KEEPING it local is at the heart of the business for a new radio station that is set to launch in the Basingstoke area in September.

Bizz Radio, which is a high-quality online station, will boast former Virgin and Capital presenters and is set to cover Basingstoke, Hook, Odiham, Tadley, Kingsclere, Dummer, Cliddesden and Lasham.

The businessman behind the station is former local radio breakfast show presenter and one-time ITV ice hockey sports commentator Phil Wickham, who is Bizz Radio’s technical director.

Phil said: “A lot of people behind Bizz Radio have worked in radio for a long time, and more recently we feel we’ve seen local radio take quite a downward slope in terms of local content.

“It has now got to the point with radio stations syndicating across to others and quite often what you hear isn’t actually produced by people in the local area or by people with local knowledge.

“What Bizz Radio is going to do when we launch is to bring that localness back. It won’t just be that you’ll see a Bizz radio sign written on a car every now and again.

“You’ll actually see people out on the streets interviewing local people and businesses and getting their feedback on local issues. We want the people in the community to help build the profile of the radio station.”

Phil has ambitious plans for Bizz Radio, for which a CD quality prelaunch version can be heard by visiting The station can also be listened to via I-Tunes, by searching under Adult- Contemporary.

Phil said: “We have got plans to open 30 local sta¬ tion within our first 12 months. We picked Basingstoke to be the first, partly because I live here and I know the area well.

“We’ve called it Bizz Radio because we are going all over the UK and we didn’t want to choose something specific to a town, because it wouldn’t apply to anywhere else.

“And when the next radio stations are launched, it will carry the Bizz brand so people will know the quality they will get, but it won’t be tied in with a particular by name.”

Phil will be out to attract support from local busi¬ nesses and advertisers. He said: “We won’t take national advertisers or people who are advertising services out of the area – it will either be services that are supplied by people in the Basingstoke area or apply to people in the local area.

“And our amount of advertising will be considerably less than regular commercial radio. Whereas some commercial stations might put four ad breaks of six ads in a row each hour, we’ll have two ad breaks of three.”