REGATTA RADIO will not air during this year’s Henley Royal Regatta.
The Henley Standard
exclusively revealed on its website on Sunday that the pop-up station is taking a “sabbatical”.
The decision was prompted by concerns over funding, technical challenges and an announcement by the royal regatta that it is to broadcast all races live online.
Peter O’Hanlon, chairman of Regatta Radio, said: “The board has agreed that it would be more appropriate to put Regatta Radio into a holding pattern for 2015 while we explore the exciting opportunities available for working alongside, and more closely with, Henley Royal Regatta next year and in years to come.
“We have been delighted by the support from across the rowing community generated by our recent funding concerns and are eager to return with vigour in 2016.
“We have consistently received positive feedback from regatta-goers and athletes who proclaim their love for the radio as part of their regatta experience, so we will work hard to ensure that this can continue in the long term and from a stable financial position.
“In future years I am confident that both Henley Royal Regatta’s new video streaming and Regatta Radio’s creative and knowledgeable approach will complement each other for all audiences, on-site, on FM and online.”
Sir Steve Redgrave, the royal regatta chairman, says he hopes to work with the Regatta Radio team.
He said: “Regatta Radio has done a great deal for the rowing community in taking Henley to a wider audience both at home and abroad.
“We are keen to work with them and their commentary team to enhance the live video coverage that we are planning for this year and to see the return of Regatta Radio to Henley in future years.”
The radio station is in negotiation with a number of other UK regattas to deliver radio coverage at their events.
Commentators from the station will be working on the royal regatta’s streamed content and will be in commentary positions at regattas throughout the summer.
Regatta Radio has been broadcasting since 2006 and has covered every race since 2009. The station broadcasts on 87.7FM and listeners can pick it up on their radios within a six-mile radius of the course as well as on the internet around the world.
The station was on the verge of closing last year when Invesco Perpetual, its major sponsor, pulled out and an appeal was launched to raise £25,000 to keep it going.
A fund-raising dinner at Leander Club attended by about 100 supporters raised more than £9,000 while online donations reached £1,820.
The directors then secured a new major sponsor in Henley Capital Management, which pledged funds to keep it on the air just weeks before the start of the regatta.
Two weeks ago, the Henley Standard
reported that the royal regatta will be broadcasting the action live for the first time since 1976.
A daily highlights show will also be available under a new partnership with Sunset + Vine and YouTube.
More than 250 races across the five days will be covered in high definition and streamed on the royal regatta website and its YouTube channel.
The races will also appear on screens in the grandstands in the stewards’ enclosure.
The regatta was last broadcast live in 1968 by the BBC and highlights were last shown on television by ITV in 1976.
This year's regatta takes place from July 1 to 5.
The Regatta Radio board is keen to hear feedback on its decision. You can make contact via Twitter @RegattaRadio, the Regatta Radio Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org