Following successful Radio Cracker broadcasts in December 1991 and December 1992, interest in a permanent station for Bridgwater began to emerge. Two of BCRfm's founders, Dave Englefield & Mark Painter, had worked on both Cracker RSLs, with Mark as Programme Controller for the second broadcast and Dave as his deputy. The possibility of a station for Bridgwater was discussed, but dismissed as implausible - at that time the viability of small scale services had yet to be demonstrated.
There was a resurgence of intrerest in 1996 when a group from outside the area applied to run "Sedgemoor Radio" over 17 days in April - with Dave Englefield as the only locally-based broadcaster. The following month, the inaugural BCRfm meeting was held at which Dave & Mark were joined by Nick Rickards (known on air as Nick Francis) and David Hutchinson. Nick's prospective role, as a former salesman, was to head up the station's sales operation, while David Hutchinson brought substantial business experience to the team. The first RSL licence was applied for and granted in Dave Englefield's name (as all 6 BCRfm RSLs were) to run from 2-29th November 1996. The level of interest in radio in Bridgwater was underlined by the emergence of a third RSL at the same time - Riverside Radio - which broadcast in October with an "indie & alternative" approach, with Mark Painter as Saturday afternoon presenter.
On Saturday 2nd November 1996 at 12.00 noon the then Mayor of Bridgwater Ken Parkin cut the ribbon to start BCRfm's first RSL, with the first show presented by Dave Englefield. For the first time, listeners in Bridgwater heard a station which was firmly rooted in the locality, originated and backed by local people, and broadly targetted at the whole community. Under the slogan of "Putting A Smile On The Face Of Bridgwater", a rich and varied programme schedule was created, culminating in live coverage of Bridgwater Carnival, which became an annual BCRfm event. Reaction to the first RSL was very positive - from both listeners and advertisers - and the project attracted sufficient revenue to be virtually self funding.
The line up for the first RSL broadcast on 105.4fm was:
First Day 2nd November 1996:- 12.00 BCRfm officially launched with a special programme presented by Dave Englefield (then known on air as Dave Johnson), Dave Hutchinson, Nick Francis, Mark Painter and a very young Scott Temple (then known as Scott Temblett), 1400 BCR Sport with Nick Francis & Scott Temple, 1700 Mike Harwood, 2000 Mark Painter, 0000 Night Train with Kevin Porter
Monday-Friday:- 0600 Nick Francis, 1000 Dave Hutchinson, 1300 Stephanie Painter, 1430 Jason Bird (originally scheduled to be Chris Edwards), 1600 Dave Englefield, 2000 (Mon-Thu) Jon Rich, (Fri) Mark Painter, 0000 Night Train with Kevin Porter.
Saturday: 0600 Jason Bird (???), 1000 Dave & Paul Stokes, 1400 BCR Sport with Nick, 1700 Mike Harwood, 2000 Mark Painter, 0000 Night Train with Kevin Porter.
Sunday: 0600 Mike Harwood, 1000 Ian Dyer/Grapevine, 1200 Scott Temple, 1400 Andy Preston, 1600 Maria Janes (Classical Hour, followed by Forties Favourites), 1800 Steve A, 2000 Mark Painter, 0000 Night Train with Kevin Porter
Following the first broadcast, David Hutchinson left to join a group applying for the Weston-super-Mare licence. His place in the founders' team was taken by Jackie Sealey. Jackie had been a keen supporter of the campaign and, as an experienced writer and journalist, was able to develop our local news output. Thus, the long term core team of Dave, Mark, Nick & Jackie was finalised in February 1997, in time for the second RSL
The history of BCRfm, from its humble beginnings up to its present form will appear here soon, along with pictures of the team. In addition I'll include as many of the schedules from the RSL days through to the last day as BCR on 28th February 2007:-
RSL (Restricted Service Licence) Dates and Details:-
November 1996 - 105.4fm
May/June 1997 - 87.7fm
November 1997 - 87.7fm
May/June 1998 - 87.7fm
November 1998 - 87.7fm
May 1999 16th-31st May - 87.7fm
Full Licence 4th July 2001 - 28th February 2007 - 107.4fm
The station launched at 10.00 am on 04.07.01 - with Dave Englefield at the controls, the first song played was Glass Tiger - My Town. Nick Burrett took over at 12, Nick Francis from 3 and Mark Painter from 7. The first full line up was:- Mon-Fri 0600 Dave Englefield, 1000 Nick Burrett, 1400 Lisa Coombes, 1500 Nick Francis, 1900 Mark Painter, 2300 Stacy Crago, 0100 Night Train. Saturday 0600 Dave Englefield, 1000 Mark Painter, 1500 Nick Francis & Neil Thompson, 1900 Roger Mack, 2100 Mike Whittingham, 0100 Night Train. Sunday 0700 John Bonner, 0800 Nick Burrett, 1200 Lisa Coombes, 1500 Jon Rich, 1900 Adrian Fraser, 2100 Mike Whittingham, 2400 Alan Newman, 0200 Night Train.
Nick B's show was extended to 1500 after a few weeks to allow Lisa to concentrate on her news duties. Following Nick Burrett and Roger Mack departing, Stacy took over the daytime show, with Lisa on late nights, it then switched again to: Mon-Fri 0600 Dave Englefield, 1000, Mike Whittingham (initially Stacy Crago), 1500 Nick Francis, 1900 Mark Painter, 2300 Stacy Crago (initially Lisa Coombes), 2400 Night Train. Saturday 0600 Dave Englefield, 1000 Mark Painter, 1500 Nick Francis & Neil Thompson, 1900 Jon Rich, 2300 Love Hour, 2400 Night Train. Sunday 0700 John Bonner, 0800 Mike Whittingham, 1200 Lisa Coombes, 1500 Jon Rich, 1900 TBC, 2100 Adrian Fraser, 2300 Alan Newman, 0100 Night Train.
QuayWest was the ILR station for Sedgemoor on 107.4 and also West Somerset where we broadcast on 100.8 and 102.4, until it was bought by new owners and closed on 24th March 2010
The final schedule for Sedgemoor was:
0600 Dave Englefield
1000 Steve Collins
1400 Mark Painter
1900 Jon Rich
0100 QuayWest Gold
0800 Mark Painter
1200 Drew Haddon
1400 QuayWest Sport with Spencer Bishop
1800 Totally 80's
2000 Saturday Night Party
0200 QuayWest Gold
0800 James Aldred
1200 Sunday Life with Steve Collins
1500 The Vinyl Countdown with Dave Englefield
1900 Lisa Coombes
2400 QuayWest Gold
The final schedule for West Somerset was the same as Sedgemoor except:
Mon - Fri:
0600 Drew Haddon
0800 Mark Eames
0800 David Mortimer
Team: Dave Englefield, Mark Painter, Nick Francis, Lisa Coombes, Stacy Crago, Nick Burrett, Jon Rich, Mike Whittingham, Roger Mack, Pete Roberts, John Bonner, Adrian Fraser, Alan Newman, Andy Saunders, Keith Oliver, Jo Hughes, Vicky Collins, Paul Green, Mike Taylor, Dan Elkins, Kevin Stratton