A brief history about community radio in the UK
There have been regular radio broadcasts in the UK since 1922. Services were nationwide for many years, and local radio from the BBC and commercial operators did not appear until 1967.
During the 1980s and 1990s many local commercial stations merged or were bought out by large media groups, which led to shared programming and fewer local hours.
Dozens of groups formed around the UK with the aim of forming a new tier of radio - community radio - which would retain an emphasis on radio for the community and be not-for-profit, preventing stations being bought, sold and changed.
A brief history of Phoenix FM
There's a detailed story of exactly how Phoenix FM was formed here
Phoenix FM was formed as "The Phoenix" in August 1996, changing its name to "Phoenix FM" in March 1999. We were able to undertake trial FM broadcasts while waiting for a full-time licence and we broadcast 12 of these between December 1996 and February 2006. Each trial broadcast lasted 28 days and we were allocated an FM frequency for each period.
In September 1996 we were the first radio station in Essex to have its own website, and in June 2001 we were the first community radio station in the UK to start online streaming 24 hours a day.
Community radio was legalised in 2002 and the first stations took to air that year. We were invited to apply for a permanent licence in 2004 and after an 18 month wait, were given the news that we would receive one in February 2006.
Phoenix FM started broadcasting on FM full time on 23 March 2007 from the Baytree Centre in Brentwood. In February 2012 we moved to our current studios at the Brentwood Centre.