A couple of decades ago, before the online revolution, a mention on the airwaves could ensure local celebrity status and a lunchtime rush for a pub. So imagine how much publicity you could garner if you had your own radio station?

This was in the minds of friends Ian Evans and Brett Orchard when they launched their new business venture – Atlantic Radio Café at the pub formerly known as The Winchester Arms, in Taunton, Somerset.

They have literally set up a commercial radio station to broadcast from the pub.

Ian has a background in hospitality and Brett has previously run radio stations so they combined their skills when taking on the Enterprise Inns pub.

 

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Brett explains: "This is the first one of these anywhere but we are already exploring how we can expand it across the country."

The studio is located inside the pub, meaning diners at The Winchester Arms can not only hear the station but they can also watch the presenters, who can in turn see them.

It is completely sound-proofed but Brett believes the location adds to the spirit of the station.

"I have always found with broadcasting that the atmosphere is always better when you have people around rather than just talking to yourself in a box.

"There is every chance that people will come in for something to eat and they could find themselves chatting on the radio as well, depending on what competitions and features we are running."

They might even share the mic and a bowl of chips with former TV star and Radio 1 DJ Mike Read who has been lined-up to present on the station.

Brett adds: "With Mike he should be chatting to some of his celebrity chums from back in the day. It brings some stardust because Taunton is not exactly the centre of the universe when it comes to showbiz glamour."

The pub will be doing its bit to change that with a station that is available online and on DAB across Somerset, Bristol, South Wales and Devon, giving the pub a huge reach to its potential audience.

With a mixture of chat and music it is targeting a family female audience, aged between 25 and 55. The crowd at the pub should also reflect the audience listening in.

Previously the pub was more of a wet-led outlet but the team has been working hard on the menus and attracting different clientele.

 

 

Ian says: "As well as constructing a radio studio in the pub, I have reinvented the menu focusing on the theme of the café.

"I've always had the image of something similar to the Hard Rock Café or TGI Friday's but wanted to maintain a local attitude, not just across the radio but the menu too, we now offer locally sourced craft beers and use local produce in our dishes."

The pub is also offering a range of Monster Shakes and deals such as 'kids eat free', over 60s deals and pie & pint and curry nights early in the week.

Business has been picking up following the re-opening in the summer and a £75,000 investment from the licensees and Enterprise.

Perhaps the biggest bonus to having your own radio station is the marketing reach that you get.

Brett explains: "Marketing is one the most expensive and difficult things for a new business. Not only do we have the advantage of our own radio station but we also have many media partners we work with."

The station will have a presence at a variety of events across the region.

"People are always keen to have a radio station at their events because of the marketing they get from it but this also allows us to talk about the restaurant business and the station," he adds.

And if all goes well in the West Country Atlantic Radio Café could be opening up at other pubs across the country.

 

On the airwaves – ideal acts for Atlantic Radio

 

The Beer Gees

Taylor Swift Half

Neil Diamond White

Guns n Rosé

Meatloaf

Cod Stewart

Shandy Williams

The Who's Next

Stevie Golden Wonder

Soft Cellar

MC Slammer

J. Cola

Fleetwood Whisky Mac

 

Got any more suggestions? Feel free to tweet us @inapub...