BBC Radio Cumbria

BBC Radio Cumbria is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of Cumbria and broadcasts from studios in Carlisle.

BBC Radio Cumbria
BBC Radio Cumbria logo 2020.svg
Broadcast areaCumbria
FrequencyFM: 95.2, 95.6, 96.1, 104.1, 104.2 MHz
MW: 756, 837, 1458 KHz
Freeview: 721
SloganThe sound of Cumbria, and all the music you love
FormatMainly local news and talk
OwnerBBC Local Radio,
BBC North East and Cumbria (North and Mid),
BBC North West (South)
First air date
24 November 1973
WebsiteBBC Radio Cumbria


The county of Cumbria, from which the station takes its current name, was not created until 1974. Radio Cumbria began service on 24 November 1973 as BBC Radio Carlisle and could be received across most of the former county of Cumberland.

The station adopted its current name shortly before its tenth anniversary in May 1982, when its service was expanded to cover the whole of the administrative county of Cumbria, namely:

  • the former counties of Cumberland and Westmorland
  • the former exclave of Lancashire "North of the Sands"
  • the small area of the former West Riding of Yorkshire, around Sedbergh and Dent, that had been moved from Yorkshire into Cumbria.

BBC Radio Furness opt-outEdit

From the launch of the renamed station, between 25 May 1982 and 1991, an opt-out service, BBC Radio Furness operated in the south of the county at peak times — originally breakfast and lunchtimes on weekdays, and Saturday mornings. Programmes were produced in Barrow-in-Furness and used 96.1 MHz and 837 kHz. This meant that, in addition to the Furness area, Radio Furness could be received along the south coast of Cumbria, in parts of the Lake District, and the west coast as far as Millom. "Radio Furness" lost its separate branding in 1991 but programme opt-outs for the South Lakes and Furness at breakfast and during the afternoon continued until 1994. As a result of BBC cutbacks in the 1990s, programme opt-outs were curtailed although the Barrow studios have remained staffed.


Radio Cumbria claims to be listened to by one third of the county's population despite having to face the challenge of an area which is sparsely populated and predominantly rural, with the biggest urban areas around its perimeter. Most programming has a similar format to that of other BBC local radio stations, although one unique feature is the seasonal Lamb Bank - a short daily segments which carries announcements from farmers wishing to exchange livestock.

Radio Cumbria is unusual among BBC local radio stations in that its area does not correspond exactly with a single BBC television region. Due mainly to terrain, northern parts of Cumbria receive BBC television from Caldbeck, which broadcasts regional news from studios in Newcastle upon Tyne, directed at the "North East and Cumbria" region (the transmitter also broadcasts ITV signals from ITV Tyne Tees & Border in Gateshead). The rest of Cumbria receives regional news (the BBC's North West Tonight and ITV's Granada Reports) from Manchester via Winter Hill.

Attempts by the BBC in the 1980s to transmit North West Tonight to northern Cumbria proved unpopular because viewers objected to coverage of Derbyshire and Cheshire at the expense of their own locality, despite them receiving equally irrelevant news from North Yorkshire, Teesside and the north-east in the Newcastle-based Look North. For this reason, Radio Cumbria fulfils an important role in providing a unified news service to the whole county.

According to RAJAR, the station has a weekly audience of 83,000 listeners and a 9.2% share as of December 2018.[1]


On FM, Radio Cumbria broadcasts to northern Cumbria on 95.6 MHz (Sandale) - suitable for drivers on the M6 north of Penrith - and to the south of the county on 96.1 MHz (Morecambe Bay), with lower-powered relays on 95.2 MHz (Kendal), 104.1 MHz (Whitehaven) and 104.2 MHz (Windermere). It also broadcasts on medium wave: 756 kHz (Brisco - Carlisle), 837 kHz (Barrow-in-Furness) and 1458 kHz (Whitehaven). The Kendal, Morecambe Bay and Sandale transmitters have BBC National DAB, as well as a transmitter at Penrith Beacon. Digital One comes from Morecambe Bay and Penrith. MXR North West comes from Morecambe Bay.

Currently BBC Radio Cumbria does not broadcast on DAB, however plans to launch local DAB in the county are in place, and is anticipated to launch no later than 2021. Cumbria is currently the only BBC mainland English station to not broadcast on DAB.


BBC Radio Cumbria's studios in Carlisle.

The majority of BBC Radio Cumbria's programming is produced and broadcast from its Carlisle studios from 6am - 10pm on weekdays, 6am to midnight on Saturdays and 6am - midnight on Sundays. During the station's downtime, BBC Radio Cumbria simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.

The station's current presenters include Mike Zeller with weekday breakfast from 6am, Caroline Robertson from 10am, and Vicky Warham from 2pm.

Notable former presentersEdit

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit


  1. ^ "RAJAR". RAJAR. Retrieved 27 September 2015.

Coordinates: 54°53′45″N 2°56′27″W / 54.8958°N 2.9408°W / 54.8958; -2.9408