Keep our ‘Brill’ radio station on the air

Brill Oldies radio studio at the Sports & Social Club in Brill. Pictured is Paul Ewers & David Duffett. Picture by Richard Duggan.
Brill Oldies radio studio at the Sports & Social Club in Brill. Pictured is Paul Ewers & David Duffett. Picture by Richard Duggan.

POPULAR community radio station Brill Oldies is planning a fresh bid to stay on the airwaves full-time.

The station, which is run by volunteers, broadcasts twice a year for 28 days at a time – playing music from the 50s-80s.

On Sunday bosses pledged to ‘try again’ for a full-time licence, as they turned off the transmitter following another successful month-long broadcast.

Paul Ewers, 64, of Brill, who presents the weekday mid-morning show and manages the station, described the situation as ‘frustrating’.

Licensing authority Ofcom’s view is that the station is ‘unsustainable’.

He said: “We did apply for a full-time community licence in 2008, but we were turned down. We are doing programmes for older people in the 45-plus age group and there is nothing in this area that covers that.

“We would like to broadcast in Easter as well, but we are not allowed.

“March next year is when the community licence for this area comes up again – so we can try again for a licence.”

The station costs £200 a day to run.

It is funded through advertising, sponsorship and donations.

Mr Ewers says overall the station just breaks even.

Brill Oldies offers 16 hours of live, presenter-led programming each day.

All 15 of its presenters are volunteers and do not receive any expenses.

One of the bi-annual broadcasts takes place in August to coincide with the Brill beer festival.

The station also transmits over the festive period from it’s base in a portable building outside Brill Sports and Social Club. It has operated since 2004, and because of the village’s location – at the top of a hill – is able to reach continually growing audiences across West Buckinghamshire and South Oxfordshire.

Despite its vast reach Mr Ewers says Brill Oldies has no intention of expanding.

He said: “I think it is a village thing.

“Some of the villagers partake – you know speaking and reading out the adverts.

“We get lots of texts and emails saying the station is ‘very good’, it is just so popular.

“People say to me ‘why have you got to turn it off’?”

Brill Oldies does not offer a news service, unlike other radio stations.

“We do pick out a bit of news from, say, the Bucks Herald, but it has got to be ‘good’ news, you know a charity walk for example,” said Mr Ewers.“

“We do not provide on-the-spot news, at the top-of-the-hour we only do the weather.”

Mr Ewers has also pledged not to alter the music policy when he bids for a licence for a second time.

“We only play music from the 50s to the 80s, because that is the music that our presenters are into,” he said.

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