After a campaign spanning eight years, The Bee applicant group is celebrating its success in being awarded the licence by Ofcom to operate a new radio station serving the Blackburn and Darwen area.
It is pledged to providing a highly-focused service of local news, information and entertainment, with music of wide appeal. It hopes to be on-air by early summer next year.
Major shareholders are The Radio Business and 2BR, which operates in neighbouring Burnley and Pendle.
The Bee board chairman Tony Egan, an accountant who ran his own firm in Blackburn for 25 years, said: “We are obviously delighted to have won the licence. I am particularly pleased for those members of our team who have dedicated so much of their time to the project over the last eight years.
“The board is also grateful to the large number of people in the Blackburn and Darwen area who have rallied to our cause. We are determined to deliver on our promises to them, by creating a first-rate, locally-focused radio station.”
After becoming the first group to run a Restricted Service Licence station in the area more than three years ago, The Bee followed up with another successful pilot broadcast and has maintained a high-profile presence on the local scene, carrying out extensive local consultation.
In addition to nationally-recognised media professionals, The Bee, which is the station name of the Blackburn Broadcasting Company, has a board which includes well-known and respected local figures and a strong shareholding within the area.
Board members include Blackburn and Darwen radio pioneer Roy Martin, who managed both of The Bee’s RSLs; and Dr. Iqbal Memon, well-known for his involvement in clinical practice, education and research, and a number of community development projects.
The Radio Business is represented by its founder, Lynn Bell, who was already heavily involved in the East Lancashire broadcasting scene. Mark Matthews, Managing Director of 2BR, which is owned by The Local Radio Company; and radio consultant Tom Beesley, who chairs the national Broadcast Journalism Training Council and has strong family ties in the area, complete the board membership.