Free Radio (Shropshire & The Black Country), like each local commercial station in the UK has obligations with regard to its programmes, including its music and local content. These obligations are set out in the station Format which forms part of our Public File. The station used to be called Beacon and broadcasts programmes across the whole of Wolverhampton, the Black Country and Shropshire.
The Public File is just one indicator of our output. Just ask us if you’d like a hard copy. If you have any comments on it, let us know or, if necessary, contact our regulator, Ofcom.
Except in special or exceptional circumstances (which may include some bank holiday periods,) the station broadcasts news bulletins hourly from 0600 until 1900, with additional headlines in weekday breakfast and evening drive periods. Bulletins contain a mix of local/regional, national and world stories, along with sport, weather and entertainment news.
At the weekend, bulletins containing local/regional, national and world news, along with sport, weather and entertainment news, are broadcast between 0700 and 1300.
Additionally, at other times, bulletins containing national and world news, prepared by Sky, may be broadcast in some hours.
Recent stories can be seen here.
Bulletins are prepared from a Midlands news hub. Journalists are deployed, where applicable, in Shropshire and in the Black Country, from where they can file reports into bulletins.
The station broadcasts twenty four hours a day, with programmes as listed here.
Programming within weekday daytimes is not regularly automated, apart from the 2pm hour. Our late night and overnight programming – and some early evening and early morning weekend programming will generally be automated, but shows may be live in times of adverse weather or other relevant circumstances.
Except in special or exceptional circumstances (e.g. specials), our programmes are broadcast from the Black Country weekdays between 0600 and 0900, and between 1500 and 1900. Programming between 1000 and 1500 is generally from Birmingham. At the weekends, programming is from the Black Country between 0700 and 1100 on a Saturday and 0800 and 1200 on a Sunday. At other times, programmes originate from Birmingham, apart from ‘destination’ programme specials which may be broadcast from other studios around the UK (e.g. The Big Top 40). The station’s studios are at Black Country House, Rounds Green Road, Oldbury, B69 2DG; and the station’s operational office base is at Nine Brindleyplace, 4 Oozells Square, Birmingham, B1 2DJ.
Guidelines on localness have been published by our regulator OFCOM, and are available here
To contact the radio station generally, you may use our ‘contact us’ page and we seek to reply to any emails which raise substantive issues. You can also contact us during office hours on 01902 461300. Any complaints or comments may also be lodged via the website (click ‘contact us’ and then use ‘Got a complaint’.)
Events/Charities support or coverage
The station stages several events and charity initiatives throughout the year.
When the House of Bread (a Stafford Charity) won the ‘Thousand Pound Lunch Break’ with Jo & Sparky, their one thousand pounds helped to pay for homeless people in Stafford to eat for two months.
The station also supported the Dudley Eye which was raising money for the Midlands Air Ambulance. Jo & Sparky visited the charity.
When Graeme Brooks walked from the centre circle at Walsall Football Club to Wembley, raising money for the Walsall Society for the Blind, Cat & Nelly followed his journey, checking in with him every morning live on their programme; and covering his eventual emotional arrival. We also supported local character, ‘Blind Dave Heeley’, a Black Country legend; and helped to promote his various charity events (such as the Marathon des Sables in the Sahara Desert) and the Albion Foundation which supports kids through sport.
Cat & Nelly started the Family Fun Race at the Black Country Fun Run. There were over 1000 runners on the day, all raising money for local charities. Tom Newitt visited the Black Country Living Museum on Black Country Day , with reports on-air, as the venue opened free to school and community groups.
We enjoy key partnerships which we support throughout the year including Wolverhampton Wanderers, Mander Centre and Shrewsbury Shopping Centre in addition to hosting firework and Christmas light events across the area during the winter period.
Our continued effort to meet and engage with our prospective and existing listeners has seen us deliver activities including Christmas Stars, where presenters and our Street Stars visited schools to encourage young listeners to sing at Christmas.
We stage a music concert each year, working with the LG Arena. This event returned in November 2015 as ‘Live 2015′, with the likes of Years and Years, the Vamps and Sigma. The students of Birmingham Ormiston Academy supported us on the night, and we were delighted to be able to give those individuals a hands-on opportunity to create, manage and participate in an event of that stature.
Recent programme and or/news highlights
Our website covers much of the programming we’re proud of (general and, where appropriate, news).
Recent news stories we have covered include a review into failings at Ludlow Hospital following the death of a baby in the midwife unit after the pregnancy was wrongly classed as low risk, proposals for the M6 Toll to be made free to use when there are major closures elsewhere, and proposals for a regional outlet shopping centre in Cannock
We aim that our radio stations belong to the areas they serve. Do let us have any suggestions or thoughts.
Free Radio is licensed to play ‘mainstream music’. It plays, accordingly, a mix of current mainstream pop songs alongside classic chart hits from the last fifteen years. Examples of some of the artists we feature include: Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Jennifer Lopez, Jess Glynne, Justin Timberlake, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Little Mix, Maroon Five, Olly Murs, Pink, Rihanna and Taylor Swift.
As outlined at the head of this document, the station is governed by a Format, which forms part of our licence. Our Format is here.
How to complain
Live, entertaining radio always carries some risk. We try to get things right, and not all programmes will be to everyone’s taste. Where we do make mistakes, we do try to take appropriate action as quickly as we can. Please do get in touch with any comments – praise or complaints and we’ll consider them carefully. Contact us here.
If you need to speak to us directly, our weekday office hours phone numbers are above. Should you feel we have not taken the right action regarding a broadcast after contacting us, you may refer the matter to our regulator Ofcom.