Sun FM

Sun FM

Radio station

name= Sun FM
airdate= November 5 1990
frequency=103.4 MHz
share as of= September 2007
share source= []
area= Sunderland
format =Contemporary
owner = The Local Radio Company

Sun FM is a radio station serving the City of Sunderland and also available in Tyne and Wear, northern parts of County Durham in England. It broadcasts on the frequency 103.4 MHz and plays a mix of contemporary and classic popular music alongside local news, travel and covered ground breaking dance music in the early 90's.


The station, or to be more exact, the station broadcasting on the 103.4 frequency, has undergone a number of changes in its relatively short history, going through 3 owners, 3 names and possessing a history of industrial problems, most notably of which was Wear FM.

Wear FM

The station now known as SUN FM was launched in 1990 as Wear FM (Sunderland Community Radio Association) was initially led by maverick Australian Pieta O'Shaughessey. Reputedly the station could also be received as far away as Middlesbrough by attaching wire coat-hangers and lengths of wire to radio ariels, which were positioned outside of teenagers bedroom windows.

The station gained international acclaim for its community programming and social inclusion. It's finest hour came with the winning of the Sony Award for UK Radio Station of the Year in 1992. Covering Durham and Sunderland, the station faced competition for its license when it reapplied for it in February 1994, with Competition from the Wearside Broadcasting Company. Although the license was retained, times were not good at the station - tension between management and staff reached boiling point, and this led to a walkout in early March of that year, as protests raged about how the station was being run. They felt that, due to their base being at the University of Sunderland, a takeover by the same was imminent. The University made various attempts to save the station but legislation prevented a public body owning the station and a commercial buyer was sought.

Wear FM ceased transmissions in 1995 when it was taken over by the Minster Sound Group, who relaunched the station as Sun City FM. Wear FM's Studios in the Foster Building were taken over by the University of Sunderland, and finally demolished in 2003. Programming of the time included DJ's Smokey Joe + B-Jam on Friday night with the 'Crimewatch' show, Yoz and Spen, Bucket Street and Mondays saw the DJ SLP with 'Hardtimes' featuring early jungle, jump-up and drum+bass music styles.


Among the team that was committed to Presenting and producing from its birth to closure was Barry Wilson from Peterlee and Neville Whitehead from Shiney Row.Their main contribution was to the Sunday Breakfast Show Which covered faith, moral values and other lifestyles. Their aim was to appeal to a wide section of population by the varied style of religious music available and Interview various people from all walks of life. Barry was noted in the station for getting celebrities such as Cliff Richard and Harry Secombe, and even more so for his relentless self promotion, of which this is an example.

After the station closed Barry Wilson went into the Christian publishing industry. Joining New Life Publishing Co in Nottingham. He can also be heard doing programmes for BBC Radio Nottingham on their mid week breakfast show and Sunday morning slot, also from time to time BBC Radio Kent and UCB. He also does much more with [ New Life Publishing Co] also in Nottingham. Where he is part of a team that produces Christian publications. Neville has since retired in the Oldham area.

From SUN City 103.4 to SUN FM

Sun City took over when Wear FM ceased broadcasting in 1995. But the bad run of form continued when Sun City 103.4's operator was financially penalised by the Radio Authority for not coming up with elements of their Promise Of Performance, an agreement which formed part of tuheir licence remit (The breakfast show diasgrace) and not offering a balanced argument with options of sadisim and the acult.

A sale to Border Radio Holdings, owners of the Century brand, followed with a new name of Sun City FM. In January 1999 Brian Lister joined what was then Sun FM in Sunderland as Managing Director. Sun FM was wholly owned by Border Radio and later became part of the Capital Radio Group when they acquired Border Radio in April 2000. Granada TV acquired the Border TV business for £50m, with the total deal of £146m to allow Capital Radio to hold on to the radio business. It was Scottish Radio Holdings that proved strong competition in the process, with SRH bidding £141m, but failing with an increased offer from the London based business. Later, with Capital streamlining their businesses, and focusing on large area based stations, part of their 'Capital Cities' portfolio, Radio Investments Limited purchased Sun FM and its handling company 'Bucks Broadcasting' in March 2001. This sale also included the other group station, Mix 96 in Aylesbury. (Capital, along with sales of its 30% share in Wolverhampton's The Wolf to Forever Broadcasting, netted around £9.5 cash in the deals.) Brian Lister continued his work with RIL and was appointed Group Development Director in July 2001, responsible for license applications and development work around the UK.


Today, Sun FM plays chart hits and oldies, and provides local news, sport and information on 103.4FM from its Sunderland based studios, reaching southwards through its designated broadcast area to Washington, Ryhope, Houghton-Le-Spring and Murton, and outwards to Newcastle, South Shields, Chester-Le-Street and Durham itself. It operates in the TLRC corporate image, of blue, yellow and white and the 'Music, Fun, Life' imaging.


The current list of Sun FM's Presenters can be seen here: [ Sun FM's Presenters List]

External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ Listen Online]

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