.BBC Somerset, formerly BBC Somerset Sound, is the BBC Local Radio service for the shire county of Somerset and the Unitary Authorities of Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset, England. BBC Radio Bristol also serves the northern parts of theceremonial county of Somerset – Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset.
- 2 BBC Somerset bus
- 3 The Challenge
- 4 Presenters
- 5 Programming
- 6 References
- 7 External links
The first BBC service for the county of Somerset was established in 1978, as an emergency measure following storms in the county. The station proper was launched as BBC Somerset Sound on 11 April 1988, broadcasting on BBC Radio Bristol's former frequency of 1323AM. It was based in studios above a cafe on Paul St, Taunton, with a smaller satellite studio in Yeovil. The signal on 1323AM was for many years interfered with by a Russian radio station.
In August 2002, BBC Somerset moved to new premises in Park Street, Taunton, and acquired a more robust frequency of 1566AM. On 3 December 2007, it was also given BBC Radio Bristol's former FM frequency of 95.5FM. It currently broadcasts on both of these, to the whole of the historic county of Somerset and beyond. Listeners from as far afield as Finland have reported hearing the station clearly. BBC Somerset sometimes uses its AM frequency for cricket commentary while regular programming continues on FM. Because Somerset currently does not have its own DAB multiplex, the station cannot be heard on digital radio.
BBC Somerset was for many years an 'opt-out' from Radio Bristol, but in May 2012, the BBC established it as a station in its own right. The BBC's Annual Report and Accounts for 2005/2006 stated: "The BBC is committed to extending its network of local radio stations to a limited number of under served areas, and BBC management is carrying out preparatory work for new stations in Somerset, Dorset and Cheshire.".
On 6 October 2011, the BBC announced that it intended to close BBC Somerset's 1566MW frequency as part of its Delivering Quality First (DQF) program of cutbacks. No decision on the timing of the medium wave switch-off has yet been made.
BBC Somerset got a new mobile radio studio in the shape of a single-decker bus in May 2007. The role of the BBC Somerset bus across the county includes:
- To bring BBC Somerset out into local communities across the county
- To help to improve what people in county want from their local radio station, and from the BBC in general
- To promote the major BBC campaigns, such as the Reading and Writing project (RaW) and Springwatch and Autumnwatch among many others
- To feedback to the BBC any brickbats and bouquets - from listeners/viewers who might not usually have the chance to comment
- To broadcast live shows from towns and villages around Somerset
Programming for the bus, as well as the day-to-day operation and technical support is managed by Paul George.BBC Somerset took part inThe Challenge
'Eco-auditors' looked at every aspect of the operation - from the mileage of the transport fleet down to what happens to the office tea bags.
At the time of the audit, the station generated more than 64 tonnes of CO2 each year. On hearing the results the staff voluntarily dipped into their pockets to fund the three main accredited methods of carbon offsetting – tree planting, sustainable projects and carbon trading. On average the cost to each member of staff was between £25 and £50, depending on their salary. Staff also looked at all areas where pollution is generated to reduce the station's carbon footprint and make it more environmentally friendly. These included:
- The fleet of cars for reporters were swapped for fuel-efficient vans.
- Lighting systems were replaced with more energy-efficient ones.
- Loft insulation was improved and double glazing was considered.
- The electricity and paper supplies were checked to make sure they are eco-friendly.
- Water coolers were removed in favour of tap water.
- New recycling measures were introduced.
- Eco-friendly cleaning products were introduced.
Current presenters include:
- Emma Britton
- Ben McGrail
- Matt Faulkner
- Simon Parkin
- Joe Lemer
- Laura Rawlings
- Vernon Harwood
- Martin Evans
- Trevor Fry
- Steve Yabsley
- Geoff Twentyman
- Mark Forrest
- Editor: Tamsin Curnow
- News Editor: Andrew Enever
Previous editors include:
- Simon Clifford, currently Head of Communications at Somerset County Council
- Jess Rudkin, who left in May 2012 to become editor of BBC Northamptonshire
- Max Cotton as A/Senior Producer
- Norman Rickard as A/Senior Producer
- Richard Austen as Senior Producer
- Steve Haigh as A/Senior Producer
- Clinton Rogers as launch Senior Producer
Former presenters include:
- Carrie Davis (The Chris Moyles Show)
- Fi Glover (Saturday Live on BBC Radio 4)
- Adam Thomas (the longest serving presenter in the history of the station, 1993–2010)
- Steve Haigh (there at the start in '88)
On normal weekdays, BBC Somerset broadcasts three of its own programmes: Breakfast with Emma Britton from 6.30am - 9.00am; Ben McGrail from 9.00am to 12pm and Matt Faulkner from 4pm to 7pm. On Saturdays it broadcasts Simon Parkin from 7am to 10am, and Emma Britton from 10am to 1pm. Its Pick Of The Week show runs from 6am - 7am on Saturday and is repeated at 12pm on Sunday. Local news bulletins are provided during local programming hours and between 7am and 1pm on Sundays.
Much of BBC Somerset's off-peak broadcast schedule carries shared programming from BBC Radio Bristol with weekend evening output originating from BBC Radio Devon in Plymouth and Sunday afternoon programming from BBC Radio Gloucestershire. From Sunday to Thursday, the station simulcasts Radio 5 Live's Up All Night and Morning Reports after closedown.