East Lancashire station 2BR is to expand across Lancashire by taking over the frequencies of The Bee in Blackburn, Preston and Chorley.
The UKRD service will also be available across the whole county on DAB for the first time, when the changes take place in June. Both 2BR and The Bee are co-located in Hyndburn – an area included in both station’s TSA – but currently have completely separate programming 24/7.
2BR launched in 2000 covering the “2 boroughs” of Burnley and Pendle and was bought by TLRC in 2004. The Bee started full time programmes for Blackburn in 2005 and extended to Preston and Chorley in 2011.
2BR will now provide one service on 99.8FM (Burnley) 107FM (Blackburn) 106.5FM (Preston) and 96.3FM (Chorley) with split content for news and travel.
Station management says the reason for the change is to be part of the DAB platform, providing one brand rather than two due to the way the local multiplexes work.
2BR Managing Director Simon Brierley has been speaking exclusively on inRadio today, and is excited about the changes: “It’s vital for our future growth that we expand onto the DAB platform. By growing the 2BR brand, we can continue to deliver the high quality local news and information our listeners demand on FM, whilst offering our audience the added flexibility of listening across Lancashire via DAB”.
But whilst The Bee listeners will have a new station name, they’ll still be served with local content, explains Simon: “Each FM transmitter (Burnley, Blackburn and Preston/Chorley) will have local news, sport, weather and travel, so our loyal audiences will continue to enjoy a mix of great music and super local information”
As part of the changes, the new enlarged 2BR will introduce a fresh logo and station sound, and Content Controller Gemma Baron says the existing audiences will feel at home with the changes. “Listeners will hear the same friendly voices with Tim, Helen, Olly and Paul, a familiar but revitalised station sound and the same unrivalled commitment to local news they’ve come to expect,” says Gemma.
“Our local news and information provision will increase as a result of these changes as we believe it is through increased delivery of local content that we will stand out in an increasingly competitive audio marketplace.”
UKRD Chief Executive William Rogers welcomed the news of 2BR’s continued growth: “This is another positive step forward in the evolution of our operation in Lancashire and it reflects the need for our station to adapt and change as it develops a strategy to continue serving its local community in an increasingly multi-platform analogue and digital world.”