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|Frequency||95.1 MHz FM (East Norfolk)|
95.6 MHz FM (North Norfolk)
104.4 MHz FM (West Norfolk)
855 kHz AM (East Norfolk)
873 kHz AM (West Norfolk)
DAB Digital Radio
RDS: BBC Nrfk
Freeview (channel 719 from 03/03/2015)
|First air date||11 September 1980|
|Format||Mainly local news and talk|
|Owner||BBC Local Radio,|
|Website||BBC Radio Norfolk|
BBC Radio Norfolk is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of Norfolk, broadcasting since 11 September 1980. It broadcasts from the studios of BBC East in The Forum, Norwich on 95.1 FM (Stoke Holy Cross), 104.4 FM (Great Massingham), 95.6 FM (West Runton, near Cromer), 855 kHz AM/MW (Postwick, east Norwich near the A47), 873 kHz AM/MW (West Lynn, near the A47 and River Great Ouse), DAB and through the internet using BBC iPlayer.
The station has regularly been one of the most listened-to on the BBC Local Radio network, as highest-rated in mainland England in 2003 and 2006. In 1986, the mid-morning programme The Norfolk Airline won the Sony Award for Best Magazine Programme, and the station won its second Radio Academy Award 28 years later in 2014, for Local Radio Journalist of the Year.
BBC Radio Norfolk launched at 5:55 pm on 11 September 1980. It was the first BBC local station in East Anglia and the first after a gap of several years in the corporation's local radio development, due to the Government's review of local radio (both BBC and independent services) in the late 1970s. Due to the policy of launching only one local radio service at a time in a particular area, when it came to choosing whether Norfolk or Devon would receive a BBC or commercial station first, there was contention between the BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) as to who would get which area. This was settled by the toss of a coin, the BBC winning and choosing Norfolk. The IBA got Devon and appointed DevonAir Radio.
For several years until the launch of Radio Norfolk, BBC East had broadcast a morning radio programme, Roundabout East Anglia, a regional opt-out from the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. However, this had a larger editorial area than any BBC local station, being heard across the same region as the BBC's Look East regional television news programme. Like Look East, Roundabout East Anglia also broadcast from BBC East's regional headquarters at All Saint's Green in Norwich.
Radio Norfolk was one of the first BBC stations to be based on a county, rather than a town; it was also first to broadcast in stereo (though only to East Norfolk; the remainder of the county had to wait until 2005). Initially, there was insufficient budget for a full schedule; the station had a breakfast show, a two-hour show at midday and then an extended five o'clock news and sports bulletin, while using BBC Radio 2 outside these times. There was, however, a full local service at weekends, when it was assumed more listeners would be available. After Keith Salmon took over as the station's managing editor in 1982, full local programmes began on weekdays.
Originally, Radio Norfolk was at a former carpet showroom in Norfolk Tower on Surrey Street in Norwich. The station's first presenter on air was John Mountford and the launch was simulcast live on Look East. Mountford was one of several former Roundabout East Anglia personnel who transferred to the new station following that programme's demise.
Roy Waller presented a weekday afternoon show from the early 1980s until 2009, which led to his being one of the best-known and most popular voices in the county, described by the Eastern Daily Press as "a household name." Waller also hosted a Saturday morning country music programme, Rodeo Norfolk, which he continued to present following his departure from the weekday show, until ill-health forced him to step down. Waller's funeral in July 2010 was held at Norwich Cathedral and was attended by over 1500 mourners.
From the early days of Radio Norfolk until 2007, Waller was the station's commentator for Norwich City matches, known as "the voice of Carrow Road". The station devotes extensive coverage to Norwich City, the county's only professional football team, providing live coverage of all League and Cup matches, as well as a post-match phone-in show Canary Call and fanzine show The Scrimmage, both of which are regarded as amongst the station's most popular programmes. In 2011, when BBC economy measures raised the idea that local radio football commentaries could be cut back, the possibility was criticised by the local press in Norfolk, praising the station for the passion of its commentaries.
The Norfolk Airline, presented by David Clayton and Neil Walker, was the station's first mid-morning programme, launched in 1983. In April 1986 the programme won the Sony Radio Academy Award for Best Magazine Programme, ahead of BBC Radio 4's A Small Country Living and Capital Radio's The Way It Is. The programme also made the news itself, when James Prior announced his resignation as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland live during a show. The success of Airline eventually led to Clayton and Walker departing to make programmes for national radio, on BBC Radio 4.
From 1995 until his death in 2006, presenter and journalist John Mills presented Midday With Mills, a consumer affairs programme. The show gained a strong reputation for solving listeners' consumer problems, and in 2000 was given the British Insurance Brokers' Association Media Award for its work in this area.
From 1984 until 2009, Look East presenter Stewart White was the presenter of the station's Saturday breakfast show. White was the first presenter to go on-air after the station moved studios from Norfolk Tower to The Forum in the summer of 2003.
BBC Radio Norfolk has so far had only five Managing Editors in its history. The founding editor was Mike Chaney, appointed at the beginning of 1980 to oversee the setting-up of the radio station. Chaney had previously been working on the Today programme at BBC Radio 4, but lost his role there during a behind-the-scenes shake-up. In recompense for this, Chaney was promised the editorship of a BBC Local Radio station, and was given the job at Norfolk. Before working on Today, he had been the founding editor of BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat programme in 1973, and prior to this had worked as a journalist for The Sun newspaper.
Chaney was succeeded in 1982 by Keith Salmon, who had been working at BBC Radio Oxford. He had first joined the BBC in 1961, and had also worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the BBC's famous electronic music and sound effects department in London. At Oxford, Salmon had been a presenter and the programme organiser. He remained Managing Editor of BBC Radio Norfolk for thirteen years, until his retirement in 1995.
Tim Bishop had a background in local newspapers in Norfolk, having worked on the Eastern Daily Press and been the news editor for the Norwich Evening News, before joining the BBC in 1994. Immediately prior to becoming the Managing Editor of BBC Radio Norfolk, Bishop had been the Education Correspondent for Look East. He subsequently returned to the television side of BBC East's operations, and then became the Head of Regional and Local Programmes for the area in 2002. David Clayton became BBC Radio Norfolk's Managing Editor in 1998, having been a broadcaster at the station since the early 1980s and the Assistant Editor under Salmon and then Bishop since 1991. During Clayton's period in charge of the station, it gained its highest ever listening figures.
Clayton was replaced in March 2016 by Peter Cook, who combines his role as Managing Editor for both Radio Norfolk and BBC Radio Suffolk.
BBC Radio Norfolk has frequently gained some of the highest audience figures of any of the BBC's local radio stations in England. Figures from the radio audience measuring body RAJAR have regularly shown that over 200,000 people in Norfolk listen to some part of the station's output in any given week. When criticising proposed BBC local radio cutbacks in December 2011, South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon claimed in a letter to Lord Patten, the Chairman of the BBC Trust, that only the national station BBC Radio 2 gained higher audiences in Norfolk than BBC Radio Norfolk did.
BBC Radio Norfolk has twice won categories at the main industry awards, the Radio Academy Awards (formerly the Sony Awards). The "Best Magazine Programme" category was won by The Norfolk Airline in 1986, and in 2014 the station won its second Gold Award at the event, when the news team collectively won the "Local Radio Journalist of the Year" category. In 2010 wildlife expert Chris Skinner was runner-up in the Best Specialist Contributor category for his broadcasts as part of Matthew Gudgin's programme. In 2004, Today in Norfolk was nominated in the Best Breakfast Show category, while in 2006 BBC Radio Norfolk as a whole was a nominee for the Station of the Year Award.
BBC Radio Norfolk has also won success at the Frank Gillard Awards, the BBC's own internal awards for its local radio stations. In 2010, the station's Sophie Price won the Original Journalism category for a documentary she had made about teenage pregnancy in Norfolk. In 2002 the station was the runner-up in the Best Radio Feature category for Liberators, and in 2006 took another silver, when David Clayton's Norfolk Years programme was the runner-up in the Best Interactive Programme category.
Local and regional awards have included a win in the Best Radio Programme category at the 2009 Creative East Awards for the show Treasure Quest. At the 2006 EDF Energy East of England Media Awards the station's Paul Moseley won the Radio Journalist of the Year award. He repeated this feat in 2007, becoming the first two-time winner of the award. In 2009 Nikki Fox won the title, and at the 2010 ceremony Nicky Price was joint-winner of the Sports Journalist of the Year category, while the Nick Conrad show took the Radio News/Current Affairs Programme of the Year title.
At the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in 2011, presenter Paul Barnes won the Broadcaster of the Year category for his show The Late Paul Barnes, broadcast from BBC Radio Norfolk but shared across the BBC East region.
Keith Skipper, a former presenter on the station until he left in 1995, has criticised BBC Radio Norfolk for a lack of local focus to some of its programming. In an article published in the Eastern Daily Press in February 2012, Norwich City Independent Supporters Club chairman Robin Sainty described the station's post-match phone-in programme Canary Call as "audio surrealism", criticising the quality of callers phoning in with their views.
In the early 1980s, BBC Radio Norfolk had a small office for the district reporter based in Great Yarmouth, situated in the premises of the Port and Haven Commissioners on the town's South Quay. A more substantial Great Yarmouth presence opened in the summer of 1984. This was a district office and studio at Whitefriars Court on Stonecutters Way in the town. The studio there was used for live inserts into programmes from Norwich, interviews with guests from the Great Yarmouth area, and the preparation of pre-recorded items by the Great Yarmouth district reporter. The studio was also occasionally used for full live programmes. At one point the Great Yarmouth office had a staff of three; a receptionist, a producer and a reporter. Latterly, it was a one-person operation staffed only by the district reporter. After 33 years of operation, the office and studio at Stonecutters Way was closed in April 2017.
The station's initial office in King's Lynn was located in a portable building situated behind the town hall. This was later replaced by a more substantial studio in the town's Tuesday Market Place. The King's Lynn district office and studio later moved to the North Lynn Business Village. Some programmes would be broadcast from the King's Lynn studio once a week.
The 95.1 FM signal covers the Norwich area, 104.4 FM covers the West and King's Lynn area, while 95.6 FM (which came on-air on 12 September 2005) serves north Norfolk. The Great Massingham transmission site also has the commercial radio station KL.FM 96.7, although they use separate towers. The Postwick transmission site also broadcasts 5 Live on 693 AM/MW, talkSPORT and Absolute Radio. The Stoke Holy Cross transmission site also broadcasts Heart East Anglia on 102.4 FM, Kiss 105-108 East on 106.1 FM and 99.9 Radio Norwich. The 95.1 FM signal used to come from Tacolneston. The West Runton transmission tower also has a TV relay on it. Since 31 March 2003, DAB signals have come from the NOW Digital Norfolk 11B multiplex.
The majority of the station's programming is produced and broadcast from Norwich, including some regional programming for the East. The station also takes shared regional programmes from sister stations BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Essex, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire and BBC Radio Northampton. During the station's downtime, BBC Radio Norfolk simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.
The station's local presenters include Nick Conrad (weekday breakfast), Chrissie Jackson (weekday mornings), Stephen Bumfrey (weekday afternoons) and Matthew Gudgin (weekday drivetime).
Of course this used to be a base where it wasn't just one person like I am here on my own now, there used to be a receptionist, a producer and also a reporter