Oneword Radio to shut in January

Digital speech-based radio station OneWord is to shut down on 12th January 2008. The station started back in 2000. Owners UBC Media laid off staff back in December, and the station will fall silent in a couple of days.

Another national station is also about to vanish – Music station Core, owned by GCap, is also set to close on Friday the 11th of January. 

National DAB multiplex Digital One now has two gaps to fill, and the recent announcement about the delay of Channel 4 radio is another blow to national digital radio. At the moment, prerecorded birdsong and a trial relay of forces station BFBS can be heard in the national slots previously occupied by Chill and Oneword.

Update 13 Feb: Audio show discussing developments now online


  • Jan Pahl

    I am really sad that Onewod Radio is closing. I so much enjoyed having all those wonderful books read aloud to me, and there must be many others who enjoyed it too.

    I just have two things to say. Will there be a replacement for Oneword Radio? And can you pass my warm thanks and good wishes to all those who worked on Oneword?

    Thanks very much

  • Peter

    My wife will be mortified by the closure of OneWord. Since we discovered the station just over a year ago, She has become well and truly hooked on the serials, stories and books, to the exclusion of all other radio or tv channels.
    For goodness sake, will some other station please fill the gap – surely we can afford to lose a few hours of music.

  • anne

    really sorry that oneword is closing. What are we to do?!

  • Anonymous

    really sorry that oneword is closing. What are we to do?!
    Surely someone can fill the gap?

  • dm

    I am saddened that a quality station like OneWord is allowed to shut down. Just one more example of the dumbing down of our broadcasting services. If UBC is such a successful company – as their self contragulatory website with Simon Cole’s crowing claims – how can they not continue to broadcast this excellent station? OK – UBC are a business – but take the hit on the loss, but be glad to provide a darn good radio station. I had brain surgery last year and couldnt watch tv or read. OneWord was a God send (along with BBC 7).I am sure that the partially sighted will certainly miss OneWord. Shame on you UBC.

  • Carol

    This is really bad news about the closure of One Word.It filled such a gap in the market- BBC 7 has large chunks of the day now devoted to children’s TV programmes. I loved the archive material that would suddenly appear- such as Tom Lehrer. The readings from literature were great, and I always listened to ‘My life in Books’- illuminating and such a good interviewer. The only thing I didn’t like was when the station went off air at midnight but continued on Freeview. A great loss of a cultural treasure.The old tension between commerce and culture…I so agree with the previous comment about dumbing down of our broadcasting services.Congratulations to all those who worked on the station, and are presumably now at the mercy of the free labour market.

  • Trevor Ware

    We are devastated at the loss of this excellent station.There was and is nothing comparable. we are fast reaching the U.S situation with countless stations all parading a similar content of trivia and repeated self congratulatory soundbites. Classic FM has gone this way increasingly.
    What is to be done.
    Can we arrnge petition to the Dept for Arts etc and Media. Better support in Grant form for new Radio Stations that have an audience for literate and artistic programmes. educational and for the patially sighted or sick an absolute godsend. at least part of the BBC licence could go that way surely.

  • Rhona

    I ‘discovered’ OneWord’ a few years ago when I bought my first digital radio and it fast became my favourite station. The quality and range of programmes was consistent and exceptional – far better, in my opinion, than BBC7. I can’t believe that there isn’t a demand for such a service as OneWord uniquely provided.
    I agree with Trevor W. and DM: the loss of OneWord will hit the housebound and sight impaired hard.
    One thing that surprised me was that none of my friends had heard of OneWord until I told them about it. Why did it not get the exposure that, for example, Classic FM regularly has? Could this go some way towards explaining its demise? Is there any chance that it will start broadcasting again? Is it possible to lobby for its return?
    It was a quality station, with quality programmes and quality staff. I miss it. Very much…

  • Terry Gee

    I agree with all the sentiments expressed here, and add my sorrow at the loss of this station which certainly both amused and extended me. I also agree that their demise was probably assisted by a lack of publicity. The consensus seems to be that the closure of the station has left a void which is not filled by the remaining DAB stations.

    Perhaps someone with sufficient time and drive could mount a campaign (online petition?) to encourage a provider to launch a replacement. Either one or both of our broadcasters with public service obligations, or even another commercial provider with more business nous. (I would gladly tolerate more adverts if it meant a similar service was provided – how about you?)

    I note that Naxos audiobooks is alive and well, I presume they own the rights to all the archived and commissioned material.

  • Bryony White

    I had no idea Oneword was going off air until I tuned into the rather unnerving recording of birdsong. It feels like a really personal loss- there is so little choice for anyone who wants something a little quieter, more thought-provoking, and of high quality. Oneword was balm to the ears, and I found myself listening to it more and more. In fact it was the chief reason I bought my digital radios.
    Radio 7 seems to have been taken over by children’s programmes, and I just can’t bear the ads on Classic FM – they are just so puerile and disruptive- and loud.

    Anyone who has ever been to America and tried to find anything at all on their radio or television networks possible to watch or listen to knows where we seem to be heading. I just can’t understand why quality cannot attract funding. We can’t be such a tiny minority…can we?

  • David

    I agree with so many of the comments made about the demise of Oneword and share the obvious feelings of loss, disappointment and frustration at the loss of such a good station.
    Surely if UBC pride themselves on providing a quality service, they would be able – if they really wanted- to continue to provide a radio station which, along with BBC 7,offers a range of spoken word programmes that,so far as I know, is found nowhere else.

  • Marcelle

    I’m a full time artist/painter and mortified at the loss of such a wonderful daily companion. I shall especially miss Paul Blezzard’s interviews. Radio 4 can be a depressing diet if listened to all day. Please please can something VERY similar be created to take Oneword’s place.

  • christine tindell

    I feel I have to say how sad I am to lose Oneword radio. I have 4 dab radios to cover every situation. I think the lack of good coverage in many UK ares as well as publicity for Dab radio in general may have been contributing factors. For whatever reason I, like most of Oneword listeners, have lost a quality part of my life. I miss it badly. Thankyou Oneword for bringing contentment to my day.In broadcasting, where there is so much dross, any loss of quality is to be mourned.

  • David Lovatt

    There seemed no warning that the channel would close but thought something was going on when I contacted Oneword late last year concerning a new series of The Oneword Countdown. The reply was there wasn’t enough money in the budget for this! I believe it was owned by Channel 4 so don’t understand why they counldn’t fund it as they are palnning new digital stations anyhow? Doesn’t make sense.

  • Frog

    The demise of Oneword Radio is very sad, as it was much valued. The unabridged serials were great as were the interviews. Here’s hoping something similar can be put on air…

  • Ken Hodges

    Always sad to hear of the closure of a radio station especially when it is designed as an alternative to the dross pumped out by the majority of stations that all simply sound alike. Publicity of course is important, especially as radio is to most people, a poor realtion to TV. Moreover, those stations that are on DAB digital radio only, have a harder time, because most people are still listening on FM. With TV, there is a cut off point. People know they have to do something soon to be able to receive digital otherwise the signal will be cut off. With radio the move will be slower, unless or until, people are told that the FM transmissions will be stopped.

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  • Irene McDermaid

    I will really miss Oneword Radio – it was my only reason for buying a DAB radio. I enjoy BBC7 but oh those endless ‘comedy’ programmes. It could be so much better.

  • It is so good to find other places where people are lamenting the loss of Oneword. Its closure has left a real gap in my life and it’s clear it had a passionate following. There has been so little public comment, but the unofficial forum on My Life in Books ( still be accessed even though the link was smartly taken down from the website. (So it’s not surprising that nothing has been added recently.) There is some free market research there for someone – it’s clear there is an audience (young and old) for what Oneword was offering. Book clubs are flourishing. The audiobook is huge in America and growing here. What a time to close down this heroic station.

  • Carol Batchelor

    I could not believe my luck when I found Oneword radio.I can’t
    think why it’s been taken off air. It was quality radio, now all
    I am left with is radio 4 or Radio 7. Bring back the word,there are vast amounts of radio theatre produced over the years enough to keep a station going.There are thousands/millions wanting good

  • David Smyth

    Well, it’s true that you don’t know what you’ve got ’till it’s gone. I’m very disappointed and distressed by the closure of such a civilising influence over the airwaves.

    But there again, in a country where ‘The Sun’ is the most popular national newspaper, it’s hardly surprising.

  • Jennifer Green

    To John, who was worried about his wife being mortified at the closure of One word, I to am missing one word but I allways alternated between One Word and BBC7,as a result I still have something to listen to. At the moment I am realy enjoying readings to die for, which is John Harvey’s book “Wasted Years”
    also War and Peace is on in the mornings. There are plenty of old comedy shows on, The Goon show,Steptoe,Dads Army and many others.
    I have the Daily Mail newspaper on a saturday because it has a magazine with Radio programmes,including Radio 7,included on its TV pages. There is one thing I dont like about Radio 7 and that is the fact that they have childrens radio on from two untill five EVERY SINGLE DAY,and I’m sure the amount of children who listen to radio these days does not justify three hours every afternoon,

  • Babs Steel

    I got back from holiday to tune in and found only Birdsong. It took me a while to find out what happened. I will really miss OneWord. I liked the unabridged book readings and also Cinemascope which I found to be both informative and funny.

    BBC Radio 7 is ok but I have to wait until midnight for the scifi and there are too many repeats.

  • marky

    I am so saddened to hear the loss of One Word – surely it’s only healthy for BBC7 to have a rival? I also find it hard to believe there is no market for such intelligent and entertaining broadcasting. It also saddens me to know that The Jazz may no longer be with us. Can the UK really not sustain a jazz radio station? Again, I find this hard to believe. And there was me thinking that DAB was going to give me more choice…too many accountants and not enough radio enthusiasts I feel.

  • Come on Channel 4, do us all a favour and bring back Oneword. Storytelling is the cornerstone of all broardcasting, bring back Oneword.

  • Hamish McSmall

    A couple of years ago, I joined a listeners’ panel which advised the company as to how the station could be more accessible without “dumbing down”.They took absolutely no notice of us.
    I really miss Paul Blezard’s show Between The Lines-could this not be transferred to BBC7 ?

  • Amanda

    Another person who misses Oneword, having discovered it accidentally in the first place. At the times when I can listen to radio, BBC7 just doesn’t cut the mustard. It seems to be mainly repeats of a range of Radio 4 programmes, plus the interminable children’s section. Given that children these days aren’t listening to speech radio it seems a bit of a waste, especially at weekends. I discovered books and authors on Oneword I’d never have come across in the bookshop – something that doesn’t happen with BBC7 because that isn’t mainly about book readings.

  • Susanna

    please please bring back one word radio, we don’t need another radio station that play’s god awful music, i think we have enough of those, thank you very much.

  • Jane

    Tragic. Through Oneword I discovered that Proust is not the world’s most difficult and boring author. Neville Jason’s readings were superb and I went on to buy the 39 CDs and just love it. Oh those evenings listening to Jane Eyre and all those biographies…BRING IT BACK CHANNEL 4, NOW if not sooner!

  • Manize

    Hi – does anyone out there know how to get hold of recordings of any of onewords programmes – I’m particularly interested in getting hold of the Paul Kent series of lectures ‘How Literature Works’.


    Manize x

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