104.5, 104.8 & 95.0–95.3 FM|
1161 & 1485 AM
DAB: NOW Sussex Coast
|First air date||14 February 1968 (as BBC Radio Brighton)|
|Format||Local news, talk and music|
|Audience share||4.1% (with BBC Surrey) (September 2014, )|
BBC Local Radio,|
BBC South East
BBC Sussex is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of Sussex. It began on 14 February 1968 as BBC Radio Brighton, later becoming BBC Radio Sussex and then part of BBC Southern Counties Radio, before adopting its present name on 30 March 2009. BBC journalists Jeremy Paxman, Kate Adie and Des Lynam started their careers at BBC Brighton.
BBC Sussex runs its own programming specifically for Sussex from its studios in Brighton on weekdays from 6-9am and 5-6pm, and on Saturdays from 6-9am and 2-6pm. There are also dedicated news bulletins for Sussex on the hour at some times of the day. The remainder of the station's daytime output is shared with BBC Surrey. It is part of the BBC South East region, based in Tunbridge Wells.
BBC Sussex cover every Brighton and Hove Albion and Crawley Town game live. On Saturdays BBC Sussex Sport starts at 14:00 presented by Johnny Cantor, from wherever Brighton are playing. This show contains interviews and features on all sports from within the region. The frequencies then split shortly before kick off, with Brighton's match on DAB, 95.0, 95.3 and 104.5FM, and Crawley on the remaining frequencies.
When non-traditional kick off times occur, the main presenter for the club in question presents a BBC Sussex sports special on midweek evenings, opting out of networked programming.
BBC Radio Brighton (1968-1983)
BBC Radio Brighton was one of the first wave of BBC Local Radio stations which took to the air during the late 1960s. Broadcasting from Marlborough Place, it officially opened on 14 February 1968, though a short-lived emergency service had been broadcast during the blizzards earlier that winter. Originally broadcast on 88.1 MHz VHF only, the station later acquired a medium wave frequency of 202m, and transferred to 95.3 MHz on VHF.
In common with much of the BBC's early local radio output, Radio Brighton broadcast only for limited daytime hours in its early years, relying on Radio 2 and Radio 4 for a sustaining service, but building to a full daytime service by the mid-1970s. In the early years, the emphasis was on structured programmes rather than the open-ended magazine shows which have since become more common. The flagship was the breakfast news programme 'Coastwise'.
BBC Radio Sussex (1983-1994)
On 22 October 1983, as part of the BBC's move to extend its local radio network across the UK, the station expanded further to include the entire county. As a result, the 'Radio Brighton' name was dropped in favour of the more accurate BBC Radio Sussex.
BBC Southern Counties Radio (1994-2009)
In 1994 BBC Radio Sussex merged with a later arrival, BBC Radio Surrey to form BBC Southern Counties Radio. At first it ran a single all-talk schedule across Sussex and Surrey, however in September 1997 two dedicated breakfast shows, one for Brighton and Hove on the old 95.3 frequency, and another for the remainder of Sussex, were introduced. However the separate breakfast show for Brighton was discontinued in April 2006.
BBC Sussex (2009-present)
In March 2009 the county name returned to the radio station name when BBC Sussex became the new name for BBC Southern Counties Radio across Sussex. BBC Sussex and its sister station BBC Surrey continue effectively to operate as one station, with no change in management or infrastructure from its predecessor.
Networked and simulcast programming
During off-peak hours, BBC Sussex also carries regional programming for the South and South East regions, produced from sister stations BBC Radio Solent and BBC Radio Kent. As with all BBC Local Radio stations, it also airs the networked weekday evening shows, originating from BBC Radio Leeds and produced independently by Wire Free Productions. During the station's downtime, BBC Sussex simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.
BBC Local Radio became a training ground for many young broadcasters who went on to become well-known names. Des Lynam and Kate Adie both began their careers at BBC Radio Brighton, as did BBC TV News Special Reporter Gavin Hewitt and presenter of Radio 4’s ‘Checkup’ Barbara Myers.
Others involved in the first decade of broadcasting at Radio Brighton were: David Waine – first Programme Organiser at RB, then moved on to be Station Manager at BBC Radio Bristol and later Head of Broadcasting for the Midlands and East Anglia.
Peter Ruff – news reporter, who moved to the BBC newsroom in London, went on to become the BBC’s Moscow, then Washington, Correspondent. Now a specialist in Crisis Management, he has written a book on the subject.
John Henty – became a freelance broadcaster and a collector of Mabel Lucie Atwell, on which subject he is the world’s leading authority. He has written about her and founded and ran a museum in Cornwall dedicated to her work.
Keith Slade – stayed with the station for over twenty years and was responsible for encouraging many of the younger freelance broadcasters.
Michael Fabricant - the son of Brighton’s Rabbi Fabricant, was involved as a young freelance before university at Loughborough and Sussex. He is now Conservative MP for Lichfield.
Stuart Hobday – went on to be a Radio 2 producer for Terry Wogan, Jimmy Young, David Hamilton before moving to Bristol as senior music producer for the South-West and then Birmingham, with responsibilities including country music.
Bob Simpson – news reporter who would later become a foreign correspondent for BBC News. He was one of two BBC journalists who defied the Corporation's wishes and stayed to broadcast from Baghdad during the Gulf war.
Later presenters included the programme organiser Jim Parr, Stewart Macintosh, who is now a newsreader for the BBC World Service, David Arscott, Piers Bishop, Neil Coppendale and Joanna Holles (whose focus was women's programmes and old-time music shows, including 'Oh Joanna').
The transmission area was initially restricted to little more than the immediate Brighton and Hove conurbation, with the surrounding suburbs. However, coverage was extended to include Worthing in the late 1970s