Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (28 July) taken to the airwaves to join former international sports reporter Dave Roberts in launching new regional radio station, The Red.
Dave is a stalwart of the sports scene, having a long and varied broadcasting career which began on ITV Sport and Match of the Day, before moving on to Sky Sports and ESPN. Middlesbrough-born Dave then decided to take on the big boys himself by launching his own media production company, XCel, in 2002.
Based in Middlesbrough’s Boho Zone, XCel specialises in live broadcast and digital media for such prestigious clients as FIFA, ESPN, Fox and Porsche China. Thanks to their lower operating costs, by virtue of being based in the town, they frequently beat international competition in securing contracts for global sports – held at iconic world venues – such as the World Cup, the Euros and F1 circuits including Suzuka and Monza.
Now Dave is fully embracing his roots by establishing The Red – the first new commercial radio station to be launched on Teesside in almost half a century. The station is dedicated to all things Teesside, with a particular focus on the mighty Boro.
The launch marks Teesside’s first new commercial radio station in over 48 years, the last being Radio Tees in 1975.
Mayor Houchen was in the guest chair for the station’s launch, where he discussed the need for a new radio station run in Teesside, for Teesside, followed by Chris Rea’s Steel River.
Dave Roberts said: “Teesside has its commercial radio voice back which is hugely important for the region to be able to loud and proud about its own success stories. “XCel, for example, sees Middlesbrough being key to the likes of FIFA and TV giant ESPN but no-one is aware. The station will broadcast to almost half a million proud Teessiders. We don’t care what’s happening up the road on Tyneside, we’re passionately Teesside.”
Mayor Houchen said: “Dave’s passion for sport is only rivalled by his passion for Teesside and this new station is great news for Boro fans and our ever-growing broadcasting and digital sectors.
“XCel has certainly proved it can more than hold its own against major broadcasters, working with major organisations such as FIFA, and being recognised with Northern Powerhouse awards. This new radio station shows it’s going further to be a force to be reckoned with, as it sets up similar stations for Tyne and Wear too.
“XCel’s a fantastic asset for the Boho Zone, employing more than 30 people in good-quality roles and its growth isn’t slowing down. It was a privilege to be asked to help launch The Red, and I’ll be tuning in whenever I can!”
The station can currently be found online, via app and smart speakers and will switch on to DAB Digital radio across Teesside in the next couple of weeks.
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