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BBC Radio Norfolk

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

BBC Radio Norfolk
BBC Radio Norfolk logo 2020.svg
Broadcast areaNorfolk
Frequency95.1 MHz FM (East Norfolk)
95.6 MHz FM (North Norfolk)
104.4 MHz FM (West Norfolk)
873 kHz AM (West Norfolk)
DAB Digital Radio
Freeview (channel 719 from 03/03/2015)
SloganThe sound of Norfolk, and all the music you love
FormatMainly local news and talk
OwnerBBC Local Radio,
BBC East
First air date
11 September 1980
WebsiteBBC Radio Norfolk

BBC Radio Norfolk is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of Norfolk, broadcasting since 11 September 1980. It broadcasts from the studios of BBC East in The Forum, Norwich on 95.1 FM (Stoke Holy Cross), 104.4 FM (Great Massingham), 95.6 FM (West Runton, near Cromer), 873 kHz AM/MW (West Lynn, near the A47 and River Great Ouse), DAB and through the internet using BBC Sounds.

The station has regularly been one of the most listened-to on the BBC Local Radio network, as highest-rated in mainland England in 2003 and 2006.[1][2] In 1986, the mid-morning programme The Norfolk Airline won the Sony Award for Best Magazine Programme,[3] and the station won its second Radio Academy Award 28 years later in 2014, for Local Radio Journalist of the Year.[4]

According to RAJAR, the station has a weekly audience of 160,000 listeners and a 8.6% share as of December 2018.[5]


Norfolk Tower on Surrey Street in Norwich. BBC Radio Norfolk was based on its ground floor from 1980 until 2003.
Norfolk Tower on Surrey Street in Norwich. BBC Radio Norfolk was based on its ground floor from 1980 until 2003.

BBC Radio Norfolk launched at 5:55 pm on 11 September 1980.[6] It was the first BBC local station in East Anglia and the first after a gap of several years in the corporation's local radio development, due to the Government's review of local radio (both BBC and independent services) in the late 1970s. Due to the policy of launching only one local radio service at a time in a particular area, when it came to choosing whether Norfolk or Devon would receive a BBC or commercial station first, there was contention between the BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) as to who would get which area. This was settled by the toss of a coin, the BBC winning and choosing Norfolk. The IBA got Devon and appointed DevonAir Radio.[7]

For several years until the launch of Radio Norfolk, BBC East had broadcast a morning radio programme, Roundabout East Anglia, a regional opt-out from the Today programme on BBC Radio 4.[7] However, this had a larger editorial area than any BBC local station, being heard across the same region as the BBC's Look East regional television news programme.[7] Like Look East, Roundabout East Anglia also broadcast from BBC East's regional headquarters at All Saint's Green in Norwich.[7]

Radio Norfolk was one of the first BBC stations to be based on a county, rather than a town; it was also first to broadcast in stereo (though only to East Norfolk; the remainder of the county had to wait until 2005). Initially, there was insufficient budget for a full schedule; the station had a breakfast show, a two-hour show at midday and then an extended five o'clock news and sports bulletin, while using BBC Radio 2 outside these times.[8] There was, however, a full local service at weekends, when it was assumed more listeners would be available.[8] After Keith Salmon took over as the station's managing editor in 1982, full local programmes began on weekdays.[8]

Originally, Radio Norfolk was at a former carpet showroom in Norfolk Tower on Surrey Street in Norwich. The station's first presenter on air was John Mountford and the launch was simulcast live on Look East. Mountford was one of several former Roundabout East Anglia personnel who transferred to the new station following that programme's demise.[9]

The station moved to The Forum in Norwich in June 2003.[10]

Notable programmes and presenters

The Forum, on Millennium Plain in Norwich, where BBC Radio Norfolk has been based since June 2003. The BBC occupy the wing of the building seen on the left-hand side of the picture.
The Forum, on Millennium Plain in Norwich, where BBC Radio Norfolk has been based since June 2003. The BBC occupy the wing of the building seen on the left-hand side of the picture.

Roy Waller presented a weekday afternoon show from the early 1980s until 2009,[11] which led to his being one of the best-known and most popular voices in the county,[12] described by the Eastern Daily Press as "a household name."[13] Waller also hosted a Saturday morning country music programme, Rodeo Norfolk, which he continued to present following his departure from the weekday show, until ill-health forced him to step down.[11] Waller's funeral in July 2010 was held at Norwich Cathedral and was attended by over 1500 mourners.[14]

From the early days of Radio Norfolk until 2007, Waller was the station's commentator for Norwich City matches, known as "the voice of Carrow Road".[11] The station devotes extensive coverage to Norwich City, the county's only professional football team, providing live coverage of all League and Cup matches, as well as a post-match phone-in show Canary Call and fanzine show The Scrimmage, both of which are regarded as amongst the station's most popular programmes.[15] In 2011, when BBC economy measures raised the idea that local radio football commentaries could be cut back, the possibility was criticised by the local press in Norfolk, praising the station for the passion of its commentaries.[16]

The Norfolk Airline, presented by David Clayton and Neil Walker, was the station's first mid-morning programme, launched in 1983.[17] In April 1986 the programme won the Sony Radio Academy Award for Best Magazine Programme, ahead of BBC Radio 4's A Small Country Living and Capital Radio's The Way It Is.[18] The programme also made the news itself, when James Prior announced his resignation as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland live during a show.[19] The success of Airline eventually led to Clayton and Walker departing to make programmes for national radio, on BBC Radio 4.[20]

From 1995 until his death in 2006, presenter and journalist John Mills presented Midday With Mills, a consumer affairs programme.[21] The show gained a strong reputation for solving listeners' consumer problems, and in 2000 was given the British Insurance Brokers' Association Media Award for its work in this area.[22]

From 1984 until 2009, Look East presenter Stewart White was the presenter of the station's Saturday breakfast show.[23] White was the first presenter to go on-air after the station moved studios from Norfolk Tower to The Forum in the summer of 2003.[24]

Managing Editors

BBC Radio Norfolk has so far had only five Managing Editors in its history. The founding editor was Mike Chaney, appointed at the beginning of 1980 to oversee the setting-up of the radio station.[25] Chaney had previously been working on the Today programme at BBC Radio 4, but lost his role there during a behind-the-scenes shake-up.[25] In recompense for this, Chaney was promised the editorship of a BBC Local Radio station, and was given the job at Norfolk.[25] Before working on Today, he had been the founding editor of BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat programme in 1973, and prior to this had worked as a journalist for The Sun newspaper.[26]

Chaney was succeeded in 1982 by Keith Salmon, who had been working at BBC Radio Oxford.[8] He had first joined the BBC in 1961,[27] and had also worked at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the BBC's famous electronic music and sound effects department in London.[28] At Oxford, Salmon had been a presenter and the programme organiser.[29] He remained Managing Editor of BBC Radio Norfolk for thirteen years, until his retirement in 1995.[27]

Tim Bishop had a background in local newspapers in Norfolk, having worked on the Eastern Daily Press and been the news editor for the Norwich Evening News, before joining the BBC in 1994.[30] Immediately prior to becoming the Managing Editor of BBC Radio Norfolk, Bishop had been the Education Correspondent for Look East.[30] He subsequently returned to the television side of BBC East's operations, and then became the Head of Regional and Local Programmes for the area in 2002.[30] David Clayton became BBC Radio Norfolk's Managing Editor in 1998, having been a broadcaster at the station since the early 1980s and the Assistant Editor under Salmon and then Bishop since 1991.[31] During Clayton's period in charge of the station, it gained its highest ever listening figures.[32]

Clayton was replaced in March 2016 by Peter Cook, who combines his role as Managing Editor for both Radio Norfolk and BBC Radio Suffolk.



BBC Radio Norfolk has frequently gained some of the highest audience figures of any of the BBC's local radio stations in England.[1][2][33] Figures from the radio audience measuring body RAJAR have regularly shown that over 200,000 people in Norfolk listen to some part of the station's output in any given week.[34][35] When criticising proposed BBC local radio cutbacks in December 2011, South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon claimed in a letter to Lord Patten, the Chairman of the BBC Trust, that only the national station BBC Radio 2 gained higher audiences in Norfolk than BBC Radio Norfolk did.[36]

Awards and accolades

BBC Radio Norfolk has twice won categories at the main industry awards, the Radio Academy Awards (formerly the Sony Awards). The "Best Magazine Programme" category was won by The Norfolk Airline in 1986, and in 2014 the station won its second Gold Award at the event, when the news team collectively won the "Local Radio Journalist of the Year" category.[4] In 2010 wildlife expert Chris Skinner was runner-up in the Best Specialist Contributor category for his broadcasts as part of Matthew Gudgin's programme.[37] In 2004, Today in Norfolk was nominated in the Best Breakfast Show category,[38] while in 2006 BBC Radio Norfolk as a whole was a nominee for the Station of the Year Award.[39]

BBC Radio Norfolk has also won success at the Frank Gillard Awards, the BBC's own internal awards for its local radio stations. In 2010, the station's Sophie Price won the Original Journalism category for a documentary she had made about teenage pregnancy in Norfolk.[40] In 2002 the station was the runner-up in the Best Radio Feature category for Liberators,[41] and in 2006 took another silver, when David Clayton's Norfolk Years programme was the runner-up in the Best Interactive Programme category.[42]

Local and regional awards have included a win in the Best Radio Programme category at the 2009 Creative East Awards for the show Treasure Quest.[43] At the 2006 EDF Energy East of England Media Awards the station's Paul Moseley won the Radio Journalist of the Year award.[44] He repeated this feat in 2007,[45] becoming the first two-time winner of the award. In 2009 Nikki Fox won the title,[46] and at the 2010 ceremony Nicky Price was joint-winner of the Sports Journalist of the Year category, while the Nick Conrad show took the Radio News/Current Affairs Programme of the Year title.[47]

At the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in 2011, presenter Paul Barnes won the Broadcaster of the Year category for his show The Late Paul Barnes, broadcast from BBC Radio Norfolk but shared across the BBC East region.[48]


Keith Skipper, a former presenter on the station until he left in 1995, has criticised BBC Radio Norfolk for a lack of local focus to some of its programming.[49] In an article published in the Eastern Daily Press in February 2012, Norwich City Independent Supporters Club chairman Robin Sainty described the station's post-match phone-in programme Canary Call as "audio surrealism", criticising the quality of callers phoning in with their views.[50]

District offices

Great Yarmouth

2 Whitefriars Court on Stonecutters Way in Great Yarmouth, BBC Radio Norfolk's district office and studio in the town from 1984 until 2017.
2 Whitefriars Court on Stonecutters Way in Great Yarmouth, BBC Radio Norfolk's district office and studio in the town from 1984 until 2017.

In the early 1980s, BBC Radio Norfolk had a small office for the district reporter based in Great Yarmouth, situated in the premises of the Port and Haven Commissioners on the town's South Quay.[51] A more substantial Great Yarmouth presence opened in the summer of 1984.[52] This was a district office and studio at Whitefriars Court on Stonecutters Way in the town.[53] The studio there was used for live inserts into programmes from Norwich, interviews with guests from the Great Yarmouth area, and the preparation of pre-recorded items by the Great Yarmouth district reporter.[53] The studio was also occasionally used for full live programmes.[53] At one point the Great Yarmouth office had a staff of three; a receptionist, a producer and a reporter.[54] Latterly, it was a one-person operation staffed only by the district reporter.[54] After 33 years of operation, the office and studio at Stonecutters Way was closed in April 2017.[53]

King's Lynn

The station's initial office in King's Lynn was located in a portable building situated behind the town hall.[55] This was later replaced by a more substantial studio in the town's Tuesday Market Place.[55] The King's Lynn district office and studio later moved to the North Lynn Business Village.[55] Some programmes would be broadcast from the King's Lynn studio once a week.[56]


The 95.1 FM signal covers the Norwich area, 104.4 FM covers the West and King's Lynn area, while 95.6 FM (which came on-air on 12 September 2005) serves north Norfolk. The Great Massingham transmission site used to broadcast the commercial radio station KL.FM 96.7. The Postwick transmission site formerly used to transmit Radio Norfolk also broadcasts 5 Live on 693 AM/MW, talkSPORT and Absolute Radio. The Stoke Holy Cross transmission site also broadcasts Heart East on 102.4 FM, Kiss 105-108 East on 106.1 FM and 99.9 Radio Norwich. The 95.1 FM signal used to come from Tacolneston. The West Runton transmission tower also has a TV relay on it. From 31 March 2003, DAB signals have come from the NOW Digital Norfolk multiplex, originally broadcast on Block 11B and moved to 10B on 10 September 2015. In January 2020 the BBC announced that Radio Norfolk's medium wave service from Postwick on 855 kHz covering the eastern part of the county was to close later in the year. The transmitter was finally switched off, after a period of service just short of 40 years, on the morning of 9 April 2020.


  • 11 September 1980 – BBC Radio Norfolk begins broadcasting at 5:55 pm from Norfolk Tower, Surrey Street, Norwich on 95.1 MHz VHF (FM) & 855 kHz (351m) MW/AM to East Norfolk, plus 1602 kHz (187m) MW/AM to West Norfolk. There were no FM transmissions to West Norfolk.
  • 12 September 1980 – Terry Wogan presents his BBC Radio 2 breakfast show live from the new station's studios.
  • 1982 – MW/AM frequency in West Norfolk changed, from 1602 kHz (187m), to 873 kHz (344m) MW/AM
  • 1984 – FM transmissions begin in West Norfolk on 96.7 MHz. These transmissions were broadcast in mono due to an off-air re-broadcast system. This picked up the Tacolneston 95.1 FM broadcast and re-transmitted it, but was unable to reproduce a clear noise free stereo signal.
  • 1986 – West Norfolk FM frequency changed, from 96.7, to 104.4 MHz FM (the mono broadcasts continued).
  • 1992 – The King's Lynn studio moves from Tuesday Marketplace to the North Lynn Business Village.
  • 2000 – Tacolneston transmissions cease and Stoke Holy Cross transmissions commence. These continue on 95.1 MHz FM but at slightly less transmitter power.
  • 27 June 2003 – Radio Norfolk ceases broadcasting from the original Norfolk Tower studios.
  • 28 June 2003 – Radio Norfolk starts broadcasting from the new BBC studios on the 1st floor at The Forum, Millennium Plain, Norwich. Look East presenter Stewart White is the first voice on air.
  • 12 September 2005 – As part of BBC Radio Norfolk's 25th birthday celebrations, the West Runton transmitter launches a new FM frequency (95.6 MHz) for North Norfolk.
  • October/November 2005 – Stereo FM broadcast for West Norfolk begin on 104.4 MHz FM.
  • 27 April 2007 – Chris Moyles presents his BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show from the station's studios, and Moyles' newsreader Dominic Byrne co-hosts on BBC Radio Norfolk with Nicky Barnes.
  • 16 March 2020 - Radio Norfolk programmes cease on 855 kHz, with a retune loop (voiced by Chrissie Jackson) then broadcast on this frequency until 9 April 2020.


The majority of the station's programming is produced and broadcast from Norwich, including some regional programming for the East.

The station also takes shared regional programmes from sister stations BBC Radio Suffolk, BBC Essex, BBC Three Counties Radio and BBC Radio Northampton. During the station's downtime, BBC Radio Norfolk simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.

Notable former presenters


  • Taking the Norfolk Air: BBC Radio Norfolk – The First 25 Years. Grice Chapman. 2005. ISBN 0-9545726-7-X.


  1. ^ a b "BBC Radio Norfolk – most popular BBC Local Radio station". 30 January 2003. Retrieved 11 February 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Radio Norfolk hits an all time high". 11 May 2006. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  3. ^ "David Clayton". April 2004. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b Plunkett, John (12 May 2014). "BBC Radio 2 named station of the year". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  5. ^ "RAJAR". RAJAR. Retrieved 27 September 2015.
  6. ^ "BBC Radio Norfolk: 30 years on the air". 9 September 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d "BBC Radio Norfolk's 25th anniversary". 9 September 2005. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d Bennett, Jill (June 2003). "The neighbour who came to stay". Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  9. ^ Taking the Norfolk Air, pages 10–11
  10. ^ "Come in, take a tour of our new home". 1 July 2003. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  11. ^ a b c "'Voice of Carrow Road' Roy Waller dies". Eastern Daily Press. 7 July 2010. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Norfolk's Roy Waller dies at 69". Radio Today. 7 July 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  13. ^ James, Derek (6 July 2011). "Remembering Roy Waller". Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  14. ^ "Roy Waller's funeral is attended by 1,500 mourners". 23 July 2010. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  15. ^ "Shake-up threatens top BBC radio presenters". Eastern Daily Press. 7 October 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  16. ^ Griffith, Daphne (21 November 2011). "Local radio under threat". Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  17. ^ Clayton, David; Walker, Neil (1985). BBC Radio's Norfolk Airline A-Z. Cambridge: Silent Books. p. iii. ISBN 1-85183-001-4.
  18. ^ Skipper, Keith, ed. (1990). BBC Radio Norfolk – The First Ten Years. Fakenham: Jim Baldwin Publishing. pp. 21–22.
  19. ^ "BBC Radio Norfolk – history". Archived from the original on 8 June 2001. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  20. ^ Barr, Richard. "Flying High on the Radio". Places & Faces. Archived from the original on 13 September 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  21. ^ "Radio Norfolk presenter John Mills dies". 3 March 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  22. ^ "Radio Norfolk presenter dies". Radio Today. 3 March 2006. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  23. ^ "BBC Radio Norfolk sees new morning line-up". 31 December 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  24. ^ Taking the Norfolk Air, pages 134–5.
  25. ^ a b c Taking the Norfolk Air, page 13.
  26. ^ McKenzie, Rod (17 September 2007). "A different Newsbeat". Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  27. ^ a b Taking the Norfolk Air, page 99.
  28. ^ Garrad, Michael (2008). "Brian Hodgson". Wheel Me Out. Archived from the original on 16 January 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  29. ^ "Classic Radio Oxford Pictures". October 2006. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  30. ^ a b c "New Regional Heads". 14 August 2002. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  31. ^ "BBC Radio Norfolk Programmes – David and Becky". Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  32. ^ Bale, David (21 December 2011). "Velvet-voiced Radio Norfolk editor and presenter David Clayton started off as a trainee accountant. He talks to  DAVID BALE about having no regrets about his change of career". Norwich Evening News. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  33. ^ "BBC Radio Norfolk as popular as ever". 1 August 2002. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  34. ^ "LOCALS: RAJAR Q4/10 roundup". Radio Today. 3 February 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  35. ^ "BBC Radio Norfolk: audience figures". Media UK. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  36. ^ Bacon, Richard (14 December 2011). "Bacon backs BBC Radio Norfolk". Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  37. ^ "Sony award scoop for Norfolk wildlife fan Chris Skinner". 11 May 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  38. ^ Plunkett, John (7 April 2004). "Moyles battles Ross for top DJ award". Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  39. ^ "Sony Radio Academy Awards 2006: nominations". 28 March 2006. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  40. ^ "Radio Norfolk documentary wins national award". 5 November 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  41. ^ "The Frank Gillard Awards 2002". 18 October 2002. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  42. ^ "Radio Manchester triumphs at Gillard Awards". 29 September 2006.
  43. ^ "Creative East Awards 2009". Creative East Awards. 2009. Archived from the original on 27 September 2010. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  44. ^ "Winners named in 2007 EDF Energy East of England Media Awards". Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  45. ^ "See the winners celebrate at the EDF Energy East of England Media Awards". Retrieved 11 January 2013.
  46. ^ "EDF Energy East of England Media Awards 2009". EDF Energy. 2010. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  47. ^ "EDF Energy East of England Media Awards 2010". EDF Energy. 2011. Archived from the original on 22 January 2013. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  48. ^ "Radio's Paul Barnes wins Parliamentary Jazz Award". 19 May 2011. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
  49. ^ Batson, Richard (30 December 2006). "Keith – Master of Bucolic Entertainment". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  50. ^ Sainty, Robin (11 February 2012). "Norwich City rise to the challenge against weary Bolton Wanderers". Eastern Daily Press. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2012.
  51. ^ "News from the east". Countywide. Norwich: BBC Radio Norfolk. Summer 1984. p. 18.
  52. ^ Stenton (editor), Zabelle (1984). Blue Book of British Broadcasting. London: Tellex Monitors Limited. p. 197. ISBN 0 9506167 0 2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  53. ^ a b c d "A new era for the BBC in Great Yarmouth". BBC Online. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  54. ^ a b Andrew Turner (28 April 2017). Waving farewell to Whitefriars Court (Radio). Great Yarmouth: BBC Radio Norfolk. Event occurs at 1'50". Retrieved 29 April 2017. Of course this used to be a base where it wasn't just one person like I am here on my own now, there used to be a receptionist, a producer and also a reporter
  55. ^ a b c Jill Bennett (2000). "The neighbour who came to stay". BBC Online. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  56. ^ Taking the Norfolk Air, page 111

External links

Audio clips

This page was last edited on 18 October 2020, at 17:30
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