End of an era as Craven-based broadcaster bows out

The Fresh Radio logo, which has today been consigned to the history books

The Fresh Radio logo, which has today been consigned to the history books

First published in News Craven Herald: Photograph of the Author by , Editor

Fifteen years of commercial broadcasting from Skipton came to an end this evening as Fresh Radio bowed out.

In a low key farewell at 5.45pm, drive-time presenter Nick Babb announced the end of live broadcasting from the Fresh studios at Broughton Hall Business Park.

He thanked listeners for their support down the years and said it was an "exciting time" for local radio in Skipton, Ilkley and the Dales. The last Fresh Radio jingle was played at 6pm and since then, the station has been playing music interspersed with trailers announcing: "A new station for the Dales is coming soon".

The Fresh website has been taken down and a message on the site reads: "We are building you a great new radio station, come back and check soon!"

The end came just hours after it was confirmed that Fresh had been purchased by the national UKRD Group in a move that will see the station moved from Craven to the headquarters of neighbouring Stray FM in Harrogate.

Fresh will be rebranded Stray, with the Harrogate station expanding to cover the Yorkshire Dales patch served by Fresh for years.

It means the end of dedicated commercial radio broadcasts from Craven.

UKRD’s chief executive, William Rogers said the enlarged station would create “great, locally focussed and relevant radio.” He added: “We have been looking at this licence for some time and I am delighted that we have been able to come to a satisfactory agreement with the owners to acquire it.”

Sarah Barry, managing director of Stray FM, said the acquisition would lead to people being recruited in the news and sales teams to cover the Dales area: “We are looking to build a strong locally relevant presence in the new part of the TSA and our whole team is really excited about the opportunity this presents us to grow our station and our business more generally,” she said.

“What is particularly exciting about this opportunity is that our listeners in the Skipton area will be able to tune in to their local station on FM for the very first time. We are making a significant investment in new technology to make this possible. For a short period, the service will continue to be broadcast on medium wave.”

Roger Tempest, the previous owner of Fresh Radio, said that he felt this change would be "a really positive move for the station" and he was excited about the plans that UKRD had.

Full story and reaction in next week’s Herald. Let us know what you think below.

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