Severn FM comes off the airwaves with final breakfast show
By Bodger21 | Monday, March 04, 2013, 11:46
It was a sad day for broadcasting on Saturday - as well as Quedgeley, Kingsway and Hardwicke - as Severn FM hit the airwaves for the final time.
Severn FM presenters and friends of the community radio station congregate for a group photo outside the studio at the Old Schoolhouse, Pound Lane, Hardwicke.
Andy Clarke, founder of the radio station and host of the Severn Bore Breakfast Show, repeatedly affirmed throughout the two-hour broadcast, however, that it wasn't the last listeners would hear from him and the rest of the Severn FM crew, stating "this is merely a pause on the CD player, rather than a stop".
Vowing that Severn FM will be back with an FM licence, and even bigger and better than before, he was joined in a packed studio by breakfast show co-host Barry Kirby, Monkeyface lead singer and regular guest presenter, Paul Alcock, occasional breakfast show crew member and presenter of the Sunday Morning Lie-In, Peter Street, as well as a host of fellow presenters and friends of the station.
For two hours the Old School House on Pound Lane in Hardwicke, which has been the home of Severn FM since it first hit the airwaves in June 2011, resounded to the customary sound of lively music, jovial banter and witty repartee tinged, on this occasion, with an air of sadness, as the minutes swiftly counted down.
Before going off air, Andy had a few final words of thanks for all of those who have helped and supported the station over the past 21 months.
"We would like to formally thank Stroud District and Hardwicke Parish councils, who believed in us at the start - and that was mainly down to Ian [Butler] and all of the other guys at Hardwicke, who funded the original set-up costs, built this studio and allowed us to do our first FM broadcast," he said.
"And to Severn Vale Housing Association," he continued, "who, thanks to one guest who came on to the Severn Bore Breakfast Show - Project SOLACE - led to them tweeting out to all the people they work with and they gave us £500, which really kept us going for January and February. So thanks to those guys as well.
"Thanks also to Tracy and Matt from MPG Roofing who have let us rent this old school. They've been our landlord since October 2011 and, to be honest, their extreme flexibility and allowing us to be free with what we did with this place, allowed us to carry on.
"Thanks to Barry Kirby, Andrew James and Caro Kingsnorth for putting up with my obsessive nagging around attention to detail," he laughed. "I'm really sorry, but I thank all of you for putting up with me, making sure we get it right and, of course, your commitment and support over the past 18 months.
"Thanks to you guys, the presenters, for putting out such high-quality shows - they have been fantastic shows.
"You have all had a big input and produced shows which have been daring to be different, producing real radio - and that's why we started this up.
He continued: "Thanks to the organisations and charities which have sat in on numerous Local Focal shows - and I know Pete and Andy you've been key to that. You've all been part of the Severn FM family.
"And last, but not least, thanks to you our listeners, without whom we would have really been completely wasting our time, to be honest."
Before Andy played his final track, Barry interjected with one last message of his own, saying: "From a personal perspective, and I'm sure from everybody here, I would like to thank you Andy.
"This was your idea; this was your brain child. You got a whole bunch of the community together from across south Gloucester.
"I've made a great mate, which wouldn't have happened without this, and from myself and from everybody else, I'd like to say thank you very much, it's been an absolute pleasure."
A visibly choked Andy had one last special dedication to make before playing his final track.
"This one is dedicated to Ofcom, and their extremely narrow-minded approach toward community radio," he laughed.
"There is at least one frequency free in this area all year round - 87.7, 87.8 87.9 - plus others on the dial.
"Oh well Ofcom, this is for you, but we will be back!" he vowed as he faded poignantly to The Buggles' 1979 hit, Video Killed the Radio Star, followed aptly by Queen's The Show Must Go On, a patriotic blast of God Save the Queen, a rousing round of applause from the Severn FM studio, then one, long, monotonous BBC test signal, indicating the end of an era.
* The internet radio will still keep broadcasting pre-recorded shows from Andy's own offices, which is how Severn FM was first born, in the hope that when the next round of community radio licences comes up in 2014, the project may be resurrected.
* The Severn FM website is still available, so listeners can continue to tune in to all of the shows broadcast by the station over the past 21 months.
* You can listen again to Severn FM's final breakfast show (for now) by visiting www.severnfm.com, scrolling down to 'Listen again on Severn FM Encore' clicking on 'Shows', then, in the dropdown menu, clicking on 'Severn Bore Breakfast Show' then '2nd March 2013 - Episode 87'.