Cambridge Breakfast hosts Julian Clover and Lucy Milazzo reflect on ten years of community radio at Cambridge 105
Ten years ago, 105 FM – which had been chirping out birdsong since the closure of 209 Radio the previous February – became Cambridge 105. The new community radio station launched on Tuesday 20 July 2010. Ofcom, the media regulator, had agreed to transfer the licence, but on the condition that programmes began straight away.
Founding director Steve Potter told me that those behind the launch of Cambridge 105 didn’t want to repeat the mistakes, however well-meaning, of the many community stations that had broadcast to Cambridge previously.
New legislation that allowed community stations to broadcast permanently, rather than the ‘month-long’ temporary licences, also came with restrictions. This placed limits on the amount of advertising that a community station could broadcast. Even during the coronavirus, while the government paid commercial broadcasters like Heart, LBC and Capital to transmit messages relating to the pandemic, Cambridge 105 Radio and stations like it received no such money. But it’s our job to inform people as much as entertain, so we ran them anyway, in between community information covering everything from deliveries from independent stores through to times and days when local surgeries were open.
I don’t actually think I’ve ever been involved in a radio station for this long before. When I came to Cambridge, I decided not to get involved in radio but was eventually tempted by the short-lived, digital-only station Affinity.
When I arrived in the Gwydir Street Enterprise Centre to join Cambridge 105 Radio in February 2012 to present Sunday Breakfast, the schedule was starting to build. Several producers and presenters that had previously been involved with 209 also signed up to Cambridge 105.
The difference between the two stations was a separation between the more commercial daytime output and the specialist music and feature shows that populated the schedule in the evenings and at weekends. It’s just that the daytime schedule wasn’t necessarily complete, meaning that once Neil Whiteside had finished up breakfast, on some days there would be non-stop music, while on others a presenter would pop up.
Cambridge 105 Radio has been there for the Olympic Torch relay, the Tour de France, Folk Festivals and more
These days it’s a little more predictable, with regular shows from 6am, when Brian starts it all off with Early Breakfast, to me and Lucy on Cambridge Breakfast, and on through the day.
We’ve still got a few names from the 209 days around. Fortnightly food magazine Flavour began life around the corner at the Howard Mallett centre, as did DJ Skunk’s Club Global and the Urban Bassline show.
One of the features of a station run by volunteers is that while you can’t always do as much as you’d like, at other times you can excel. In recent weeks we’ve produced a virtual Strawberry Fair and a smaller scale event for The Big Weekend (which also went online).
And why wouldn’t we? Cambridge 105 Radio has been there for the Olympic Torch relay, the Tour de France, Folk Festivals and more, not to mention the scarecrow festivals, charity abseiling and non-league football that make up life in the city and South Cambridgeshire.
Julian Clover & Lucy Milazzo present Cambridge Breakfast on Cambridge 105 Radio, weekday mornings from 7am. Tune in to catch Edition editor Nicola’s monthly what’s-on round up.