Riding the Crest of The Wave

In 1974, Swansea Sound opened as the first commercial radio station in Wales, and the seventh in the United Kingdom. In 1995, a sister station known as The Wave splashed onto the radio and into the ears of an estimated 124,000 listeners a week according to a survey spanning from February 2017 to December of the same year. Swansea Sound and The Wave are two of Swansea’s most popular radio stations. Nestled on the outskirts of Swansea, the stations’ appeal to a different demographic with The Wave targeting a more youth orientated listener. It’s encouraging that the success of the Wave has opened the door to two further stations within their stable namely, The Wave 80’s and Total Access.

On the 12th of March, 2018, inquisitive as to what actually goes on behind closed doors at the station, we visited The Wave and Swansea Sound for BBC School Report in order to gain a snapshot of radio life. Presenters such as Leigh Jones, Clair Scott, Kevin Johns and Andy Miles, also known as Badger were hard at work on their morning shows during our visit. Debra Williams, Station Director, afforded us the fabulous opportunity to watch these very talented individuals entertain their listeners as we saw a day in the life of our local radio station unfold.

Debra Williams worked in management at Tesco before joining The Wave. Debra joined the media industry as a stepping stone in her business career, though eventually stayed for the long haul. She was Woman of the Year in innovation, 2006, and was even mentioned as one of the top 200 business woman by The Queen in 2007. She told us that one of the thing she felt passionate about was to create a relaxed but productive atmosphere at the station where presenters could feel free to be creative whilst preparing content for their shows. This strategy has clearly worked and evidence can be seen in listener figures.

Furthermore, we had the opportunity to interview Leigh and Claire, fresh from their morning show. Up since 4am but still fresh as daisies! These early risers certainly do a great job of entertaining their listeners on the drive to work. On air at six, and off at 10. The pair obviously enjoy working together and they do socialize outside of work, but if one of them is ill, the other has to take over, both of them have had to entertain the listeners solo a few times! One man that working solo does not deter is the great Kevin Johns, pantomime dame and presenter for Swansea Sound. We asked Kevin if he worked from a script, a question which was met with a laugh! Kevin has a script but veers from it frequently! Kevin talks live to callers on his show and he can’t script the public! Kevin updates listeners with news from the local from Evening Post, banters with the traffic reporters and entertains thousands listeners.