THE owner of Brunel FM says the radio station will continue broadcasting as normal until a buyer is found.

The future of the Shrivenham-based station was plunged into doubt after South West Radio, which owns Brunel and four other local radio stations, went into administration on Tuesday.

It is the second time the station has faced uncertainty as previous owners Laser Broadcasting South West went into administration in October.

South West Radio programming director Paul Roberts said: “This is a very sad day for the shareholders of SWR. However, it is the absolute priority to SWR to maintain the employment of all our staff and freelancers and to also maintain the continuous broadcasting of the local radio stations.

“Therefore it is business as usual at Brunel FM until the station passes over to new owners.”

SWR also owns Bath FM, Quay West 107.4 (Bridgwater), Quay West 102.4 (Watchet) and 3TR (Three Towns Radio in Warminster) and was founded last year by businessman Mr Roberts.

South West Radio bought Brunel in October after Laser Broadcasting South West went into administration.

Mr Roberts said: “Due to the nature of SWR’s acquisition of five radio stations including Brunel FM in October 2008 there was little to no due diligence before purchase.

“Recently SWR has seen a large amount of unforeseen debt placed on the company and after every effort to manage this debt within the constraints of the business, it has unfortunately left the company insolvent.”

Insolvency practitioners Kirk Hills is searching for a buyer.

Administrator David Kirk said: “My intention is to keep the five radio stations trading, which are all popular and buoyant and appeal to a broad range of listeners. We can do this by selling the stations as a trading business to a new owner.”

SWR employs 27 staff and a number of freelancers across the stations.

Presenters Ben Shoveller, Phil Stocks and Oliver Head host daily shows on Brunel.

Media regulator Ofcom told Brunel FM it was not broadcasting enough local news and information in April.

It found the Swindon station had no presenters on air and no local material was broadcast between 11am and 2pm on Monday, January 12.