BBC Radio Five Live

"Five Live" redirects here. For other uses, see Five Live (disambiguation).
BBC Radio 5 Live
Broadcast area United Kingdom
Slogan On digital and online, this is BBC Radio 5 Live

The UK's home of live News and live Sport

The World Cup Station

The Olympic Station

Frequency MW: 693 kHz, 909 kHz, 990 kHz and on selected BBC Local Radio stations' frequencies overnight.
DAB: 12B
Freeview: 705
Freesat: 705
Sky (UK only): 0105
Virgin Media: 905
UPC Ireland: 911
First air date 28 March 1994
Format News and sport
Language(s) English
Audience share 4.3% (December 2012, RAJAR[1])
Owner BBC
Webcast Stream URL (eAAC+)

BBC Radio 5 Live is the BBC's national radio service that specialises in live BBC News, phone-ins, interviews and sports commentaries. It is the principal radio station covering sport in the United Kingdom, broadcasting virtually all major sports events staged in the UK or involving British competitors.

Radio 5 Live was launched in March 1994 as a repositioning of the original Radio 5, which was launched on 27 August 1990.[2] It is transmitted via analogue radio in AM on medium wave 693 and 909 kHz and digitally via digital radio, television and via an Internet stream. Due to rights restrictions, coverage of some events (in particular live sport) is not available on-line or is restricted to UK addresses.

The station broadcasts from MediaCityUK in Salford[3] and is a department of the BBC North division.

The station controller is Jonathan Wall.[4]


The success of Radio 4 News FM during the first Gulf War (1991) led Liz Forgan to suggest in May 1993[5] the introduction of a combined news and sport network. As a result, the BBC's fifth radio network, BBC Radio 5, was closed down[by whom?]. The old service's mix of sport, educational and children's programmes were merged into other services. The new BBC Radio 5 Live began its 24-hour service at 5am on Monday 28 March 1994. The first "voice" on air, Jane Garvey, later went on to co-present the breakfast and drivetime shows with Peter Allen. The Times described the launch as "slipp[ing] smoothly and confidently into a routine of informative banter"[6] and The Scotsman as "professionalism at its slickest".[7]

The tone of the channel, engaging and more relaxed than contemporary BBC output, was the key to the channel's success and set the model for other BBC News services later in the decade. The first audiences were some four million, with a record audience of six and a quarter million. Among the key editorial staff involved in the design of programme formats and recruitment of staff for the new station were Sara Nathan, later editor of Channel 4 News, and Tim Luckhurst, later editor of The Scotsman newspaper and currently Professor of Journalism at the University of Kent.[8]

In 2000, the station was rebranded with a new logo which would remain with the station for another seven years. In addition, on 2 February 2002 a companion station, BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, was launched as a digital-only service to complement the range of sport and to avoid clashes; previously BBC Local Radio stations were used.[9] Throughout this period, Five Live gained several awards including five Sony Awards in 2005; the single gold award was for its coverage of the 2004 Asian tsunami in the News Story Award category alongside another four silver awards and six nominations. The station also began to further its boundaries with the publication of the Radio Five Live Sporting Yearbook.[10] In August 2007, BBC Radio 5 Live was given a new logo in line with the rest of the BBC Radio network,[11] and a new background design featuring diagonal parallel lines.

In 2008 the BBC announced that the station would move to MediaCityUK in Salford[12]


BBC Radio 5 Live broadcasts in AM on the medium wave frequencies 693 and 909 kHz nationally, with the frequency 990 kHz used at Cardigan Bay; these frequencies had been utilised by BBC Radio 5 and were used by BBC Radio 2 previously. Uniquely to the BBC Radio network, it is the only station that is neither purely digital (such as 1Xtra, Radio 4 Extra and 6 Music) nor broadcast in analogue FM. In addition to the AM output, the station also broadcasts digitally on DAB Digital Radio, and on television through satellite services such as Sky, cable services such as Virgin Media, DTT services such as Freeview and through IPTV. The station also broadcasts programmes live through the BBC Online website and the BBC iPlayer sub-site, which allows programs to be replayed up to a week after the original broadcast. The service is also available on the Radioplayer internet site partially run by the BBC. Before the launch of digital broadcasting, BBC Radio 5 Live had broadcast on analogue satellite with near-FM quality.

For many years, the station was operated over four floors from within the News Centre at BBC Television Centre,[13] because of the close connections between the station and BBC News, and the co-location of BBC Sport. However, as part of the corporation's plan to sell off Television Centre, the decision was made in 2008 to move BBC Radio 5 Live to the new broadcast hub at MediaCityUK.[12] The move itself began in September 2011 and took two months.[14] The new studios are located in Quay House over a single floor and consists of two studios, large enough for several guests, and a separate studio for large groups.[15]



BBC Radio 5 Live's remit includes broadcasting rolling news and transmitting news as it breaks. The BBC's policy for major breaking news events revolves around a priority list. With UK news, the correspondent first records a "generic minute" summary (for use by all stations and channels) and then priority is to report on the BBC News Channel then Radio 5 Live, and then any other programmes that are on air. For foreign news, first a "generic minute" is recorded, then reports are to World Service radio, then the reporter talks to any other programmes that are on air.[16] As a result, BBC Radio 5 Live is often the first place to hear a breaking news story, and it is this quality that appeals to a number of listeners.


BBC Radio 5 Live broadcasts an extremely wide range of sports and covers all the major sporting events, mostly under its flagship sports banner 5 Live Sport. Whilst football commentaries form the majority of live commentaries during the football season, the range of events covered by the station include:

Most non-cricket broadcasts are available online only from IP addresses within the UK as both television and radio rights are typically sold on a country-by-country basis. Often UEFA Champions League games are not broadcast live online at all due to rights restrictions imposed by UEFA. This is sometimes not the case for matches in the knockout stage involving English clubs playing at home, whereby domestic radio stations may bid for non-exclusive rights to all coverage, including online broadcast.[17] BBC Radio 5 Live were Official Broadcasters of the 2006 World Cup along with talkSPORT. Both stations broadcast live Premier League commentaries from August 2007, with the 7 rights packages being shared 6 to 1 in favour of 5 Live.

Regular programmes

Regular shows as of January 2013:

5 Live Sports Extra

As 5 Live cannot accommodate all of the sports which they have rights to broadcast, they split some of it with its sister station Sports Extra, including:

Sports Extra typically emphasizes full broadcasts of Premier League and Home Nations football if games overlap each other. Five Live carries the first-choice match in such cases.

Despite the fact that commercial stations (such as Sky Sports) have acquired the vast majority of sports television broadcasting rights in the UK, the BBC remains dominant in radio sport with BBC Radio 5 Live and its local radio stations. Its main commercial rival for radio sports rights is TalkSPORT.


Current newsreaders include Rachael Hodges, Charissa Chadderton, Jill McKenzie, Faye Ruscoe, Pete Saull, Richard Foster, Stuart Clarkson, Suzanne Chislett, Victoria Meakin, Faye Curruthers, Kate Williams, Andrew Fletcher, Nathan Turvey, Natalie Glanvill, Rebecca Pukiello, Theopi Skarlatos, Leah Gooding and Mike Young.

Current sport readers include: George Riley, Will Perry, Mike Williams, Caroline Barker, Chris Latchem, Hugh Ferris, Chris Jones, Steve Wyeth, Seth Bennett, Andy May, Andy Barwell, Dom Busby, Deleth Lloyd, Jamie Broughton and Karthi Gnanasegaram.

Current travel readers include: Michelle Dignan, Orna Merchant, Reya El-Salahi, Lindsay Chapman and Amy Clowes.

Former presenters

Former presenters include Susan Bookbinder, Daire Brehan, Jon Briggs, Jon Champion, Adrian Chiles, Edwina Currie, Fi Glover, Nick Hancock, Brian Hayes, Peter Heaton-Jones, Jane Hill, Des Lynam, David Mellor, Paddy O'Connell, Nick Robinson, Sybil Ruscoe, Bill Turnbull, Sian Williams, Eamonn Holmes, Mark Saggers, Wendy Robbins and Colin Murray.[19]

See also

BBC portal


External links

  • BBC Online
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