29th November 1991

Radio station Contact 94 went off the air

After just over three years on air, Anglo-French radio station Contact FM silenced its mics on 29 November 1991. Broadcasting to Normandy and the Channel Islands from studios in Lessay, it had been transmitting on a variety of frequencies between 93FM and 95FM.

Launch day

Like many radio stations, Contact FM had decided to launch with its breakfast slot. It was 5 September 1988; Kevin Turner was in the hot seat and Phil Collins’ Groovy Kind of Love was at the top of the British charts.

The first words broadcast were, “good morning. It’s six o’clock in the Channel Islands; seven o’clock in France. Welcome to the start of regular programmes from Contact 94.”

This was immediately followed by the first track on the playlist: The Beatles’ Good Day Sunshine, which led into the weather forecast. Unfortunately, this didn’t match the spirit of the song: the day was overcast and foggy and patches of heavy rain were predicted. The fog was expected to clear by lunchtime, but the maximum temperature would still only be 19 degrees and the wind would be blowing at force four to five.

Kevin Turner was followed, at 9am, by Steve Ryan, who handed over to John Tyler at lunchtime. Neil McCleod handled the drive time slot from 4pm; Danielle Berrou took over at 8pm, and ceded control to Paul Easton at 11pm. All of the output was in English except for Danielle Berrou’s 8pm – 11pm slot, which was in French.

Interrupted service

There was just one problem: the French authorities weren’t sure whether Contact 94 was broadcasting legally or not, and after a raid by the police, its equipment was confiscated.

Events leading up to the confiscation were detailed in the minutes of the 28 February 1989 meeting of the States of Jersey. The president of the island’s Broadcasting Committee said that a company, which remained unnamed, had asked for permission to set up a local radio station on Jersey. This had been denied because BBC Radio Jersey was then still relatively new. The company accepted this. However, it applied to both the Home Office and Consul de France for permission to broadcast to the Channel Islands from France.

The Home Office told the company that it would insist that the French authorities not allow a station to be set up there with the specific aim of broadcasting to the Channel Islands. The president concluded,

The French authorities took the action they decided was appropriate in each case. The French authorities have not banned Radio Force 7, but the power of its transmitter has been reduced; Contact 94 was found by the French authorities to be illegal.

At no point did the president state that Contact 94 had been the unnamed company to which he was referring.

Contact 94 only disappeared temporarily. Its equipment was later returned on appeal and it resumed broadcasting.

However, when the UK Radio Authority advertised the availability of independent licences for both Guernsey and Jersey, Contact 94 decided to apply for the right to broadcast in Jersey. As part of that process, it switched off on 29 November 1991.

It was unsuccessful in its application, with the Jersey licence instead being awarded to Channel 103. Channel 103 was later bought by Tindal Radio Group to be run alongside Guernsey’s Island FM.

 

FREE Guernsey history newsletter

Don't miss our weekly update on Guernsey's fascinating history. We promise never to sell your data to anyone else, and there's a super-easy unsubscribe link on the bottom of each email so you can leave whenever you want. We'll also keep you up to date with our latest book releases and early-bird discounts.

 

Other events that occured in November

Car plane air crash caused airport fireball 1st
A hospital worker stood accused of murder 2nd
Sark’s vineyards were vandalised 3rd
The original Torteval church was consecrated 4th
Sibyl Beaumont married Robert Hathaway 5th
The papers were excited by a Guernsey execution 6th
The States agrees to pay the Bailiff 7th
States of Guernsey hired its first independent vet
The Little Theatre was reprieved… for a while 8th
Guernsey was declared free of cholera 9th
Guernsey optician Specsavers was founded 10th
The court considered a Guernsey porn dealer’s testimony 11th
Guernsey Yacht Club was founded 12th
Guernsey aimed for equal adoption rights 13th
Jethou’s tenant fell off his own cliff 14th
Dad’s Army actor John le Mesurier died 15th
A Guernsey recruit regretted signing up 16th
Horticultural painter William Caparne was born 17th
German forces confiscated Guernsey’s radios 18th
A plane crashed on Crevichon 19th
Sark featured in the music charts 20th
Guernsey recruits caused concern in Parliament 21st
First Guernsey competitor took part in Miss World 22nd
A Lancaster bomber crashed on Sark 23rd
Sark women get the right to inherit 24th
Spanish flu arrived on Guernsey 25th
Guernsey held its first full marathon 26th
Admiral Thomas Le Marchant Gosselin died 27th
HMS Boreas sank at Hanois 28th
Radio station Contact 94 went off the air 29th
Royal Guernsey Light Infantry memorial was unveiled 30th