For those in the galleries at The Open – and many thousands much further afield – the trick to getting the authentic feel of every key game out on course at any one time is simple. Tune in to @TheOpen RADIO, where you will find presenter Richard Kaufman and lead commentator Ron Jones, along with fellow commentators Robert Lee, Ross McFarlane, Gordon Brand Jr, Paul Eales and Matt Adams.
For those lucky enough to be actually at Royal Lytham & St Annes, the service can be accessed by purchasing a mini-radio for £9 from one of the three sales points around the course. Anyone within a five to ten mile radius of the course can tune in on 87.7FM using their own radio. Moreover, @TheOpen RADIO is also available to a worldwide audience via this very website (in case you’ve lost track, this is www.TheOpen.com, the official website of the Championship); or via the free official Open Championship app, not to mention the free TuneIn radio app; and through Team Radio for Canadian listeners in far-flung Vancouver and Toronto.
So you get the idea – rid your mind of any thought that @TheOpen RADIO is some cosy little outlet with a minuscule local audience.
“Oh yes, the potential audience is huge,” confirms producer Ollie Kneen. “As it’s worldwide, we’re talking millions. We have loads of listeners from all over the place emailing us (radio@TheOpen.com, for those who want to join the conversation) even while they’re tuning in. We’ve had emails from places as diverse as Waikiki in Hawaii, Estonia, Mumbai – and the 13th hole at Royal Lytham! That last one has become possible this year, of course, now that mobile telephones are allowed on the course, which is great.”
The Open’s very own radio station has been broadcasting for the duration of each year’s Championship since 2001, when the Open was last contested at Royal Lytham. This year it is on the air on Thursday and Friday from 7.30am, and from 9am today and tomorrow, with coverage continuing until the last group of note finishes, usually between 8.30pm and 9pm. Along with the on-air broadcasting team, there are four producers-cum-editors, two sound engineers and two runners. The service is provided by IMG Audio, who also create event radio for the Ryder Cup when it’s on European soil, the BMW PGA Championship, and other sporting events including tennis from Wimbledon and cricket’s Twenty20 World Cup.
“Here at The Open, on the first two days especially we hear from lots of people in offices who don’t have access to a television,” says Kneen. “So they have an earpiece in and are surreptitiously keeping track of everything that’s happening and all the key developments via @TheOpen RADIO. At any one time we have commentators following three of the key games out on the course, standing 15 yards from the action and describing it so listeners can feel they’re there too. People love it.”
Spread the word.
Click here to listen to @TheOpen RADIO.