New station top of the pops for UK ex-pats

From Monday, the more than 260,000 Britons who call WA home will get their own radio station, UKWA.

Broadcasting on 88FM in Yanchep but available throughout the State and around the world via phone apps and online, the station is the brainchild of former 720 ABC Perth Dawn Patrol presenter Jonathan Morrell.

"The idea came from talking to fellow Brits who said they missed the radio stations they listened to in the UK - particularly the music and regular news," he said.

"The next step was some research and we were amazed at the response as 94 per cent said they would listen to us and 84 per cent missed UK radio."

The station is poised to take advantage of the rapid growth in internet-based radio, with last month's PwC Media and Entertainment Outlook forecasting the total internet radio advertising market in Australia would climb from just $300,000 last year to $78 million in 2018.

Mr Morrell said UKWA's target demographic was ex-pat Brits aged over 35 and he hoped to reach 50,000 listeners a week. The station will broadcast British news on the hour and will feature hit music from the country.

Mr Morrell said the playlist included many tracks that were popular in Britain but were never heard on Australian radio.

"If you grew up in the UK, you have a special connection to the 80s and 90s, and the songs that were hits then bring back so many memories," he said.

"But many UK artists didn't make it here so radio doesn't play a lot of artists that Brits of a certain age will remember."

Mr Morrell has been a broadcaster and journalist for 25 years. He trained with the BBC, worked for ITV and Sky News in London and also established a community radio station in Newcastle upon Tyne, which he described as "one of the most exciting and rewarding things I have ever done".

"To be able to do this again is wonderful," he said.

"I learned so much about studio equipment, transmission and the audience."

The new station is already picking up advertising support - including from a bank and real estate firms - from companies wanting to tap into the ex-pat market.

The UKWA app is available for both iPhone and Android.

Listeners can also find it on the TuneIn Radio app, at www.ukwa radio.com, and on AppleTV.

The West Australian

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