Burnhope transmitting station

The Burnhope transmitting station was originally built by the Independent Television Authority (ITA) as its sole 405-line transmitting station service the Tyne Tees Television region.

Burnhope from Springwell Farm (2nd Octiber 2018).jpg
Burnhope from Springwell Farm with Burnhope Television Mast in the background.
Burnhope transmitting station is located in County Durham
Burnhope transmitting station
Burnhope transmitting station (County Durham)
LocationBurnhope, County Durham
Mast height228.6 metres (750 ft)
Coordinates54°49′19″N 1°42′52″W / 54.822°N 1.7145°W / 54.822; -1.7145Coordinates: 54°49′19″N 1°42′52″W / 54.822°N 1.7145°W / 54.822; -1.7145
Grid referenceNZ184474
ITV regionTyne Tees Television (1959–1985)
Local TV serviceCounty Durham Television

Test transmissions started in December 1958 approximately one month before the launch on Tyne Tees Television on 15 January 1959. It was built close to the existing BBC Band I station at Pontop Pike. This was the eighth transmitter opened by the ITA.

From the station's 750 foot mast, transmissions from Burnhope were on VHF Channel 8 at a peak vision ERP of 100 kW, successfully covering a region spanning the North Yorkshire moorlands and Teesside in the South, to the remote upper reaches of Northumberland in the North.

With the advent of UHF with its 625-lines, the adjacent Pontop Pike transmitting station carried these services to the Newcastle and County Durham area from 1967 onwards, confining Burnhope to 405-line transmission. In due course, further main UHF transmissions were established at Bilsdale West Moor (serving North Yorkshire and Teesside) and Chatton (serving upper Northumberland).

The transmitter would later get a new lease of life with the advent of Independent Local Radio (commercial radio or ILR). Burnhope extended its remit by providing the transmissions for the first ILR service in the North East of England - Metro Radio on 97.0 MHz (now on 97.1 MHz).

After the 405-line television service ceased in January 1985, Metro Radio was for many years, the only broadcasting duty performed by the transmitter until the early 1990s, when a new tranche of commercial radio (regional) became available.

On 1 September 1994, the transmitter started broadcasting the first new regional radio service to the North East. Launched as Century Network, it then broadcast as Real Radio (North East) and is now Heart North East. It was followed almost five years later (1 June 1999), by Galaxy North East, now Capital North East.

TV returnsEdit

In between the launch of the first two regional services, a new television service launched in 1997. March 1997 saw the launch of Channel 5, with Burnhope, along with a number of other ITA-built transmitter stations which had not been used since the 405-line closure, broadcasting the new television service.

Channel 5's analogue transmission from Burnhope ceased upon closure of the analogue TV service in the North East of England, which took place in the final phase of the digital switchover in September 2012. Channel 5 would then only be available digitally via the Pontop Pike transmitting station.

Further radioEdit

Two further analogue radio services would launch using this transmitter. On 5 December 2005, Durham FM launched a low-powered service to County Durham with a third and final regional service launched on 8 January 2008 (97.5 Smooth Radio).

The transmitter is also used to carry the two local DAB signals (Bauer Digital) locally, and MXR Digital regionally.

Services availableEdit

Analogue radioEdit

Frequency kW[1] Service
97.1 MHz 10 Metro Radio
97.5 MHz 9 Smooth Radio
101.8 MHz 10 Heart North East
102.8 MHz 0.5 Star Radio North East (Durham)
105.3 MHz 10 Capital North East

Digital radioEdit

Frequency Block kW Operator
220.352 MHz 11C 4.8 Bauer Tyne & Wear

Analogue televisionEdit

15 January 1959 – 3 January 1985Edit

Frequency VHF kW Service
189.75 MHz 8 100 Tyne Tees Television

30 March 1997 – 26 September 2012Edit

Frequency UHF kW Service
847.25 MHz 68 50 Channel 5


  1. ^ Radio Listeners Guide 2010

External linksEdit