Radio Newsbeat


I have been busy recently enjoying local performances most evenings as part of the Henley On Thames Advent Calendar, and have spent more time on the local blog.

BBC Berkshire is still a favourite of mine, after a year. I also enjoy listening to a range of Internet stations. Not much of Radio Caroline, so I must try to remedy this, their specialist evening programmes are superb.

Some Internet stations play back to back music, but to my mind if they are programmed well, they are valid owners of the radio station title.

My pick of the Radio News from the Radio Today site:


Online oldies station Solid Gold Gem AM returns
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An online station staffed by former ILR presenters is returning just days after it announced it was closing down.

Solid Gold Gem AM will now be headed by Len Groat, who was programmer at the original GEM AM in the East Midlands in the 80s, as it gets ready to return on December 15th. The team will also launch a second station, Serenade Radio, starting on February 14th 2015.

Len Groat told RadioToday: “Our first two years online taught us you can play music from the 20s to the 80s and get a great response, but to keep the audience you need to focus. The size of our audience was never a priority, our goal was to offer a true alternative to BBC Radio 2 which does not musically cater for over-45s in its daytime shows.

“Our mix of a huge song library, heritage DJs and jingles, with no adverts, is a true alternative. We achieved that goal and created a unique style in a market full of commercial ‘McDonalds’ type stations – our team of deejays is larger than any UK commercial station!”

Andy Marriott created the station infrastructure and adds “We realised there was scope for a station majoring on easy listening and nostalgic music, so I am creating ‘Serenade Radio’. The Solid Gold GEM AM team like the idea so much they will carry 6 hours a week of our shows! It will launch with some of our well-known presenters on February 14th 2015.”

The reason for the sudden closedown has not been revealed.

Paul Burbank, who was on the original GEM-AM, will host breakfast on Solid Gold Gem AM from 5am, when the station opens up each day. It’ll also close down at the end of each day to tie in with its strap line of ‘radio like it used to be’.

Radio 4 Extra is to broadcast all of the US podcast show Serial, produced by WBEZ Chicago, starting this weekend.

The first episode will at 9pm this Sunday, with daily episodes broadcast until the network joins the non-fictional story as it reaches its final stage – which will go out on the same day worldwide.

Serial is a new podcast series which has received positive reviews both here and in America, hosted by journalist Sarah Koenig. It follows the true story of an investigation into a murder of the high-school student Hae Min Lee in Baltimore County in 1999. This will be the first-ever radio broadcast for the series.

The series has been reportedly downloaded and streamed more than 21 million times, topping download charts in countries ranging from the US to Germany to India.

Ira Glass, Editorial Advisor for Serial says: “We know we already have tons of Serial listeners in the UK but we love that the BBC will help us reach many many more than we ever could with podcast alone.”

Gwyneth Williams, Controller, Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra says: “We are thrilled to be sharing Serial’s innovative journalism and storytelling with our audiences on Radio 4 Extra.”

A crown court jury in Manchester has found former radio presenter and Jimmy Savile flat-mate and friend Ray Teret guilty of raping and indecently assaulting schoolgirls in the 60s and 70s.

The jury reached their verdicts after hearing he used his status as a local celebrity to single out vulnerable girls in nightclubs and discos.

The mass media is reporting the full details of the court case – with details on Sky, BBC and the Manchester Evening News. Teret denied 18 rapes, two other serious sexual assaults, one attempted rape, 12 indecent assaults and one count of indecency with a child.

“This case has attracted a lot of media interest due to Teret’s status and friendship with the late Jimmy Savile,” Detective Chief Inspector Graham Brock of Greater Manchester Police said. “And it is clear that Teret revelled in his association with Savile and used that cult of celebrity to meet – and rape – impressionable underage girls.

“We also must acknowledge that it was the Jimmy Savile scandal, and the mass publicity it generated, that encouraged these women to break their decades of silence and speak out, exposing Teret for the dangerous sexual predator he is.”

Ray first met Savile in a Manchester night club in the early 1960s and went on to work on various radio stations including Caroline, Piccadilly, Signal.


Comedian and radio presenter Tom Binns has apologised to his wife after making a personal matter between her and broadcaster Simon Bates public.

Tom Binns, the man behind Ivan Brackenbury, was talking about Simon Bates’ new show on BBC Radio Devon on his latest podcast when he ‘found’ an email exchange between his wife and Bates from when the two worked together at Smooth Radio.

Tom read out the email in which his wife, Liesl Soards, told Simon she had arranged cover for her job as his producer whilst she took time off to spend with her mother who had cancer.

Tom then called Simon Bates “as focused as a c***” for the reply he sent back to her.

When contacted by RadioToday about the podcast, Tom said: “I’d like to apologise to my wife for talking about a private matter in my podcast. She is a very talented and creative producer and unlike me she has an incredible capacity to rise above things like this and did not wish me to make this public.

“I would also like to apologise for using the word c**t in relation to Simon Bates. It was a totally unnecessary thing to say, as anyone who has read or heard his reaction to my wife taking a few days holiday to spend time with her dying mother would have naturally come to that conclusion themselves.”

We asked Simon Bates for a comment but he said he hadn’t heard the podcast.


After more than a thousand editions, UK radio industry publication The Radio Magazine has suspended its publication and circulation for the second time.

The magazine was set up in the early 90s by Howard Rose, who died in 2002, and was most recently owned by Tindle Newspapers, operating out of Tindle Newspaper’s HQ in Bordon, Hampshire. In October 2011 it ceased being a weekly publication and had a temporary suspension of service. It later returned as a monthly magazine.

The last edition, to be made printed in May 2014, lists Karen Sheppard as Managing Director and Henry Ascoli as Editorial Manager. Henry confirmed to RadioToday in July that the magazine had been suspended for the second time and so far has failed to make a second comeback.

At its peak, The Radio Magazine was the must-read publication for the radio industry, full of exclusive news, jobs, gossip, advertisements, dates for your diary and of course, Rose’s Rambling by the much loved editor. It started as a one man operation produced on a small Amstrad computer and stapled by hand and sent out to stations and enthusiasts.

Any writer or advertiser who would like to continue reaching the radio industry is welcomed to contact RadioToday for an informal chat.

The first 52 editions of BBC Radio 6 Music’s Friday Rock Shows are to be re-broadcast by TeamRock Radio.

The programmes, hosted by Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden and produced by Smooth Operations, will start this weekend and air each Saturday and Sunday morning for six months.

All 52 programmes will also be available on demand at

John Myers, Chairman of TeamRock said: “This is the second agreement we’ve reached with the BBC to re-broadcast programmes from their rock vault. I am delighted that we have come to a deal where these programmes can he heard once again on the air and also on, the home of rock music worldwide.”

Moose, Head of Radio at TeamRock Radio said: “Bruce Dickinson is an icon within the rock community and these programmes will be much sought after by our listeners. They will add to the enormous breadth of output we have at TeamRock Radio and what’s more, they can hear them all at once – on demand. What a great gift for rock fans the world over”.

TeamRock has also created a programme to celebrate the life of Pantera and Damageplan Guitarist Dimebag, Darrell Abbott. This special is available to listen to online now and will air on Monday 8th December exactly 10 years since his death.


Sweden and Switzerland have published roadmaps for a digital switchover from FM to DAB+.

It comes just days after German public broadcaster ARD announced its commitment to a transition to DAB+, and weeks after Norway announced all criteria have been met for FM switch off in 2017.

WorldDAB Press Release: Swedish Digital Radio Coordinator, Nina Wormbs, presented a roadmap to the Minister of Culture, outlining a plan developed in coordination with public service and commercial radio sectors. Parliament is now expected to make a decision on the roadmap in autumn 2015. A decision to proceed with the plan will allow for compulsory procurement of the distribution network. The plan has three parts:

  • a mutual launch by the commercial and public radio sectors with 70% coverage by Christmas 2016
  • the extension of existing analogue commercial licenses, with no license fees, until FM transmissions are discontinued, to enable
    commercial radio to plan and invest in the new digital distribution system
  • shutdown of FM in 2022, conditional on four criteria – coverage to be the same as existing FM transmissions (99.8%), increased offer and more value to the listener, 50% of daily listening to be via digital radio and practical possibilities to convert cars

If these conditions are met in 2020, then FM is to be discontinued in 2022 – or, if the criteria are not met at that time, FM shutdown will be in 2024. FM shutdown will not affect community radio, they can continue to broadcast on FM if they so choose at that time.

And the Swiss commercial and public radio sectors joined forces with OFCOM to form the Digital Migration (DigiMig) working group, and today submitted a report to the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications of Switzerland (DETEC) outlining a roadmap for a switchover from FM to DAB+. The report states that Swiss radio stations should be broadcast via DAB+ by 2024 at the latest, with FM transmitters being phased out by this date. The report has two phases:

  • Phase 1 runs until 2019 and provides for specific marketing and communications measures to promote digital radio listening at home and in the car
  • Phase 2 provides for the phased switch off of FM transmitters between 2020 and 2024

The reports from both countries are the product of close collaboration between the public and commercial radio sectors and both cite the fact that FM has reached its capacity limits as one of the main reasons for digitising radio.

Yesterday’s announcements reflect the growing momentum towards the rollout of DAB/DAB+ digital radio across Europe, with well over 90% network coverage now available in the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, and although in a pre-launch phase, at 65% in Italy. Over 30 million domestic and automotive DAB/DAB+ receivers have now been sold – with annual sales almost doubling in the last four years. In Germany, it was announced in October 2014 that receiver sales have increased by 52% year-on-year. In the UK, the government remains committed to a digital future for radio, and 58% of new cars sold are now line-fit with DAB. In November, at the WorldDMB General Assembly in Rome, Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development announced its commitment to a national rollout of DAB+.

As many radio device, automotive and mobile phone manufacturers are targeting a pan-European market, greater progress can be made with commitment to a harmonised pan-European digital future for radio, leading to more choice for the listener, improved audience reach and significantly lower transmission costs for the broadcaster.

Patrick Hannon, President of WorldDMB, said “The pace of change in digital radio is accelerating. For listeners, DAB+ offers greater choice, clearer sound and additional data; for society, DAB+ allows radio to remain anonymous and free to air. The announcements from Sweden and Switzerland send a clear statement that the future of radio is digital.”



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