15th October 1992

Island FM brings commercial radio to Guernsey

Ten years after BBC Radio Guernsey took to the air, Guernsey’s first commercial radio station launched under the highly appropriate name of Island FM.

The Radio Authority had received only one application for the Guernsey licence but five for the licence to broadcast on Jersey. So, as long as the financial and format proposals were agreed, Island FM’s acceptance was barely in doubt.

The Channel Islands’ independent TV franchise holder, Channel Television, was one of Island FM’s backers, and had also been backing Jersey FM, one of the unsuccessful bidders for the Jersey licence. This was a problem, as it had stated that it would only invest in Island FM if Jersey FM was also awarded a licence. Why? Because that way it could share resources between the two stations and, in doing so, reduce costs.

Launch day

Despite this upset, Island FM went live six months later. The switch was flipped at 6.30am on Thursday 15 October 1992 after two weeks of test transmissions. The first words broadcast were, “It’s exactly six-thirty. This is Island FM. Good morning.”

As well as the studio presenter, there was a traffic reporter roaming the island on a motorbike so they could feed back live travel updates.

However, it wasn’t until two and a half hours after those first words were spoken that the station was officially launched. Deputy Valerie Renouf, president of the States Broadcasting Committee, did the deed. This was to be her last official duty as a States Deputy.

In February 1998, Island FM was acquired by Tindle Radio Group. Later the same year, Tindle bought Channel 103, which had been the successful applicant for Jersey’s commercial licence.

Thus, the two services were finally united. They were then able to share some resources, in a manner similar to that which Channel Television might have envisaged during its initial discussions six years earlier.


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Other events that occured in October

Guernsey Post Office was established 1st
Guernsey switched to Reichsmarks 2nd
Sark was the target of Operation Basalt 3rd
Sark voted for democracy 4th
Guernsey lifeboat saved a Swedish schooner 5th
Jeeves actor died in Guernsey 6th
Sarnia Theatre celebrated its most successful year 7th
The Story of Adele H opened in cinemas 8th
Howards’ Way came to Guernsey 9th
Guernsey Ladies’ College opened 10th
A Trislander ate itself between Jersey and Guernsey 11th
The Channel Islands’ king set sail for England 12th
Major General Sir Isaac Brock died 13th
Footballer Matt Le Tissier was born 14th
Island FM brings commercial radio to Guernsey 15th
Channel Television saw off a rival broadcaster 16th
The first mines were dug on Sark 17th
Sark’s Stocks Hotel was damaged by fire 18th
Elizabeth College’s foundation stone was laid 19th
Hitler ordered the Channel Islands’ fortification 20th
Guernsey’s stone crackers demanded a pay rise 21st
The desalination plant opened 22nd
Sir Charles Hayward buys Jethou for £91,000 23rd
Guernsey Monopoly board game went on sale 24th
Dame Sibyl Hathaway chose her Desert Island Discs 25th
GUNS founder Charles Machon died 26th
Bailiff Sir Peter de Havilland was born 27th
A man “disappeared” from a Guernsey ferry 28th
Express & Star bought Guernsey Press 29th
The first lighthouses were built on the Casquets 30th
States of Guernsey voted to lower the voting age 31st