The BBC has announced that it will be ceasing funding for its Radio 4 Long Wave station, which is the historic home of Yesterday in Parliament and Test Match Special.
Radio 4 Long Wave has been broadcasting for 44 years on the 198 kilohertz frequency, using a special type of glass valve. These glass valves are specially crafted and stand one metre tall, providing listeners up and down the country with Radio 4 broadcasts.
There are two valves currently in operation, though it is thought they are the only two left in the world. Until recently there were around 10 valves in the world, all of which the BBC used funding to buy in an attempt to keep the station going. Each valve lasts anywhere between 1 and10 years, and unfortunately they are now down to the last two. When one of the last two goes, the station will be no more.
It is estimated that over 90,000 homes across the UK still tune in to Radio 4 Long Wave, mostly in areas where the broadly used FM frequencies do not reach.
Radio 4 Long Wave is famed for long running services such as Yesterday in Parliament and their live cricket coverage on the show Test Match Special.
Mark Thompson, director-general for the BBC, last week announced that now is the beginning of the end for the service.
The Beeb are confident that they will find a new home for the station, either on FM or Digital Radio. Denis Nowlan, the network manager for Radio 4, said: “This is technology that is becoming obsolete. Digital radio now reaches 97% of the population, and there is plenty time to find new homes for long wave-only programmes.”
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