‘Radio Ken’ goes quiet as Leeds pull plug on Yorkshire station

Ken Bates
Ken Bates
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LEEDS United have dramatically pulled the plug on their in-house radio station.

Yorkshire Radio will be going off air at 6pm today, the club announced in a statement.

The statement said United wanted to concentrate their digital media output on their website and LUTV online television channel.

Leeds managing director David Haigh said: “This is one of the toughest decisions we have made, and we would like to place on record our thanks to all the staff at Yorkshire Radio, who have worked tremendously hard over the years to build up a Yorkshire sports station on DAB.”

Yorkshire Radio was launched in 2006, just over a year into Ken Bates’ time in charge at Leeds. Speaking at the time, he said: “This gives us a potential audience of some four to five million listeners. Since coming to Leeds I have been very impressed by the people of Yorkshire and the vibrancy of the county and I think they deserve a radio station to match.”

Bates was removed as president at the end of last week by the club’s recently-installed owners, Dubai-based investment bank GFH Capital.

A message posted on Twitter by Yorkshire Radio director Ben Fry said: “Thanks to everyone who has listened to the station over the last seven years and to those who have contributed on air and supported us.”

Yorkshire Radio covered a wide range of sports and clubs but its biggest attraction for listeners was the full United match commentaries it provided. But the writing had been on the wall for the station since GFH signed a deal last month that allowed BBC Radio Leeds to resume United match commentaries after a lengthy absence.

Writing online after news of the BBC deal was announced, Yorkshire Radio’s United commentator Thom Kirwin said: “Listener choice is only going to be a good thing for everyone and whichever way you choose to listen this season let’s just hope it’s a successful campaign, that’s all we want and all that matters. Myself and (regular co-commentator Eddie Gray) will be covering every game this season.”