BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire

Infobox Radio Station
name = BBC Coventry and Warwickshire

city = Coventry
area = Coventry and Warwickshire
branding =
slogan =
airdate = January 1990
frequency = 94.8 MHz, 103.7 MHz, 104.0 MHz, DAB Digital Radio
share = 6.6%
share as of = March 2008
share source = []
format = Local news, talk and music
power =
erp =
class =
callsign_meaning =
owner = BBC Local Radio,
BBC Midlands
website = [ BBC Coventry and Warwickshire]

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire is the BBC Local Radio service serving the City of Coventry and the county of Warwickshire. It broadcasts on 94.8, 103.7 and 104 MHz FM, DAB Digital Radio and is streamed on the internet via the [ BBC Website] .

Based in the Priory Place Shopping Precinct at the heart of re-developing Coventry City Centre, the new centre is a multi-million pound state-of-the-art broadcast centre, which is home to radio, local online, an interactive open centre and facilities for regional and local TV news.

BBC Coventry & Warwickshire broadcasts from 5am to 10pm every weekday, 6am - 6pm on Saturday, and 6am-7pm on Sunday, and boasts presenters such as Annie Othen, Bob Brolly, Liz Kershaw, Mark Powlett, Trish Adudu, Malcolm Boyden and Wincey Willis


BBC Local Radio in the 1990s underwent an expansion programme where counties and other areas without a local radio station were identified and five stations were to launch: BBC Radio Surrey, BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Wiltshire Sound and BBC Radio Warwickshire.

The "Radio Warwickshire" working title was changed to BBC CWR by the time the station launched in January 1990. The name CWR "(Coventry and Warwickshire Radio)" reflected the wider area that the new station would cover, taking in the city of Coventry with the whole of the county of Warwickshire, which was then also served by BBC Radio WM. The station broadcast from a Victorian-style mansion on Warwick Road, close to Coventry railway station.

This was the description of the new station from its leaflet which was distributed throughout the region prior to launch:

"A new kind of local radio is coming your way soon - a station more local, more in tune with you and yours, than any other on your radio."

"BBC CWR will be a new service for the people of Coventry and Warwickshire, providing news, views, information and entertainment 18 hours a day."

"We'll offer the best radio service on local sport, with a wide range of music in the finest quality stereo. Our presenters will be friendly, helpful and fully geared to providing the kind of radio you'll enjoy and come to depend on."

"We'll provide real local radio for a great city and for the towns and villages of a fine county. Our main studio centre is in Coventry. We'll also have studios in Atherstone, Nuneaton, Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick. And our radio cars will be heard from all the places in between."

"BBC CWR ... a really useful radio service caring for Coventry and working for Warwickshire ... coming soon on your radio."

"BBC CWR ... now you're talking ......"

BBC CWR Weekday Schedule (1990 Launch)

; Monday to Friday: 6am Neil Pringle's Breakfast Show: 9am Eric Dixon's Really Useful Radio Show: 11am Michele Guinness: A Taste of Guinness: 2pm Peter McGarry: McGarry and Friends: 4pm Steve Woodhall: Day to Day: 7pm Specialist evening programmes (see below): 9pm John Taynton

; Specialist evening programmes: Monday:: 7pm Matthew Carr's Country Show: Tuesday:: 7pm Carousel - The CWR arts magazine with Helen Garrison and Victor Garrison: Wednesday:: 7pm The World of Music:: 8pm Mel Hill's Jazz Beat (plus midweek sport): Thursday:: 7pm (94.8FM) East in West - Anita Bhalla with news and current affairs:: 7pm (103.7FM) Richard Walker's Folk Show:: 8pm (103.7FM) Keyboard Magic with Chris Giles:: 8.30 (94.8FM) The Local Network - documentary: Friday:: 7pm (94.8FM) East in West - with Kulwant Okafor:: 7pm (103.7FM) Record Collectors - with Mike Adams & Chris Savory

BBC CWR Weekday Schedule (1993)

; Monday to Friday: 6am Pete Sylvester (Early Breakfast): 7am Breakfast with Jim Lee: 10am Maurice Dee and Stevie Price: 12pm Lunchtime with Anna King: 2pm Charles Hodkinson: 4pm Duncan Stanworth: 7pm Specialist evening programmes (see below): 9pm John Taynton: 12am as BBC Radio 2

; Specialist evening programmes: Monday:: 7pm FEM FM with Ridanne Sheridan:: 8pm Poles Apart Olenka Booth: Tuesday:: 7pm Maurice Dee with Irish Extra: Wednesday/Thursday:: 7pm Mo Adams with East In West: Friday :: 7pm Ian Harris with Grapevine

Problems and closure

From day one BBC CWR faced strong competition from the established commercial radio stations in the area. Mercia Sound had been an outstanding success since its own launch ten years earlier in 1980. Xtra AM, the AM-only sister station from Mercia Sound, also enjoyed high listenership since it split from Mercia and launched in 1989.

CWR seemed to find it difficult to compete for the very large audiences built up by Mercia and Xtra. It was, however, well respected and highly regarded with its regular audience.

The BBC, under Director-General John Birt, deemed that CWR was not sufficiently successful in audience terms to warrant its continuation, and within increasing financial constraints in February 1995 CWR was to close. Regular listeners were hugely disappointed and phoned presenter Jon Gaunt to protest about the decision.

In 1995 BBC CWR merged with neighbouring BBC Radio WM in Birmingham, was re-named BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and would operate as an opt-out service from BBC WM with the remainder of the schedule as shared programming. This had the effect of alienating local listeners, whilst paradoxically presenters from WM, such as Ed Doolan, Malcolm Boyden and Tony Butler received high listening figures and distinctions with three Sony Radio Academy Awards, including Radio Station of the Year in 1996.

Its studios were relocated from Warwick Road to much smaller premises on Greyfriars Road. All local programmes except breakfast with Annie Othen, the afternoon show with Bob Brolly, Poles Apart on Wednesdays, and weekend football coverage of Coventry City F.C. were replaced with programmes from Birmingham.

2003 saw the station re-labelled as BBC WM across Coventry and Warwickshire.

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire relaunches

In 2003 Director-General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, announced on-air that Coventry and Warwickshire was again to have its own BBC Local Radio Station. Describing the situation with presenter Annie Othen, Mr Dyke said that the station would be added to the BBC's Local Radio portfolio:

" "I'm very pleased to announce that we're planning to open a new radio station in Coventry - an area that's been served by BBC WM since 1995. We hope the new station will be housed in a modern, vibrant building close to Coventry Cathedral in the heart of the city. Alongside the radio studios, there'll also be an open centre to provide access to BBC Learning facilities similar to the already established centres in Blackburn, Sheffield and Stoke. Open Centres provide a valuable community role, so this is an exciting venture for the BBC."

He also added that the 1995 closure of CWR was a mistake:

" "The decision was made under different circumstances - and now we're in a position to change it." "

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire relaunched as a stand-alone station on 3 September 2005 with full local programming for 15 hours a day.

Current programming

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire has a varied mixed programming format, and plays much more music than other BBC Local Radio stations, such as BBC Three Counties Radio, which is predominantly speech-based. The local diverse make-up of the region also plays a part in the station's schedule; "Poles Apart", the longest-running community programme is targeted at first-generation Polish immigrants. Other shows aimed at the Irish, Asian and Afro-Caribbean are also heard, although Asian programmes have been since transferred to the BBC Asian Network, on medium-wave in the area.

The Station has a network of correspondents, based in public libraries across Warwickshire. These are Nuneaton, Leamington, Stratford and Rugby. They provide live reports and features into general output.

The station also has an Open Centre at its Priory Place Centre, where people can drop in to take part in multi-media learning and creative activity.


The BBC initially supplied two powerful FM transmitters for BBC CWR to cover the whole of the county. A 2.2 kilowatt transmitter at an existing tower at Meriden provides Coventry and North Warwickshire with good signals on 94.8 MHz, a frequency vacated by BRMB Radio in Birmingham before it moved to 96.4 MHz in 1989.

South Warwickshire area receives a strong signal on 103.7 MHz from a 1.4 kW transmitter located at an existing television relay site on a hill at Lark Stoke, just west of Shipston-on-Stour and south west of Stratford-Upon-Avon.

A small pocket of poor reception in Nuneaton was later resolved by adding a low power relay transmitter on 104.0 MHz.

BBC C&W went digital shortly after the launch of the local DAB multiplex on 31st January 2001 with NOW Digital [ 12D Coventry] in the Coventry area with transmissions from Samuel Vale House (central Coventry), Barwell Water Tower near Hinckley, Meriden and Leamington Spa. BBC C&W is carried along with other local stations Mercia FM, Classic Gold 1359 and Touch FM.

The jingles are provided by [ Bespoke Music] of Penryn.


1990 BBC CWR - "Now You're Talking", "The News Leader", "The Sports Leader", "Someone to turn to..."

2002 BBC WM - "Across Coventry and Warwickshire"

2005 BBC Coventry and Warwickshire - "A New Adventure Every Day"


*MDS975 - BBC CWR History []

*Aircheck - History of Radio articles [] .

*BBC Coventry and Warwickshire [] .

ee also

* BBC Radio WM
* Mercia FM
* Touch FM (Coventry)
* Classic Gold

External links

* [ BBC Coventry and Warwickshire.]
* [ Media UK BBC Coventry and Warwickshire.]
* [ MDS975's BBC CWR page.]
* [ History of local radio in Warwickshire.]
* [ MDS975's Memories of Mercia Sound page]
* [ MDS975's Warwickshire radio transmitter coverage maps.]
* [ Barwell Water Tower (Digital).]
* [ MB21's Lark Stoke transmitter page.]
* [ Leamington Spa (Digital.)]
* [ Meriden transmitter.]
* [ Nuneaton transmitter]
* [ Samuel Vale House (Digital).]
* [ David's Transmitter World.]

Audio clips

* [ Jon Gaunt launches the station in 2005]
* [ Jingle package]

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