, and broadcasts for five minutes a week in Cornish, in the programme Ad Newodhow. The first voice on the station, Chris Blount, was already known to South West listeners from Radio 4's regional breakfast show Morning Sou'West, which ended shortly before the start of Radios Cornwall and Devon. Radio Cornwall has consistently been one of the BBC's most popular local radio stations.
BBC COVENTRY & WARWICKSHIRE - Opened on 3 September 2005 from its studios in Coventry's Priory Place, with Liz Kershaw amongst the presenting line-up. The BBC Coventry & Warwickshire name was first used, however, for an opt-out service of Radio WM from May 1995, which replaced the area's first BBC radio station, CWR; this became known as 'BBC WM across Coventry and Warwickshire' around 2001.
BBC RADIO CUMBRIA - Formerly Radio Carlisle, the station expanded to cover the whole county on 25 May 1982. At the same time an opt-out service called Radio Furness covering the south of the county was introduced - this ceased in the 1990s.
BBC CWR - Station for Coventry and Warwickshire, opened 19 January 1990. Presenters included Jon Gaunt, Jim Lee, Maurice Dee and Bob Sinfield. Despite much local opposition, it was merged into Radio WM in May 1995, with a replacement opt-out service, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire. The region regained its full-time station in September 2005.
BBC RADIO DERBY - Opened 29 April 1971, although it unofficially went on air two months early to cover the collapse of Rolls-Royce.
BBC RADIO DEVON - Opened alongside Radio Cornwall on 17 January 1983. Unfortunately the Exeter studios were not ready for the station's opening, and so for the first few weeks programmes came from two portakabins on a building site. Presenters associated with the station have included Douglas Mounce, Ian Brass, Alan Dedicoat, Vic Morgan, Jill Dando, David Lowe, Monica Ellis and Judi Spiers. From 1989 Radio Devon operated some separate programming for Plymouth on 855kHz and, later, DAB and FM.
BBC DORSET FM - Opt-out service from Radio Devon, which emerged after plans for a separate BBC Radio Dorset were scrapped in 1990, as part of a series of measures designed to save £3 million. Dorset FM opened on 26 April 1993, with four-and-a-half hours of programmes a day covering rural Dorset from its studio in Dorchester. In early 1996 the station closed and was replaced by a relay of Radio Solent, going under the name 'Solent for Dorset', which contained a very limited amount of opt-out material for the county. Dorset was one of the areas identified for a new local radio station in the mid-2000s - but as part of BBC cutbacks announced in October 2007, plans for Radio Dorset were cancelled for a second time. However a few years later, Radio Solent relaunched some localised programmes for Dorset, which currently takes the form of a daily breakfast show.
BBC RADIO DURHAM - The only BBC local radio station to have completely closed. It opened on 3 July 1968, but when the Heath government restricted the BBC to twenty local radio stations, the BBC responded by closing it on 25 August 1972, and moving the station lock, stock and barrel across to Carlisle in 1973. County Durham is now covered by BBC Newcastle and BBC Tees. Former BBC News correspondent Katie Adie worked at Radio Durham, before joining Radio Bristol in 1970.
BBC ESSEX - Opened 5 November 1986. It was not called BBC Radio Essex to avoid confusion with an already existing ILR station called Essex Radio. Long-serving presenters have included Dave Monk, Steve Scruton and John Hayes; the cult broadcaster Timbo, aka Tim Lloyd, has also presented on BBC Essex at various times, while controversial presenter James Whale hosted the breakfast show from 2014 to 2016.
BBC Radio Furness - Opt-out service from Radio Cumbria from 25 May 1982, based in Barrow-in-Furness and covering the south of the county. Radio Furness in name disappeared around 1991, although opt-out programming for the area continued until about 1996. For eight days in September 1975, this area was the location for an experimental non-broadcast community station, Radio Barrow, which was played via closed circuit to the local civic centre and hospital.
BBC RADIO GLOUCESTERSHIRE - Gloucester-based station, opened 3 October 1988. The station's presenters over the years have included Vernon Harwood, Mark Cummings, Anna King and Graham Day. Radio Gloucestershire lost many of its listeners in 1992 when the Home Office reclaimed its AM frequency (FM reception is poor in some areas due to the hilly nature of the county); but after much government debate a new AM frequency of 1413kHz was eventually allocated to the station.
BBC GLR - Greater London Radio, which replaced Radio London on 25 October 1988. GLR was designed to be much edgier than its predecessor, and indeed started with a virtually all-new presenter line-up. However following the relaunch the station was threatened with closure unless it increased its audience - which by 1990 it had done, enough to save it from the axe, though not enough to worry its commercial rivals. Chris Evans and Chris Morris both presented at GLR at various times, as well as other nationally-known broadcasters including Johnnie Walker, Tommy Vance and Janice Long. Despite vociferous campaigning from its devoted listenership, GLR was replaced by BBC London Live on 28 March 2000.
BBC GMR - Greater Manchester Radio, which succeeded Radio Manchester on 30 October 1988. For a while in the late 1990s the station was known as GMR Talk. The station was relaunched on 3 April 2006, when it reverted to its original name of Radio Manchester.
BBC RADIO GUERNSEY - Opened the day after Radio Jersey, 16 March 1982. It covers the Bailiwick of Guernsey (Guernsey, Alderney and Sark). At launch the station broadcast for just three hours a day, relaying Radio 2 the rest of the time. Twenty years later, this had increased to 13 hours. The Channel Islands' radio stations enjoy a great deal of popularity - despite the small potential listenership, in terms of audience share, Radio Guernsey is the BBC's most popular local radio station, with over a third of islanders tuning in.
BBC HEREFORD & WORCESTER - Station for the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire, which opened 14 February 1989. Popular presenters Jeremy Dry and Radio 5 Live's Jane Garvey were at the station when it began. Former Radio WM presenter Malcolm Boyden also presented here.
BBC RADIO HUMBERSIDE - Opened 25 February 1971, over three years before the creation of the county of Humberside, and has continued under that name despite the abolition of the county itself.
BBC RADIO JERSEY - Opened alongside Radio Guernsey, on 15 March 1982. The station's base in St Helier is also home to BBC Channel Islands television. Coverage of the island's own assembly, the States of Jersey, is transmitted on Radio Jersey's MW frequency.
BBC RADIO KENT - Formerly Radio Medway, the station expanded to cover the whole of Kent on 2 July 1983. One of its most popular presenters is Pat Marsh, who has presented his daily show of music, competitions and celebrity guests since 1986. He now co-presents with Erika North. Other regular presenters have included Barbara Sturgeon, Brian Faulkner, Jim Ensom, Adrian John and Ian McGregor. Throughout the 1980s Radio Kent's evening phone-in, which began with zany broadcaster Rod Lucas and later became The Eight to Ten Show (it also aired on BBC Essex) enjoyed cult status with listeners until its axing in 1991. In 2001 Radio Kent moved from its base at Sun Pier in Chatham to The Great Hall in Tunbridge Wells, also home to South East Today.
BBC RADIO LANCASHIRE - Formerly Radio Blackburn, the station expanded to cover the whole of Lancashire on 4 July 1981. In 1999 Jim Bowen joined to present a morning show, The Happy Daft Farm, but was forced to resign in 2002 after making a racially offensive remark. He was replaced by comedian Ted Robbins.
BBC RADIO LEEDS - Opened 24 June 1968. There was a plan in the 1990s to rename the station BBC West Yorkshire FM, which got as far as having a jingle package recorded. Martin Kelner has presented here at various times, being sacked on more than one occasion. From 2013 to 2018 the BBC Local Radio networked evening show originated from Radio Leeds.
BBC RADIO LEICESTER - The very first BBC local radio station of all, starting on 8 November 1967, covering Leicestershire and Rutland. In 1974 it started the UK's first programme for the local Asian community, which later grew into the Asian Network.
BBC RADIO LINCOLNSHIRE - Opened 11 November 1980. For many years the station used the traditional folk song 'The Lincolnshire Poacher' as the basis for its jingle packages. Sports presenter John Inverdale once presented at the station, as did BBC news head Roger Mosey and local comedian Boothby Graffoe.
BBC RADIO LONDON - The BBC radio station for the capital, running in its first incarnation from 6 October 1970 until 7 October 1988 when it was replaced by test transmissions for GLR. Tony Blackburn presented a daily soul show on Radio London in the 1980s until he was sacked, shortly before the station's demise. On 6 October 2015, the station name returned to the airwaves following a rebrand of BBC London 94.9. The current presenting line-up includes Vanessa Feltz, Joanne Good and Robert Elms, who presents a unique daily show focusing on London's culture and history. Only Gary Crowley has presented on all the incarnations of London's radio station.
BBC LONDON LIVE - The successor to GLR, from 27 March 2000. BBC London Live emerged from the South East Review in an attempt to boost audience figures, much to the chagrin of most of its existing listenership who were not impressed by the increase in phone-ins and consumer items, and the loss of many specialist music shows. New names signed to the station included Paul Ross, Alice Beer and Lisa I'Anson.
BBC LONDON 94.9 - Another renaming for the capital's radio station, from 1 October 2001. Despite the original logo, the station was never called 'BBC LDN'. BBC London, and its predecessor GLR, always had a very different style of output to that of all other BBC Local Radio stations, and a more contemporary music policy - though in more recent years this has drifted closer to the rest of the network. Specialist music output was further reduced after the renaming, while sports coverage increased. Tony Blackburn rejoined the station in 2004 to present a soul show. From 2002 Danny Baker presented the breakfast show - but he was taken off air for several weeks during the Iraq War in 2003 in favour of mid-morning phone-in presenter Jon Gaunt. Baker moved to the afternoon slot in 2005, but walked out of the station permanently in 2012 after being told his show was to be moved to the weekend. In October 2015 the station name reverted to BBC Radio London.
BBC RADIO MANCHESTER - BBC station for the Greater Manchester area, as well as parts of North Cheshire, launched 10 September 1970. From 30 October 1988 until 2 April 2006 the station was known as GMR. As part of the 2006 relaunch, Terry Christian was signed to present the breakfast show.
BBC RADIO MEDWAY - The original name of Radio Kent, from 18 December 1970 until 1 July 1983, covering the Medway towns from its studio in Chatham.
BBC RADIO MERSEYSIDE - Station for Merseyside and North Cheshire, opened 22 November 1967. The well-known Liverpudlian personality Billy Butler has presented on the station for many years.
BBC NEWCASTLE - Originally known as BBC Radio Newcastle, opened 2 January 1971. The station's HQ is known as the 'Pink Palace' on account of its exterior colour. One of the longest serving presenters on Radio Newcastle is Paddy MacDee, who now presents the late show. The station's tagline is 'Radio for the North East', to emphasise its coverage area which encompasses Tyne and Wear, Northumberland and much of County Durham.
BBC RADIO NORFOLK - Opened 11 September 1980, with the launch broadcast live on BBC East television. Radio Norfolk was one of the first BBC local stations to be based around a county, rather than a town or city; it was also the first to broadcast in stereo (though only to East Norfolk; the remainder of the county had to wait until 2005 for stereo broadcasts). The BBC sports presenter Rob Bonnet was amongst the presenting line-up at launch. Up until the station's opening, Radio 4 ran a daily news magazine show, Roundabout East Anglia, on the local VHF frequencies for two hours each morning. One of Radio Norfolk's most popular presenters, the late Roy Waller, once found himself gunged on Noel's House Party. Another long-serving presenter, Wally Webb, now presents a very early show across the Eastern region.
BBC RADIO NORTHAMPTON
Opened 16 June 1982. One of the station's longest serving presenters, Steve Riches, presented an evening show in the 1990s which was heard across the whole of the South and East; he later moved to Radio Cambridgeshire. Other presenters have included Jim Hawkins, Kevin Saddington, David Saint and Bernie Keith, who currently presents the mid-morning show. Throughout the 1990s the station was generally known as simply BBC Northampton, but reverted to BBC Radio Northampton following a relaunch in 2000.
BBC Radio Oldham - Another of the experimental community stations run by Radio Manchester, on air around 1984.
BBC RADIO OXFORD - Opened 29 October 1970. On 9 April 1996 it merged with Radio Berkshire to form Thames Valley FM. Following the 1999 South East Review, Radio Oxford relaunched on 14 February 2000, but sharing parts of its output with Radio Berkshire. Following a relaunch in September 2004 the station severed virtually all remaining links with Radio Berkshire, and signed Anne Diamond to present the breakfast show (she was replaced in 2006 by Sybil Ruscoe). Two very different broadcasters, Timmy Mallett and Libby Purves, both presented on the station in the 1970s. The word 'Radio' was twice twice dropped and then reinstated from the station name during the 2000s.
BBC Radio Peterborough - Opt-out service from Radio Cambridgeshire from around 1990 to 1995. The Peterborough area still has its own separate programming, but now under the Radio Cambridgeshire banner.
BBC Radio Rochdale - Another of the experimental community stations run by Radio Manchester. It went on air for eight weeks on 1296kHz, starting 14 May 1984, and operated from a mobile studio situated near Rochdale town hall.
BBC RADIO SHEFFIELD - The second local station to begin, on 15 November 1967. It covers South Yorkshire and parts of the North Midlands. One of the station's longest-serving presenters, Tony Capstick, died in 2003. He had been dismissed from the station earlier that year. Comedian Toby Foster now presents the breakfast show.
BBC RADIO SHROPSHIRE - Opened 23 April 1985, with the slogan 'Live in 85'. Early presenters include Sybil Ruscoe and Tim Smith, who both later went on to appear on Radios 1, 5 and 2. Colin Young has presented a daily show on the station since the beginning.
BBC RADIO SOLENT - Starting on 31 December 1970, Radio Solent covers South Hampshire, the western fringes of West Sussex, the Isle of Wight and Dorset. In early 1996 it consumed Dorset FM and expanded its coverage into the rest of that county with a very limited opt-out service called Solent for Dorset - this increased in 2013 when it launched a dedicated daily breakfast for Dorset. Radio Solent's star presenter, Nick Girdler, hosted the cult Late Shift show between 1988 and 1995; he left the station in 2006, but returned in 2009 to present a Sunday morning show. Other presenters including Richard Cartridge, Peter White, Robin Worman (the station's first voice) and Sandi Jones also enjoyed a lengthy association with the station; the latter was awarded an MBE in 1993. Radio Solent left its original home of South Western House in Southampton in 1990, and moved to new purpose-built headquarters alongside BBC1's South Today.
BBC Somerset Sound - Opt-out station from Radio Bristol, opened 11 April 1988. Presenters have included Adam Thomas, Jo Phillips, and Simon White, who left in 2005 having been with the station since the start. For nearly twenty years Somerset Sound was only available on MW, and was forced to change frequency from 1323 to 1566kHz in October 2002 due to interference from the Voice of Russia. The station appeared on FM for the first time on 3 December 2007, having taken over Radio Bristol's 95.5 frequency; the word 'Sound' disappeared from the name on the same day.
BBC SOMERSET - A renaming of BBC Somerset Sound from 3 December 2007, with FM coverage for the first time, having taking over Radio Bristol's 95.5 FM frequency transmitted from Mendip. As a result, BBC Somerset is now the sole station for the county - listeners previously having had the choice of Radio Bristol on FM and Somerset Sound on MW. Plans to expand it into a full time station, however, were shelved as part of the BBC cutbacks announced in October 2007; instead the existing service, consisting of eight hours a day of local programmes from its Taunton studios, was maintained.
BBC Radio Southend - Opt-out station from BBC Essex, which opened on 10 April 1989 as a four week promotion concentrating on the Southend area.
BBC SOUTHERN COUNTIES RADIO - Station for Sussex, Surrey and North-East Hampshire, from 1 August 1994 to 29 March 2009. It had previously been known as Radio Sussex & Surrey. A month after launch Southern Counties became the first BBC local radio station to run an all-talk schedule; this lasted only three years. Following a controversial relaunch in April 2006 Tommy Boyd took over the afternoon show (he left at the end of 2007), with Gordon Astley on mornings - he previously presented the same show some 11 years earlier. From October 2006, six hours each weekday of Southern Counties' output was split between Surrey (with North-East Hampshire and Crawley) and Sussex. A dedicated breakfast show for Brighton also ran from 1997 to 2006. On 30 March 2009 the station split its identity to become known as BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey.
BBC RADIO STOKE - Station for North Staffordshire and South Cheshire, opened 14 March 1968. Until the mid-1980s the station was known as Radio Stoke-on-Trent. Bruno Brookes presented here in the early 1980s.
BBC RADIO SUFFOLK - Ipswich-based station, opened 12 April 1990. Regular presenters have included Stephen Foster, Lesley Dolphin, Mark Murphy, Rachel Sloane, former Grange Hill actor Nicholas Pandolfi, Hi-de-Hi! actor David Webb, and Chris Opperman, who presented the breakfast show Good Morning Suffolk for many years from launch.
BBC RADIO SURREY - Opened 14 November 1991 as an opt-out from Radio Sussex, broadcasting seven hours a day of programmes from its studio on the campus of Surrey University in Guildford. The presenting team included Steve Watts, Nick Simmons, John Terrett and Claire Paul. Radio Surrey was fully merged with Radio Sussex at the start of 1994; later that year the resulting station became known as Southern Counties Radio. The county name returned to the station in March 2009.
BBC SURREY - Station covering Surrey, North-East Hampshire, and the Crawley and East Grinstead areas of West Sussex, introduced on 30 March 2009. The station was previously known as BBC Southern Counties Radio, and although branded separately, BBC Surrey and BBC Sussex continue to effectively operate as a single station with four hours a day of dedicated programming for each county.
BBC RADIO SUSSEX - Successor to Radio Brighton, with an expanded coverage area, from 22 October 1983 until 7 January 1994 when it was merged with Radio Surrey to form Radio Sussex & Surrey. Long-serving presenters included Stewart Macintosh, Julian Clegg, Ian Collington, Barry Johnston and Lee Orviss. In the late 80s and early 90s the station's jingle packages were based around the song 'Sussex by the Sea' by Ward-Higgs. Each Sunday afternoon the station ran a succession of specialist shows, including what was claimed to be British radio's only regular programme about dogs, All About Dogs, which alternated weekly with a programme for the Jewish community, Shalom. For several years the station published its own magazine, 'Sussex Scene'. After some fifteen years as part of Southern Counties Radio, the Sussex name returned to the station in March 2009.
BBC RADIO SUSSEX & SURREY - Station formed by the merger of Radio Sussex and Radio Surrey, from 8 January 1994 (though the name was used on air from late 1993). The following August it was renamed Southern Counties Radio.
BBC SUSSEX - Station covering East and West Sussex. Until 30 March 2009 the station was one half of BBC Southern Counties Radio, and despite the separate identities, BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey continue to effectively operate as one station with opt-outs for each county.
BBC Radio Swindon - Opt-out service from Radio Wiltshire, opened 11 November 2002. Wiltshire Sound had been providing localised programming for Swindon for some time beforehand. At launch Radio Swindon provided nine hours a day of local output; this was later reduced to six and then in 2007 to just three hours, all at breakfast time. However, the station retained a separate identity to Radio Wiltshire until 4 April 2009, when the service on all frequencies became known as BBC Wiltshire.
BBC RADIO TAUNTON - The shortest lived radio station of all time? Radio Taunton was an emergency service set up to serve a storm-hit Somerset. It was on air for just four days in February 1978.
BBC TEES - Middlesbrough-based station covering the former county of Cleveland, the southern part of County Durham and the northern fringes of North Yorkshire. The station was known as Radio Cleveland until 11 August 2007.
BBC RADIO TEESSIDE - The original name of Radio Cleveland, from 31 December 1970 until 31 March 1974.
BBC Radio Trafford - Another of Radio Manchester's experimental opt-out stations, which was on air around 1983/84. Radio Trafford apparently operated from a mobile studio in a school playground.
BBC THAMES VALLEY FM - Station formed by the merger of Radio Oxford and Radio Berkshire, from 9 April 1996 until 13 February 2000 when the two stations regained their separate identities. In its early days Thames Valley FM's schedule featured such luminaries as Phil Kennedy, Martin Kelner, Johnnie Walker and Bob Harris. The 'FM' suffix was dropped in September 1998. The merger was not considered as success, and separate breakfast and drivetime shows for Oxfordshire and Berkshire were reintroduced soon before the stations were de-merged.
BBC THREE COUNTIES RADIO - Successor to Radio Bedfordshire from 5 April 1993, covering the three counties of Beds, Herts and Bucks. It followed Southern Counties Radio by becoming an all-talk station in 1995, and remained the only BBC local station to be all-speech during its daytime output until music was reintroduced in March 2009. With the introduction of a transmitter for Aylesbury in February 2005, the station ran separate programmes for Buckinghamshire - this was later scaled back to a breakfast show for Milton Keynes only, and eventually axed altogether. Dave Lee Travis presented Three Counties' Sunday morning show between 2003 and 2007, and Iain Lee presented the breakfast show from 2012 to 2015.
BBC Radio West Cumbria - An experimental community radio station based in Whitehaven, which opted out from Radio Carlisle for 30 minutes a day. It was on air for three weeks from 13 September 1976.
BBC Radio Wigan - Another part of the community radio experiment in Greater Manchester, on air in 1984. Radio Manchester's Norman Prince was one of the presenters.
BBC WILTSHIRE SOUND - The original name of BBC Wiltshire, from 4 April 1989. The BBC was originally prevented from using the name 'Radio Wiltshire' due to commercial radio group GWR owning the copyright to using 'Wiltshire' and 'Radio' together in any combination. Top of the Pops presenter Mark Franklin worked at Wiltshire Sound in the early 90s. In the 1990s the station provided opt-out programmes for the Salisbury area, then later the Swindon area instead. On 11 November 2002 the station split into Radio Wiltshire and Radio Swindon.
BBC WILTSHIRE - BBC Radio Wiltshire was the successor to Wiltshire Sound from 11 November 2002. The renaming coincided with the start of Radio Swindon. On 4 April 2009, on the twentieth anniversary of BBC Local Radio in Wiltshire, both Radio Wiltshire and Radio Swindon were rebranded as BBC Wiltshire.
BBC WM - Station covering the West Midlands, replacing Radio Birmingham on 23 November 1981. In May 1995 WM consumed neighbouring station CWR, launching an opt-out service which later became known as 'BBC WM across Coventry and Warwickshire'. WM made a name for itself with distinctive presenters like Tony Butler, Ed Doolan, Jenny Wilkes and Gordon Astley; but there was some controversy when one of WM's most popular daily presenters, Malcolm Boyden, was apparently axed from the station in 2004. The following year long-serving Midlands broadcaster Les Ross returned to WM after an absence of thirty years. Following his departure from Radio 2, Alex Lester took over the breakfast show in 2017.
BBC Radio WM Heartlands - Opt-out station from Radio WM between April 1989 and 1991 on 1458kHz, aimed at the eastern part of Birmingham.
BBC RADIO YORK - The BBC station for North Yorkshire. It opened on 4 July 1983 with three daily shows presented by Chris Loveder, David Farwig and Graham Pass. In the early 2000s the station split its identity to become known as BBC North Yorkshire in Harrogate, Ripon, Northallerton and the Dales. Allegedly, this rebranding had not been approved by the BBC senior management, and was quickly changed back when they found out!
Audio & video
From our YouTube channel, a playlist comprising eight compilations of off-air recordings of BBC Local Radio jingles from the 1990s, plus some television promos for BBC Local Radio recorded around the turn of the century.
Text copyright © Robert Williams, images, audio and video copyright © British Broadcasting Corporation