Tuesday 16th June 2020. Devizes, Wiltshire, UK.
FANTASY Radio is the community radio station for Devizes and Mid-Wiltshire, and today it celebrates its 25th Birthday. The station has been broadcasting full-time since 2012, but its first broadcast on 1386 kHz Medium Wave kicked off on the 16th of June 1995, as an experiment in local radio.
John Major was Prime Minister, Robson & Jerome, Oasis and Take That were at the top of the charts, and the team behind Fantasy Radio were hard at work converting an old bathroom into a radio studio. Borrowed transmission equipment was set up in the grounds of the Devizes Castle, and preparations were being made for 28 days of programmes.
Local people enjoyed the output of the station, which included music from across the decades as well as local interviews, news and opinion, and even documentaries on a variety of subjects related to the station’s home, Devizes.
Listeners continued to engage with the short-term broadcasts – with reception reports as far afield as Sweden and Germany! The broadcasts on Medium Wave continued for a couple of years, before a switch to ‘Crystal Clear FM Stereo’ in 1997.
More short-term broadcasts followed, and in September 2011 Fantasy Radio was awarded a community radio license, to broadcast full-time on 97FM. Those full-time programmes started on 29th February 2012, and its community license has since been renewed, ensuring a local service for the area until at least 2022.
Local people still enjoy the work that Fantasy Radio does on-air and in the community; supporting local events alongside the Town Council and other groups such as the local carnival committee and The Lions Club. Individuals from the town listen regularly, and Devizes ex-pats keep in touch with home by listening online.
A small army of volunteers keeps Fantasy Radio on-air even during these troubled times, with presenters broadcasting from the main studio and from home, keeping people entertained and informed during the Coronavirus outbreak.
More than 50 volunteers have been involved with Fantasy Radio over the years, and the Fantasy Radio team would like to thank them all for their tireless efforts. Here’s to the next 25 years!
You can listen to Fantasy Radio on 97FM in Devizes and Mid-Wiltshire, online at fantasyradio.co.uk and via Radioplayer and other apps like TuneIn. Follow the station on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @fantasyradiouk