City of license United Kingdom UK - Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead
Broadcast area United Kingdom UK - Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead (FM)
Worldwide (Online)
Slogan Community radio for Newcastle and Gateshead
Frequency 102.5 MHz
RDS Name: NE1fm
First air date 8 June 2007
Format Community radio
Language English
Owner Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside

NE1fm is an FM community radio station based in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. Having launched in 2007, the station broadcasts 24 hours a day on 102.5 FM, and online via its website.[1] The station is ran on a non-profit basis, and is owned by CBIT (Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside Ltd),[2] whom had previously ran a number of RSL broadcasts in the area, and besides from a Business Development Officer[3] is operated entirely by volunteers. NE1fm was awarded a five-year community broadcast licence by Ofcom in 2006.

NE1fm carries a wide variety of content, catering for both mainstream and niche musical genres, and also broadcasts interviews, hourly news updates, and sports, talk and comedy-based shows. NE1fm has enabled more than 100 different shows to broadcast in its time on year, with a small number of long-running shows also.[4] The station also frequently broadcasts live music from a variety of venues across the area, and operates open access programming to allow one-off broadcasts by local volunteers and community groups.

NE1fm's name is a play on the postcode district NE1 , which covers Newcastle upon Tyne, in addition to the station's community radio status where "anyone" can broadcast and/or help out with the station's operation.[5]



2004-2007: Pre-NE1fm projects and station launch

Prior to the formation of the project leading to the launch of NE1fm, a number of Restricted Service License broadcasts had taken place in Newcastle upon Tyne, many of which were operated by or involved founding members of NE1fm.[6] These included ACE Radio, West End Broadcast and City FM, the latter of which ran from 13 September 2004 to 9 October 2004.[7] Following this broadcast, an application for Ofcom's advertised community radio license for the area was made on 19 November 2004.[8] The application was successful, with a five-year license awarded to station operators Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside in 2006.

Following the award of the station license, NE1fm began preparations to launch, advertising for volunteers in 2007.[9] West End Broadcast also returned for a final three week RSL broadcast from 13 November 2005 to 3 December 2005, with many of the presenters and shows broadcast during that time becoming part of the initial NE1fm on-air schedule.[10] In May 2007, the station ran a week of off-air rehearsal broadcasts of each show, conducted training for the benefit of inexperienced members of the team, and made a number of test broadcasts on their FM frequency (with World is Static as the first band broadcast at the time). Following these test broadcasts, the station began to promote its launch in the local community, advertising a launch date of 8 June 2007.[11]

NE1fm launched on 8 June 2007 with a weekend of broadcasts from Newcastle's Green Festival, resulting in the launch being conducted via an outside broadcast studio at Leazes Park.[12] During the weekend, the station broadcast a large amount of live music, particularly electronic music, interspersed with interviews with festival participants and general continuity from a variety of on-air personnel. On Monday 11 June 2007, NE1fm's regular schedule commenced with the long-running alternative music show Unknown Pleasures.[13]

2007-2009: First anniversary, transmitter thefts and programming expansions

Following the successful broadcast of 2007's Green Festival on the station's launch weekend, NE1fm also broadcast a number of other festivals throughout the first year of on-air operation, including the Asian-orientated Mela Festival,[14] and the Newcastle stage of the AV Festival in March 2008,[15] although broadcasts from the latter were met with problems and resulted in broadcasts ceasing before the festival's conclusion. Other festivals and outside events covered throughout the station's first year included the 2008 Irish Festival and the 2008 Eat Festival.

The station was, in November 2007, presented with a plaque by hardware chain B&Q as part of their annual You Can Do It awards, resulting in £5,000 of funding in order to fully construct a second studio and improve the station's primitive facilities. The second studio was completed shortly thereafter. The station also during this period fell victim to attempts to steal its transmitter, resulting in two off-air stints in December 2007 and March 2008, the latter of which was covered as the headline story on local news programme North East Tonight later that day.[16]

In June 2008, NE1fm marked its first anniversary of broadcast with a party hosted at The Centurion bar in Newcastle's Central Station, followed by coverage of the Green Festival for the second consecutive year. Following this, the number of live events broadcast by the station increased, with many focused on niche genres of music such as soul, reggae and country. As a result, NE1fm became the area's chief proponent of live music and outside broadcasts. NE1fm also continued to broadcast some content relevant to ethnic minorities across the area, but ceased to do so following the launch of the Asian community station Spice FM on 98.8 FM,[17] which also resulted in NE1fm's losing exclusivity over the Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead broadcast area with regard to community broadcasts.

Throughout 2008 and much of 2009, NE1fm continued to broadcast a wide variety of on-air content, with a number of long-running shows catering to audiences largely ignored by commercial radio stations in the reason. Long-running shows included The Groove Principle, a soul music show, and Alternation, a show playing a variety of alternative, indie and punk music. During this time period, however, a number of long-running shows ended their tenure on the station - either permanently or temporarily - including Ghetto Method, The Takeover, and The Hedley Show. NE1fm also occasionally broadcast breakfast and lunchtime shows, although largely focused on evening broadcasts, with largely uninterrupted music broadcast overnight and during the day.

2009-2010: Station relocation and programming changes

In 2009, NE1fm went through its most significant period of change since its launch in 2007, relocating from the Shieldfield area of Newcastle upon Tyne to purpose-built studios at Virginia House, which are shared with the community group Tyneside Cyrenians. Although this did not affect the station's broadcast area, it marked the end of thirty months of broadcast in a church building that had not typically been designed for radio broadcast, and allowed for the station to make further changes to its operation and sound. Shortly after the move, shifts in the station's management structure also occurred, with a number of founding members quoted on the initial Ofcom application ceasing to be involved with the station.[18] The station also updated its website after three years of limited updates, and changed its domain from to, with the former still available online despite the latter's official status as the station's website.[19]

Along with NE1fm's relocation, a number of programming changes also occurred during this time period. One significant change was the end of The Live Session, a weekly acoustic broadcast that had featured and given exposure to a large quantity of local and little-known bands during NE1fm's time on-air; The Live Session's departure, however, was intended to be brief, with the station advertising for a replacement presenter for the show.[20] A new live music show, Hit the North (East), debuting in late 2010.. The station also began to focus areas of its programming toward younger people, with a larger amount of new music played during the day, and the launch of new on-air imaging in August 2010.

2011-Present: Recent developments

NE1fm saw further changes to the station schedule in the first months of 2011, removing much of the station's soul programming that had featured on Sundays since the station's launch.[21] Programming of significance early in the year included special programmes covering Gateshead F.C.'s run in the 2011 FA Trophy, the launch of the community-focused broadcast No Excuse, and the re-branding of the weekend breakfast shows to include live music, including a variety from the 2011 Evolution Emerging line-up.[22]

The digital presence of NE1fm was overhauled during Spring of 2011, including visibly heightened usage of their Facebook and Twitter accounts[23] and the launch of a new website.

As of May 2011, the longest-running shows on NE1fm are Alternation, NE1 For Country, The Rock Show and The Sports Zone, all having debuted on or shortly after the launch of the station in 2007.

On 27 September 2011, station presenters Rob Davies and Gary Barnes launched an attempt to break the current world record for the longest radio broadcast by a team. The record is currently held by BBC Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles and David Vitty, broadcasting for a total of 52 hours. Their attempt finished at midday on Friday 30 September, with their attempt lasting a total of 76 hours. The broadcast marathon also raised money for two local charities, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Childrens Heart Unit Fund at the Freeman Hospital. [24]

NE1fm's current five-year community radio license expires on 7 June 2012.[25]

Content and shows

NE1fm's second studio at Virginia House, as in use following their relocation in 2009.

NE1fm broadcasts a wide variety of musical and spoken word content, with the musical genres covered by its specialist programming including alternative, dance, hip-hop, and soul.[26] The majority of weekday programming is broadcast in the evening, with regular programming commencing at 7PM following three hours of "open slots" for one-off broadcasts by community projects and volunteers unable to commit to a weekly schedule.[27] This split of content is described in detail in NE1fm's 2006 license application[28]:

The schedule is split in to three distinctive strands. Daytime programming will be community focussed (sic), talk based / listener oriented output. Early evening programming is access programming where volunteers of all levels can develop skills and experience whilst gaining access to the airwaves. Late evening onwards is for specialist music output giving airtime to a diverse range of music genres, allow promotion of unsigned bands and the local music scene, and presenting a range of music reflecting the cultural mix of the area. Weekend output is more flexible and dynamic and will change depending on current events and ongoing airtime requirements.

The weekday evening programming offered by NE1fm was, at the station's launch, particularly specialist, although some broadcasts now cater to more mainstream audiences, while still offering niche genres and content not catered for by NE1fm's local competitors, such as Metro Radio and BBC Radio Newcastle. Many broadcasts, particularly those made on Friday evenings, also feature live music and outside broadcasts from a variety of locations. On weekends, the station's output is still varied, although most of Sunday's programming is dedicated to soul with Saturday afternoons dedicated to sports via the Sportszone, one of few shows on NE1fm broadcast consistently since the station's 2007 launch.[29] Spoken word and talk shows have also been broadcast on NE1fm, often during weekday daytimes, although some - such as sketch comedy show The Suggestibles - have been broadcast on evenings. The NE1fm schedule is periodically revised, resulting in a significant turnover of shows and presenters relative to local commercial stations.[30]

Although many of NE1fm's past and present presenters are local volunteers with limited broadcasting experience, a number of acclaimed individuals and shows have featured on the station since its launch in 2007. Several presenters, including Kev Atkinson[31] and Wayne C. Macdonald, have featured on commercial radio stations previously, and a number of the DJs whom broadcast on the station, such as DJ Play,[32] have released commercial material or are signed to major labels. Sports presenter Rob Pears also featured in television documentary Blind Ambition,[33] whilst a number of other presenters and shows have gained wider prominence away from the station, such as The Hedley Show through online radio. The longest-running show on NE1fm is Atomic, presented under various guises since a run on NE1fm forerunner WeB FM in 1997, while a number of shows have been broadcast on other stations also, including Spark FM and Insight Radio. The age range covered has also been vast, from children broadcasting under supervision to senior citizens up to the age of 98. Fitting in with the station's community radio remit, no on-air presenter for NE1fm has ever been paid for their services.

The station has also broadcast segments, interviews and performances by a number of notable musicians, including singer-songwriter Kate Nash, dance music duo Ultrabeat[34] and Maxïmo Park,[35] the latter of which were guests on a show during the station's launch week. Representatives of local sports teams have also frequently featured on relevant programming, with those represented including Newcastle Falcons, Blyth Spartans F.C., Gateshead F.C. and Gateshead Thunder. A variety of up-and-coming musicians and bands have also gained exposure via the station, and the NE1fm archive previously played live music from the 1990s that was originally broadcast on previous community projects in the area, although this has been phased out in recent times in favour of newer material.

At times when there is no presenter, an automated system is used playing mostly popular music from the 1970s onwards. From 2007 until 2010, this broadcast a wide range of genres, with no playlisting and limited new music broadcast. Following the station's relocation, however, NE1fm altered the station sound to incorporate a larger quantity of new music, playing mostly new releases during the day, before playing music from a variety of decades overnight. Furthermore, in an area dominated by dance and R&B stations, NE1fm is the only broadcaster to play indie pop, alternative rock and other genres as part of its regular daytime output. The automated system used means that, unlike many community stations, NE1fm does not broadcast syndicated shows with little or no connection to the Newcastle and Gateshead area. Community-based programming is also occasionally broadcast during the day, and in the early years of the station a large amount of archive community programming was re-broadcast, although this is no longer the case. Hourly news updates provided by Sky News Radio are broadcast during automated areas also, with some shows also carrying the updates during live programming. The station's current primary playout system is OtsAV, which was originally used in conjunction with Soundbox, an archaic playout system, before becoming the sole playout system following the station's relocation.

A number of events have also been organised and broadcast by NE1fm, many as fundraisers in order to help finance the station's operation. Past events have included live band nights, ska and reggae nights, rock & heavy metal, soul nights and country music events, which have been simultaneously broadcast on the air also. Venues which have been used by the station include Newcastle's Swallow Hotel, The Pitcher And Piano, The Telegraph, World Headquarters, Nancy's Bordello and the Centurion Bar at Newcastle Central Station. NE1fm has also broadcast from night clubs in the area, including Bar Beyond.


Current Programming

The following shows are currently part of the NE1fm on-air schedule, as of May 12, 2011. The presenters that are listed are those whom appear on a weekly basis, and do not include regular or one-off guests.

  • AlterNation (Barry Wilson, Lee Harrison and TY McFly)
  • Another Music In A Different Kitchen (Trevor Johnson)
  • Celestial Navigation (Amina Evans)
  • Dead Air Radio (The Dead Air Radio Team)
  • Electric Soup (Ben Morris and Richard Telford)
  • Everyone's Tomorrow Today (The Elders Council of Newcastle upon Tyne)
  • Hit The North East (Ian Banach, John Nuttall and Lauren Archer)
  • Indie Dependent (Edward Shanks and James Noton)
  • Interference (Hev Johnson and Mark Earle)
  • Kaos Tempo (Rahman Patterson and Rob Thompson)
  • Kev and Nixxi (Kev Atkinson and Nicola Rutherford)
  • The Lunchtime Special (Martin Deltrice, Leon Moat, Ken Brady, Sam Harris and Steve McGuire)
  • Magic Music (Jim Bennett)
  • The Music and Trivia Show (Tom Stuart and Enid Robson)
  • Music From The Movies (Andy Munday)
  • NE1 For Country (Sam Harris)
  • NE1's Dance Anthems (Gary Barnes)
  • Newcastle Beats (Simon Turner)
  • No Excuse
  • North East Writers (Enid Robson and Tom Stuart)
  • One Step Forward (Christian Allen and Kirsty Graham)
  • The Rock Show (Simon Colling)
  • Rugby League Talk (Paul Clayton, Andy Side and Rob Jones)
  • The Saturday Mix (Kyle Scott and Tom Ryan)
  • saturday@breakfast (Graeme Fenwick)
  • The Sheets (Compton McDonald)
  • Soul on Sunday (Michael Bishop)
  • Soul Ecstasy (Grant Taylor)
  • The Sports Zone (Rob Pears)
  • Sugar Sundays (Wayne C. McDonald)
  • sunday@breakfast (Ron Clark and Ian Johnson)
  • The Weekend Countdown (Rob Davies)
  • Work Place Workdown (Dean Wears)

Former Programming

The following shows were formerly broadcast on NE1fm for a significant period of time, but have since ceased to be broadcast on the station.

  • Al Smith's New Stereo Adventures (Al Smith)
  • Atomic (Hev Johnson and Carol Batie)
  • Frequency Dip (Ian Banach and Amanda Lowson)
  • Geordie Saint (Shaun Kelly)
  • Ghetto Method (Sandy Duff)
  • The Groove Principle (Dave Tansley)
  • The Hedley Show (Dave Hedley)
  • The Kanned Weekend (Dan Pye and Kev Atkinson)
  • The Live Session (Laura Fitzpatrick and Alastair McGeorge)
  • The Lunchtime Lick (Dean Wears and Stefan Wilkes)
  • Programmed For Damage (Phoenix Dark-Knight and Graham Boyd)
  • Pure Soul (Andrea and Steve Robertson)
  • Soul On Sunday (Frankie Lucas)
  • Unknown Pleasures (John Gibson and Alistair Ford)


NE1fm has for most of its existence been run entirely by volunteers,[36] with no paid positions in both the station's management and its presentation hierarchy. The station's original application to Ofcom stated the intention for paid positions to appear, namely a full-time role for a Project Administrator, although as of 2010 such a role has never been created in a paid capacity, despite applications to the Ofcom Community Radio Fund. Many volunteers fulfill both on-air and off-air roles, including assisting with outside broadcasts and promoting the station. NE1fm carries limited on-air advertising, instead raising funds through its own fundraising events and donations.

In late 2010, the station was notified that as a result of the government's comprehensive spending review, it would lose all funding from local authority, Newcastle City Council. The funding paid for an outreach worker to work with a variety of groups, including the Elders Council of Newcastle. The funding also partly funded the general operating costs of the station.

The station is based at Virginia House, a building located on the West side of Newcastle upon Tyne and occupied by The Cyrenians (formerly known as the Tyneside Cyrenians). NE1fm is based in the basement, and has two on-air studios, a live music room, and a recording studio.


  1. ^ NE1fm's official website
  2. ^ Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside
  3. ^ Article at, 22 April 2011
  4. ^ NE1fm Schedule
  5. ^ Article in The Evening Chronicle, 7 June 2007
  6. ^ NE1fm's license application to Ofcom, pages 7 to 13
  7. ^ NE1fm's license application to Ofcom, page 13
  8. ^ NE1fm's license application to Ofcom, page 37
  9. ^ NE1fm VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!, 31st May 2007
  10. ^ West End Broadcast 2005 RSL schedule, 3rd December 2005
  11. ^ Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside (CBIT) official website, 11 June 2007
  12. ^ Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside (CBIT) official website, 11 June 2007
  13. ^ NE1fm's official website - Station schedule
  14. ^ NE1fm Myspace blog, August 30, 2007
  15. ^ AV Festival official website
  16. ^ News report on North East Tonight about the transmitter theft, March 9th 2008
  17. ^ Spice FM official website
  18. ^ Community Broadcast Initiative Tyneside
  19. ^ NE1fm's official website
  20. ^ NE1fm Schedule - Wednesdays
  21. ^ NE1fm's Twitter, May 2011
  22. ^, 1 April 2011
  23. ^, 22 April 2011
  24. ^ "NE1fm to Attempt to Break Broadcast Marathon Record from September 27th". Retrieved 8/9/2011. 
  25. ^ NE1fm profile on Ofcom website
  26. ^ NE1fm Schedule
  27. ^ NE1fm Schedule
  28. ^ NE1fm's license application to Ofcom, page 22
  29. ^ The Sportszone was originally broadcast on Sunday afternoons, moving to Saturdays in July 2007
  30. ^ Show application form from NE1fm website (PDF format)
  31. ^ Kev Atkinson's official website
  32. ^ Profile on DJ Play at
  33. ^ Blind Ambition
  34. ^ Kanned Weekend, 2007
  35. ^ Al Smith's New Stereo Adventures, June 2007
  36. ^ Article in The Evening Chronicle, 7 June 2007

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