Community radio station celebrates five years of broadcasting on FM

 Becky Ward launches Bradley Stoke Radio's FM service.By Andy Ward, chair of board of directors, BSR.

Bradley Stoke Radio (BSR) has been operating in one form or another since 2011 and broadcasting as a full-time FM station since September 2013 when we were awarded a five-year licence on 103.4FM. The station is a not-for-profit community group which operates on an entirely voluntary basis and is open to anyone who would like to get involved with community broadcasting.

From the initial concept that was discussed back in 2010, it was always important that the station was something for the community and not just for those people involved in the day-to-day operations. Our ethos has always been, and always will be, to provide a service to community groups, charities, local organisations and residents, bringing a sense of belonging and pride to our community, known for its diverse population and cultures.

The radio station is run by around sixty volunteers who give freely of their time in order to keep what is a very complex operation running 24/7. Some of our volunteers work behind the scenes and some you may well have heard on air or seen at one of the many community events we attend throughout the year.

On 13th September 2018, our original FM licence came to an end and that means that we’ve now been on air as a full-time FM station for the last five years, something that we all considered to be a very daunting task to complete when were first awarded our licence. It’s been an amazing five years; we have worked with and helped out some wonderful people, community groups and organisations and, hopefully, long will we continue to do so. It’s been a real privilege to be part of our community on a regular basis.

The good news is that the broadcast regulator Ofcom has seen fit to award Bradley Stoke Radio another five-year licence, so I guess they were happy with the way things turned out! We’re now licensed to continue bringing community radio to the town and surrounding areas until 2023!

I’d like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all our members, both past and present, because quite frankly it would never have happened without all their hard work, their determination and, without doubt, more than their fair share of blood, sweat and tears over the years!

The station has been incredibly fortunate to have been supported by many external funding organisations who have contributed to the our not inconsiderable operating costs. Without their faith in us, and their kind support, we would not have managed to achieve all that we have.

I think it’s amazing just how far we have come since our early days at the Willow Brook Centre where we were based in a small room with a couple of PCs, one pair of headphones and a bit of audio kit, and just a few committed members who somehow managed to create a community radio station for Bradley Stoke. We have, over the last few months, managed to create new studio spaces using mostly recycled material, including a dedicated training area that is fully accessible to volunteers who have special needs as well as a recording area allowing the station to bring in musicians and bands to appear live on air as well as making live studio recordings.

Volunteers have come and gone but our ethos has always remained the same, our drive and determination to put the heart in to our town and to bring a sense of community where none existed before.

Thank you so much to all of you from the radio station, the community, the town’s people and some great friends we have made along the way who have helped make this dream come true!

If you’re interested in volunteering for the radio station please get in touch via

We offer a full training and induction program and there are many areas that you can be involved in not just broadcasting!

Bradley Stoke Radio: Launch Day (June 2011)

Photos – Top: Becky Ward presents the first official programme on the new FM frequency of 103.4 MHz, which went out on Friday 13th September 2013 from the station’s studios at Brook Way Activity Centre. Above: Launch Day for the first two-week-long FM transmission period of Bradley Stoke Radio in June 2011. Presenters Stephen Poole and Lucy Smith get things under way from the studio at the Willow Brook Centre.

This article originally appeared in the October 2018 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on pages 28 & 29). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH (except August), to ALL 8,700 homes in Bradley Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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