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Happy Birthdays to Us!

Written by on 24th May 2020

Dateline: 24th May 2020

Listen tonight at 7pm to hear a programme recorded in 2009 looking back over GTFM’s first 10 years on-air in the form of a conversation between founding Station Manager Andrew Jones and  Pontypridd’s first Assembly Member, Jane Davidson.    

Founding Station Manager Andrew Jones
Jane Davidson, Pontypridd’s first Assembly Member

21st Anniversary

The story of Wales’ first community radio station began 21 years ago when between 17th May and 13th June 1999 the call sign ‘GTFM’ was heard for the first time on the FM radio dial in Pontypridd. The low power broadcast was primarily intended to encourage community participation and cohesion among Glyntaff area residents under a 28 day broadcasting licence, coming from a temporary studio located in the caretakers office of Newydd Housing Association in Rhydyfelin – the brainchild of one of its housing officers, Andrew Jones who went on to be GTFM’s first Station Manager when it started full time broadcasting to a larger area three years later…         

18th Birthday

It was 18 years ago today that GTFM started broadcasting regular daytime programmes from a studio in Rhydyfelin on 106.9FM. It was a co-operative effort with the (then) University of Glamorgan which provided its programmes every evening from 6pm to midnight from its own studios in Treforest.

The station was the only Welsh participant in a 15 station UK wide experiment founded by the Radio Authority to see if Community Radio was sustainable on a full-time basis – and GTFM went on to be granted the first Community Radio licence issued in Wales when new telecoms regulator Ofcom declared the experiment a success.

GTFM become a registered charity and moved to its current studios in Pinewood Avenue, Rhydyfelin  in 2004 and absorbed responsibility for producing all but one of GTFM’s programmes in 2007 when the (by then) University of South Wales moved its creative industries campus from Treforest to the Atrium in Cardiff, from which it still produces the ‘Cardiff City Phone-In’ for GTFM and three other community stations.

In 2007 GTFM also changed its broadcasting frequency to 107.9FM from a new transmitter able to reach more local communities. And in the next 12 months the station will expand its coverage still further through the addition of four new FM relay transmitters located in Ynyshir, Tonyrefail, Aberdare and Mountain Ash.       

You can read more about GTFM’s pioneering history under ‘About GTFM’ under the ‘Programmes’ tab on this website where you can also hear the programme being broadcast at 7pm tonight.   

Terry Mann, Station Manager