• Switzerland edition
 
WRS airs for last day as public radio station

WRS airs for last day as public radio station

Published: 30 Aug 2013 12:12 GMT+02:00
Updated: 30 Aug 2013 12:12 GMT+02:00

The station, owned by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC), is being privatized after five years of operation, although the new owners Anglo Media will not be able to keep its FM licence.

The company, headed by former WRS presenter Mark Butcher and expat entrepreneur Peter Sibley, will continue broadcasting on FM 101.7 through September.

After that the station will broadcast through DAB+ (digital broadcasting) and on the internet.

“It’s vital that the international community here retains its strong voice and we are making sure that high quality English radio continues, despite the unpopular decision by the Swiss federal government to remove FM from the region,” Butcher said in a statement.

Anglo Media has been running an internet station called Radio Frontier, aimed at expats in the Geneva area, which is being discontinued.

While WRS is a national radio station, it is based in Geneva and its FM signal can only be picked up in the Geneva area.

The federal government announced in May that it would not accept either of the bids for the station’s FM licence made by WRS management and Anglo Media.

That decision came after it released SBC from its obligation to further fund and operate WRS, which employed 20 people with a bureau in Zurich.

“In five years of operation, WRS failed to reach the Anglophone public in Switzerland,” Ofcom, the Swiss broadcaster regulator, said in a statement that was disputed by the station’s management.

Ironically, earlier this month WRS was named radio station of the year for French- and Italian-speaking Switzerland for the second year running.

The award came after the station boosted its listenership by 130 percent from the middle of 2011 to the middle of 2012.

Outgoing station director Philippe Mottaz said the award was a recognition of the station’s accomplishments but he acknowledged it was “bittersweet” given the SBC’s decision.

Friday marked the station’s last day of live broadcasting as a public station.

WRS originally launched in November 2007 after SBC took over World Radio Geneva, a commercial station that began in 1996.

Anglo Media has said it will be switching the focus of WRS to local Geneva coverage but is promising to open up new stations to serve the Zurich and Basel areas next year.

It said it is also working with authorities to win an FM licence back for the Geneva region.

Meanwhile, a company set up by another former WRS presenter, Conor Lennon, is also planning to set up DAB+ and internet radio stations in Basel and Zurich.

The “English Radio” network is to be established by Lennon’s Off-Piste Radio Network, which operates internet stations in Verbier (canton of Valais) and Chamonix, France, catering to tourists.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
New rules put damper on national day fireworks
Communes don't want to pay for fireworks training courses. Photo: Takashi Nishimura

New rules put damper on national day fireworks

Celebrations on Swiss National Day on August 1st may be more muted than usual this year after the government ruled that anyone running a fireworks display must undergo a costly training course. READ  

Youzhny sets up quarter- final clash in Gstaad
Mikhail Youzhny celebrates after winning last year's tournament. Photo: Alain Grosclaude/AFP

Youzhny sets up quarter- final clash in Gstaad

Top seed Mikhail Youzhny began his title defence at the Swiss Open on Thursday with a 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Frenchman Kenny De Schepper. READ  

EU rejects Swiss bid to rejig free movement deal
EU headquarters in Brussels. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

EU rejects Swiss bid to rejig free movement deal

The European Union on Thursday formally rejected Switzerland's request to renegotiate their freedom of movement accord so as to take into account a Swiss vote earlier this year to limit immigration, EU sources said. READ  

Strong franc eats into Roche first-half profits
Photo: Roche

Strong franc eats into Roche first-half profits

Pharmaceutical giant Roche on Thursday said its first-half profit fell by seven percent to 5.6 billion francs ($6.2 billion), hit by the strength of Switzerland's currency. READ  

Residents flee as river Emme floods village
Rega helped evacuate homes in the area. Photo: Rega

Residents flee as river Emme floods village

Rega, the Swiss air-ambulance service, evacuated residents of Schangnau in the canton of Bern on Thursday morning as the river Emme broke its banks. READ  

Students race futuristic boats in Lausanne
Students must design a boat that can travel the furthest distance using the least energy. Photo: Hydros

Students race futuristic boats in Lausanne

More than 100 students from six countries are competing in an eco-friendly boat-building competition on Dorigny beach in Lausanne this week. READ  

'Scandalous' car park delays rile festivalgoers
Stromae performed on Wednesday night. Photo: Paleo/Lionel Flusin

'Scandalous' car park delays rile festivalgoers

Festivalgoers attending Nyon’s Paléo festival have reacted in anger after bad weather created long delays to exit car parks on Wednesday night. READ  

Monaco grabs quarter- final place in Gstaad
The Swiss Open at Gstaad takes place at 1,010m. Photo: Alain Grosclaude/AFP

Monaco grabs quarter- final place in Gstaad

Juan Monaco held his nerve in a tight final set to upset third seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 on Wednesday for a second consecutive place in a quarter-final at the Swiss Open. READ  

UBS 'to pay French $1.5 billion over tax evasion'
Photo: Martin Abegglen

UBS 'to pay French $1.5 billion over tax evasion'

Swiss bank UBS was on Wednesday charged with tax fraud in Paris for allegedly helping rich French clients to hide money in Switzerland, a judicial source said. READ  

Renewable energy activities hit ABB results
Photo: Roland Zh

Renewable energy activities hit ABB results

Swiss-Swedish engineering group ABB said its profits fell in the second quarter, pulled down by renewable energy activities, despite strong orders, particularly in North America. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Tech
Hackers exploit 'holes' in Swiss online banking systems: IT experts
Sport
Video of Bern football player's spectacular own goal goes global
Tech
Switzerland stays on top of innovation rankings for fourth year
National
Roger Federer and Lindsey Vonn play tennis at Jungfraujoch (VIDEOS)
Business & Money
Competition commission launches probe into Swiss car leasing 'fiddle'
Health
Down's syndrome cases in Switzerland more than double
National
American family files hefty lawsuit over deadly Swiss balloon crash
Features
Graubünden's panoramic Bernina Express celebrates rail history
National
Study rates Zurich as world's fifth most expensive city for expats
National
Swiss-based human brain project directors hit back at research critics
Business & Money
Switzerland gets the edge on EU with China free trade agreement
National
Entries for new Swiss national anthem competition swell over 200
National
Zurich-based helicopter firm denies role in Schumacher medical leak
Culture
Montreux Jazz Festival debuts live internet streaming of concerts
Features
Tour of Bern’s historic fountains tells story of Switzerland's capital
National
Swiss media lament football team's 'cruel' and 'bitter' defeat
International
The Local expands its reach with the launch of new website in Denmark
Sport
Jubilant press hails hat-trick hero Shaqiri as 'Swiss Messi'
National
New website study reveals inequality in Swiss disposable income
Travel
Switzerland’s largest ski area 4-Vallées breaks up over lift dispute
National
VIDEO: Zurich Zoo launches contest to name newborn baby elephant
Business & Money
CEO-to-worker pay gap grows at biggest Swiss firms: union study
Culture
VIDEO: Swiss performance artist plans naked stroll at Art Basel
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

2,183
jobs available