About

Friends of WCR is a registered charity, its Charity Commission number is 1076696.  The object of the charity is to support the charitable activities of WCR Community Radio, as well as other  charitable.  If you would like to support WCR, our membership page has all the information you need  to become a friend.

WCR began on April 1st 1996.  Barry Mole and Mark Barnes, local men to Warminster, had over 35 years of experience in radio between them.  Together, they approached the director of the Athenaeum Theatre with the idea of a hospital radio service.

Mark Barnes (left) and Barry Mole (right) with the WCR car.

The theatre embraced the community project and allocated space at the back of the building to develop as a studio.  It was decided to publicise the fund raising effort by carrying out an RSL (Restricted Service Licence) to the general public. After raising the funds needed another colleague, electronics engineer Nick Southorn, began to build a basic studio. The photograph to the right shows Barry Mole (back) and Peter Goodwright (front) at the WCR Athenæum Studios.

Barry Mole (top) and Peter Goodwright (bottom) in the WCR studios in the Warminster Athenaeum.

The public response was so great it was decided there and then that the newly formed organisation would work towards providing a full public broadcast service to Warminster and the immediate surrounding areas.  Sadly, the theatre went into liquidation and work on the newly established studios halted while the group tried to find a new home.

The WCR visitors' log along with the press-cuttings folder, which show the support WCR has had.

West Wiltshire District Council offered accommodation in the old public toilets attached to Warminster's Assembly Hall.  A public appeal, over the air, on the second RSL produced an army of volunteer trades persons who descended upon the new premises.  Within a matter of days the team had cleared the old facilities and started work on building the new radio station.

The WCR studios next to the former Assembly Rooms.

The following years consisted of more RSLs and a battle to change the law banning community radio stations from broadcasting in areas, such as Warminster, with a small commercial radio station.  At the same time WCR worked to raise money to expand the services it provides. During this period WCR helped set-up Kingdown FM at Kingdown Community School in 2005, Kingdown FM managed 6 public broadcasts.

John Loftus (left) accepting a cheque from Bern Pinnell (right) on behalf of WCR.

This legislation was overturned in 2010, giving WCR the chance to apply for a licence.  A year later the licence was issued and on 1st April 2012, sixteen years to the day after the station was launched, WCR began broadcasting the service that the people of Warminster had wanted, campaigned for and supported unwaveringly for over a decade and a half.

Barry Mole launching WCR on 105.5FM after 16 years of preperation.

In the proceeding years WCR's infrastructure developed and grew.  The radio station won several national awards for its programming output, particularly in the areas of local democracy reporting and original radio drama.  In 2016, WCR celebrated its 20th anniversary; and the following year, renewed its FM broadcast licence - renewing its commitment to community-centric broadcasting for Warminster and the surrounding communities.

[photo from 2016 open day, I have these in LR]