Rock FM, the Milan-based radio station, will cease broadcasting at 6 p.m. local time on May 31, after 18 years on the air.

Its last few days have witnessed guest appearances by many of the Italian acts whose music it has played over the years, such as Negramaro, Baustelle, PFM, Piero Pelù, Christina Donà and Sud Sound System. Foreign stars like Jon Lord of Deep Purple and Steve Lukather of Toto have also put in appearances.

The station was launched in 1990 by Gigio D'Ambrosio, who was then artistic director of its sister station, the national network Radio 101.

Rock FM broadcast in Milan, Genova, Como and parts of the Tuscany and Emilia Romagna regions, but lacked the resources to reach the 60% of Italian territory necessary for it to become a "national network."

Although it reached an average daily audience of 170,000 listeners, its last few years had been troubled. In 2003, its owner Angelo Borra was arrested for fraud. The station was then sold to the Silvio Berlusconi-owned Mondadori publishing company, and was then acquired by a Greek-based company, Attica Publications, which was partially owned by Mondadori.

Rock FM plans to stay in touch with its listeners through the Web site