THE HOME OF CLASSIC UK RADIO  
   
 
 
Plymouth Sound
  "Plymouth Sound Stays Happy Through the Day..."

click here to return to archive
Plymouth Sound

Born: 19th May 1976

Plymouth Sound is located at Earl's Acre in premises that were originally an organ factory.

Legendary founder, the late Bob Hussell was proud to be running one of the UK's first commercial radio stations and for many years, England's Number One commercial radio station in terms of audience reach.

A picture of Bob still hangs (we hope) in the entrance of Earls Acre.

PROGRAMMES AND PEOPLE

The Solid Rock of Jesus Christ

The Forces Show

Saturday Supplement

The Plymouth Sound of Love

Country Sundown

Phone Forum

Peter Grant

Louise Churchill

Peter Greig

JINGLES

"Plymouth Sound Stays Happy Through the Day" - Ed Welch

"Heaven on 97" - Alfasound

 

For the official Plymouth Sound site, please click here

Listen to Plymouth Sound

 

STATION HISTORY

Born on 19th May 1975 as the pioneer of ILR in the West Country, to serve the local area on 96VHF and 96.6VHF and 261metres. 

In 1980, it celebrated it's fifth birthday with broadcasting presented by members of the public.  Nine listeners names were picked out of hat by IBA South West England representative Heather Innes.  Even the news was read out by members of the public, Jean Phillips and Gillian Marks on mornings and afternoons respectively.  The staff worked very well and had some on-hand training from experienced staff - this didn't stop some envious but nevertheless praising comments from those not picked.  

Plymouth Sound's opt-out service for the dartmoor town of Tavistock was branded Radio In Tavistock. Broadcasting a local breakfast programme each day on it's 96.6VHF transmitter the station was short lived. The strapline "You Can't Get More Local than This" was dropped and their North Street studios were closed as all programme content was returned to the Earls Acre studios.

1987 saw events unfolding at neighbouring station DevonAir - after a period of financial difficulty, Capital Radio took control, two directors from the London HQ joined at board level and their airtime sales arm was commissioned to sell commercial space.  Three years had elapsed when a national revenue drop and other money matters led to overall financial pressure again for the station. 

These pressures were affecting Plymouth Sound - then wholly owned by GWR - and both parties got together to ridee out the storm after concluding the benefits of cost sharing and service overhauls.  June 1991 saw a merger between the two upon which time, strategies were examined and standardised.  For the purposes of this profile, Plymouth Sound fell under the umbrella of a new owning company, West Country Broadcasting Limited in 1991, and further changes were made.  

In January 1993, Westward Broadcasting Group looked to acquire West Country Broadcasting, which operated DevonAir in Exeter and Plymouth Sound in Plymouth.  As far as ownership of the station is concerned, GWR has had various levels of ownership of this station to the extent where they either owned some, none or all of it.

The licence was once co-owned (along with the Devonair licence) with Capital Radio, but they decided to sell and GWR were forced to sell it under the restrictions of the Radio Authority's points system regarding station ownership.  It was bought by The Local Radio Company (TLRC) in 1998.  Then, GWR bought it back again in June 1999 paying £5.28m.  Prior to this, it had a 20% holding in TLRC.  Plymouth Sound operated one FM and one AM licence covering an area of 330,000 adults. In October 1999, after careful consideration, the UK Government decided it was not going to refer the acquisition to the Competition Commission.  You would be forgiven for thinking that this licence was kind of important to GWR, it being so close to their homeland in Bristol and Swindon - however, there doesn't appear to be much competition for their licence.  When it was renewed in 1996 there was only one competitor, Armada FM. Plymouth Sound is still fully owned by GCap Media PLC.

In July 2002, six stations in the South West announced plans to merge their news operations.  Plymouth Sound won the approval of the Radio Authority to carry out a six-month experiment that would see its news programmes produced in one location and then sent back to each station. Critics said the move would reduce each station’s ability to report on local stories, and would undoubtedly lead to job losses.  There were widespread fears that news would go the same way as music policies at many local stations, i.e. music on stations owned by major groups is normally programmed by 'men in suits' at headquarters, rather than at a local level, resulting in local radio not being able to react to and assist local talent.  The RA had similar concerns at the time, despite allowing the trial to go ahead.  

The 1152 service (Plymouth Sound AM) was controversially re-branded by GWR, on Monday, 7th February 2000 as another Classic Gold segment.   On sale of the stations to UBC, a clause was put in to say that GWR could buy the stations back 'when' the RA relax ownership rules.  It seems that GWR still own 20% of the network.

Content amended from Aircheck UK.


 
  Listen to Passion Radio