Radio West began broadcasting on 27th October 1981, eleven years after the region’s first local radio station, BBC Radio Bristol launched. It broadcast on 96.3 MHz FM and 1260 kHz AM (238 metres medium wave) and was the culmination of a merger between two companies bidding for the Bristol and Bath radio licence (Radio Avonside and Bristol Channel), which was awarded by the Independent Broadcasting Authority. The choice of the on-air name proved to be simple when the BBC aired a series called Shoestring complete with the fictitious Radio West.
Although the station was broadcasting programmes of a high quality, listeners remained loyal to BBC Radio Bristol, which had already been established as the radio station for the area.
Radio West had not made any profit since it started and looked set to close, however neighbouring local station Wiltshire Radio, based in Swindon, made an approach to merge the two, creating a station that would cover from Weston-super-Mare in the west to Swindon and Hungerford in the east, with opt out programming for the two areas. This merger was approved by the Independent Broadcasting Authority and was completed in September 1985.
Radio West formally closed at just after midnight on Monday 9 September 1985 with a special final programme hosted by Trevor Fry and the final closedown announcement from Mark Seaman (the station’s programme organiser). Test transmissions for GWR commenced the next day before it launched as a 24-hour full service station at 6am on Monday 1 October 1985.
The company which formerly owned GWR, the GWR Group, expanded and continued to purchase other stations throughout the country. It became the largest radio company in the UK, before merging with its competitor Capital Radio to become GCap Media on 9th May 2005. The station is now known as Heart Bristol.
1984 Jingle Mix