BBC Essex is the BBC’s local radio station serving the county of Essex.
It broadcasts on FM, DAB, digital TV and via BBC Sounds from studios on New London Road in Chelmsford.
According to RAJAR, the station has a weekly audience of 196,000 listeners and a 5.8% share as of September 2021.
BBC Essex launched on 5 November 1986. It broke from the naming convention of “BBC Radio (county name)” so as to avoid confusion with Essex Radio (later Essex FM, now Heart Essex). There was also a pirate station called Radio Essex in the 1960s, and currently, there is an independent commercial station called Radio Essex.
BBC Essex set out to be different from existing BBC local stations, which were often perceived as rather “stuffy” and “worthy”. It launched with a more upbeat sound, an almost “tabloid” news style and younger presenters than most stations; the BBC Essex symbol also did not feature the traditional BBC logo. However, in more recent years, the style has been toned down and the format is now more in line with the rest of the BBC local radio network.
The station has also employed a number of high-profile presenters including Alex Lester, James Whale, Jonathan Overend (BBC Radio 5 Live), Tim ‘Timbo’ Lloyd (twice winner of Best Local DJ at the Sony Radio Awards), Mark Pougatch (ITV Sport), Dermot O’Leary (National radio & TV presenter) and music promoter Eric ‘Monster’ Hall.
A revised programme schedule at the station was launched in September 2015 following the appointment of Louise Birt as Managing Editor in April 2015, following the departure of predecessor Gerald Main, who held the role from 2007 until February 2015.