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BBC CWR logo 2020.svg
Broadcast areaCoventry, Solihull and Warwickshire
FrequencyRDS: BBC CWR, 94.8 MHz, 103.7 MHz, 104.0 MHz, DAB Digital Radio
SloganThe sound of Cov, and all the music you love
The sound of Coventry & Warwickshire
FormatLocal news, talk and music
OwnerBBC Local Radio,
BBC West Midlands
First air date
17 January 1990 (original)
3 September 2005 (relaunch after ten years of absence) Re-branded BBC CWR 23 February 2020

BBC CWR (formerly BBC Coventry & Warwickshire) is the BBC Local Radio service serving the City of Coventry and the county of Warwickshire. The station broadcasts on 94.8, 103.7 and 104 MHz FM, DAB Digital Radio and is streamed on the internet via the BBC Website and BBC Sounds.

Based in the Priory Place Shopping Precinct at the heart of Coventry City Centre, its studio complex is home to radio, online services, an interactive open centre and facilities for regional TV news. It is also the only Coventry local radio station based in the city itself.

BBC CWR broadcasts local programming from 6 am to 10 pm from Monday to Saturday and from 6 am to 6 pm on Sundays. It also simulcasts with other BBC Local Radio stations in the Midlands and BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.

According to RAJAR, the station has a weekly audience of 64,000 listeners and a 4% share as of December 2018.[1]


BBC CWR launch

The BBC Coventry & Warwickshire studios, with the logo clearly displayed.
The BBC Coventry & Warwickshire studios, with the logo clearly displayed.

BBC Local Radio in the 1990s underwent an expansion programme where counties and other areas without a local radio station were identified and five stations were to launch: BBC Radio Surrey, BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Wiltshire Sound and BBC Radio Warwickshire.

The Radio Warwickshire working title was changed to BBC CWR by the time the station launched on 17 January 1990. The name CWR (Coventry and Warwickshire Radio) reflected the wider area that the new station would cover, taking in the city of Coventry with the whole of the county of Warwickshire, which was then also served by BBC Radio WM. The station broadcast from a Victorian-style mansion on Warwick Road, close to Coventry railway station. Smaller studios were located in Atherstone, Nuneaton, Rugby, Stratford-upon-Avon and Warwick.

Problems and closure

From day one, BBC CWR faced strong competition from the established commercial radio stations in the area. Mercia Sound had been an outstanding success since its own launch ten years earlier in 1980. Xtra AM, the AM-only sister station from Mercia Sound, also enjoyed high listenership since it split from Mercia and launched in 1989.

CWR seemed to find it difficult to compete for the very large audiences built up by Mercia and Xtra. It was, however, well respected and highly regarded with its regular audience.

The BBC, under Director-General John Birt, deemed that CWR was not sufficiently successful in audience terms to warrant its continuation, and within increasing financial constraints in February 1995 CWR was to close. Regular listeners were hugely disappointed and phoned presenter Jon Gaunt to protest about the decision.

BBC WM merger

In 1995 BBC CWR merged with neighbouring BBC Radio WM in Birmingham, was renamed BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and would operate as an opt-out service from BBC WM with the remainder of the schedule as shared programming. This had the effect of alienating local listeners, whilst paradoxically presenters from WM, such as Ed Doolan, Malcolm Boyden and Tony Butler received high listening figures and distinctions with three Sony Radio Academy Awards, including Radio Station of the Year in 1996.

Its studios were relocated from Warwick Road to much smaller premises on Greyfriars Road. All local programmes except breakfast with Annie Othen, the afternoon show with Bob Brolly, Poles Apart on Wednesdays, and weekend football coverage of Coventry City F.C. were replaced with programmes from Birmingham.

2003 saw the station re-labelled as BBC WM across Coventry and Warwickshire.

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire relaunch

In 2003, the then Director-General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, announced on-air that Coventry and Warwickshire was again to have its own BBC Local Radio station. Describing the situation with presenter Annie Othen, Mr Dyke said that the station would be added to the BBC's Local Radio portfolio:

"I'm very pleased to announce that we're planning to open a new radio station in Coventry – an area that's been served by BBC WM since 1995. We hope the new station will be housed in a modern, vibrant building close to Coventry Cathedral in the heart of the city. Alongside the radio studios, there'll also be an open centre to provide access to BBC Learning facilities similar to the already established centres in Blackburn, Sheffield and Stoke. Open Centres provide a valuable community role, so this is an exciting venture for the BBC."

He also added that the 1995 closure of CWR was a mistake:

"The decision was made under different circumstances – and now we're in a position to change it."

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire relaunched as a stand-alone station on 3 September 2005 with full local programming for 15 hours a day.

In February 2020, BBC Coventry & Warwickshire reverted to the 'BBC CWR' name.

Current programming

BBC CWR has a varied mixed programming format, and plays much more music than other BBC Local Radio stations, such as BBC Three Counties Radio, which is predominantly speech-based. The local diverse make-up of the region also plays a part in the station's schedule, although Asian programmes have been transferred to the BBC Asian Network, on medium-wave in the area.

The station also runs an Open Centre at Priory Place, where people take part in learning and creative activities.

The majority of the station's programming is produced and broadcast from Coventry. During off-peak hours, BBC CWR also carries regional programming for the Midlands, produced from sister stations BBC WM and BBC Radio Shropshire.

The station's local presenters include Phil Upton (weekday breakfast), Vic Minett (weekday mornings), Brody Swain (weekday afternoons) and Trish Adudu (weekday drivetime).

During the station's downtime, BBC CWR simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.

Sports coverage

The station provides coverage of a range of sports, including live commentary, reports and updates. The flagship sports programme is BBC CWR Sport (also referred on air as Sky Blues Sport). It is broadcast mostly on Saturday afternoons (and occasionally on Sundays & weeknights). The mainstay of the coverage is live match commentary of Coventry City games (home and away in the Football League, FA Cup, Football League Cup and Football League Trophy). Commentary is provided by Clive Eakin, Steve Ogrizovic and Martin Winch. A weekly Friday evening phone-in programme about the Sky Blues is presented by Stuart Linnell.

Since their relocation to Coventry, the station has provided live match commentary of Wasps RFC games (as a part of BBC Sport's national contract with Premiership Rugby). Games in the Aviva Premiership, Anglo-Welsh Cup and European Rugby Champions Cup are broadcast predominately online (and, on occasion, on DAB and FM). Coventry RUFC's matches in the RFU Championship are also covered live. Alec Blackman, John Butler and Richard Moon are all involved with rugby coverage.

Online match commentary & radio reports of Leamington F.C. and Nuneaton Borough's games are also provided. Commentary of Warwickshire County Cricket Club games can be found on air and online.


The BBC initially supplied two powerful FM transmitters for BBC CWR to cover the whole of the county. A 2.2 kilowatt transmitter at an existing tower at Meriden provides Coventry and North Warwickshire with good signals on 94.8 MHz, a frequency vacated by BRMB Radio in Birmingham before it moved to 96.4 MHz in 1989.

The South Warwickshire area receives a strong signal on 103.7 MHz from a 1.4 kW transmitter located at an existing television relay site on a hill at Lark Stoke, 7.5 km west-northwest of Shipston-on-Stour and 12 km south of Stratford-upon-Avon.

A small pocket of poor reception in Nuneaton was later resolved by adding a low power relay transmitter on 104.0 MHz

BBC CWR went digital shortly after the launch of the local DAB multiplex on 31 January 2001 with NOW Digital 12D Coventry in the Coventry area with transmissions from Samuel Vale House (central Coventry), Barwell Water Tower near Hinckley, Meriden and Leamington Spa. BBC C&W is carried along with other local stations Free Radio formerly Mercia FM, Classic Gold 1359 and Touch FM.

BBC CWR use the 2020 BBC Local Radio imaging package produced by Reelworld Europe, with Alex James, Anna Foster and Jim Davis used as voiceovers.

Notable past presenters

See also


  1. ^ "RAJAR". RAJAR. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  • BBC Coventry and Warwickshire [1].
  • MDS975 – BBC CWR History [2]
  • Aircheck – History of Radio articles [3].

External links

Audio clips

This page was last edited on 14 September 2020, at 19:29
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