|First air date||18 March 1990|
|Owner||Sunrise Radio Group|
106.8 Time FM was a local commercial radio station located in the south-east London and north-west Kent area of England, which broadcast to Greenwich and Bexleyheath in London and Dartford and Gravesend in Kent on 106.8 FM, and ceased transmission in April 2009.
The radio station originally broadcast as Radio Thamesmead using the local Rediffusion cable television system (channel L). It was also broadcast in Greenwich for a time on a cable television service there. Towards the end of the 1980s, new management were brought in by the stations backers (the Community Service Volunteers NGO and Thamesmead Town company) with a view to campaigning and applying for a permanent broadcast (FM) license. The station was managed by Bob Smith (deceased) and David Stanley headed the engineering/technical side. An Incremental Radio license was applied for in 1989. One other applicant, Greenwich Community Radio Meridian applied, but Radio Thamesmead won the license which it has long campaigned for.
The volunteers of the radio station were given the opportunity to vote on a new name for the station. It was felt that the Thamesmead name should be dropped to reflect the much wider service area which covered a large part of south east London. RTM Radio was the name chosen by the majority.
Following upgrading of the stations facilities to meet the IBA engineering code, the station commenced broadcasts from its existing studios at Tavy Bridge, Thamesmead, as RTM Radio transmitting on 103.8 F.M. Transmission was from Shooters Hill, one of the highest points in London. The station was the first broadcaster in the UK to use an independent company (Sound Broadcast Services) to provide its FM transmission systems.
The station negotiated a change in frequency from 103.8 to 106.8MHz following persistent interference from BBC local radio transmissions from Bedfordshire. The station also changed from vertical polarisation to circular using a custom designed antenna from SBS.
RTM stayed at Tavy Bridge until moving to the Thamesmead Town offices in Harrow Manor Way during April 1994. The new studios and production facilities were designed and built in house by Frank de Pellette and Jon Lucas.
The station then moved to Basildon Road on the outskirts of Plumstead, sharing its premises with sister station South London Radio 107.3. By then, Time 106.8 was in the final five years of its life and was owned by the Sunrise Radio Group.
The station launched on the FM radio band as RTM Radio on 18 March 1990, having previously broadcast on the area's local cable television service as Radio Thamesmead, and intended to fulfil a community-style remit, with any profits generated being invested in local regeneration projects. Prior to its full time license, the station operated the first FM Restricted Service License in the UK from the 23-24 July 1988 on 104.3MHz.
RTM changed its name to Millennium 106.8 in 1997, to link in with the upcoming celebrations at the Millennium Dome in Greenwich, having successfully amended its minority-orientated programming obligations with the Radio Authority. The station was put up for sale in June 1999, and was purchased by the Milestone Group in 2000. Fusion Radio Holdings later took reins of the station.
Millennium was rebranded as Time 106.8 at the beginning of 2003, in a move to associate the station with local town Greenwich's connection with the Greenwich Meridian. Avtar Lit's Sunrise Radio Group purchased the station in March 2004. A later decision was taken to rebrand other stations in the group under the same banner - of which only Time 107.5 in Romford continues to use the moniker.
Performance and subsequent closure
The station consistently struggled to perform in a highly competitive London market in terms of audience figures, with its market share steadily declining in RAJAR performance since the middle of 2005. In its final survey at the end of 2008, Time recorded an audience of 13,000 listeners, representing a market share of 1%. Millennium Dance was launched at midnight on Friday 25th May 1997. Founder member Nick Paraskou was granted an extra 12 hours which later went up to 24 hours for underground dance music. In partnership with Eleanor Williams, at one stage Millennium Dance had the best dance line up in the country (Dal Roberts, Ratpack, Jason kaye, Mike ruff cut loyd, Scot Garcia, Norris da boss, Grant nelson, Ray Hurley, Ramsey and Fen, Francis James, Ride, Danny Foster) With Guests Mj cole,Nigel Benn, Ministry of Sound,187 lockdown,etc..the RAJAR figures were the highest in London beating Capital and Kiss. When time fm was relaunched Millennium Dance was taken off the schedule without explanation.
In an unusual move, the Sunrise Radio Group put the station up for sale via a message on its website in mid-October 2008, and following disputed claims a buyer had been found, Time 106.8 ceased broadcasting at midnight on Saturday 4 April 2009.
Past Notable Presenters
- Keir Simmons (Now a reporter with ITV News)
- Roger Day (Now with BBC Radio Kent)
- Simon Beale (Now with Heart)