Surf 102.5 FM; Broadcasting to Hua Hin and Along the Royal Coast

The Hua Hin radio station, Surf 102.5 FM, has been around for about eleven years.  However until Richard Buckle took over four years ago, there was one big problem – very few people were listening; but now that’s all changed!  

Richard had been a Bangkok resident for around twenty years and a regular visitor to Hua Hin for half that time.  During a weekend in Hua Hin he ‘accidentally tuned in’ to the local radio station struggling with no discernable format (rock music one minute, classical the next) and really out of touch with the potential audience. 

There was a desperate need for a makeover and Richard, a long time radio professional, was looking for a project away from Bangkok.  He tracked the signal back to the broadcasting base, found the Thai owner and struck a deal to take-over the operation.

Describing Richard as a long time radio professional is an understatement.  Originally hailing from South London, audio visual and sound production was his first professional interest.  That inevitably led to radio production with experiences in the U.K, U.S and Dublin. 

By the mid 1980’s Richard found himself on board Radio Caroline broadcasting from the North Sea, unlicensed for most of its early life as a pirate radio station. 

Surf 102.5 FM; Broadcasting to Hua Hin and Along the Royal Coast

He recently returned to introduce his son Jayden to his previous life and checkout how the ‘old girl’ was getting on; still streaming music (legally) with some instant nostalgia for Richard. 

By the early 1990’s, looking for a warmer climate than the British Isles, Thailand beckoned providing an opportunity to work with Smooth 105 and 95.5M in Bangkok.  By 2002 BM Asia was established as a provider of background music solutions to hotels, spas, business and retail outlets.  Richard remains as Director of this very successful business with clients throughout Asia-Pacific and the Middle East.  That’s when he decided that there needed to be a new project and a family-oriented lifestyle with his wife and two kids away from the hectic Bangkok scene, but that needed to be in radio.

Now there’s a format that continues to develop with segments such as the Friday night rock show, the ‘Mellow show’ for quieter offerings, Asia Pop 40, as well as live BBC and local news on the hour.  

Surf 102.5 FM; Broadcasting to Hua Hin and Along the Royal Coast

As Hua Hin’s English language radio station and The Royal Coast Review as the region’s online news site, both community enterprises are linking ex-pats and foreign visitors with the Thai community.

These similarities have resulted in a cooperative spirit and camaraderie without commercial or any other agendas; we just get on well together.  I’ve been an occasional guest on the Friday morning breakfast program broadcast from the Hua Hin Marriott Resort & Spa and shared many experiences reporting at social and promotional events. 

Surf 102.5 FM; Broadcasting to Hua Hin and Along the Royal Coast

Richards’s project has come a long way since he ‘discovered’ Surf 102.5 FM but there are more improvements in the pipeline.  A new transmitter to further improve the signal strength is being planned to extend the broadcast range even further along the coast.

Richard’s business card doesn’t describe a position or title to reflect the breadth his daily workload.  This includes the technical and production requirements, administration (“I hate paperwork”) as well as behind the microphone.  He has an easy listening and relaxed presentation unflustered by the pressures of the day. 

Surf 102.5 FM is a community radio station in the hands of radio professional Richard Buckle to the benefit of the Hua Hin community and someone the Royal Coast Review can call a friend.