BBC Radio Bristol

BBC Radio Bristol
City Bath and Bristol
Broadcast area Bath and Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset and North East Somerset
Frequency FM 94.9 MHz (Dundry), 103.6 MHz (Hutton), 104.6 MHz (Bath)
Freeview channel 719
First air date September 1970
Format Local news, talk and music
Language(s) English
Owner BBC Local Radio,
BBC West
Website 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,[1] 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. BBC Somerset and BBC Radio Bristol share many programmes, mainly during off-peak hours. 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.[2]

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.


The majority of the station's programming is produced and broadcast from Bristol, including some regional programming for the BBC West and BBC South West regions. As with all BBC Local Radio stations, it also airs the networked weekday evening shows, originating from BBC Radio Leeds and produced independently by Wire Free Productions.

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

During the station's downtime, BBC Radio Bristol simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight on weekdays. On Friday and Saturday nights, Radio Bristol airs specialist and community-oriented programming, including output from Ujima Radio and BCFM.

The station's local presenters include Joe Lemer (weekday early breakfast), Emma Britton (weekday breakfast), John Darvall (weekday mornings), Steve Yabsley (weekday lunchtime), Claire Cavanagh (weekday afternoons), Laura Rawlings (weekday drivetime), Geoff Twentyman (Radio Bristol Sport), Dan Chisholm (weekday late show), Ali Vowles (Saturday breakfast), James Hanson (Saturday lunchtime) and Richard Lewis (Sunday mornings).

Notable past presenters

Kate Adie and Michael Buerk produced and presented programmes for BBC Radio Bristol in the 1970s - Buerk was also the very first voice to be heard on the station.[1]

Another notable presenter during the early 1970s was Kenny Everett, who pre-recorded his shows from his farmhouse in Sussex.[3]

The comedian Chris Morris worked for the station in the late 1980s, presenting and producing his own weekend show, No Known Cure. He was fired from the station after "talking over the news bulletins and making silly noises".[13]

One of the station's longest serving presenters was veteran local journalist Roger Bennett, who joined at launch as a reporter, before going onto present its flagship breakfast programme, Morning West, from 1974 to 2003. He continued to freelance at Radio Bristol until his death in July 2005.[4]

Other past presenters include Susan Osman who also co-presented Points West for 14 years, and John Turner, who spent almost 30 years on the station between 1978 and 2007[5].

The presenter of BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour Jenni Murray started her BBC career with Radio Bristol, as did the Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid.

John Howard, who produced and co-wrote the stations award winning 1979 comedy programme 'That Was The West That Was', was a regular presenter on the station in the late 70s and went on to be one of the main presenters of "You and Yours" on BBC Radio 4.

The doctor and comedian Dr Phil Hammond presented a Saturday morning show called "Saturday Surgery" for 12 years, but was taken off air in August 2018 after announcing his intention to stand for parliament.[6]


In November 2008, BBC Radio Bristol presenter Sam Mason was dismissed following an incident in which she made alleged racist remarks made in an off-air phone conversation during a weekday afternoon show. Whilst phoning a taxi firm in order to send her 14-year-old daughter from Mason's Clifton home to her grandparents' home, she was said to have asked the company not to send an Asian driver.[7][8]


  1. 1 2 "Radio Bristol - station history". BBC. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
  2. "BBC launches Radio Bristol on Freeview". a516digital. 10 December 2014.
  3. Guide, British Comedy. "Kenny Everett: The BBC Local Radio Years press clippings - British Comedy Guide". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 5 January 2017.
  4. BBC mourns death of presenter Roger Bennett,, 13 July 2005
  5. "John Turner announces retirement from Radio Bristol". BBC. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  6. "BBC host Dr Phil Hammond leaves show over election bid". BBC. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  7. Coles, John (11 November 2008). "BBC girl: Don't send me an Asian cabbie". London: The Sun. Retrieved 1 April 2009.
  8. "'Racism' row BBC host is replaced". BBC News. 11 November 2008. Retrieved 16 February 2009.

Coordinates: 51°27′40″N 2°36′29″W / 51.4611°N 2.6080°W / 51.4611; -2.6080

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