16th March 1982

BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air

Guernsey got its first radio station in 1982. BBC Radio Guernsey, which opened on 16th March, had just four staff. It broadcast for one hour a day from studios at Commerce House, and covered Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm.

Being an exclusively AM (medium wave) station meant it could only broadcast in mono, but that changed three years later when it switched to full stereo on FM. This was unusual, as the BBC’s earliest local radio stations had each launched exclusively on FM, and only later adopted AM. The policy was a way to promote FM, which then was still quite new, with the later adoption of AM reflecting the fact that as the more popular band it might increase the audience.

Old Radio

Opening broadcast

The station was opened by the Bailiff, John Loveridge, and the first voice heard on air was producer Peter Rouse. Appropriately enough, the first record played was Cliff Richard’s Wired for Sound.

BBC Radio Jersey had gone on air the day before Guernsey – Monday 15 March. Even this, though, was far from the first to go live. BBC Radio Leicester was the trail-blazer, launching on 8 November 1967.

BBC Radio Guernsey today

The station is now based on Bulwer Avenue, in a building it shares with ITV. It still broadcasts on both AM and FM (1116AM and 93.2FM), as well as on digital radio and the Internet. The amount of original local programming has increased from one hour a day to an average of ten and a half. At other times, it carries regional programmes broadcast in the mainland’s south west and, overnight, BBC Radio 5 Live. This is a common pattern across the BBC’s network of local stations, all of which come together to a greater or lesser degree outside of peak hours.

In 1992 it was joined by local commercial station Island FM. Quay FM, on Alderney, launched full time in 2015.


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Other events that occured in March

Debut of Guernsey-set comedy This is Jinsy 1st
Channel 4 broadcasts Sark-based Mr Pye 2nd
First ever broadcast of Puffin’s Pla(i)ce 3rd
Dead man appointed to run Guernsey Airport 4th
Guernsey’s entire police force is arrested 5th
Isle of Guernsey delivered to its new owners 6th
Guernsey players set darts record
Guernsey heads call for an end to the Eleven-plus 7th
Guernsey’s first governor, Edmund Weston, is appointed 8th
Occupying forces mount a desperate raid on Granville 9th
Guernsey emergency services prepare for a disaster 10th
Birth of Baron James de Saumarez 11th
First publication of Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea 12th
Building work starts on Guernsey Airport 13th
Guernsey’s island-wide police force is established 14th
Guernsey exchange student goes missing in Virginia 15th
The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is published 16th
BBC Radio Guernsey takes to the air
Guernsey clears up after heaviest snow in years 17th
Torrey Canyon spills oil on Guernsey’s beaches 18th
Guernsey issues banknotes featuring famous locals 19th
Guernsey guidebook pioneer Henry Inglis dies 20th
Soldiers staged a mutiny at Fort George 21st
Alderney arrest sparks a “riot” 22nd
Guernsey nurse Elizabeth Lincoln elected to the States 23rd
Famed printer Thomas de la Rue born 24th
Guernsey votes for equal age of consent 25th
Guernsey to UK telephone connection inaugurated 26th
Condor Liberation enters service 27th
Guernsey Post Office is established 28th
Enemy at the Door comes to the end of its run 29th
Guernsey adopts Sterling currency 30th
Guernsey and France tackle the Amoco Cadiz oil spill 31st