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The rise and fall of Nottingham's Radio Trent

Old Trent FM sign
Trent FM broadcast to Nottingham for 35 years

From Monday 3 January the Nottingham-based commercial radio station Trent FM became Capital FM East Midlands.

The rebranding came after a merger of Global Radio's Hit Music and Galaxy stations to form the Capital Network.

It is an unpopular change. Former commercial producer Alan Bailey said: "I feel like I've had a child and it's been savaged by a Rottweiler."

A listener, Kathy Lawrence, added: "It's like when somebody passes over, they're gone aren't they?"

Radio Trent, as it was known, began broadcasting in 1975, offering Nottingham's youngsters the latest pop music mixed with local content.

Kathy Lawrence was listening from day one.

"It was always summertime when Trent was on," said Kathy. "It used to get you going, you felt alive!"

Radio Trent was a completely new concept as former presenter David 'Kid' Jensen explained.

Dale Winton at Radio Trent
Trent launched the career of TV favourite Dale Winton

"We offered an alternative to national radio. We could play the same songs with a local angle."

David Lloyd joined as a presenter in 1980.

"Everybody listened [to Trent], the power of the station was amazing," said the DJ.

"I think more than half of the people in the inner city listened to Radio Trent during the week. Everybody knew you."

By the late 1980s commercial radio was thriving and Radio Trent became a "powerhouse" according to Lloyd.

The station was renamed Trent FM in 1988, and then launched GEM-AM on its medium wave frequencies.

However, as Nottingham Trent University's Head of Broadcast Journalism explained, the station's success could not last forever.

"It kind of peaked at the end of the century," said Carol Fleming.

"When we got into the 2000s reality struck home [and] advertising dried up, to some extent."

Simon Mayo broadcast on Radio Trent
Presenter David 'Kid' Jensen joined Radio Trent in 1975

Trent moved from its studios on Castle Gate to Chapel Bar, near Maid Marian Way, in 2007.

News of Trent's rebranding, and regionalisation, came on 14 September, 2010.

Carol Fleming believes Capital FM East Midlands' future is uncertain.

"What Global want to do is give us, what they see as, the quality of national broadcasters, highly paid presenters, on local stations, and compliment them with local news.

"Whether they'll be able to achieve that, or not, is a different matter."

It is the end of an era and according to the now retired producer Alan Bailey, "it won't be forgotten".


BBC Inside Out East Midlands: Trent's 35 years of broadcasting to Nottingham

Capital to rebrand regional radio
14 Sep 10 |  Nottinghamshire


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