‘Tragedy’ as Wales’ oldest commercial radio station folded into UK-wide network

Radio broadcasting desk

Wales’ oldest commercial radio station Swansea Sound is to lose its regional identity and become part of a UK-wide brand.

It is one of 50 regional stations that will be folded into a UK-wide radio network broadcast from Manchester by commercial group Bauer.

Swansea Sound was the UK’s seventh independent local radio station when it launched on 30 September, 1974. BBC TV news presenter Huw Edwards is among those who started their career at the station.

But from September it will be rebranded alongside stations such as York’s Minster FM and the West Midlands’ Signal 107 under the name Greatest Hits Radio.

The stations will continue to offer some Welsh-language opt-outs from the main network.

 

‘Bland’

Bethan Sayed MS, Chair of the Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee, said the rebrand was a “tragedy”.

Swansea Sound is an institution in its own right in the area,” she said.

BBC Wales journalist Huw Thomas said: “Sad but unsurprising. Swansea Sound gave me a start in broadcasting and was one of the few commercial stations I worked at in the 2000s which hadn’t yet been given a bland re-brand.”

Dee Ford CBE, Group Managing Director Radio, Bauer Radio said the changes would provide “significant scale” for advertisers.

“Audiences love and trust radio. Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world,” she said.

“This ensures the provision of local news and information, traffic and travel as well as access for advertisers to highly valued audiences.”

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Jeremy EvansAndy WilliamsIan WishartEmlynSibrydionmawr Recent comment authors
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Keith Parry
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Keith Parry

Absolute disgrace. What do they do in the Wales branch of Offcom? They should insist all former independent local radio stations in Wales broadcast Welsh made programming with content for Wales. Employing local people and advertising Welsh based businesses. Where is the Minister of Culture? What is he doing to bring radio back into Welsh hands?
Listen to local radio in Ireland. Local radio as it should be.

Sue jones davies
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Sue jones davies

Absolutely agree.This should not be happening.We lost Radio Ceredigion and now Swansea Sound.
How can we ever hope to create a national identity,a national culture ancd pride with no outlets to express what’s happening in Wales? I would have thought after the confusion from most of our news coming from London centric sources during this difficult time, we would be looking to creat e more local news and entertainment outlets not less. Shameful and depressing .

david fox
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david fox

“Audiences love and trust radio. Expanding the Hits Radio Brand Network will ensure listeners to these acquired stations benefit from multi-platform digital distribution meaning they can continue to broadcast in an increasingly competitive, digital and voice-activated world,” it would seem even their comments are as bland as the music they will play….

Morris Dean
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Morris Dean

I’m sure that Welsh Labour will beat their chest and gnash their teeth. Politics as performance art.
How about….er…..devolving broadcasting, like you’ve had more than 20 years to push for from UK Government?

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

I wonder why we have a Monopolies commission and bother with Ofcom. If Welsh Labour don’t get on their hind legs about this (and I mean reverse it not accept bland meaningless ‘undertakings’) we will know the true interests of the Cardiff elite.

Dai Hand
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Dai Hand

Penderfyniad a digwyddiad gwarthus.
Beth am creu gorsafoedd rhanbarthol newydd ledled ein gwlad? Beth sydd yn ein rhwystro? Cyllud?

David Roberts
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David Roberts

Half of me is sad, but the other half is overjoyed….serves them right for regularly giving the Welsh-hating, homophobic, women-bashing bigot Marcus Stead regular guest appearances. He’s not even from the area?!?!

Plain citizen
Guest
Plain citizen

I agree. At least we should have local bigots, perverts and incoherent nutters on our airwaves.

paul
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paul

Well I will make sure I wont be listening to the new station. If everyone else did the same, they would soon change it back. But there is more chance of finding an honest Tory or Labour politician than that happening.

Sibrydionmawr
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Sibrydionmawr

This just about sums it up really “access for advertisers to highly valued audiences’. The good people of Swansea are just an audience for advertising and musical pap. I’ve never really been a fan of commercial radio as I detest advertising, which is really is just an attempt to sell people things they don’t need. However, I do have a soft spot for the Sain Abertawe I listened to all through the evenings I spent in a caravan in Pendine during the summer of 1985. I had started to learn Welsh in November 1984 and that summer job listening to… Read more »

Emlyn
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Emlyn

Swansea Sound/Sain Abertawe was the station we could reliably pick up in the evenings during the late 1970s. This was before Carmel started broadcasting on VHF. It was a local station through and through for both English and Welsh-speaking audiences.
Whenever I passed the studios in Gowerton, I felt strangely centred on civilisation. (I know, my world was rather limited!)
Why on earth has the local been gobbled up by rapacious market forces. Take up your pitchforks, and get your own airwaves back.

Ian Wishart
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Ian Wishart

Disgusting. Swansea sound is an institution in the Swansea area, and it gets chucked in the bin like a piece of scrap paper. Bauer you are making a grave mistake doing this. Your listening figures will be next to nothing. If its not broke then don’t change it.

Andy Williams
Guest

Our written paper media is a joke, now a radio station, 46 years old, has gone. We really are becoming a western region of England.

Jeremy Evans
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Jeremy Evans

Swansea, Sound key success was local broadcasting with local advertising. It has now turned into robotic presenters with national advertising. The listeners are tuning into other interesting stations broadcast by the bbc and independent stations. Hits radio short lived with no future