• 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

World Radio Switzerland (WRS) will broadcast on Saturday for its last day as the country’s only publicly run English-language radio station.

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
Police remove caravan-dwellers from Bern field
Photo: SRF

Police remove caravan-dwellers from Bern field

Bern cantonal police mobilized officers to remove dozens of caravan-dwellers on Thursday night from a field in the Swiss capital where they were illegally camped in a protest demonstration. READ () »

Renovated Geneva train station central hall opens
Geneva's main train station. Photo: CFF

Renovated Geneva train station central hall opens

Passengers are able to traverse the central hall of Geneva’s main train station for the first time in more than four years after renovations begun in 2010. READ () »

Expats lace up running shoes for Swiss races
Runners take in mountain scenery in the Aletsch half marathon. Photo: Kathy Zimmerman

Expats lace up running shoes for Swiss races


From the simply beautiful to the downright barmy, Switzerland's vast array of running races are a great way for expats to integrate into the Swiss way of life, The Local's Caroline Bishop learns. READ () »

Unit sale drives rise in Novartis Q1 net profits
Photo: Sebastien Bozon/AFP

Unit sale drives rise in Novartis Q1 net profits

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis on Thursday posted a 24-percent jump in first-quarter net profit from the same period a year earlier, driven largely by the sale of a blood transfusion diagnostics unit. READ () »

Doctor acquitted for aiding senior’s suicide
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Doctor acquitted for aiding senior’s suicide

A Neuchâtel cantonal court has overturned the conviction of a doctor found guilty of breaking the law by helping an 89-year-old man die without getting a proper diagnosis of his condition. READ () »

Vote set for ban on food trading 'speculation'
Photo: Michael Buholzer

Vote set for ban on food trading 'speculation'

The Swiss will vote on a proposal to ban speculation on agricultural commodities and food, the government said on Wednesday, announcing that organizers had gathered enough signatures to put the issue to a referendum. READ () »

Tweet exposes Iran trip by right-wing Swiss MPs
Swiss People's Party MP Luzi Stamm. Photo: Federal Parliament

Tweet exposes Iran trip by right-wing Swiss MPs

Six members of the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) wanted to discreetly visit Iran without publicity last week but one of them inadvertently made the trip public in a tweet. 
 READ () »

Armadillo and crocodile meat seized at border
"Bush meat" seized by customs agents. Photo: Federal Customs Administration

Armadillo and crocodile meat seized at border

A Frenchman living in Switzerland was caught entering the country from France with unusual contraband in his suitcase: 16 kilograms of meat from exotic species native to the African jungle. READ () »

UN health agency hits back at vaccine foes
WHO headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Yann Forget

UN health agency hits back at vaccine foes

The Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO) hit back on Wednesday against vaccine deniers who claim that immunization is pointless, risky and that the body is better off fighting disease unaided. READ () »

More protection sought for Lavaux vineyards
Photo: Malcolm Curtis/The Local

More protection sought for Lavaux vineyards

Voters in the canton of Vaud are set to go to the polls for a third time next month to decide on the future of Lavaux, the celebrated vineyard region east of Lausanne. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Expats lace up running shoes for races across Switzerland
National
Bern finds solution for Erasmus student exchange programme
National
Bern zoo faces animal cruelty charges over bear cub deaths
Society
Swiss alpine ski champion announces same-sex marriage
Features
Former industrial zone transforms into Zurich’s trendiest spot
Tech
Swiss Solar Impulse team shows off new fuel-free aircraft
International
Suspect in Liechtenstein bank CEO murder case 'likely dead'
Sponsored Article
Caveman comedy comes to Zurich in English
Society
Innovative building provides refuge for hypersensitive tenants
Tech
VIDEO: Teenage boy sends Swiss army knife into stratosphere
International
Switzerland ranks second in world for social progress: report
National
Pharrell Williams set to perform in first Montreux jazzfest concert
Advertisement:
Sport
American wingsuit flyer dies after Bernese Oberland accident
Business & Money
H&M plans hefty Swiss minimum wage for employees by 2015
International
Caterpillar accused by US senator of dodging taxes through 'Swiss plan'
International
Geneva man in Facebook page fight with Italian carmaker Ferrari
International
Schumacher’s wife pays for 'medical suite' at Swiss family mansion
International
Aborted Swiss airlines take-off injures four at London airport
International
Swiss refuse asylum request from topless protest group founder
Business & Money
British expat former banker to head Swiss finance regulator FINMA
National
Swiss honey contains harmful plastic: TV consumer affairs report
Business & Money
Luxury watchmaker Patek Philippe threatens Geneva exit over taxes
Business & Money
World's largest watch fair opens in Basel amid uncertain times
International
'Fergie' credits hikes around Verbier mountains for recent weight loss
Etoiles de Montagne
Sponsored Article
How to summer holiday up a Swiss mountain
Swissbenefits
Sponsored Article
How to avoid Switzerland’s tax haven trap
Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

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

2,084
jobs available