Outgoing WRS wins radio of year award

wrs_pete_forster_2010GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – For the second year running, World Radio Switzerland has won the Radio of the Year award for French- and Italian-speaking Switzerland, beating out Radio Meyrin and a Ticino station.

The prize was given for the station’s 130 percent increase in audience listening time in the second half of 2012, when the station’s future was still uncertain and listeners were rallying to show their support for English-language radio in the region. Listeners tuned in for nearly 12 minutes on average compared to 4 minutes a year earlier.

Radio Meyrin’s increase in listener time was 63 percent.

German-language station 105FM took the top prize for German-speaking Switzerland, with a 38 percent audience increase.

The award is sponsored by Radio Events and Swisscom Radio.

WRS in its current form, as part of Swiss Public Broadcasting and carrying BBC and NPR news, will close down at the end of August. Radio Frontier, a small local commercial station owned by Anglo Media will then take over the brand and broadcast from Meyrin, but without an FM license, although it was given an exceptional (and not renewable) one-month FM extension in order to broadcast UN material from Geneva during September.

The news and other staff at WRS have not been retained by the new owners, whose station will be available on DAB and Internet.