'Birdsong' radio station taken off air

An eccentric radio station playing nothing but ambient birdsong from a English garden has been taken off air, enraging an army of devotees, it emerged yesterday.

Birdsong Radio, which played a 20-minute loop of twitters and chirps from 6am to midnight, attracted tens of thousands of listeners.

But now the DAB station - which replaced the spoken-word channel OneWord - has itself been superseded after 18 months on air.

Amazing Radio playing rock, indie, urban and jazz tunes by new artists has claimed its slot.

But birdsong's legion of fans - which include Discworld author Sir Terry Pratchett - are already mounting a campaign for its return.

Creator Quentin Howard who also set up Classic FM said there was even talk of a petition to Downing Street.

He told the Western Daily Press: "Judging by the emails and letters from people, it really caught the imagination like many quirky things the British public like."

He said the tuneful calls of the birds were popular with patients in doctor's surgeries, with city dwellers looking for a slice of rural life and even in prisons.

Of the axing of the channel he said: "I think it's a bit of a stunt to get attention for the new radio station because there's enough empty slots on digital radio for both. There's alot of very cross people out there."

The loop was recorded at his home in West Lavington, Wiltshire, back in 1991 for a stage play, he revealed.