Saturday, 1 September 2018

Like You've Never Heard It Before


"And now a choice of listening on Radios 1 and 2. For Radio 1 listeners on 247 metres and VHF John Peel is your host while on Radio 2 1500 metres there's the news summary followed by Brian Matthew with Round Midnight."

How quaint this now seems. Flicking between wavebands to continue listening to your station of choice and the nation's favourite allocation of stereo listening rationed to an hour a day last thing a night and Saturday afternoons. The sharing of the scarce VHF/FM resource continued for twenty years until the 1980s when the FM spectrum was eventually opened up. A low-key launch of Radio 1 on FM in London went ahead on 31 October 1987 but the big switch-on for vast swaths of the country took place nearly a year later. The FM switch-on date was 1 September 1988.

Robin Forrest bemoaning the lack of stereo Radio 1 in the
Radio Times letters column of  8 February 1986.
Throughout the day the band de jour Bros were helicoptered around and ceremoniously pushed the buttons in central Scotland, the north and the Midlands. The switch-on for South Wales and the west of England happened on the 29th, other areas followed in November and in December 1989.

The schedule for Radio 1 (and Radio 2) on 1 September 1988
This is most of what I recorded that day up in Yorkshire as 98.8 MHz went live from Holme Moss. First its Adrian Juste with an FM test transmission taped on 29 August and the barker announcing the switch-on on the 1st at 12 noon, though in fact it took place at 1pm. 

The lunchtime Newsbeat follows with Ian Parkinson and Sybil Ruscoe joined by Simon Mayo, though the messing about with left and right channels is lost on my medium wave recording.

With Gary Davies touring the south coast on the Roadshow it was Roger Scott covering the lunchtime show and he hands over to Dave Lee Travis and Bros for the 98.8 switching. We hear more of Roger in super stereo and then Steve Wright with a little help from Sid the Manager. Bruno Brookes (your compact disc DJ) follows before a complete recording of the BBC1/Radio 1 simulcast of Top of the Pops with Wrighty and Goodiebags. These simulcasts continued until August 1991.  

The evening listening continues with clips from the Kershaws, Liz and then Andy.

At 1 hour 26 minutes in its the moment when every radio nerd hit the record button to capture the 5-minute opening jingle sequence in stereo. These recordings come from 2 September and feature Adrian John, Simon Mayo and Simon Bates. At this point you'll gather that Jane Wiedlin's Rush Hour was getting plenty of radioplay. To round it off a couple of clips from Saturday 3 September with Robbie 'If it Moves, Funk It' Vincent and Mark Goodier.


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