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Coordinates: 52°14′23″N 0°53′24″W / 52.239662°N 0.890092°W / 52.239662; -0.890092

BBC Radio Northampton
BBC Radio Northampton.png
CityNorthampton
Broadcast areaNorthamptonshire
Frequency104.2 FM, 103.6FM, DAB, Freeview channel 734 - RDS = BBC Nhtn
First air date16 June 1982
FormatLocal news, talk and music
Language(s)English
OwnerBBC Local Radio,
BBC East
BBC East Midlands
WebsiteBBC Radio Northampton

BBC Radio Northampton is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of Northamptonshire. It broadcasts from its studios in Broadcasting House, Abington Street, Northampton (a listed building) on 104.2FM (Northampton) and 103.6FM (Geddington, between Kettering and Corby) [1]

The station's Managing Editor is Aftab Gulzar, with Laura Cook as news editor.

According to RAJAR, the station has a weekly audience of 90,000 listeners and a 8.9% share as of December 2018.[2]

OpeningEdit

The station was launched at 6:45am on 16 June 1982 on 1107 AM and 96.6 FM, with Jon Beynon's programme Start the Day, the first piece of music being John Williams's Superman theme, followed by Work that Body by Diana Ross.

The first outside broadcast followed on 17 June 1982, and the official opening was performed by the Duke of Gloucester.

The station was renamed BBC Northampton in 1990, but then changed to BBC Radio Northampton on 3 April 2000.

 
Broadcasting House in Abington Street, Northampton

TransmittersEdit

The station has two FM transmitters, with 104.2 FM broadcast from the Boughton Green Road area of Northampton, and 103.6 FM broadcast from a mast near the village of Geddington. Listeners can tune into 104.2 in the south and west of the county (including Northampton and surrounding area), whereas 103.6 serves the north and east (including Kettering and Corby).

Along the M1, the station can be heard on 104.2 FM from Milton Keynes to Copt Oak (near Leicester). There is no longer a MW frequency, but the station went digital on DAB in March 2013. Radio Northampton was originally available on 1107 kHz MW across the County from a transmitter at Kings Heath; this was reallocated to Virgin Radio using 1233 kHz. For the north-east of the county near Oundle, the Peterborough transmitter has Radio Cambridgeshire on DAB from a NOW Digital multiplex. The Northampton transmitter also has the Global Radio-owned regional commercial station Heart FM on 96.6FM, and has national radio frequencies.

The transmitter at Daventry on Borough Hill has BBC National DAB, Digital One 11D and an MXR West Midlands 12A multiplex (since August 2001). This transmitter was the BBC's first Long wave transmitter, beginning 27 July 1925. It had not been previously used by the BBC since 1978.

It is also available through television (from the Waltham and Sandy Heath transmitters) on Freeview Channel 734.

DAB licenceEdit

On 11 October 2007, the DAB licence was awarded to NOW Digital. MuxCo had also bid for the licence.

NOW Digital expected to start broadcasting from the three transmitters at Northampton, Geddington and Daventry in September 2008, however transmissions eventually began on 28 March 2013 on DAB channel 10C. The line-up was identical to that of the neighbouring Herts, Beds and Bucks multiplex, consisting of local Northamptonshire stations (BBC Radio Northampton: countywide, Connect FM: Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby) and national stations (Capital, Gold and Heart: Northants, Bucks, MK, Beds and Herts regional service), along with stations aimed at the Herts, Beds and Bucks area (BBC Three Counties Radio and MKFM).

From February 2015, OFCOM approved the separation of the Northamptonshire multiplex from the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire multiplex, resulting in the removal of BBC Three Counties Radio, BOB fm and MKFM from the Northamptonshire multiplex, and the removal of BBC Radio Northampton from the Herts, Beds and Bucks multiplex.[3]

Sports coverageEdit

BBC Radio Northampton airs extensive sports coverage, led by editor Graham McKechnie. Football commentators include Tim Oglethorpe, Alex Winter, Ian Benjamin and Terry Angus for Northampton Town, Peter Short for Kettering Town, Chris Barrett at Brackley/Rushden and Chuck Middleton at Corby. McKechnie commentates on Northampton Saints rugby with Lennie Newman and Ian Hunter. Northants Steelbacks cricket commentators include McKechnie, Alex Winter and Lee Daggett. When not broadcast on FM, every match is covered on-line. The sports team is also supplemented by News Editor Laura Cook who has a particular interest in motor sport and horse racing. The station broadcasts 3 weekly sports shows from 6 - 7PM, The Saints Show on Wednesday presented by McKechnie, Newman and Hunter, focusing on a guest from Northampton Saints, The Cobblers Show/The Cricket Show on Thursday and Friday Night Sport.

BrandingEdit

BBC Radio Northampton now use the generic BBC Local Radio jingles by Mcasso Music Production.

ProgrammingEdit

The majority of BBC Radio Northampton's programming is produced and broadcast from its Northampton studios.

During off-peak hours, BBC Radio Northampton also carries regional programming for the East, produced from sister stations BBC Radio Norfolk, BBC Essex, BBC Three Counties Radio and BBC Radio Suffolk. During the station's downtime, BBC Radio Northampton simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.

The station's local presenters include Annabel Amos (weekday breakfast), Bernie Keith (weekday mornings / Saturday evenings), Helen Blaby (weekday afternoons), Wayne Bavin (weekday drivetime) and Tim Wheeler (weekday evenings).

Notable former presentersEdit

ViLoREdit

ViLoR (Virtual Local Radio) is the name of a BBC project that uses computer virtualisation and audio-over-IP to reduce the amount of equipment at a radio station. In 2014 Radio Northampton became the first station to operate in this way. [4] ViLoR is to be implemented at all BBC Local Radio stations. [5]

Satellite VanEdit

Like other BBC local radio stations Radio Northampton no longer uses a car with a pump-up mast to get reports from locations around its area and instead uses a van with a satellite dish.

 
Satellite Van

Notable eventsEdit

Involvement in U.S. presidential inaugurationEdit

BBC Northampton operates the Twitter account "@BBCNorthampton". A tweet was sent from the Twitter account on the day after the President's Inauguration, claiming that Donald Trump had been shot, but later the BBC confirmed that the account had been hacked.[6]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ BBC Radio Northampton.
  2. ^ "RAJAR". RAJAR. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  3. ^ Roy Martin (20 January 2015). "DAB splits in Herts, Beds, Bucks and Northants". Radio Today. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
  4. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2014/virtual-local-radio-stations
  5. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/academy/technology/article/art20130802172702565
  6. ^ "BBC Northampton 'Trump shot' tweet blamed on hacker". 21 January 2017. Retrieved 21 January 2017.

External linksEdit