Our History

OUR PAST

1996

Town FM began in April 1996 when local businessman Wayne Sharp and a group of local radio enthusiasts got together to discuss the lack of a local radio service in North London. They felt the information about local events was not ready available or easily accessible and local news and up to date travel information for North London was badly catered for. 

1997 - 2000

Town FM went on air with a 28 day RSL broadcast on FM, which was also carried on the Cable London network. The RSL which was broadcast to the London Boroughs of Enfield and Haringey between 28th June and 26th July 1997 coincided with Enfield’s ‘Under One Sun festival’.

Town FM became the official radio station for the event, and hit the airwaves with an outside broadcast from the Enfield Civic Centre on its first day.

Ten more OBs were to follow. The Town FM Sales Team was extremely successful in promoting and marketing the new station and easily covered the full cost of the RSL, with profit solely from advertising and sponsorship revenue. Major companies such as The Royal Bank of Scotland, British Gas and Pearson’s Department Store advertised on Town FM. 

The Programming consisted of a mix of music from the last four decades with the best new music from 4am to 7pm. From 7pm until 10pm a ‘School and College’ programme was aired, involving local children broadcasting with one of our presenters. From 10pm until 4am specialist music shows included Soul/R’n’B, House & Garage, Reggae and Lovers Rock. 

At the weekend extra specialist shows such as TFM Gold, Talkback (a speech based programme on Sunday evenings), and the Jazz show complemented Town FM’s successful weekday formula. Broadcasts also included nine local news bulletins a day, the Town FM community events file, and local travel reports with AA Vodafone Road Watch and a Job Spot in conjunction with the local employment service.

Cable London was so impressed with professional approach and innovative programming from Town FM that they agreed to keep the station full time.

Wayne Sharp applied to the Radio Authority for a Cable and Satellite licence, which was duly granted. After the initial 28 days, Town FM was also carried on all the part-time TV channels during their downtime and was allocated its own TV channel. 

Town FM moved premises to overcome technical problems and a shortage of space. Enfield Council provided Town FM with a 2200 sq. ft. shop in Fore Street, Edmonton. A multi-studio complex was built within this site, and it was officially opened by Andy Love MP and local council dignitaries on the 26th July 1997. Town FM continued to broadcast from these premises on the Cable London Network, twenty four hours a day, and seven days a week with live programming since launching in June 1997. 

The Town FM training school started in August 1997, after constant requests from local people requesting information on radio presentation. Due to the Town FM training school over 120 students were trained, and any students who passed the course were given the opportunity to present the weekend early breakfast show. Once the student gained further on air experience on this slot, progression to a more permanent position was possible. To date a number of presenters trained by Town FM have gone on to achieve full time careers in radio. Gemma Humphries works for Meridian TV, Neil Williams (Roberto) works for Heart in London, Lucy Ambache was one half of the Choice FM breakfast show, she now works for a top radio station in Sussex and Ben Dudley works for Heart in Bedfordshire to name but a few.

Town FM continued its strong community presence whilst broadcasting on the Cable London Network. In November 1997 the organisers of Job scene 1997 approached Town FM to broadcast over six hours of live programmes during the three day event at Alexander Palace, which was the biggest Job scene event of that year. Town FM duly obliged. 

A wide range of local events have benefited from Town FM’s outside broadcasts and road shows. In addition over 1,200 local charities and voluntary organisations have received free advertising and publicity through the Community Events file and some sixty road shows were provided for smaller local events. Town FM’s biggest event was the Alexandra Palace Fireworks display in November 1998. The event attracted over 47,000 North Londoners and was the biggest display in London by far. Alexandra Palace’s management commented that it was their most successful display in their one hundred year history. London’s Heart had previously hosted the event and it was very significant that major venues like Alexandra Palace were taking Town FM seriously.

Town FM provided work experience to thirty-eight students and free talks to media students. Town FM also visited fifteen schools and colleges.

Town FM returned with a second RSL on the 1st January 1998, and despite constant interference from two pirate radio stations, 68% of the airtime was sold.

During this broadcast an open top bus was hired and branded in the station colours. Town FM’s presenters toured North London every Saturday, proclaiming there was a new Radio Station in TOWN. We teamed up with Marie Curie Cancer Care and raised over £10,000.00 in one day for the charity.   

In August 1998 Town FM organised its ‘Stars of the Future’ talent competition. Heats were held in five North London Boroughs and one hundred and ninety entries were received. The grand final was held at Alexandra Palace, and judged by celebrities from the world of music including Shola Ama and the Brand new Heavies. Over six hundred people attended the final which was broadcast live on Town FM. 

Town FM was awarded the runners-up certificate in the Equality & Diversity Awards organised by the North London T.E.C and Business Link.

Town FM applied for the North-North West radio licence in 1999 but was unsuccessful in their bid, so with no more FM licences available Town FM was duly sold to paradise FM and ceased trading in 2000.

2006- 2007

Eighteen of the original members of Town FM remained in contact with each other and held quarterly meetings with a view to applying for a community radio licence for Enfield.

Focus Radio was born with this in mind; we contacted our old supporters in the borough starting with Enfield council. Enfield Council agreed to fully support our application once again. They have offered Focus free rent and rates as they did previously with Town. We have had meetings with MP’s Andy Love Joan Ryan and Davis Burrows who have all agreed to fully support our application.

We have been to schools and colleges to gain feedback on our proposed schools and college programmes. We have also attended over 30 local business meetings with most of the business associations in the area. We have gained their support and their potential advertising. We have also attended two Ofcom community radio workshops and two community workshops regarding applying for grants with Enfield Voluntary Service

Unfortunately there was no clear air space for Enfield and after further consultation we were advised that there wouldn’t be any in the near  future

FUTURE

Radio Xtra was born with a majority of the original management team and presenters with a fresh new outlook for Hertfordshire and North London, our aim is to bring back true local radio to the area.

At present we broadcast online and via our free app with a view to expand on DAB in the very near future.

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