Local speech service Basingstoke Now closes after four months

BASINGSTOKE NOW, the all local speech service for the town of Basingstoke, has ceased broadcasting after four months on-air.

The service was run on a daily basis by Steve Randall and Harrison RB who are both moving on to other projects.

The station launched in February 2023 on the Basingstoke small-scale DAB multiplex with the aim of providing a rolling billboard of information for the local market, something new in the area and a different experimental radio format.

However, having been launched as a side project for the two founders, they tell RadioToday that some other major projects made it impossible to commit more time to BASINGSTOKE NOW on both its content and commercial operations.

“The radio station was always something of an experiment and I’m proud of what we created in such a short time period,” said Steve Randall, director of Communicast Ltd and co-founder of BASINGSTOKE NOW.

“Unfortunately, other business activities are growing faster and require my full attention, so we are not able to continue.”

Despite only being on air for a few months, BASINGSTOKE NOW gained interest from many local organisations including the Basingstoke Gazette. The podcast produced by the radio station for the local news provider is continuing despite the closure of the radio station.

“I strongly believe that there is a place for speech-based radio in national and local markets,” added Steve. “But it requires a far greater time commitment than we were able to give it sadly. Communicast will continue to develop and launch innovative radio formats, but we will look at more sustainable options.”

Co-founder Harrison RB, who had been working on BASINGSTOKE NOW alongside existing commitments with Petersfield community station Shine Radio, and his other work for an audio production business, has also recently been offered a too-good-to-miss opportunity to manage programming at Express FM in Portsmouth.

This exacerbated the decision to close the Basingstoke DAB+ station. “If circumstances had been different, I am sure we could have established a strong brand in the Basingstoke market,” Harrison said. “But with Steve’s other business requiring more of his time, and me being offered such an exciting role at Express FM, closing the station was the right thing to do.”