Broadcasting Milestones – Island of Jersey

History

pre-1955
There were no broadcast transmitters on the islands. Jersey was just another part of Western Europe where we could receive LW and MW from outside of the island.

1955
October, BBC1 TV starts from Les Platons, 405 lines B&W on VHF channel 4 (1kW horizontal, sound 58.25 MHz, vision 61.75 MHz).

1960s
The ‘Pirate Era’ in the UK, with many offshore broadcasters on MW. BBC launched Radio 1 in 1967 to compete, and Radios 2,3 & 4 were created from the old Light Programme, Third Programme, and Home Service.

The BBC started FM transmissions on 16 October 1961 from Les Platons, of the Home, Light and Third Programmes (had started in the UK in the mid-to-late 1950s). Later this became 91.1 as Radio 2 (with occasional Radio 1), 94.75 as Radio 3 (later rounded up to 94.8), and 97.1 as Radio 4.

Channel TV launched 1st September 1962 from Fremont Point, 405 lines B&W on VHF channel 9 (10kW horizontal, sound 191.25 MHz, vision 194.75 MHz), using a second-hand mast that began life in Croydon. Studios in Rouge Bouillon (opposite Drury Lane, replaced by Leslie Sinel Close), the move to La Pouquelaye was three decades later.

BBC 2 launched in April 1964, but not reaching Jersey until 1976.

1975
Jersey’s Hospital Radio Station, Radio Lions launched, although only received on a cable network around the hospital (Guernsey launched their hospital station, Jubilee Radio on 25th June 1978).

1976
Fremont Point UHF 625-line channels started up on 24th July 1976, bringing colour BBC1 and CTV, along with BBC 2 at last.

1978
A major change to BBC radio frequencies occurred on 23rd November. Little stickers were given away (coloured diamonds on transparent background) to be placed on radio dials to remind people where to tune. R4 took 1500m from R2, R3 went to R1’s 247, R1 got the new 275/285 etc.

1980s
The FM band fills up with numerous different independent French stations, both pirate and legal. The only source of good quality stereo radio for a decade to come (or ever, arguably!). Another way to have fun with a radio – the CB craze took off : http://www.geocities.com/jerseyconnect/cb/

1982
15th March, BBC Radio Jersey launched on 1026 kHz AM (Rue de Bechet – near the Steam Museum, Sion, Trinity), and 88.8 MHz FM (mono at first, Les Platons). Studios in Rouge Bouillon at Broadcasting House (later to move to Parade Road, leaving BH broadcasting nothing!). Mike Warr as manager. A young Richard Johnson joins.

16th March, the day after R Jersey, R Guernsey started on 1116 kHz AM and 93.2 FM (Les Touillets).

2nd Nov, Channel 4 TV started (Fremont Point UHF and relays).

1985
VHF TV finally switched off, making B&W 405 lines sets redundant. From now it was UHF 625 lines colour only, from Fremont Point, with relays at Gorey and La Collette St. Helier. (St. Brelades added much later, c2000?)

Normandie Sound started badgering the States for a licence.

1988-1991
25th Jan, French station Radio Force 7 (St. Malo, 1982-1998) went bi-lingual (until c1991), with shows aimed at an English-speaking audience – Jersey included, within the reception area.
5th September, French pirate Contact 94 joins in from Lessay, with a stronger signal than Force 7.

1989
The variety of French stations starts to decline, the new CSA can stop pirates, and stations are subsumed into large networks. Later the band is reorganised, more stations disappear, and later in the 90s the final blow is a legal requirement for 40% of music output to be in the French language. No interest left for Jersey listeners.

1991
Radio Force 7 English shows had just about fizzled out.

Normandie Sound ran Eclipse FM on satellite for 3 months until end of October.

November, the Radio Authority (http://www.radioauthority.org.uk/ – now OFCOM) advertised a franchise for 101.3 FM in Jersey. Similarly 104.7 was up for grabs in Guernsey, which had been used in the summer for short term broadcasts during the annual powerboat racing events.

29th Nov, Contact 94 ceases and joins the competition for a legitimate Jersey licence.

1992
BBC Radio 1 arrived in stereo in with its own frequency at last of 97.1 (ex R4). Radio 2 had a brand new frequency of 89.6 all to itself. R3 took 91.1 (was R2/R1), and Radio 4 took R3’s old 94.8 – these moves brought the Channel Island BBC frequencies more or less into line with the sub-bands used on the UK mainland. Radio Jersey’s 88.8 went into stereo too?

3rd March, closing date for commercial radio applications, £250 fee. A number of groups applied. Public domain (published) information :
Wave 101, with studios lined up in Bond St., names Dingle, Uphoff… later joined by ex members of Normandie Sound such as MacClinton and Pryor.
Jersey 1st FM, names such as Le Flem, Medlock, Rothwell, Gardner, O’Sullivan.
Channel Radio Limited, Rumboll, Mike Warr, Malcolm Hall, Whatmore, advisor G Durrell (going for a zoo format?!)
Jersey FM, Stein, Pitcher, Bonn, John Henwood, CTV studios.. Guiton group (later pulled out)
Jersey Music Radio was the Contact 94 application, Kirby and John Myers (Tyler), Voisin, Billington. A petition was signed by many for Contact 94 to get the licence, seeing as how they had pioneered the concept!

13th May, Channel Radio win the Franchise. Island FM win in Guernsey (also on 93.7 MHz in Alderney).

25th October – Channel 103 starts on 103.7 (101.3 had too much interference, and is still unused but apparently allocated to the UK national independent station Classic FM (http://www.classicfm.co.uk/) who have no plans as yet to use it, but available for RSLs). 103 managed by Richard Johnson (ex Radio Jersey), with John Uphoff (ex Wave 101 application), Peter Mac (ex Eclipse FM), Matt Howells (some Radio Jersey experience). Later joined by Robbie Donnelly (ex Eclipse FM), and Rob Gallichan & Steve Ross from Force 7.

1994
30th June, Channel TV and Channel 4 now with NICAM stereo.

1997
30th March, Channel 5 http://www.five.tv/ launched in the UK. As usual this won’t be available locally, blame the lack of free channels (i.e. our proximity to France) and the cost for this small population.

1999
103.7 franchise re-advertised on 9th July 1999. By the closing date of 12th Oct 1999, 2 applications were received from the existing licensee Channel 103 and from Sunny FM (Sunshine Radio Ltd) (“Television Centre, St. Helier.. contact: John Henwood MBE or John Tibbo” – http://www.ofcom.org.uk/)

2000
13th January, Channel 103 won the licence for the period 25th Oct 2000 to 25th Oct 2008.

10th June, Guernsey RSL Eden FM

August, Alderney RSL Quay FM

2002
28th June, BBC 1 and 2 TV finally get NICAM stereo too. Unfortunately the programme links from the mainland are now perceptually coded bitrate compressed – of lower quality than NICAM is capable of! Local inserts are often many dB louder than usual sound levels too :o)

2003
Both BBC Jersey and CTV are available on digital satellite, on the SKY EPG at programme numbers 101 and 103 (BBC regions are Free, without even a card – 971 upwards).

Island FM and Channel 103 (by now both owned by Tindle) ran an RSL in June/July for the Island Games in Guernsey, Island Sport 105.3 FM.

This was also transmitted in Jersey on 101.3 from a folded dipole on the end of a building by Normans at 5 Oaks, not bad coverage around the island on about 700W (RDS I-SPORT). Audio feed by internet link, slightly slushy but very listenable. The best station we’ve had locally for many years, and it was temporary!

Artist’s impression after the event! (Google map)

2008

Guernsey RSL : Old School FM from Elizabeth College on 87.7 FM , 28 June for one week (website)

Alderney’s Quay FM RSL 87.7 FM, 28th July 2008 until 24th Aug

2010
November, Freeview Digital Terrestial TV arrives, analogue switched off. More channels, including Channel 5 and HD in the form of BBC1 HD, BBC HD, Channel 4 HD.

“Fremont’s ITV and BBC2 (analogue) went first, before 1.30am, as they would be used (UHF ch 41 and 44) for the standard definition Freeview multiplexes. Ch4 went next (UHF ch 47), where HD services are now. BBC1 went last, as ch 51 is now clear and unused. “

2011
June, DAB arrives, extra section of mast added on top of Les Platons. But the local services cannot be carried, so it’s BBC national services only – limiting the appeal quite apart from sounding like the low bitrate digital audio that it is. The same programmes that are on Freeview anyway, for home use.

Links

Channel 103 FM, Jersey channel103.comjerseyinsight news (Google map) (studio on Streetview)
Island FM, Guernsey islandfm.com
Quay FM, Alderney quayfmalderney.com

BBC Jersey www.bbc.co.uk/jersey/(Google map)(studio on Streetview)
BBC Guernsey www.bbc.co.uk/guernsey/

Channel TV online channelonline.tv – (idents)(Google map)(studio on Streetview)

Hospital Radio
Jersey : Radio Lions (website)(Google map)
Guernsey : Jubilee Radio (website)

TX Site : Jersey FM BBC, Les Platons (details)(map)(Streetview)
TX Site : Jersey TV+FM 103.7, Fremont Pt (details)(map)(Streetview)
TX Site : Jersey TV, St. Helier La Collette (details)(map)(Streetview)
TX Site : Jersey TV, Gorey (details)(map)(Streetview)
TX Site : Jersey TV, St. Brelades (details)(map)
TX Site : Jersey AM 1026, Sion Trinity (details)(map)(Streetview)

TX Site : Guernsey TV+FM, Les Touillets (details)(Google map)
TX Site : Guernsey TV, Torteval (details)(Google map)
TX Site : Guernsey TV, St.Peter Port (Google map)
TX Site : Guernsey AM Radio 1116, Rohais (details)(Google map)

TX Site : Alderney TV, Les Rodiers (details)(Google map)
TX Site : Alderney FM 93.7+99, Fort Albert (Google map)

Originally posted on the Jersey Wavelength blog, March 2016

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