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article imageRadio station crosses digital divide, but the other way Special

By Mathew Wace Peck     May 5, 2011 in Entertainment
An Internet radio station in Wales, in the UK, is hailing an unusual move into the world of medium-wave broadcasting a success after it crossed the digital divide into the world of analogue.
In a world in which everything seems to be going digital, Celtica Radio has stepped in the opposite direction.
Although it continues to make programmes available on its website, as of last week, Celtica is also providing shows for the Mid-Wales-based Radio Hafren.
Celtica – known internationally as a champion of new and independent musicians – is based in Bridgend in South Wales with studio facilities in several other locations. The station’s managing director, Bill Everatt, told Digital Journal: “I’m so very grateful to Radio Hafren for giving us this opportunity and the owners themselves for supporting us.
Celtica Radio – crossing the divide
Celtica Radio
Celtica Radio
Celtica Radio
“We’ve spent eleven long years working to get our shows broadcast on UK radio. Not only will it bring our programmes to a whole new audience of late-night listeners in Mid-Wales and further afield, but, as our material is syndicated during the hours of darkness, we will no doubt pick up what are known as DX, or distance, listeners as well.”
Thomas Pain, joint owner of Radio Hafren said: “We’ve had an excellent relationship with Celtica Radio since January, and like us they have the same business ethos and local broadcasting values.
“Plus, they have already produced popular shows for us in both English and Welsh … [W]e know that we’ve got a tried-and-tested product already accepted by the regulator [Ofcom].”
Several of the shows that have proven popular on Celtica’s Internet outlet will now be hitting the airwaves, including Everatt’s own weekly programme, The Underground Edition. At the moment, Everatt’s show will be joined by three others: Nick K’s The Darkwave Hour; The New Music Radio Show – which is presented by a contributor to Digital Journal, Andrew John, whose voice you can hear in the promo embedded above; and Jordan Thomas’s MU Top 40 Lite.
Jordan Thomas  presenter of MU Top 40 Lite  Celtica Radio
Jordan Thomas, presenter of MU Top 40 Lite, Celtica Radio
Celtica Radio
Everatt said in an interview with Digital Journal that Celtica Radio got off the ground more than ten years ago.
After trial broadcasts, Celtica lost out to a rival, Bridge FM, in what Everatt calls “an incredibly acrimonious franchise battle, and, as we had put in the work that these people had benefited from, we decided we were not going to quit. The broadcasting of radio programmes to an audience simply needs a platform. The traditional platforms had been denied us, so we looked to the Internet.”
He said it was difficult at first because they had to “invent a whole new way of shoe-horning an hour of high-quality audio down a telephone line” in the days before everyone had broadband.
A few notable names have been associated with the station over the years, he said, even though most output by far is from unsigned independent artists.
“Playlist-wise, Janis Ian, perhaps best known for the chart-topping song ‘At 17’, the Searchers, who were very big in the sixties and are still producing music, and Yvonne Elliman.
"Then there are presenters such as John Grearson, who has now retired, widely regarded as the father of commercial radio, Mason Williams, composer of Classical Gas, Lloyd Coles, from 2002 to 2009, and internationally renowned club/festival dance DJ Jon the Dentist, from 2002 to 2003.”
Into the future
Glenda Jenkins  presenter  Celtica Radio
Glenda Jenkins, presenter, Celtica Radio
Celtica Radio
And, said Everatt, it had mostly been great fun. “I remember at the start, we had a great deal of fun at the expense of the people who tried to keep us down. Ultimately, they could rant all they wanted, but nothing else! These days we do get an enormous amount of pleasure out of getting the software that Celtica Radio has developed to do most of the hard work. We all benefit in some way from the systems our station has created.”
Radio Hafren’s management seem happy with the first week’s broadcasting. Everatt said, “The directors Thomas Pain and Alistair Tyne are very pleased.”
So what of the future relationship? “We’re taking it a step at a time, but the future bodes well, as, like us, they have the same business ethos and local broadcasting values,” Everatt said.
More about celtica radio, bill everratt, andrew john, radio hafren, Wales
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