Friday, 12 August 2011

Down Your Local - BRMB

This is the fourth post in a series looking at the original nineteen ILR stations. This week BRMB, Birmingham Broadcasting Ltd.

Airdate: 19 February 1974
Still on air?: Yes. From 1988 on FM only with medium wave carrying Xtra AM

The station opened in 1974 with Kevin Morrison, former ATV announcer, hosting the first breakfast show. The station promoted itself as “The Sound Way to Spend Your Day”.
An early DJ at BRMB was Adrian Juste who had joined from BBC Radio Leicester. By 1977 Adrian had joined Radio 1 initially in the promotions department and then as a DJ. 

Here’s the Radio Guide programme listings published in December 1977:



At this time BRMB had three big names in its line-up, presenters who would go on to have long careers in local radio, but have only done a little work for the nationals – Ed Doolan, Les Ross and Tony Butler.

Ed Doolan
Ed Doolan, who’s just celebrated his 70th birthday, can still be heard each day on Radio WM. Ed was born and worked on radio in Australia before moving to the English Service of Voice of Germany and then BRMB. Ed’s show was more slanted towards interviews and consumer issues though from the programme billing you would think that he was only broadcasting to women: “linking housewives across the area” and “a chance for housewives to ring in on topical issues”.

Les Ross had started broadcasting at BBC Radio Birmingham where he was the popular host of the breakfast show. Joining Radio Tees in 1975 he became the first presenter on air, again at breakfast. But it was back to the Midlands the following year where Les took over Adrian Juste’s timeslot - he was to stay with BRMB and its sister station Xtra AM for just over quarter of a century. After a stint at Saga Les rejoined the BBC but hit the headlines, for the wrong reasons, in 2008 after this notorious interview:

Like Les Ross, Tony Butler’s radio career was also Midlands-based at BRMB and BBC Radio WM. Tony was the sports editor who long before Radio 5 Live’s 606 programme was hosting sports phone-in programmes with a style something akin to KACL’s Bob ‘Bulldog’ Briscoe on Frasier.

Dave Jamieson, in 1977 on The Late Show, is a bit of a radio nomad whose career, as far as I can ascertain runs as follows: Hospital Radio in Edinburgh, Radio Leicester, BRMB, BBC Scotland, Radio Clyde, Mercia Sound, Viking Radio (where I met him when he was Presentation Controller), Radio Tees, Central TV, back to BRMB, Xtra AM. Currently on Coastline Radio in Spain. Dave’s first professional broadcast was as guest DJ on Radio 1 Club in 1969 when the show came from Edinburgh.

Robin Valk was the station’s rock expert. His professional DJ career started in the States at WPHD before joining BRMB. His show was influential in giving UB40 their first big break. He moved into production and in particular helped stations, including Radio 2 in Birmingham, with programming and the use of software such as RCS Selector. He now runs a radio production company called Radio To Go.

Also at BRMB in 1977 was Mike Hollis. Mike has a special place in broadcasting history as the last DJ on Radio Luxembourg’s English Service on 208 metres – here he is talking to Benny Brown.Mike Hollis recalls 208 Later Mike was on Smooth Radio and can currently be heard on internet radio station morethan40 along with Dave Jamieson and others.

Nicky Steele
The other main daytime DJ Nicky Steele also stayed local moving from BRMB to BBC Radio WM and then Xtra AM. He died in 2001 aged 53.

Tucked away on Sunday morning was Brian Savin with a kind of Junior Choice show and he appeared later in the day with Country Jamboree. Brian went on to become Deputy Programme Controller at the station before taking up management positions for the Midlands Radio group and Saga FM. He now runs a radio production company.


This is the station information published in January 1978:
These videos celebrate BRMBs 30th anniversary:


Web Links
BRMB Radio
Tribute Site

Mike Hollis audio courtesy of RadioLuxembourg.co.uk

1 comment:

Andy said...

And the winner of the John Lennon lookalike competition is... Robin Valk! What a great picture!

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