BBC Somerset

BBC Somerset, formerly BBC Somerset Sound, is the BBC Local Radio service for the ceremonial county of Somerset, England. The northern parts of Somerset – Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset - are also served by BBC Radio Bristol.

BBC Somerset
BBC Somerset logo
Broadcast areaSomerset
FrequencyFM: 95.5 MHz
MW: 1566 kHz
DAB: 10B Freeview channel 722
First air date11 April 1988
FormatLocal news, talk and music
OwnerBBC Local Radio,
BBC West
WebsiteBBC Somerset


The first BBC service for the county of Somerset was established in 1978, as an emergency measure following storms in the county.[1] The station proper was launched as BBC Somerset Sound on 11 April 1988, broadcasting on BBC Radio Bristol's former frequency of 1323AM. It was based in studios above a cafe on Paul St, Taunton, with a smaller satellite studio in Yeovil. The signal on 1323AM was for many years interfered with by a Russian radio station.[2]

In August 2002, BBC Somerset moved to new premises in Park Street, Taunton, and acquired a more robust frequency of 1566AM. On 3 December 2007, it was also given BBC Radio Bristol's former FM frequency of 95.5FM. It currently broadcasts on both of these, to the whole of the historic county of Somerset and beyond. Listeners from as far afield as Finland have reported hearing the station clearly. BBC Somerset sometimes uses its AM frequency for cricket commentary while regular programming continues on FM. BBC Somerset began broadcasting in DAB in September 2014.

BBC Somerset was for many years an 'opt-out' from Radio Bristol, but in May 2012, the BBC established it as a station in its own right. The BBC's Annual Report and Accounts for 2005/2006 stated:[3] "The BBC is committed to extending its network of local radio stations to a limited number of under served areas, and BBC management is carrying out preparatory work for new stations in Somerset, Dorset and Cheshire.".

On 6 October 2011, the BBC announced that it intended to close BBC Somerset's 1566MW frequency as part of its Delivering Quality First (DQF)[4] program of cutbacks. No decision on the timing of the medium wave switch-off has yet been made.

In November 2017, BBC Somerset moved from the Park Street premises to a new building on the edge of Taunton in Blackbrook.

The current editor of BBC Somerset is Nick Bull, with Andrew Enever as news editor.

According to RAJAR, the station has a weekly audience of 68,000 listeners and a 6% share as of December 2018.[5]

BBC Somerset bus

BBC Somerset got a new mobile radio studio in the shape of a single-decker bus in May 2007. The role of the BBC Somerset bus across the county includes:

  • To bring BBC Somerset out into local communities across the county
  • To help to improve what people in county want from their local radio station, and from the BBC in general
  • To promote the major BBC campaigns, such as the Reading and Writing project (RaW) and Springwatch and Autumnwatch among many others
  • To feedback to the BBC any brickbats and bouquets - from listeners/viewers who might not usually have the chance to comment
  • To broadcast live shows from towns and villages around Somerset

Programming for the bus, as well as the day-to-day operation and technical support was managed by Paul George.

In 2016, the bus became victim to cutbacks, and is no longer used by the station.

The Challenge

The Challenge Do One Thing
BBC Somerset took part in The Challenge

In 2007, BBC Somerset took part in an initiative to create the first carbon-zero radio station in the UK known as The Challenge.[6]

Carbon auditors CO2balance analysed at every aspect of the operation - from the mileage of the transport fleet down to what happens to the office tea bags.[7]

At the time of the audit, the station generated more than 64 tonnes of CO2 each year. On hearing the results the staff voluntarily dipped into their pockets to fund the three main accredited methods of carbon offsetting – tree planting, sustainable projects and carbon trading. On average the cost to each member of staff was between £25 and £50, depending on their salary. Staff also looked at all areas where pollution is generated to reduce the station's carbon footprint and make it more environmentally friendly. These included:

  • The fleet of cars for reporters were swapped for fuel-efficient vans.
  • Lighting systems were replaced with more energy-efficient ones.
  • Loft insulation was improved and double glazing was considered.
  • The electricity and paper supplies were checked to make sure they are eco-friendly.
  • Water coolers were removed in favour of tap water.
  • New recycling measures were introduced.
  • Eco-friendly cleaning products were introduced.


The station also carries off-peak regional programming for the West of England, including early morning and late night shows on weekdays (produced from Bristol and Swindon respectively), Sunday afternoon output from BBC Radio Gloucestershire and joint programming with BBC South West stations on Saturday evenings and Sunday nights.

Notable presenters

Local presenters

Former presenters

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2017 Diversity in Media Awards Radio Programme / Station of the Year BBC Somerset Nominated


  1. ^ "Aircheck UK, Avon and Somerset". BBC. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  2. ^ "Aircheck UK, Avon and Somerset". BBC. Archived from the original on 26 October 2009. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  3. ^ "Annual Report and Accounts for 2005/2006". BBC. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  4. ^ "BBC Delivering Quality First". BBC. Retrieved 2011-10-22.
  5. ^ "RAJAR". RAJAR. Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  6. ^ "The Challenge". BBC. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
  7. ^ "". Archived from the original on 23 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-03.

External links

Coordinates: 51°00′50″N 3°06′25″W / 51.0140°N 3.1069°W

BBC Radio Bristol

BBC Radio Bristol is the BBC Local Radio service for the English cities of Bath and Bristol and the surrounding area, which includes South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and North East Somerset. Launched in September 1970, it broadcasts from Broadcasting House in Bristol on FM frequencies 94.9 MHz (Dundry), 104.6 MHz (Bath), 103.6 MHz (Weston-super-Mare), and on DAB. The AM transmitter at Mangotsfield on 1548 kHz was closed in February 2016.

The Mendip transmitter, near Wells, used to broadcast BBC Radio Bristol on 95.5 MHz over a very large area, but from 3 December 2007, this was transferred to the new BBC Somerset service. Since the BBC relaunched BBC Somerset on FM, BBC Radio Bristol has been left free to concentrate editorially on Bristol, Bath and the rest of the former Avon area. On 11 December 2014, BBC Radio Bristol launched on Freeview channel 719, on the PSB 1 multiplex from the Mendip transmitter and its TV relays.Radio Bristol's main commercial competitors in its broadcast area are Heart West Country on 96.3 and 103 FM, Sam FM and The Breeze on 107.2 and 107.9 MHz.

According to RAJAR, the station has a weekly audience of 122,000 listeners and a 5.1% share as of December 2018.

BBC West

BBC West is the BBC English Region serving Bristol, the majority of Wiltshire, northern and eastern Somerset, the majority of

Gloucestershire and northern Dorset.

Bath Half Marathon

The Bath Half Marathon (also known as the "BATHALF") is an annual road running half marathon held in Bath, England. It has been held every year since 1982 except for 2018 when it was cancelled due to snow, normally on the second or third Sunday in March. The race was first run in the year after the first London Marathon in 1981 and has remained a popular race for runners preparing for the London Marathon. The next race is scheduled for Sunday 17 March 2019.

It is the largest single day charity fundraising event in South West England, raising over £2.2 million for charity in 2016.Since 2000 the race has been organised by Bath-based Running High Events Ltd.

Ben McGrail

Ben McGrail (born 4 November) is a British broadcast journalist, best known for his work at ITV News West Country as their Somerset Correspondent.

Bristol Channel floods, 1607

The Bristol Channel floods, 30 January 1607, drowned many people and destroyed a large amount of farmland and livestock. Recent research has suggested that the cause may have been a tsunami.

Chew Valley School

Chew Valley School is situated within the Chew Valley in Somerset in South West England. It is 8 miles (13 km) south of Bristol in the village of Chew Stoke, on a 30-acre (12 ha) site in open countryside overlooking the Chew Valley Lake.

It is the only secondary school in the Chew Valley area, providing further education to local children, from various local primary schools, and some pupils who live outside the catchment area. As of 2015, the school had over 1,160 pupils, including 186 in the Sixth Form.

Culture of Somerset

Somerset is a county in the south west of England. It has a varied cultural tradition ranging from the Arthurian legends to The Wurzels, a band specialising in Scrumpy and Western music.

Economy of Somerset

Somerset is a county in the south west of England. It is a rural county and transport infrastructure has been significant in industrial development. There is some heavy industry particularly related to the defence technologies and the county has several centres for stone quarrying, although the coalfield is now closed.

Agriculture and textile production continue to provide employment along with tourism.

Flag of Somerset

The flag of Somerset is the flag of the English county of Somerset. A campaign had been running between 2006 and 2009 in support of a flag and subsequently the Association of British Counties had taken up the campaign. The Lord Lieutenant of Somerset, Elizabeth, Lady Gass, had shown her support as had David Heath MP and the local TV, radio and newspapers. The flag was adopted following a competition in July 2013. This crest was mentioned in the book "The Once and Future King" by T.H. White, and is said to have been worn by Arthur during the first joust of Lancelot and Arthur.

Ian Liddell-Grainger

Ian Richard Peregrine Liddell-Grainger (born 23 February 1959) is a Conservative Party politician and former property developer. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bridgwater between the 2001 general election and 2010 and has been the MP for the Bridgwater and West Somerset constituency since 2010. He is a great-great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria.

James Purefoy

James Brian Mark Purefoy (born 3 June 1964) is an English actor. He played Mark Antony in the HBO series Rome, former college professor-turned-serial-killer Joe Carroll in the series The Following, and Solomon Kane in the feature film Solomon Kane. In February 2018 he starred as Laurens Bancroft in Altered Carbon, a Netflix original series.

He was born in Somerset and attended Sherborne School before training at the Central School of Speech and Drama. His appearances in stage plays and a variety of television roles in the UK and USA have grown since the 1980s.

List of BBC radio stations

This is a list of national, regional and local radio stations owned by the British Broadcasting Corporation in the United Kingdom.

Lou Brown

Lou Brown (born 1978) is an English singer-songwriter who received the 2003 Southwest's Young Achiever of the Year Award and took part in the Prince's Trust's "Soundlive" programme, where she was offered the opportunity to learn skills from professional working musicians, and subsequently won a grant from the Trust to fund her first major album project. In addition to releasing two albums, What Are You Singing About (2006) and Calm the Rising Waters (2010), she performed at Glastonbury Festival 2009 and appeared on BBC Radio 2's Wake Up to Wogan.A native of the Dorset seaside resort town of Bournemouth, Lou Brown describes herself as a folk artist and, in his March 2009 Folk World review of What Are You Singing About, Adolf Goriup wrote that "Lou is a wonderful singer with a soft voice and a great feeling for rhythm, which she proves with the outstanding opening song 'Morning Light'", concluding the write-up with, "Lou Brown has recorded an album that is really worth listening to... I’m sure you’ll like it." The album received airplay on regional UK radio stations such as Wave 105, Original 106 in Southampton and Bristol, Forest FM, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Southern Counties Radio, BBC Somerset and BBC Radio Solent. After years of gigging extensively around the UK, she took the album to America in 2008, playing a series of dates in Chicago and Iowa. Back in the UK, she played support slots for Hazel O'Connor, Paul Young, Boo Hewerdine, Albert Lee, Clive Gregson, and Steve Tilston. Her 29 June 2009 national radio debut on BBC Radio 2's Wake Up to Wogan came about in the aftermath of the Glastonbury Festival appearance. In 2010, her second album, Calm the Rising Waters, produced by Clive Gregson, was released.

Mendip transmitting station

The Mendip transmitting station is a broadcasting and telecommunications facility, situated on the summit of Pen Hill, part of the Mendip Hills range in Somerset, England, at 305 metres (1,001 ft) above sea level. The station is located in St Cuthbert Out civil parish in Mendip district, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) from the centre of Wells. It includes a 281.6 metres (924 ft) tall mast, which was built in 1967 and weighs around 500 tonnes, and is the tallest structure in South West England. The mast broadcasts digital television, FM analogue radio and DAB digital radio, and had broadcast analogue colour television from 1967 until 2010.

Until 2008 a GRP aerial cylinder, which contains the analogue television transmitting antennas, was located at the top of the mast, bringing the total height of the structure to 305 metres (1,001 ft). With a mean height of 596 metres (1,955 ft) above sea level, the analogue television antennas were amongst the highest in the UK. The analogue television antennas were removed in 2010, the original antenna cylinder being replaced with a new antenna assembly, ready for digital switchover in 2010. The new assembly is slightly shorter than the previous cylinder causing the overall mast height to be reduced from 305 metres (1,001 ft) to 293 metres (961 ft).There are red aircraft warning lamps (six sets of two lights) up the mast with two lights on top. The lights were upgraded in February 2007 to comply with CAA 2000 Air Navigation Order, designed to prevent low flying aircraft from hitting the mast.

The station is owned and operated by Arqiva (which acquired the National Grid Wireless, previously Crown Castle.)

The mast was repainted during 2007.

The mast has become a Mendip landmark, providing a method of identifying the hills from a distance.

Sisco Gomez

Francisco Javier Gomez-Aspron (born 4 February 1985 in London, England), known professionally as Sisco Gomez, is an English dancer and choreographer. He was awarded the Best New Choreographer award at the UK satellite version of The Carnival: Choreographer's Ball in 2005.


Somerset ( (listen) or locally ; archaically, Somersetshire) is a county in South West England which borders Gloucestershire and Bristol to the north, Wiltshire to the east, Dorset to the south-east and Devon to the south-west. It is bounded to the north and west by the Severn Estuary and the Bristol Channel, its coastline facing southeastern Wales. Its traditional border with Gloucestershire is the River Avon. Somerset's county town is Taunton.

Somerset is a rural county of rolling hills, the Blackdown Hills, Mendip Hills, Quantock Hills and Exmoor National Park, and large flat expanses of land including the Somerset Levels. There is evidence of human occupation from Paleolithic times, and of subsequent settlement by the Celts, Romans and Anglo-Saxons. The county played a significant part in Alfred the Great's rise to power, and later the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion. The city of Bath is famous for its Georgian architecture and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Somerset Premier Cup

The Somerset Premier Cup is the senior local county football cup for teams based in Somerset, organised by the Somerset County Football Association.

It was known as the Somerset Professional Cup until 1975.The current holders (2017–18) are Weston-Super-Mare.

Timeline of BBC Local Radio

This is a Timeline of BBC Local Radio

Tithe Barn, Pilton

The Tithe Barn at Cumhill Farm in Pilton, Somerset, England, was built in the 14th century as a tithe barn to hold produce for Glastonbury Abbey. It is a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument. The others are the Tithe Barn, Manor Farm, Doulting, the West Pennard Court Barn and the Glastonbury tithe barn, now the Somerset Rural Life Museum.

The barn, of coursed and squared rubble, was originally built in the 14th and 15th centuries to hold the produce from farms in the area who paid one tenth of their produce to Glastonbury Abbey as the landowner. It is one of four surviving monastic barns built by the Abbey.

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Radio stations in South West England
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