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Power e.r.p.
BBC Radio Devon
ILR Lantern
DAB - Digital One
UHF Analogue TV (UHF Ch No)
UHF Analogue TV
(UHF Ch No)
UHF Digital Terrestrial TV
94.8 MHz
96.2 MHz - [see note at foot of page]
Not allocated
222.06 MHz (Block 11D)
BBC1/2 (55/62), ITV  (59), Ch 4 (65)
Channel 5 (67)
Freeview (54/58/61/64/53&51*/57&47*)
0.68 kW
2.5 kW

4.0 kW
100 kW
4 / 0.08* kW


All Photos By Martin Watkins

A close up of the BBC Radio Devon mixed polarised aerials (top), and the ILR Lantern mixed polarised Sira aerials, slightly lower down and protruding to the right of the photo.

From the top down:
UHF Cylinder for the four main analogue television services;
Two separate sets of panel aerials (about half way down this photo) for DTT and Channel Five;
Mixed polarised VHF/FM radio aerials for BBC Radio Devon;
Pair of mixed polarised Sira aerials for ILR North Devon (Lantern);
  At the very bottom of the picture, half out of shot, the DAB aerials for Digital One.

Above the mobile phone antennae at the bottom of this photo can be seen the DAB aerials installed by Digital One.  No BBC DAB service has been installed here yet.

A close up of the UHF cylinder used for the four main analogue television channels.
The Channel Five aerials appear to be separate panels installed lower down the mast.
The DDT aerials are also separate panels installed lower down, near the Channel Five panels.

Thanks to Martin Watkins for sending in the photographs.


Lantern Radio was set up in 1992 as a dedicated and popular independent community radio station serving North Devon.  Managing Director and driving force behind the project was John Brocks.  The chairman Leslie Frewin, author and founder of Europe's first and largest PR company IMPAC and past chairman of the Lord's Taveners.  Deputy Chairman was Sandra Yeo, local businesswoman and parish councillor.

Other important members of the Lantern Radio team of management and directors included:  Rodney Grant, a North Devonian who had previously held the position of Executive Accountant with the Press Association and worked with Peat Marwick Mitchell Management Consultants;  Stephen Oates who had previously run the highly successful community station Isle Of Wight Radio, which had been held up by the Radio Authority as an example of how a community radio station should sound; Simon Maunder and David Rodgers, previously a director at Orchard FM who made that station an enormous success.

Lantern Radio established offices and studios in a quaint building named The Light House located at 17 The Market Place in the market town of Bideford.  The building had once been used as the Kingdom Hall of Jehova's Witnesses.

Lantern Radio proved to be a huge success with the audience with its well focussed local sound that was based on a broad variety of music, but with plenty of speech, information and news.  I listened to Lantern Radio during several visits to North Devon and enjoyed the programmes immensly, and judging by the number of radio sets in the area tuned to the station, so did a very large section of the population.

Technically Lantern Radio had two presentation studios, A and B,  together with a separate News Studio all located in the basement adjacent to the plant room, racks room and record library. 

Above the studios and technical areas, on the ground floor, was located the reception area, sales office, programme planning area, board room, kitchen and management offices.

The transmitter was located at the television mast at Huntshaw Cross.  The authorised power was 4 kW mixed polarisation, with an omnidirectional radiation pattern.  In practice, however, the power was 2.5 kW: 2 kW vertical polarisation plus 0.5 kW horizontal polarisation.  The proposed transmitter being an Eddystone 1706/1X feeding crossed dipole aerials, a system costing around £23,000.

Additional equipment required was a multi-redundancy amplifier, stereo generator, reserve drive with auto change-over, twin aerial feeders, telemetry and supervisory systems, audio limiting equipment, audio monitor panel and jackfield.  Together with the installation of the equipment this would cost around £26,000 bringing the total cost of the transmitter equipment alone to nearly £50,000 !


After a very successful period of independent broadcasting thoughout the 1990's Lantern Radio was bought by the GWR group and no doubt the character of the radio station has since been changed to conform with the GWR house style, although I cannot confirm this as I have not visited the area since the take-over.  The station has also vacated The Light House and moved its headquaters from Bideford to a new unit at Lauder Lane, Roundswell Business Park in Barnstaple. 

A new VHF FM relay transmitter
on 97.3 MHz has also been established in Ilfracombe, which is beyond the reach of the signal from Huntshaw Cross.  Pre-takeover, Lantern Radio had recognised the problem of Ilfracombe being unserved by a signal from Huntshaw Cross and had discussed the use of a VHF FM relay for the town and even a medium wave relay for the area and/or the siting a VHF FM relay transmitter on the Isle of Lundy.  Due to problems with electricty supply and coverage problems around the coves the Lundy idea was discounted.

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