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OCEAN SOUND - INTRODUCTION
Radio Victory - The End: Radio Victory provided an extremely popular local radio service in its small transmission area around Portsmouth from its inception in 1975 until it was forced to relinquish the franchise in 1986. Radio Victory lost the Portsmouth franchise when the IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority) re-organised the transmission area, in 1985, deeming that the Portsmouth alone was too small an area to be financially viable. Die hard Radio Victory listeners were very upset when the station closure was announced in October 1985 and established a Save Our Station campaign. The end for Radio Victory came at midday on the 28th June 1986, the final words being spoken by Chris Carnegy who went on to work for the new station, Ocean Sound and later to open Spire FM in Salisbury on 20th September 1992.
Unlike the rest of the audio on my website, I did not make this recording myself. This recording was made by David Godfray.
The full recording is on David Godfray's website at: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.godfray/radio.html
Ocean Sound - A New Beginning: The new service area was expanded to cover Portsmouth, Southampton, Winchester and most of the Isle Of Wight. The IBA awarded this new franchise to Ocean Sound, which took over programme provision in October 1986 from a new purpose built broadcast unit in Sedgensworth. The following page details the setting up of the new radio station.
COUNTDOWN TO A BRAND NEW RADIO STATION FOR HAMPSHIRE
One of the greatest challenges that faces every Independent Radio company is the initial setting up of the station. Hampshire based Ocean Sound is one of the newest companies to face that challenge, following the award of the Portsmouth and Southampton franchise by the IBA in October 1985. Just 12 months before going on air, Ocean Sound was an embryonic group without studios or staff. In that crucial year, it tasked itself with constructing one of the most modern radio broadcasting facilities in the country, capable of separate simultaneous transmissions to both halves of its area; and with appointing some of Independent Radio's most respected staff. Headed by Managing Director David Lucas who had previously launched County Sound in Guildford, the group met the challenge of its first year as timetabled below with enthusiasm and a determined commitment to local community broadcasting a basis upon which it resolved to face the challenges to come.
October 1985 - Independent Broadcasting Authority awards the Portsmouth and Southampton ILR franchise to Ocean Sound.
November 1985 - Ocean Sound's board of directors is established. Planning commences for the new station.
December 1985 - Studio location chosen at Segensworth, near Fareham, the central point of the transmission area.
January 1986 - Ocean Sound opens its shares prospectus to the public, to raise the necessary capital.
February 1986 - Prospectus closes, having been over- subscribed.
March 1986 - Work begins on the new studio and office complex.
April 1986 - Managing Director David Lucas takes up his post. Key staff appointments can now follow. Preparation for the launch begins.
May 1986 - Segensworth complex is on target. Steel structure is in place.
June 1986 - Planning begins for the sale of on-air spot advertising - the station's revenue. Sales Manager appointed.
July 1986 - Sales team recruited. Programme controller takes up his post. Programme scheduling and full staff recruitment begins.
August 1986 - Segensworth studios completed. Ocean Sound start to 'go public', with promotional and advertising campaigns.
September 1986 - Staff move into new complex for training and testing of equipment. Radio station launch begins.
October 1986 - OCEAN SOUND GOES ON AIR!
OCEAN SOUND - ON AIR 12th October 1986
When Ocean Sound went on the air for the first time on 12th October 1986 it faced a situation unique in the 13-year history of Independent Radio. Its predecessor, Radio Victory, had ceased broadcasting on 28thJune, the first station to fall victim to the compulsory readvertisement of ILR contracts required by the Broadcasting Act 1981.
But Ocean Sound could not, as ITV contractors in a similar position have successfully done in the past, simply step straight into its defunct predecessor's shoes and studios.
Radio Victory had held the franchise for Portsmouth alone. Ocean Sound holds the franchise for Portsmouth and Southampton. New studios had to be built on a green-field site beside the M27, halfway between the two cities. New transmitters to carry Ocean Sound's signals to Southampton, Winchester, the New Forest and Isle of Wight have had to be constructed.
Managing director David Lucas found himself launching a station for two quite different audiences, one familiar with commercial radio, the other not.
The station's solution has been, for eight hours a day, to provide the two halves of its transmission area - the old Radio Victory area based on Portsmouth, and known as Ocean Sound East (97.5 fm and 1170 am) and the remainder, known as Ocean Sound West [103.2 fm (& 96.7 fm from 1987) and 1557 am] with separate programmes.
'The research we undertook before we began broadcasting was very illuminating: says David Lucas. We asked people what they wanted from a new local radio station and we found there was noticeably more interest in providing local news and information in the western part of our area than in the east.
'That might be for two reasons: the age and social profiles of the two areas are slightly different, but it might also reflect the local services the two areas have been used to'.
While in Portsmouth, Lucas says, there was a commercial radio vacuum waiting to be filled, in the western half of the area the older, more middle class inhabitants were familiar only with BBC Radio Solent. Now both halves of the transmission area share a breakfast programme, with separate local news, but from 9a.m. programmes are split for eight hours.
Ocean Sound East's policy is to play up tempo music of the sort with which Victory listeners will be familiar while providing a softer style of music on Ocean Sound West.
In the first few weeks on air organisations in the West, unfamiliar with commercial radio's requirements, were slower to respond with local information. 'Ocean Sound East has sounded more confident,' says Lucas, although it is clearly important for the new station to make an impact quickly in Portsmouth, while the rather more conservative listeners to the west may take a little longer to win round.
Advertisers too needed some education not only in the Southampton area but in Portsmouth as well, where Victory was accustomed, like many other ILR stations, to discount its rates heavily.
Lucas recruited as his head of sales Joseph Swain, who did the same job for Victory, but Ocean Sounds published rate card (which enables advertisers to buy either half of the transmission area or the whole lot) offers a price for Ocean Sound East that is actually lower than Radio Victory's.
This is an attempt to bring what advertisers actually pay for radio closer to the published rates. Swain believes that discounting can only harm a medium's image don't want us to be compared with the tackiest of local freesheets,' he says, and adds that despite the new policy virtually all Victory's former advertisers have also signed up with Ocean Sound.
Building on experience: Ocean Sound's purpose-built premises
and Managing Director David Lucas
Ocean Sound, Radio House, Whittle Avenue, Segensworth West, Fareham, Hampshire P015 5PA
OCEAN SOUND - NEW STUDIOS
The complexities of Ocean Sound's launch were all the greater once the company had decided, shortly after winning the franchise, to build entirely new studios at Segensworth, near Fareham.
'The original plan was to have studio buildings and offices in both Portsmouth and Southampton,' says Lucas.'But that is an unnecessarily complicated way of doing the job. The important thing is for the programmes themselves to provide a strong and relevant local identity. Contribution studios have been established in both Portsmouth and Southampton to provide direct city-centre access to the airwaves for interviewees and guests' '
Lucas is full of praise for the architect of Ocean Sounds £500,000 studio headquarters, Eddie Veal, and the suppliers and installers of £220,000-worth of studio equipment, MBI/AHB.
'They worked splendidly and smoothly together he says,'and with the IBA' Ocean Sound has benefited from the expertise in building and equipping radio stations built up by specialist companies over the years. 'This is now an established industry' says Lucas.
He also praises the IBAs transmitter engineers for their helpfulness and flexibility. The Authority agreed to bring forward a change in the Portsmouth VHF transmitter's frequency, due next year, so that Ocean Sound did not have to suffer a confusing change in frequency within months of going on air.
Following a request by Lucas, they also agreed to alter the specification for the Winchester VHF transmitter due to be installed early in 1987 so that it could be fed by landline if necessary as well as relaying the signal of one of Ocean Sounds other transmitters. 'That gives us the option, if we want to and the IBA agrees, to provide separate programming for Winchester, says Lucas.
But Lucas, like some other radio managers, wonders whether the high standards of IBA studio specifications are always necessary. A significant proportion of studio costs comes in sound-proofing them; says Lucas.'Would it really matter if the listener heard the occasional lorry rumbling past outside? With most stations operating on close mic techniques anyway, peripheral noise can be minor'.
Ocean Sounds inheritance from Radio Victory includes seven staff (head of news and head of sales among them) as well as a potential 220,000 listeners. But, as Lucas says, it may have been no bad thing that Victory closed down in June rather than staying on air till the day before Ocean Sounds launch helping the new station to establish a wholly fresh identity for itself
That launch, promoted with the aid of television and newspaper advertisements and a free newspaper delivered to 365,000 households, appears to have gone off successfully.
TV-am or Today?
'The worst thing that could happen to us,' said Lucas before 12th October, 'is that we have the kind of launch suffered by TV-am or Today. But we have tried to learn from other's mistakes, we have defined our objectives, we have done thorough research and we have tried to create programmes that will appeal to the listeners which that research tells us we should be trying to attract.
And we must not forget that there are things we will want to fine tune after 12th October. Our job does not end then: that is just one incident in the life of this radio station'
Source : IBA
OCEAN SOUND PRESENTERS
Some of the presenters heard on Ocean Sound were: Adrian Scott; Chris Carnegy; Karen Woods (Head Of News).
Early names on Ocean Sound included Jim Hicks (Ocean Sound East mornings); Guy Hornsby (joint east/west breakfast then Ocean Sound East afternoons); Pete Wardman (joint east/west evenings), Adrian Scott (joint east/west lates); Alex Dyke (joint east/west overnights); Mark Flanagan (west mornings); Jean-Paul Hansford (Ocean Sound West afternoons). (Thanks to Colin Hanslip for this information)
If you have any other names please let us know via the CONTACT Page - Thanks!
OCEAN SOUND - THE AUDIO FILES
Listen to some clips from Ocean Sound !
OCEAN SOUND - THE TRANSMITTERS
The transmitters implemented by the IBA for Ocean Sound were as follows:
Chillerton Down: 103.2 MHz v.h.f. 2.0 kW e.r.p. directional transmitter situated on the Isle of Wight and covering
Southampton, South-West Hampshire and most of the Isle of Wight. (a new transmitter for Ocean)
Crabwood Farm: 96.7 MHz v.h.f. 0.5 kW e.r.p. covering Winchester and Mid-Hampshire. (A new transmitter for Ocean)
Fort Widley: 97.5 MHz power increased from 0.2 kW to 0.85 kW e.r.p. covering Portsmouth and South-East Hampshire. (site formerly used by Radio Victory)
Farlington Marshes: 1170 kHz (257 meters) medium wave 0.12 kW e.m.r.p. for Portsmouth & South-East Hampshire. (site formerly used by Radio Victory)
Veals Farm: 1557 kHz (193 meters) medium wave 0.5 kW e.m.r.p. for Southampton, South-West Hampshire & much of the Isle of Wight (a new transmitter for Ocean)
OCEAN SOUND - CHANGES TO PROGRAMMES AND OWNERSHIP
"WE'RE ON YOUR WAVELENGTH"
By 1989 Ocean Sound had split its various transmitters into several individual services:
97.5 FM in Portsmouth continued to carry the original "OCEAN SOUND" format which included news and information.
96.7 FM in Winchester was carrying a new melodic music service, with news and information, for the north of the area called "OCEAN SOUND - THE LIGHT FM" which launched on 6th December 1987.
103.2 FM in Southampton was carrying a new all pop station with news and information called "The POWER FM" which launched on 4th December 1988.
1170 kHz M.W. and 1557 kHz M.W. were carrying a new service of music mainly from the 1960's and 1970's, with news and information, called "OCEAN SOUND - THE GOLD AM" which also launched on 4th December 1988.
By 1992 the Ocean Sound organisation had merged with the acquisitive adjoining station Southern Sound Radio which ran SOUTHERN FM in Sussex, to form a radio company called "SOUTHERN RADIO plc". The separate FM services of OCEAN SOUND from Winchester 96.7 and Portsmouth 97.5 were re-merged into a single station called "OCEAN SOUND CLASSIC HITS". POWER FM continued on 103.2 FM, and SOUTHERN FM remained a separate station for Sussex. However the Southern Sound AM transmitter on 1323 KHz (0.5kW) in Brighton started to carry a newly named station called "SOUTH COAST RADIO". SOUTH COAST RADIO was also carried on the former "Ocean Sound - The Gold AM" transmitters on 1170KHz (Farlington Marshes) and 1557 KHz (Veals Farm).
[ The address for Southern FM was - Radio House, PO Box 2000, Brighton BN41 2SS ]
Above: Robert Sperring - Chairman of Southern Radio plc
By 1994 the Southern Radio group had been bought out by Capital Radio plc. When Capital Radio took over the organisation they added an extra 0.7 kW AM transmitter for the "South Coast Radio"service at Bexhill, for Eastbourne and East Sussex, on 945 KHz - some listeners may remember the test transmissions on the 945 kHz Bexhill transmitter which consisted of days of the sounds of seagulls.
The AM service "South Coast Radio" continued for several years but was eventually was abandoned in in favour of a relay of the "Capital Gold" oldies station from Capital's studios in London, although around three hours of local opt-outs per day were retained for Hampshire and Sussex. "Power FM" continued on 103.2, "Ocean FM Classic Hits" remained on 97.5 and 96.7 and Southern FM remained on its FM frequencies in Sussex (102.4; 103.5; 102.0 and 96.9 MHz).
In 1995 the Ocean FM / Power FM / South Coast Radio team was: Chairman - Anthony Brook; Station Director - Sally Oldham; Programme Controller - Nik Martin; Sales Manager - Jane Finden.
By 1999 the Ocean FM / Power FM / Capital Gold team was: Chairman - Anthony Brook; Station Director - Jane Finden; Programme Controller - Mark Sadler.
By 2006 the relay of Capital Gold continued on AM, Power FM remained on 103.2, while Ocean FM became known simply as "Ocean".
2009: The GCap Radio group which ended up owning Ocean FM and Power FM was sold to Global Radio in 2008. Most of the old 'heritage' ILR stations that belonged to GCap would be changed to Global Radio's "Heart" branding. This would mean the loss of many old familiar ILR station names such as Chiltern Radio, Hereward Radio, Plymouth Sound, Fox FM, GWR, Radio Broadland and Ocean FM and Power FM.
Power FM's name would be lost when the station changed its identity to Global's "Galaxy" branding.
December 2006 Pete Warman wrote:
"Great to read your web site about Ocean Sound and Power FM, [it] brought back some very happy memories for me as I was one of the original seven presenters at Ocean Sound - and went onto launch Power FM in 1988. Also was impressed at how accurate your information on the history of the place!
Best regards, Pete Wardman."
Pete Wardman is now at BBC East Midlands
In December 2012 John Campbell wrote:
Hi Mike - Just browsing your Ocean Sound pages. I presented Saturday mornings on east and west 10am - 2pm between 1986 and 1988. I am now broadcasting on Forest FM on Saturdays from 4pm - 6pm. I hope this adds a bit to the story.
Regards, John Campbell
Photographs - Source IBA
Radio Victory audio of station closure from David Godfray http://homepage.ntlworld.com/david.godfray/radio.html
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