Before the official midday launch from 11am on 15th July Neil Munday and Geoff Rogers ran a brief history of the station. The last record before midday was Abba and “Ring, Ring”. Neil and Geoff counted down to midday and then the excellent Susy theme with Neil announcing “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the future Susy Radio 103.4 FM” and, as voted on Facebook friends followed by the tracks ‘Wake up Little Susie’ by the Everly Brothers and ‘Happy Radio’ by Edwin Starr.
Neil Munday made the speeches to all the supporters, volunteers and directors supported by Geoff Rogers Programme Controller. As well as previous members of staff like Ray Adams and Adam Beck new staff were also introduced. Best wishes came in from many supporters and also from the likes of BBC Surrey & Sussex and from Roz Connors from fellow community station Gateway 97.8 Basildon.
Dave Wright has made some additional voiceovers and sweepers which go really well with the existing set. This way Susy gets 103.4 IDs and some more modern takes. There’s also a brilliant one which ties in the area “What do you see from the top of Reigate Hill?” and takes you across the local area down to Crawley and Gatwick Airport. Very clever and helps give the area an identity to match the reach of the station.
What we were listening to on that launch weekend is not the finished article. In discussion with the Directors Susy Radio will further develop over the next year with more specialist shows and more community news. That first weekend the station was soon onto local events as Neil Munday and crew helped cover the Olympic torch relay as it swept through the area. For more details of both on-air and off-air events look at the station website www.susyradio.com or go into the Facebook page. Geoff Rogers reported ”We’ve had a great response from listeners across our area and beyond…we’ll work hard to bring them a local radio station that’s relevant to them”.
Susy has been allocated 50 watts ERP split 50/50 vertical and horizontal polarization with a 20dB null to the north to protect London stations. The original allocated frequency was 106.9 MHz which would have a technical and financial disaster had the station not pressed for an alternative. Meridean FM on 107.0 MHz from East Grinstead can be very strong into Redhill and in 2011 Rinse FM was awarded a 100 watt community license in East London on 106.8 MHz. This too giving a very strong stereo signal in the Redhill area down to Gatwick. Susy negotiated hard with Ofcom for an alternative channel and with all the technical knowledge of SSRG and sasradiogroup on hand to justify it. sasradiogroup were also able to give some input into the workings of Ofcom and their French counterparts. On the 24th January 2012 Susy Programme Director Geoff Rogers announced that 103.4 MHz, the new frequency issued by Ofcom, was in the process of gaining international clearance. In a press release dated 30th May 2012 Geoff Rogers reported "We are very pleased to confirm that at long last, we have been given frequency clearance for 103.4FM by Ofcom”.
Sadly, when tests started it was immediately clear that Susy suffered severe splatter from London Greek Radio’s transmitter on 103.3 MHz from Alexander Palace. This was particularly bad in Bletchingley and other areas just a few miles east and west of the transmitter. According to the book LGR runs 50 watts from Ally Pally. Contacts within official Radio industry circles allege that LGR are running a lot more than their alloctaed power. When Susy went off-air to install the link transmiitters on the 11th and 12th July I found the further away we were from Reigate the more I was out of the radio shadow of the hill. So LGR reception improved the further south I was. LGR came in good but patchy stereo in Horley, Crawley and Three Bridges. Susy Radio told sasradiogroup that they received three complaints from LGRs listeners in Crawley saying that they could no longer listen into their station anymore once Susy had started testing!
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