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Station History


The Southampton University radio station is currently known a Surge, however this is only a recent development. Until Christmas 2000 the station was called Radio Glen. This was changed due to the increased involvement of the station with the rest of the university and not just the Glen Eyre halls of residence, where the old AM transmitter is sited.

Henry Walmsley was Chief Engineer for Radio Glen a number of years ago and although he has since left, evidence of his hard work still remains all over the station. He built much of the equipment that is still used everyday by our DJs, although much of it has been heavily modified by subsequent station technicians. The picture to the right is of Henry stood by M block, a photo which was kept on the wall of our old Glen Eyre office. Even today Henry keeps in touch with the station, and is never far away when a member of our technical team have a question about how something works!

In its previous incarnation as Radio Glen the station was legal for about 20 years and existed in some form even before then known as Radio Heffalump. The station used to be broadcast by a series of antenna in every block in Glen connected by bits of coaxial cable which were draped all over the place, this is know an an induction loop system, and is now used by very limited number of radio stations.

The station originally broadcast from a studio in F block in Glen, and on the photos page, there are a selection of shots showing this studio. In 1998 everything moved to a new specially designed room in New Terrace which provided us with a good technical cupboard and a room to use as an office.

In 1999 the station manager David Holroyd aka Wiggy decided to get a new license being offered by the Radio Authority called a Long Term LPAM RSL. This license allows low powered AM broadcasting over a strictly limited area, in our case the Glen Eyre Halls. This license has been great for the station as we no long need to maintain miles of cable, and can reach a far greater number of students.

2001 was another big year for the station as in conjunction with the Students' Union we were given the opportunity to run a month long FM RSL, essentially a license that allows us to broadcast on FM for up to one month. This enabled us to be heard across the whole of Southampton, and as far as Winchester and the Isle of Wight. We have run an FM RSL every year since then, usually broadcasting on 87.7 FM and using it as an opportunity to showcase our best talent!

Around the same time, we began to broadcast online, initially using equipment funded by the School of Electronics and Computer Science. Since then our web streams have grown in popularity, and this in turn has led to us exploring new areas such as the growing craze which is podcasting.

The Beatle (a BTR), is a reel to reel tape recorder in the Surge studios. It has been suggested there were two brought to Surge from the BBC in London during a clear out. The story that we acquired it from Abbey Road Studios, and that the Beatles recorded some of their tracks on it, may have originated in the fact that EMI manufactured the machines.

Unfortunately, in 2010, our AM transmitter broke and Surge became an online only station. This has, however, provided us with the opportunity to focus on our online broadcasts, and makes our limited FM periods that extra bit more special!