BBC Radio Cumbria

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BBC Radio Cumbria
BBC Radio Cumbria.png
City Carlisle
Broadcast area Cumbria
Frequency FM: 95.2, 95.6, 96.1, 104.1, 104.2 MHz
MW: 756, 837, 1458 KHz
Freeview: 721
First air date 24 November 1973
Format Mainly local news and talk
Language(s) English
Owner BBC Local Radio,
BBC North East and Cumbria (North and Mid),
BBC North West (South)
Website BBC Radio Cumbria

BBC Radio Cumbria is the BBC Local Radio service for the English county of Cumbria and broadcasts from studios in Carlisle.


The county of Cumbria, from which the station takes its current name, was not created until 1974. Radio Cumbria began service on 24 November 1973 as BBC Radio Carlisle and could be received across most of the former county of Cumberland.

The station adopted its current name shortly before its tenth anniversary in May 1982, when its service was expanded to cover the whole of the administrative county of Cumbria, namely:

  • the former counties of Cumberland and Westmorland
  • the former exclave of Lancashire "North of the Sands"
  • the small area of the former West Riding of Yorkshire, around Sedbergh and Dent, that had been promoted from Yorkshire into Cumbria.

BBC Radio Furness opt-out

From the launch of the renamed station, between 25 May 1982 and 1991, an opt-out service, BBC Radio Furness operated in the south of the county at peak times — originally breakfast and lunchtimes on weekdays, and Saturday mornings. Programmes were produced in Barrow-in-Furness and used 96.1 MHz and 837 kHz. This meant that, in addition to the Furness area, Radio Furness could be received along the south coast of Cumbria, in parts of the Lake District, and the west coast as far as Millom. "Radio Furness" lost its separate branding in 1991 but programme opt-outs for the South Lakes and Furness at breakfast and during the afternoon continued until 1994. As a result of BBC cutbacks in the 1990s, programme opt-outs were curtailed although the Barrow studios have remained staffed.


Radio Cumbria claims to be listened to by one third of the county's population despite having to face the challenge of an area which is sparsely populated and predominantly rural, with the biggest urban areas around its perimeter. Most programming has a similar format to that of other BBC local radio stations, although one unique feature is the seasonal Lamb Bank - a short daily segments which carries announcements from farmers wishing to exchange livestock.

Radio Cumbria is unusual among BBC local radio stations in that its area does not correspond exactly with a single BBC television region. Due mainly to terrain, northern parts of Cumbria receive BBC television from Caldbeck, which broadcasts regional news from studios in Newcastle upon Tyne, directed at the "North East and Cumbria" region (the transmitter also broadcasts ITV signals from ITV Tyne Tees & Border in Gateshead). The rest of Cumbria receives regional news (the BBC's North West Tonight and ITV's Granada Reports) from Manchester via Winter Hill.

Attempts by the BBC in the 1980s to transmit North West Tonight to northern Cumbria proved unpopular because viewers objected to coverage of Derbyshire and Cheshire at the expense of their own locality, despite them receiving equally irrelevant news from North Yorkshire, Teesside and the north-east in the Newcastle-based Look North. For this reason, Radio Cumbria fulfils an important role in providing a unified news service to the whole county.


On FM, Radio Cumbria broadcasts to northern Cumbria on 95.6 MHz (Sandale) - suitable for drivers on the M6 north of Penrith - and to the south of the county on 96.1 MHz (Morecambe Bay), with lower-powered relays on 95.2 MHz (Kendal), 104.1 MHz (Whitehaven) and 104.2 MHz (Windermere). It also broadcasts on medium wave: 756 kHz (Brisco - Carlisle), 837 kHz (Barrow-in-Furness) and 1458 kHz (Whitehaven). Radio Cumbria is the only BBC local radio station in England not to be carried on DAB and Radio Cumbria may well not be on DAB until possibly 2019.[1] The Kendal, Morecambe Bay and Sandale transmitters have BBC National DAB, as well as a transmitter at Penrith Beacon. Digital One comes from Morecambe Bay and Penrith. MXR North West comes from Morecambe Bay.


BBC Radio Cumbria's studios in Carlisle.

The majority of the station's programming is produced and broadcast from Carlisle. As with all BBC Local Radio stations, it also airs the networked weekday evening shows, originating from BBC Radio Leeds and produced independently by Wire Free Productions. During the station's downtime, BBC Radio Cumbria simulcasts BBC Radio 5 Live overnight.

The station's local presenters include Mike Zeller (weekday breakfast), Kevin Fernihough (weekday mornings), Gordon Swindlehurst (weekday lunchtime), Caroline Robertson (weekday afternoons) and Ian Timms (weekday nights).

Notable former presenters

See also

External links

  • BBC Radio Cumbria
  • BBC Cumbria Facebook page
  • BBC Cumbria on Twitter
  • History of local radio in Cumbria
  • Jingles
  • Barrow transmitter
  • Carlisle (Brisco) transmitter
  • Kendal transmitter.
  • Morecambe Bay transmitter
  • Sandale transmitter (including coverage map)
  • Whitehaven transmitter
  • Windermere transmitter


  1. ^ Digital radio switchover 'will not be complete until 2019'

Coordinates: 54°53′45″N 2°56′27″W / 54.8958°N 2.9408°W / 54.8958; -2.9408

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