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  1. ITV Report

End of an era as local radio studios close

It's the end of an era for local radio in the East of England with the heart network closing studios in Norwich, Chelmsford and Cambridge

Many of the studios have been broadcasting to our region for more than 30 years

  • Click below to watch our report from Graham Lewis

For many families local radio is part of the daily routine.

Cheryl Daniels lives with her family in Bury St Edmunds - and they are regular listeners to Heart over breakfast.

Cheryl Daniels and her family Credit: ITV Anglia

Next week though listeners will have new programmes and new presenters.

There'll still be news and travel for the region, but the local presenters are going and the new national show comes from London.

I'll probably just stream music from my phone, there'll be no point listening to local radio, because there isn't any local radio, I might as well stream my music.'

– Cheryl Daniels

Heart, which is owned by Global Radio, is closing 11 studios including Norwich, Cambridge and Chelmsford following a relaxing of broadcasting rules.

Radio stations playing pop music started in the 1960s when pirates off the Essex coast ruled the airwaves.

In 1975 one of the very first commercial radio stations in the country, and the first in the east, was Radio Orwell in Ipswich

Radio Broadland launching in 1984 Credit: ITV Anglia

Radio Broadland followed in Norfolk in 1984.

It was built in a former shoe factory and following two multi million pound mergers with larger radio groups eventually became Heart.

In the last 1980's and early 90's more than half the people living in Norfolk and North Suffolk tuned in to Broadland every week.

It's a bit of a travesty really, I'm very disappointed but things change, things move on and it's such a disappointment that local radio in Norfolk is dying in a part, ok there is another local station, and the BBC, but it's sad to see it all close down and move out of the area to somewhere else"

– Mike Stewart, Former Programme Controller, Radio Broadland
Mike Stewart, Former Programme Controller, Radio Broadland Credit: ITV Anglia

Mike is now involved with Park Radio in Diss one of a new generation of hyper-local radio stations.

It's not for profit, the presenters are all volunteers and they give the community a voice.

Park Radio in Diss Credit: ITV Anglia

Russell Stuart made Norwich his home in 1984 for the launch of Radio Broadland.

As the Managing Director he helped it become a great success both in terms of audience and also profit.

Russell Stuart, Former Managing Director, Radio Broadland Credit: ITV Anglia

Last year commercial radio was doing rather well, 700 million pound mark was passed for the first time but it has to be spread further than it ever did, as a result of that, the way the model works, you move away from spot advertising, you're looking at Social Media and the whole ethos of how you run a local commercial station has changed dramatically"

– Russell Stuart, Former Managing Director, Radio Broadland

Insiders expect similar changes could come at the region's other independent stations.

The BBC is expanding the number of local programmes on its network, but for many listeners their favourite shows are going to be losing a lot of their localness.