Fans angry at Town's airwaves switch

IPSWICH Town supporters in north Suffolk have criticised the club's decision to switch from BBC Radio Suffolk to SGR FM.

Anthony Bond

IPSWICH Town supporters in north Suffolk have criticised the club's decision to switch coverage of home games from BBC Radio Suffolk to SGR FM.

It was announced last week that the BBC had lost the rights to broadcast Town home games to independent station SGR FM. The BBC had held the full rights for more than 10 years.

But the decision has angered Town fans in the north of the county who say they will be unable to listen to radio commentary of the games because they will be out of range for SGR FM.

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Richard Friend, from Lowestoft, said: “They [Ipswich Town] have obviously stuck two fingers up to us supporters who live out of the range of SGR and look forward to commentary on BBC Radio Suffolk. Bobby Robson once said 'throw a net around Ipswich before a match and the ground would be empty'. Many supporters travel a long way to support and now we have lost our source of information and commentary. Yet again a club puts commercialism ahead of supporters.”

David Patrick, who lives in Ubbeston, near Halesworth, said he could not get SGR FM on his radio: “The club is not helping its supporters by doing this with SGR and I am not very happy about it.

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“It is okay if you live in Ipswich but for people like me near Halesworth it is not so good.”

SGR FM said it appreciated that some people would not be able to listen to the station but said there were also many who could now listen to Town games who previously could not pick up BBC Radio Suffolk.

Dan Thorpe, programme controller at SGR FM, said the radio station was in talks with communication industries regulator Ofcom about increasing its coverage area.

“It is not a question of me being able to turn the signal up, it is bound by Ofcom. We are in talks with Ofcom about getting a new transmitter in Sudbury, and also in certain areas of north Suffolk including Lowestoft but this is not SGR's decision, it is Ofcom's.

“I guess the first thing for people concerned is to try and get us and if you cannot get us on one radio it is worth trying another as some radios have better aerials.”

Ipswich Town said in coming to its decision it took into consideration that according to official audience research there is 451,100 people within SGR FM's broadcast area compared to 422,900 for BBC Radio Suffolk.

A spokesman said: “This means that an additional 28,200 more people in Suffolk and 39,000 across the whole of the broadcast area will be able to tune into commentary of Ipswich Town Football Club.”

In an EADT web poll, just 31.5% of people who voted said they backed the switch to SGR compared to 68.5% who said they did not.

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