|City Preston, Lancashire|
|Frequency 106.5 FM|
|Broadcast area Preston, Chorley, and Leyland|
First air date 25 September 2008 – 17 June 2011
Format talk radio, music radio
Central Radio was a British Independent Local Radio serving the Preston, Leyland and Chorley areas of Lancashire.
The station launched on 25 September 2008, having changed its name prior to launch from Proud FM, derived from Proud Preston on the city shield to Central Radio in order to better reflect the transmission area. The station was closed at 7pm on Friday 17 June 2011, prior to the station's merger with Blackburn-based 107 The Bee.
Central Radio launched on 25 September 2008. Following Ofcom relaxations on local programming requirements, the station began taking UTV Radio's networked evening and overnight shows in late March 2009.
On 16 December 2009, it was announced by owners UTV Media that the station would be closing on Christmas Eve of that year (24 December) and the station's broadcasting licence returned to the UK broadcasting regulator, Ofcom. UTV cited the unfortunate launch of the station in the midst of a recession as a primary reason for the decision, and the station's consequent unprofitability. UTV did not anticipate the station becoming viable for the foreseeable future, saying:
"We won the licence against strong competition, but unfortunately had to launch the station in the middle of the worst recession in memory. We have been looking closely at the station’s viability and unfortunately given the economic climate we have taken the difficult decision to close the station."
On 24 December 2009, the day that Central Radio was scheduled to close, it was announced that a buyer had been found, revealed to be competitor Niocom in January 2010. The company also operated the neighbouring Southport station Dune FM at the time of the sale. On 12 January 2010, the station co-emplaced and began to share resources with sister station Dune FM.
A month later, OFCOM granted permission for Central Radio to co-locate with sister station Dune FM in Southport. Programme management, production, administrative, engineering and management resources were to be shared between the two stations, but the programming on Central Radio remained editorially focused on the Preston, Leyland and Chorley areas.
In December 2010, Niocom sold Dune FM, and from 1 February 2011 the programming syndication ended with Central Radio becoming as a fully independent service.
On 14 June 2011 it was announced that UKRD, owners of the 107 The Bee in neighbouring Blackburn had purchased the Central Radio licence and planned to merge the service with its East Lancashire station 107 The Bee.
Three days later, Central Radio ceased broadcasting with Drivetime presenter - Leyland born Andy Hilbert - playing the final record, Unforgettable by Nat King Cole. On 1 July 2011, 106.5fm became a simulcast of The Bee but with local news and adverts.
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