Free Radio Herefordshire & Worcestershire

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Free Radio Herefordshire & Worcestershire (formerly Radio Wyvern) is an Independent Local Radio station serving Herefordshire and Worcestershire. The station, owned and operated by Bauer Radio, broadcasts from studios in Worcester on 96.7, 97.6, and 102.8 FM, and is part of the Bauer City 1 network.

Radio Wyvern originally went on-air on 4 October 1982. The original Wyvern name derived from the River Wye and River Severn, the rivers running through Hereford and Worcester respectively (the name was proposed in the 1970s for what would become the county of Hereford and Worcester). The initial presentation team consisted of Sammy Southall at Breakfast, Roy Leonard in the morning, Graham Hughes in the afternoon and rock shows, and Mike George at drivetime. Weekend presenters included Jeff Roberts, Rob Yarnold and Bob Lee. Managing Director from 1984 until 1996 was Norman Bilton who joined Wyvern from Two Counties Radio in Bournemouth and Metro Radio in Newcastle.

The offices and studios were located in the former Hereford and Worcester County Council Education Department building at 11 Barbourne Terrace, north of Worcester city centre. The studio block was newly constructed at the rear of the main building, incorporating two identical on-air self-operated studios, using MBI desks, surrounding a central 'talks' studio. In accordance with the then IBA Code of Engineering Practice, the entrance to each studio was through a two-door "air-lock", ensuring high acoustic isolation. EMT 948 turntables, Studer B67 tape decks and Sonifex Micro-HS cartridge machines were used in these studios. From the first day, a split-transmission system for commercial breaks was provided (to play separate advertising breaks to Worcestershire and to Herefordshire), using secondary cue-tones to fire sequences of cartridges, but this was rarely, if ever, used on air. News was broadcast from one of the 'guest' microphone positions in the on-air studio, operated by the presenter not the newsreader. Other voice reports for news, or telephone interviews, were carried out in a "meat safe" style studio inside the newsroom. The Technical Director in charge of all equipment was Rob Yarnold.

In its early days, the station opened at 6 am (7 am on Sundays) and closed at 8 pm, before it extended broadcasting hours to 24 hours a day by joining up with Beacon Radio from 10 pm and then a wider network of Midlands stations from 1 am. Radio Wyvern took the SuperStation overnight service in the late 1980s, and when that closed abruptly, a local Late Show was introduced, with the overnight output from 1 am shared with BRMB and Mercia FM.

The station has played host to many well-known broadcasters over the years. Jane Garvey who was the launch presenter for BBC Radio Five Live and later one of the key presenters for Woman's Hour held her first professional radio job here, assisting the presentation department and reading sports news on air. Neil Fox began his professional broadcasting career here in 1984, and the line Wyvern News, this is Howard Hughes became very familiar to listeners. Rich Edwards, who joined in the very early days, presented on Classic Hits until its abrupt closure in 2007. David Holdsworth, now with the BBC was the station's News Editor, and Eleanor Oldroyd, now with Five Live, was a member of the Sport team. Several of the original presenters including Mike George, Graham Hughes, and Roy Leonard went on to long careers with BBC radio and television.

After its licence was renewed in 1994, the station split into Wyvern FM, playing newer music, and Wyvern AM (Quality and Variety), which was essentially a gold service, with both services initially simulcasting from 7 pm to 6 am. The AM station was rebranded as Classic Gold soon afterwards, and was sold to Murfin Music International because of ownership regulations and the large overlap with neighbouring Classic Gold 774 in Gloucestershire. Some time later, it was rebranded as Classic Hits, and by this time a fully-fledged local service, with no links to Wyvern FM or the Classic Gold network. In 2007, Laser Broadcasting abruptly relaunched the AM station as SunshineRadio.

This page was last edited on 4 April 2018, at 20:36.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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