Bro Radio, the station that loves the Vale. You can check them out on 98.1FM throughout the vale or online at www.broradio.fm. They’ve been attempting to move the transmitter to a new location in Barry to improve signal to the outskirts of Barry and beyond. We caught up with Station Manager Gareth Sweeney, to tell us all about the station, the new transmitter move and what it means for you.
How did Bro Radio come about, who’s idea was it?
The idea of setting up a community radio station, based in the Vale, was thought up by a number of like – minded people who have/had a passion for the local community and radio as a whole.
They wanted to create a station that broadcasts a mixture of locally relevant content and music to the people of the Vale of Glamorgan.
How long have you been Station Manager? Have you always had a passion for music?
Absolutely. I’ve had a passion for music and radio for as long as I can remember. I started off as every budding radio presenter did back then – a bedroom DJ. I’d record the chart every Sunday from 4pm, armed with my cassette player trying to press stop before the DJ spoke. I began my days in radio at a hospital radio station in Abergavenny, then moving on to commercial radio and I did some work for the BBC as well.
I was part of the original team that got Bro Radio on air back in 2009. I started as a volunteer and then worked my way up through various paid positions, finally taking over as Station Manager in January 2013. I now oversee the day -to – day running of Bro Radio and its team of dedicated volunteers.
What is Bro Radio’s aim within the community?
Our aim has always been to offer an alternative to the other stations that broadcast to the area. We are truly the only radio station that is dedicated to the Vale of Glamorgan. We dedicate our time to covering local news, sport, travel and events for the area and of course playing a diverse mix of music that is tailored for the audience we cover in the Vale. I believe we do this very well and like no one else can.
When did you realise the transmitter needed to be moved?
I think we have always known that we had a coverage issue on FM from feedback from our listeners. The problem we have is mainly due to the landscape of the Barry and the Vale – it’s not flat!
How long has the process taken?
The transmitter move took a lot longer than we had hoped to be honest. Of course we would love to be able to do these things quickly, but unfortunately it’s not as easy as that and we wanted to make sure we did it right.
We had been talking about the idea for around 4 years. We then had to find the right area to relocate our mast to and then gain permission from the right people. Of course, money to be able to afford it played a big part as well. It simply wouldn’t have happened without the support of the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Barry Town Council, Llantwit Major Town Council, Llandough Community Council, the stations supportive advertisers and the local community which we serve.
What does the transmitter move mean to the Vale?
I think it’s good news for a lot of Vale residents. It has always been the number one topic of conversation with members of the public whenever they have seen us at outside broadcasts, events, etc… The question has always been something like “when can we listen to you outside of Barry?”
We’ve listened to residents feedback and I’m glad to say we’re now heard around the Vale.
What does the future hold for Bro Radio?
Now that we have finally relocated our mast, obviously that will attract more listeners. But not only that, it will create more volunteering opportunities for those that have a keen interest in radio, music and the Vale of Glamorgan. I firmly believe this will ensure Bro Radio continues to play a big part in the life of Vale residents.
To end, I would personally like to thank all of our supporters, advertisers and listeners for their support over the years as we continue to operate a truly local radio service which we hope the Vale of Glamorgan can be proud of.
So, the transmitter move means more people within the Vale will be able to listen in. I can’t wait to catch Leroy on Club Classics every Saturday night.
You can follow Bro Radio on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just search @BroRadio