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Station History


1980 -1986 The early years
On 7th November 1980 DevonAir began broadcasting across Exeter and mid Devon from its studios in St Davids Hill Exeter. Bob Kingsley open the day's broadcasting with 'Here comes The Sun' by the Beatles.

On 12th December 1980 Devonair opened its Harbour Point Studios in Torquay to become the UK's first twin radio station "Double DevonAir". 

"We want DevonAir to be less remote than the national radio stations, very much a local station which people could communicate with" - Maurice Vass Managing Director 1981

In the early years the station was very much a local station with a mixture of music, chat and features.

1987 Capital Radio Takes Over
In 1987 the station was aquired by London based Capital Radio.

July 4th 1989 - Independence day for East Devon and West Dorset
July 4th 1989 - South West 103 frequency launched taking DevonAir into East Devon, West Dorset and South Somerset.

1991 GWR Group buys a stake in DevonAir 

1992 Station Relaunched as the New DevonAir
On 9th November 1992 the Station was relaunched as the New DevonAir FM with the slogan - "Devon's Better Music Station". There was a notable change in direction with a number of DJ's parting company with the station.

1993 Devonair loses licence to broadcast
DevonAir's licence was up for renewal in 1993. They faced tough competition from 3 other applicants. Gemini Radio (part of Orchard Media), Bay City Radio and Wild West Radio. The Radio Authority deliberated for some time and in an unprecedented move asked for more time to make its decision. 

In the end the choice was between Gemini and DevonAir In November 1993 a decision was made. The new licence, starting from January 1st 1995, was awarded to Gemini Radio. The main difference between the two bids was that Gemini Radio proposed to broadcast a separate output on the MW and FM frequencies whilst Devonair proposed to continue with its simultaneous output, claiming this had been behind its 80000 listener success. 

Originally DevonAir Radio thought they had won the license to broadcast in Devon until at 8.15am on the 8th of October 1993 a brief four paragraph statement from the Radio Authority left DevonAir and its listeners stunned. All the staff and bosses at the station were shocked. "There's no other way to describe how we feel shocked really shocked" was all Chief Executive Paul Angus had to say at a press conference outside the St Davids Hill studios on the 8th of October. Dave Bowen the programme controller, admitted keeping the spirits up among the presenters would not be easy he said: "They are a dedicated team who love the station and love the area. This is not the kind of job you can do unless you care about the listeners. They will give their best until the last." 

The license was awarded to Gemini Radio and its seems this was due to the Radio Authority's liking for Gemini's plans to broadcast separate output on MW and FM.

December 31st 1994 The last day
December 31st 1994 DevonAir's last day of broadcasting. The final show commenced at 12pm and was an hour look back at the stations history. Presented by Paul Saunders, the show featured some of the current presenters including Chris Dinnis and Kevin Kane and included lots of nostalgia, old jingles and memories from listeners. 

Chief Executive Paul Angus remarked "You have to seriously question a system where listeners have had their choice taken away by an unelected, unaccountable quango in London. A lot of people have asked how this could happen and everywhere our staff have gone in the last 12 months people have said the decision was wrong and they love DevonAir." 

"I am sure there will be a few quivering lips, but we will be drinking a champagne celebration of our achievements. We will be running normal programming until mid-day and then doing a one hour retrospective of some things that have gone before. We have chosen all the music, including the final record. Paul Saunders will be hosting the programme and will be joined by other members of the team. We did not want to any danger of the day slipping into a wake and we will finish at 1PM on a high. We will then run a taped output for the last 11 hours."

The station went off air at 1PM and the final record was "The Sun Ain't Going To Shine Anymore" by the Walker Brothers and was very fitting considering the first song "Here Comes The Sun" by the Beatles.

Your help needed - If you have any information, photos, jingles or any DevonAir memorabilia please contact us.