• Switzerland's news in English
 

WRS airs for last day as public radio station

Published: 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)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Iran nuclear negotiations go into high gear
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (L) and his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif. Photo: AFP

Iran nuclear negotiations go into high gear

Foreign policy chiefs continue to gather in Lausanne to try to broker a deal by Tuesday on Iran’s nuclear program. The EU’s foreign policy official is to join the talks Saturday, a day earlier than expected. READ  

Marathon Iran nuclear talks hit critical weekend
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (second right) with staff after a negotiation session in Lausanne on Friday. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Marathon Iran nuclear talks hit critical weekend

Marathon Iran nuclear talks headed on Friday towards a critical weekend as Britain said its foreign minister would join his US, Iranian and French counterparts in racing the clock to pin down a deal in Switzerland. READ  

Geneva-based UBP acquires Coutts business
Photo: AFP

Geneva-based UBP acquires Coutts business

Swiss family-owned bank Union Bancaire Privée (UBP) announced on Friday that it is acquiring the Royal Bank of Scotland's international private banking and wealth management business. READ  

Swiss probe 'animal cell' injection clinics
Woman receives anti-ageing treatment with cell stimulation at last year's Beauty Asia trade show in Singapore. Photo: Roslan Rahman/AFP

Swiss probe 'animal cell' injection clinics

Swiss health regulators say they have launched a criminal probe into dozens of clinics suspected of giving clients potentially dangerous animal cell injections as part of anti-ageing treatments. READ  

EPFL among 'fastest rising young universities'
Aerial view of EPFL's campus overlooking Lake Geneva. Photo: Alain Herzog

EPFL among 'fastest rising young universities'

Switzerland’s EPFL has been named to a list of the seven “fastest rising young universities in the world” by UK-based Times Higher Education. READ  

Geneva-airport cab fares 'priciest in Europe'
One alternative to expensive cab fares at Geneva's airport is free public transport. Photo: Geneva Airport

Geneva-airport cab fares 'priciest in Europe'

Taxi transfers from downtown Geneva to its airport are the most expensive in Europe, according to research released on Friday from a UK-based travel money specialist. READ  

Red Cross concerned over Yemen air strikes
Red Cross and Red Crescent flags at Red Cross Museum in Geneva. Photo: Julius Kusuma

Red Cross concerned over Yemen air strikes

The Geneva-based Red Cross expressed deep concern Thursday over the impact of Saudi-led air strikes on the Yemeni capital, urging all sides in the conflict to strive to spare civilians. READ  

Austrian driver suspect in fatal hit-and-run
Police investigate accident scene. Photo: Aargau cantonal police

Austrian driver suspect in fatal hit-and-run

Justice officials in the canton of Aargau said on Thursday they suspect a 45-year-old Austrian truck driver of manslaughter in a hit-and-run accident that killed a 79-year-old Swiss woman who was struck in a pedestrian crossing and dragged along the road for 500 metres. READ  

'Down-to-the-wire' Iran nuclear talks resume

US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian counterpart held down-to-the-wire talks in Lausanne on Thursday, with US officials insisting the contours of a historic nuclear deal were in sight just days before a deadline. READ  

Irishman confesses to stabbing wife 50 times
Port of Lutry on Lake Geneva. Photo: Roy Lindman

Irishman confesses to stabbing wife 50 times

A 49-year-old Irishman has confessed to savagely stabbing his wife to death in the vineyard village of Lutry in the canton of Vaud earlier this week, police said on Thursday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Features
Six steps for expats to get along better with the Swiss
National
Use of temporary staffing continues to rise in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Need help with permits and registration in Switzerland?
National
Swiss foreign affairs minister touted as candidate for top UN job
National
One of Switzerland's most celebrated artists dies in Lucerne at 106
Business & Money
Swiss luxury brand Tag Heuer announces plans for smartwatch
National
Valais lights up 13 mountain peaks for 200th anniversary
Business & Money
Switzerland to avoid recession this year: Credit Suisse forecast
Business & Money
Europe's tallest hotel pitched for Swiss mountain village
National
Exlusive interview: surviving Swiss cousin remembers Anne Frank
National
New Credit Suisse chief executive 'offers hope for Africans'
Features
Top tips to help you find an apartment in Switzerland
Business & Money
American expat to make way for African as Credit Suisse CEO
National
Rising Swiss gender pay gap above European Union average
National
Political deal reached to enact Swiss holiday home restrictions
National
Optimism drives this year's Geneva International Motor show
National
Robust Swiss economy beats forecasts for 2014: government
Sport
Federer scores upset win against Djokovic for seventh Dubai title
National
Swiss train in collision near Zurich ignored stop signal: SBB
Technology
Switzerland best in world for per capita European patent filings
Education
New EPFL building to showcase art and science 'under one roof'
National
Same-sex marriage supported by most Swiss: opinion polls
National
New study finds Switzerland is world's best place to retire
National
Army official calls for Swiss women to undergo military training
National
New Swiss health campaign combats smoking as 'norm' for too many
Culture
Abba star Frida records song about first ascent of the Matterhorn
National
Swiss federal government unveils EU immigration quotas bill
Business & Money
HSBC Swiss private bank revelations 'tip of iceberg': whistleblower
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
National
Phil Collins' paralyzed ex-wife files lawsuit after Swiss complications
Culture
Gauguin on display in Basel touted as 'most costly painting ever'
Business & Money
Swiss Leaks: HSBC Swiss private bank 'catered to terrorists and crooks'
International
What's keeping British expats in Europe from voting in UK elections?
Business & Money
Trade balance bulges as Switzerland smashes record for exports in 2015
National
Swiss town's ploy against workers living in Italy 'not racist'
National
Architects propose skyscrapers for new Geneva 'urban centre'
Culture
Renowned Israeli conductor dies during symphony in Lucerne
International
Population of Swiss citizens abroad continues to expand
National
Vaud property salesman jailed over costly gambling addiction
National
Right-wing group seeks citizens' vote for national face veil ban
Health
Swiss doctors 'worst' for leaving foreign objects in patients
Features
Anglophone expats in Switzerland mine creativity to earn crust
National
Number of 'immigrants' swells to third of Swiss population: report
International
Pricey Switzerland tops latest global cost of living study
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

4,698
jobs available