The UK’s longest running annual RSL at Blackburn Rovers Football Club has ceased broadcasting this season.
The club ran the first Premier League football club radio station in 1993, using a specially adapted 28-day Restricted Service Licence from the Radio Authority. Radio Rovers was permitted to broadcast every home match from its base at Ewood Park on 1413 (and later 1404) AM.
It provided pre-match entertainment for fans at home and on their way to the match, along with full commentary in partnership with the local hospital radio station, followed by an after-match phone-in.
The presenter of Radio Rovers for 20 years was Gerald Jackson. He told RadioToday: “You don’t often get the chance to be in at the very start of something that’s never been done before, but I was for RADIO ROVERS – amazing! We were awarded our first RSL in October 1993, and started a regular 7 hour match day programme for every home game with me – Station Manager Alan Yardley and broadcast colleague (and massive Rovers fan) Wendy Howard. Despite my almost 50 years with the BBC – people still talk to me primarily about my 20 at Ewood Park!
“I worked with a brilliant group of studio assistants too, one of whom, Matt Sillitoe, took over at the mic from me when I ‘retired’ a few years ago. We broadcast to a ‘community of interest’ audience, so also I guess, we were one of the very first community stations in the UK. And when the internet was added, Rovers fans around the world could also tune in and be part of that community.
“Social Media had loads of comments on Saturday, when Radio Rovers didn’t appear – I know it will be much missed by me and thousands of Rovers fans.”
The club included news of its demise at the end of its newsletter last week, saying fans can pay for the club’s in-house commentary instead.
Very sad to hear Rovers are bothering with a lot of pre match nonsense and yet sacked off radio rovers? Another terrible decision by club https://t.co/AczXelKPKE
— Andrew Cryer (@andrew_cryer) August 11, 2017