Burst Radio

Bristol University Radio Station
City Bristol
Frequency Online
First air date 1998
Format Music & Speech
Operator Station Manager Patrick Thomas
Owner University of Bristol Union
Website www.burstradio.org.uk

Bristol University Radio Station (Burst) is the radio station run by students of the University of Bristol, England. Its studios are located within the University of Bristol Union building, and it broadcasts online.[1] The station was initially known as BURST FM, but this name has now been dropped as the station no longer regularly broadcasts on FM. The station is generally not on air during university vacations.[2]

The old logo for Burst Radio
Burst presenters in the studio, March 2012


In 1995, students from Bristol University and the University of the West of England (UWE) co-operated to run Fresh FM. After Fresh FM ceased to exist, BURST FM was conceived by Bristol University students in 1997. When sufficient funds had been raised, a one-month licence to broadcast on 106.6 FM was awarded for March 1998.[3] Housed in St Paul's Church in Clifton.

However, the unavailability of further FM licences due to the launch of a new full-time station (The Eagle, now renamed Star) prevented further broadcasts. In early 2000 speakers were installed within the Union building, and broadcasts mounted for during Fresh (Bristol University's Freshers' Week) 2000. At the same time, a grant from the Alumni foundation and fundraising through advertising and sponsorship allowed BURST to build new studios inside the Union and stream programming onto the internet around campus.

While all this was happening an application was made for a further FM licence for Autumn 2000, the subsequent award of this meant that BURST was back on 106.6 FM with a Restricted Service Licence.[4] An application was made for another one-month licence in Summer 2001. This licence was also awarded, as well as a subsequent one in November 2001. These broadcasts were promoted by club nights and attracted coverage in student and local press.[5] In 2003, BURST began broadcasting via the internet permanently.[1]

In 2005, a move was made to start broadcasting on AM. After preparation, broadcasting on 1134 AM began for the first time in October 2007, with a transmitter in Stoke Bishop.[4]

The start of AM broadcast coincided with new management and re-branding of the station. Burst went from an orange/ blue logo to a new orange/red/white colour scheme. This has now been replaced by a 'Headphones' style logo. In the academic year 2010/2011, the colours of Burst were changed to Red and White.[6]

In September 2007, the station made moves to update its studios and computer systems in advance of the new academic year and in preparation for the launch on AM. Under the flag of Project Excalibur, the on-air studio was refurbished and new IT equipment was installed.[7] This culminated in a live broadcast with BBC 6 music.[8]

Over Christmas 2007, the technical team revamped Burst's production studio, bringing it fully up to date with advances in technology since the station was founded, and in line with the changes in the next door on-air studio.[4]

In 2008, the team launched the first ever student radio soap, The Arches, in collaboration with the student newspaper.[9][10] A new union show was also launched.[11] This was however cut short after a multiple computer meltdown in 2008 left Burst with no equipment or software.

The 2009/2010 academic year brought with it various studio-related technical problems, meaning that Burst Radio did not start airing again until January 2010. Academic year 2010/2011 was a big year for Burst under the guidance of station manager Simon Burrow as the station rose from the ashes of the 2008 meltdown.

Burst Radio re-launched for the 2016/17 academic year with a huge event at Basement 45, under the new management of Patrick Thomas, alongside Diggory Waite, Ellie Leek and a committee of 18 others.


The station's facilities consist of the On-Air Studio from which most programmes are presented, also containing the station's webcam. There is a secondary Production Studio which is mainly used for recording and editing sessions for both live music acts and speech. It also contains a custom-built recording booth. It can also be used as a backup live studio should the On-Air Studio be unavailable.


Notable former broadcasters include the comedian Marcus Brigstocke, BBC presenters David Sheppard and Chris Cox, Classic FM's Nicola Bonn, Theofanis Gekas and GWR Bristol breakfast host Paris Troy.


  1. 1 2 Clubs and gigs in Bristol – Burst goes online. BBC (3 May 2003).
  2. "End of Year". Archived from the original on 29 June 2008. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
  3. Bristol University Archived 22 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine.. unofficial-guides.com.
  4. 1 2 3 "About Burst Radio". Burst Radio. Archived from the original on 6 June 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  5. Publicity and press materials from 2000 and 2001 broadcasts. Flickr.com.
  6. Welcome To. Burst Radio (13 August 2013).
  7. "Epigram Online – BURSTing to be heard!". University of Bristol Student Union. 1 October 2007. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  8. "Epigram Online – Burst Radio back with a bang after renovation". University of Bristol Student Union. Archived from the original on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  9. "The Arches". Burst Radio. Archived from the original on 5 April 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  10. "Epigram Online – The Arches on Bristol student radio". University of Bristol Student Union. Archived from the original on 22 July 2011. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
  11. "SAB-otage". Burst Radio. Archived from the original on 6 March 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2015.
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