About Us

Biggles commenced broadcasting a full-time service on Friday 22nd April 2011

Alan Waring looks back to the start of BigglesFM

In the summer of 2000 I visited a radio station set up in a portable cabin at the end of Clacton pier; this was a tribute to the old Radio London station from the 1960s. Tuning in on the way down there was a great atmosphere coming over the car radio and meeting the people running the station made me think it would be great to do this in our area.

As you need a licence to broadcast, I contacted the Radio Authority, now OFCOM, also PRS and PPL (who collect money for the artists and record companies) and it soon became clear that it was going to cost a bit to put on a local broadcast and that we would need advertising to cover our costs. Fortunately local businesses supported us and they have continued to do so ever since.

I assembled a team of friends and other music/radio enthusiasts and we put on our first RSL (restricted service licence) broadcast from an old hayloft behind Gales, now Greggs, in Biggleswade Market Square.

The studio was set up using modified disco gear and hired transmission equipment. It was so basic that we even had to make a staircase to access the loft.

There was no landline phone or internet - not even a toilet (we had to use the public ones across the road!) The music consisted of playing CDs and Minidiscs, there was no computer, and when we went home in the evening the transmitter was turned off until 6am the next morning.

We captured that same atmosphere I had experienced down in Clacton.

The response from listeners was so good that we put on another broadcast that Christmas (but from somewhere with a few more facilities, and more importantly, heating!) and have continued to broadcast twice a year since then.

In recent years OFCOM has introduced a new licence called a ‘Community Radio Licence'. This is for small stations like ours to provide local radio for the area we live in. The licence applications have been open on an ‘area at a time' basis throughout the country. When our area came up at the end of 2008 I decided we should apply. This involved submitting a 60-page application form (and a fee) with the reasons why we would be capable of running a full time station. There is no automatic right to a licence, a lot of applications are refused.

Early in 2009 I was informed that our application was successful and we had two years to get on air or we would lose the right to a licence.

The station is now housed in a purpose built studio, which has been a self-build project over the last few years.

Between 2002 and 2010 we completed sixteen RSL broadcasts, each a maximum of 28 days.