Takeover Radio

Takeover Radio

Infobox Radio station
name=Takeover Radio
airdate= 5 March 2002
frequency=103.2 MHz
area= Leicester
format =Youth Pop
owner = Takeover Radio Children's Media Trust
website = [http://www.takeoverradio.com www.takeoverradio.com]

Takeover Radio is a community radio station broadcasting on FM to Leicester, and on the world wide web, specialising in helping 'kids' gain experience and direct participative involvement in radio broadcasting. It is open to entry to children within the 8-14 age bracket. Created in 1996 it enjoyed several years output as a programme format on short term temporary licence stations. Takeover Radio's first full time broadcasting output was achieved with the award of one of the first 15 licensed UK Pilot Access Radio [ [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/static/archive/rau/communications-bill/access-radio_main.html Access Radio Pilot Scheme ] ] stations by the (then) UK Radio Authority in 2001. This was followed by the grant of a Community Radio licence by the now current UK Government regulator Ofcom in 2005. [ [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radio/ifi/rbl/commun_radio/tlproc/ctyraawa/communr110705 Statement on the award of 15 Community Radio Licences | Ofcom ] ]


Takeover Radio is the first station in the UK that gives children editorial control over their programmes and allows them to present the shows live. This rare gamble of giving them full control has paid off and has taken critics by surprise. Rather than hearing a mish mash of songs and un – structured chatter, programmes worthy of any other commercial or BBC station are being formulated with behind the scenes guidance from a dedicated crew of adult radio professionals.

The Beginning

The brainchild behind Takeover Radio was Philip Solo, an entrepreneur and visionary with experience of business in the City of London. Philip’s vision was to allow children to gain access to the media of radio and let them entertain their peers. Philip worked closely with his business partner Graham Coley to generate a station that would make the big players to sit up and notice a new perspective in children’s radio.

The concept of Takeover Radio started back in September 1996 when three children took over a Saturday night slot called "In and Out With Philip Solo" on a temporary radio station in Market Harborough, Leicestershire called 'Valley FM'. The station was run under the (then) Radio Authority format called Restricted Service Licence or RSL for short term broadcasts (up to 28days). [ [http://www.ofcom.org.uk/radio/ifi/rbl/rsls/ Radio Restricted Service Licences (RSLs) | Ofcom ] ] For 2 hours Ellie (15) [Fenian] (14) Sam (12) and Rayne (10) Menzies took over Philip’s show by bursting in, tying him up and creating a ‘hostage situation’ in the studio. Inspector Lawton of ‘The Radio Police’ had to promise pizza and chocolate before they would ‘release’ Mr Solo and allow him to finish the last ½ hour of his show.

The following year the three kids took over a similar RSL station in Wigston called NOW FM .This time they captured it on 4 consecutive weekends and produced 4 one hour programmes. They recorded a radio version of Roald Dahl's “The Twits”, gave out video game information in The Nerd Zone, local information for kids in Radio Activity and produced competitions and played great music. They convinced local companies including Megazone, Computer Cave and Bounceaway Bouncy Castles to sponsor the four programmes and recruited more mercenaries to help the team including Ruth Truslove (14) as resident kids reporter on Radio Activity and Seth and Louis Bland as actors in The Twits story.

Megazone Laser Adventure and Computer Cave, also gave them games, computer software and promotional event tickets to give away during the programmes. There were also free tickets provided by other organisations that were not able to advertise. These were used for other competition prizes. Both these sponsors also provided experts to join the shows and give interviews about their work from business, personal and technical viewpoints.

tepping Up

In 1998, the “Takeover Radio children” were invited to conduct four programmes on Big Dial Radio 106.6 FM a RSL radio station based in Market Harborough. An article in the local paper about the project increased the crew number to thirteen regular presenters. After an intensive training programme they were all ready took over the station, it was a great success raising money for local charities.

In January 1999, the children were allowed to work on “The Wall 95.1 FM” another RSL radio station based in Leicester. An advert placed in the local paper ensured that this time 80 more children would be involved in radio production. On 2nd May 1999 the children did their first ever Takeover show on The Wall. “Kids on the Wall” proved a great success and the children returned to take over the airwaves again in June 2000. The proliferation of programmes by the children under the supervising eye of Philip and Graham gained the attention of the House of Lords in London. The Lords invited the children to talk about young peoples use of radio. By August 2000 the group of children had grown so big that it was decided that they needed their own radio station. They took over the studios at the Wall and ran their very own station for 9 days from 9am till 9pm each day. The project was called Radio Activity.

Prepare to be Taken Over

In September 2000, the building of the new Takeover Radio Head Quarters took place and setting up of the Takeover Radio Children's Media Trust rolled into action. The function of the Trust was to enable more children to participate in this unique venture.

In July 2001, Charity status by the Charity's Commission took place and Takeover Radio was chosen to be one of only 15 radio stations to trial the new Access Radio project for the Radio Authority . This took a great deal of time by the children, Philip and Graham to get the station on the air. Finally on 5th March 2002, Takeover Radio was officially launched on 103.2 FM across the City of Leicester and live on the web at www.takeoverradio.com

Takeover Radio has now been on the air for over 5 years now. The Government agreed to allow the new radio regulator Ofcom to issue full time radio licences in 2004. Takeover Radio were successful in applying for one of these called a Community Radio License. This is a true indication of the importance a government backed agency gives to the vision of Children’s radio in the UK. As well as the radio “Takeover Radio” has branched out into other areas. The station is now in the process of looking for funding to set up cells around the country so other children can benefit from the training and life experiences the children have gained as part of Takeover Radio. The station is also looking to set up educational outreach work and make contact with as many schools as possible to make full use of the educational benefits a project such as this can provide. They now publish a magazine called "Retune" and offer work experience to 15 to 18 year olds.

Takeover Radio, although Adult-orientated during weekday day-time, is the only station in the UK, possibly the world, that let's kids have full control of their programmes. Will you be Taken Over?

Core Age Group Audience

Takeover Radio aims its music and programming at its core audience of 14-16 year olds for the majority of its programming except for weekday daytime programming between the hours of 10am and 3pm which is aimed at young adults aged 18-25. There's also nursery time between 9:15am and 10:00 a.m which is aimed at children aged 0-10.


Takeover Radio broadcasts news bulletins at 8:00 a.m, 1:00 p.m and 5:00 p.m on Weekdays. Weather and traffic reports are broadcast throughout the day, along with news of local events.

Former Presenters

*Jim Gray - Now at XFM Manchester as Breakfast Show producer
*Andy May - Now presenter at BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat and BBC Three's '60 Seconds' news

Education Centre

Takeover Radio offers training to children aged between 8 to 14 years old who want to take up a career in radio or media. The full training course lasts for 10 weeks and lessons cover everything from production to presenting. After 10 weeks and having fully completed the course, the children then take up a place presenting on the Next Generation Show (Sundays 6pm to 8pm) before eventually moving on to present and produce their own show.

As well as this, Takeover Radio also has links with local education organistations and runs similar courses for children and teenagers involved in those organistations and groups.


ee also

* List of radio stations in the United Kingdom

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