IT was 90 years ago this month that the world tuned its dials to the first commercial radio station, 8MK (WWJ) in Detroit, USA.

It was also during the 1920s that Bournemouth received a BBC station, 6BM, above a bike shop in Holdenhurst Rd.

It took until 1980 for the first commercial radio station to reach the town with the arrival of 2CR.

But recently times have been turbulent in the local radio industry.

In recent years the station was rebranded as Heart after being bought by Global Radio and has left its Southcote Road base and moved to Fareham in Hampshire, though still covering the same area Fire on 107.6 is the sole commercial radio station still located in Bournemouth Sean Street was one of 2CR’s early presenters and is now professor of radio at Bournemouth University.

He feels the “golden days” of local radio of the 1980s – when content comprised of high quantities of speech, features and drama – are simply not commercially viable today.

Professor Street said: “This is simply an extension of the way independent local radio has been going over the last few years.

“It wasn’t commercially viable and there were many companies struggling to survive in that period and some went under. I think it was inevitable that commercial radio would change.

“At the end of the 1980s and start of the 1990s companies were able to snap each other up, leading to the change from local radio to more branded regional radio stations,” he added.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom for local radio, as Sean believes the vacuum is being filled by new community stations.

“We’ve lost a great deal. But community-based radio stations are now providing much of the local content.

“We have Forest FM in Verwood, Hope FM in Bourne-mouth and The Bay 102.8 across Poole and Bournemouth. These are partly staffed by volunteers and there should be more financial support for them.”

“While we still have several commercial radio stations like Wave 105 and The Coast, which celebrate local-ness. These are inevitably the large area stations.”

He also questioned whether commercial radio stations could continue to survive with the popularity of MP3 players.

“I think the dilemma for commercial radio companies is that if you’ve got an iPod and I’ve got an iPod, we can download music and make our own playlists.

“But we’ve got to hear that music from somewhere in order to know what we want to download in the first place.

“What we need from our local radio stations is to play us the songs we don’t know. However, commercial radio stations have been very safe in their music tastes.”

After 90 years, Sean believes local radio is still going strong and remains a vital tool of communication.