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Looking Back on the Last 25 Years

Chris Sigsworth Managing Director of Yorkshire Coast Radio with his thoughts on the last 25 years.

 

It was 9am on the morning of Sunday the 7th November 1993 that Yorkshire Coast Radio began broadcasting from Scarborough.

There had been much anticipation leading up to the launch, with test transmissions of waves and seagulls broadcast, along with details of what was to come.

Nobody really knew back then whether the station would survive.  It was the first commercial licence to be awarded to an area with a population of less than 100,000.  Everything was done on a shoestring, including the build of the studios in a former bank on Falsgrave Road in the town.

25 years later, and Yorkshire Coast Radio has become one of the big successes of the radio industry.  The station last month achieved its biggest audience ever, with 53% of the area’s population tuning in every week.  No other radio station in the UK mainland can boast a percentage reach higher.

I am proud to say that I was part of the launch team - a presenter, on-air on the very first day of broadcast.  I’ve been here ever since, so as well as Yorkshire Coast Radio celebrating 25 years today, I too am celebrating 25 years with the station.

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chris 1999

I am often asked what has kept me with the station so long.  I learnt very quickly what the station meant to the people in the area.  To me, local radio is all about the listener and serving the area you broadcast to.  As my career progressed I was lucky to get the opportunity to step up to bigger roles with the station, firstly as Programme Controller in 1997, then Station Manager in 1998 and in 2010, Managing Director. 

Throughout those years I have always endeavoured to deliver the radio station that the listeners want.  It’s not always been easy!  Yorkshire Coast Radio has had a number of owners over the years, and back in 2009 our owners at the time were in difficulty, and they were about to move the radio station out of Scarborough, to York. 

Thankfully a change of ownership brought a stop to that, and the UKRD Group took control in the summer of 2009, putting their confidence in the station and investing in its future.  Under the ownership of UKRD, Yorkshire Coast Radio has gone from strength to strength.  Their belief in ‘proper local radio’, and handing autonomy to the local station has been the key factor in enabling Yorkshire Coast Radio to grow.

Whilst I maybe the only constant over the last 25 years, the stations success has been built by many people who have worked here.  For many, we were their starting ground, and they have gone on to work at bigger stations around the country.  For most, they have fond memories of their time with us, and many say that Yorkshire Coast Radio is quite unique in the relationship it has with its listeners, something they haven’t experienced with other radio stations.

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I would like to thank all those that have contributed to the last 25 years, and it is only right that I give a special mention to the ‘team of today’.  We have some truly talented and dedicated people working at Yorkshire Coast Radio, and the team we have today are helping to deliver the Yorkshire Coast Radio for the future.

It wasn’t too long ago that all that mattered was what came out of the speakers.  Today however, the Yorkshire Coast Radio brand is about so much more.  Yorkshire Coast Radio is a provider of local content, and whilst ‘radio’ will always be at our core, we provide that content on whatever platform our audience wishes to consume it.  It’s about providing local news and information online, on mobile phones, apps, smart speakers, social media and more.  Many of those platforms were not even thought of 25 years ago, and who knows how we will be consuming local content in the future. 

What I am confident of is that Yorkshire Coast Radio will endeavour to be at the forefront of the changes ahead, and be the trusted source for everything local along the Yorkshire Coast.

From me and my team, to everyone who has engaged with Yorkshire Coast Radio over the last 25 years, ‘thank you’. We couldn’t have done it without you!