Star Radio North East to cease transmission

Darlington-based Star Radio is to close and hand its licence back to Ofcom.

UKRD confirmed the move to RadioToday, with Chief Executive, William Rogers saying it was a difficult decision but needed to be made as the station wasn’t making any money.

He said: “The station has struggled to deliver commercial viability for a number of years and in spite of the considerable efforts by those involved and a good deal of time, money and resource allocated from the group, the station has simply been unable to deliver commercial viability, hence this decision.”

Star Radio is made up of three Ofcom licences – which launched as A1FM (then Alpha 103.2), Durham FM and the more recently licenced Minster Northallerton. It also took over the Richmond/Catterick frequencies from Fresh Radio, whilst the rest of the station changed to Stray Dales. The merged station launched in November 2009 and uses six frequencies around Thirsk, Richmond, Durham, Darlington, Northallerton and Bishop Auckland.

UKRD has asked Ofcom to transfer the licence for Northallerton to Minster, as it was originally intended.

William continued: “These things are always difficult and I had hoped that we might be able to see success in the longer term but the reality is that success has proved to be far more elusive that we had hoped and so we now need to draw a line under those efforts and focus our resource on our other stations and the range of new initiatives we are working on.”

The station will close within the next two weeks with a number of job loses.

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  1. Craig Bailey says

    Devastated hearing this news. As someone that lived in the TSA and worked for the station under “Alpha 103.2” i know how important the station was to the local people.
    The heritage and loyalty to the station was lost under the change to Star and the decisions to merge it with Durham FM was a no no from day 1.

    Feel for everyone that works at Star and if someone has the money then buy the station, be independent and bring back everything Alpha offered the TSA.

    1. Mystery says

      How much they selling it for?

  2. John Tudor says

    WOW that is a little sad, had an interview with them in April last year, John and everyone I met seemed to be very friendly, good luck to all there,

  3. Brian Lister says

    I’m so sorry for my friends and former colleagues at Star Radio NE, they have been working so hard to try to make it work.

    Out of the 5pm news they just played the Boy Meets Girl song “Waiting for a Star to Fall”!

    The present situation was not an efficient use of frequencies. For example, after the Star merger, there was no need for a Darlington transmitter (ex Alpha) and a transmitter at Brusselton (ex Durham FM) if they were both carrying the same programming. The Brusselton transmitter had an expensive null towards Darlington just to protect the Darlington licence – which was now carrying the same station! I hope Ofcom will take the opportunity to advertise a licence for the whole Tees Valley, perhaps using just two frequencies. Northallerton/Thirsk could go back to Minster (where they were to start with) and it would still free up two FM frequencies for community radio use.

  4. Edward says

    Such a shame the town is going to the dogs and be even worse when this good station goes

  5. Rob Charles says

    Why give the license back without offering it to another party to buy? Best Company to work for UKRD!

  6. Lee Morris says

    While this is very sad news indeed, I hope that not only another broadcaster takes over the licence for the Durham area but that they also launch on DAB as well as FM.

    Star are the only station in the Durham area not to broadcast on DAB, lets hope if someone takes over they launch on DAB.

  7. patto says

    I was at the Station at the begining presenting on Ai fm Alpha and briefly Star, 15 years 1995 – 2010, i always thrieved on been local, today is a very sad day for me, however the tsa it was covering after the merges of three stations did not make sense,i felt localness disappeared .i feel at the moment community radio is now the true voice of local radio in a small scale

  8. Gary Wilkinson says

    Back in 1995 I helped launch A1FM in Darlington…since then it’s been Alpha 103.2 and Star Radio ?…it will cease transmission due to it being unviable…feel bad for some of the new Guys that had recently uprooted and joined the Station in the last 6 months. I still believe Durham could sustain at least a Community Station as well as Darlington but what do I know?

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