Saturday, 27 March 2021

New Ideas


The BBC World Service programme New Ideas was billed as the "radio shop window for British industry" with "news of the latest products of particular interest to the householder and small businessman". A kind of industry fair of the air.

Running weekly for nearly 40 years the ten-minute programme played an important role in promoting British business ideas abroad. By the mid-70s it was generating 12,000 enquiries a year to be dealt with by the small production team at Bush House that included an Export Liaison Officer. Those letters were then passed on to the companies who would often report back on an increase in orders. The BBC Handbooks highlight a number of successes from water purifiers, brain diagnosis X-ray scanners, maritime survival kits to asbestos cement cutters, solar energy devices and electronic door chimes.

Though New Ideas was heard on the English-speaking service of the BBC, other language services made their own versions with the Japanese one being particularly fruitful. By the early 1980s the External Services had over 100 programmes in 30 languages "geared to promoting exports or describing scientific, medical and technological advances".            


New Ideas
had started in 1958 when London Calling called it "a series in which inventors, manufacturers, business man, doctors, surgeons, philosophers, technicians and scientists will talk of the latest inventions, discoveries and projects in their various fields". Over the years other programmes came along - Science in Action, Discovery, Health Matters and Global Concerns - that took over the reporting of some of these themes leaving New Ideas to concentrate on the marketplace. It was presented by a number of different broadcasters such as Chris Bickerton (in the example below), Casey Lord, Sarah Mills and in later years by Andrew Dunn, Peter Goodwin, Roberta Symes (daughter of one-time Tomorrow's World presenter Bob Symes) and Gareth Mitchell.        

In October 1990 New Ideas was merged with the relative newcomer Tech Talk that had launched in 1987. Now with a doubled running-time of 20 minutes and keeping its New Ideas title but with the original element now forming a New Products part of the programme. Co-producer Chris Westcott explained that "we want to keep the new Ideas format of going out and about, talking to people in their workplace and seeing the things being made and used. That's where it ties in nicely with Tech Talk which has been an out-and-about engineering technology programme which hasn't concentrated necessarily on products."


Here from 27 July 1974 is the earliest example of the programme I know of. It was included in a long sequence of World Service output sent to me some years ago by Richard Tucker, to whom I offer my thanks. At this stage it's just a straight read of product information with none of the reporting that Chris Westcott talks about. The presenter is Chris Bickerton, perhaps better known as one of the  of Focus on Africa team, something he presented for more than 30 years until his untimely death in 2002.    

In this programme, edition number 833, the items are an acre-meter, an adjustable lawn rake, a portable charging generator and a plastic holder for use at conferences. At this time New Ideas had a theme, Quite Contrary, a 1966 KPM library music track by Syd Dale. In this recording the continuity announcer is Pamela Creighton.   

The ideas, it seems, ran out in March 1997 when the programme was dropped. There are 27 editions from 1996 and 1997 on the BBC World Service website, though sadly not the final one.

If you have any World Services programmes of any genre and from any era please contact me.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Radio Humberside Year by Year

 


This is a  companion post to 50 Years of BBC Radio Humberside. Whilst researching that post I went back through my Radio Times archive to trace the history, people and programmes on the BBC local station. I've scanned in that many pages that I thought I'd put some of them online.

My collection is pretty complete from 1976 but there are gaps before that. Nothing from 1973, 1974 or 1975, so if you have an old edition somewhere in the house please let me know. As you'll see this is a case of the gradually shrinking schedule, in terms of column inches at least.  In the 70s the listings get a full page at the back of the Radio Times. By the 80s they share space with neighbouring locals, Lincolnshire, York, Leeds and Sheffield, depending on the edition. By the 90s up to a dozen stations are spread across two pages. I've stopped in 2008 as by 2009 all the schedules appear on the BBC website.   

W/C 13 March 1971 (with thanks to Ken Clark)

W/C 30 December 1972

W/C 29 May 1976

W/C 5 February 1977

W/C 30 September 1978

W/C 20 January 1979


W/C 16 February 1980


W/C 21 February 1981

W/C 29 May 1982

W/C 1 October 1983

W/C 12 May 1984



W/C 13 July 1985


W/C 8 February 1986


 
W/C 5 September 1987

W/C 11 June 1988

W/C 6 May 1989



W/C 29 September 1990

W/C 15 June 1991

W/C 20 June 1992

W/C 1 May 1993

W/C 1 October 1994

W/C 25 February 1995

W/C 27 April 1996

W/C 8 March 1997

25 May 1998

W/C 18 September 1999

W/C 25 March 2000

W/C 24 February 2001

W/C 26 January 2002

W/C 1 March 2003

W/C 3 July 2004

W/C 7 May 2005

W/C 27 May 2006

W/C 18 August 2007

W/C 27 September 2008



Down Your Local - 50 Years of BBC Radio Humberside


Happy 50th Radio Humberside! The station opened this day in 1971 broadcasting to folk on both sides of the Humber some three years before the county of Humberside was formed. Bridging the estuary a full decade before the opening of the Humber Bridge. It had, at the time, the largest geographical area of any BBC local station. Driving from the extreme north near Filey round to Cleethorpes in those pre-M62/M180 days would've taken nearly three hours by road via Goole and the Isle of Axholme. Alternatively you could head down to Hull and cross on the Humber Ferry to New Holland.     


The station is based in Hull and its original studio centre was above the Post Office on the corner of Jameson Street and Chapel Street. The main south bank studio was over in Grimsby initially at 10 Town Hall Street before moving into St James House in December 1980, then a shop unit on Victoria Street South from 2003 to 2017. The current base is an office and contribution studio at the Grimsby Institute. Unmanned remote studios were also dotted around the county in Cleethorpes, Barton, Scunthorpe, Goole, Beverley and Bridlington.



The station's VHF/FM transmitter - initially on 95.3 MHz - was up on the Yorkshire Wolds at High Hunsley near Newbald. Medium wave transmissions on 202 metres (1484 kHz) from Paull started in September 1972 until the plug was pulled in January 2018. The FM frequency switched to 96.9 MHz in 1973 and in April 1986 did a swap with Viking Radio to 95.9 MHz. Between 2001 and 2016 the DAB services were transmitted from the BT site at Cave Wold near South Cave before being transferred to High Hunsley.   

But 25 February 1971 wasn't the first time that radio broadcasts had been from Hull. Before it officially went on air about 90 broadcasts had been made that winter to cover the extreme weather conditions and the cuts in power supply. These emergency transmissions were only heard on Hull's wired Rediffusion service on Channel B and were made from a makeshift studio above the Yorkshire Electricity showroom on Ferensway.


But even that wasn't the first time Hull had a radio service. Back in the 1920s, starting in August 1924, it was the home of the BBC relay station 6KH. Based in studios in Bishop Lane and with a transmitter in Wincolmlee, it principally acted as a relay for the main programmes from London. Locally produced programmes were few and far between but included Children's Corner, a Women's Half-Hour and concerts of live dance  music from the City Hall and the Majestic Picture House (renamed the Criterion)  on George Street. Later the station did broadcast a number of civic events and orchestral concerts from Bridlington and Scarborough.

Hull was also chosen as one of the test sites for some closed-circuit broadcasts in 1961 that helped persuade BBC management and the Pilkington Committee of the viability of local radio. This time the studio was based in the Guildhall. When the first experimental BBC stations opened in 1967 the city  had been short-listed but Hull Corporation was unwilling to stump up any ratepayers money for the running costs. When the next round of stations was announced in November 1969 Humberside was short-listed.      

The opening day was Thursday 25 February and the opening programme at 12.30 pm was an edition of the station's news programme Outlook. After an welcome from station manager John Cordeaux there was a live link-up to radio room of the trawler Miranda stationed more than 1,000 miles away near Northern Iceland. Alf Smith the ship's fishing advisory officer offered greetings to the new station.      

The oldest Radio Times magazine I can rustle up is for the week of 19 June 1971. The station only broadcast for about five hours a day, with either Radio 4 news or Radio 2's music shows acting as a sustaining service.


Note the logo at the top of the page. Long before corporate BBC branding came along this was the station's own design combining the Lincolnshire Imp and the Yorkshire Rose. It was replaced about six years later by a design put together by Barry Stockdale of a blue and green stripe with the peak to represent the transmitter.   

On weekdays listeners could wake up to the sound of Morningtide, which, along with Countywide were the station's best known programmes of that era. Morningtide was the main breakfast show through until 1992 when it became Humberside Today but the early morning show at 5 am retained the Morningtide title until the end of that decade. Most of the presenters took a turn on the show but Fiona Cowan was the best known and most regular "hostess". Fiona had previously worked as a Studio Manager for the BBC World Service before moving up to Hull. As well as the usual mix of news, weather and music the show offered both a Radio Doctor and a Radio Dentist and morning exercises in Swing Hi, Swing Lo with Maggie and Jo. Maggie represented the local Women's League of Health and Beauty but, as Fiona Cowan says in one of the audio clips below, she has no recollection who Jo was. Fiona left in 1976 to emigrate to the States where her husband Alan took up a university teaching post.


Co-presenting Melody on Sunday was David Gredington who was also the Programme Organiser. He'd joined the station from Radio Stoke-on-Trent and retired from Humberside in 1976 following a stroke. Also coming from Stoke was the station manager John Cordeaux (pictured above). John had joined the BBC in 1945 and by the mid-50s was working as the Overseas Instructor in the Staff Training Department. He was Programme Organiser at Radio Stoke-on-Trent before moving to Humberside. He retired in 1977 and a couple of years later he and his wife Shirley moved to Suffolk where he occasionally broadcast on Radio Orwell.

John's successor as station manager was David Challis who'd already had local radio experience at Radio Leicester when is started in 1967 and as Programme Organiser at Radio Solent. David Greddington's successor as Programme Organiser was John Jefferson who'd began his career on the Bridlington Free Press and after other press jobs joined Radio Durham and then Radio Cleveland and Radio Carlisle. After leaving Humberside he was station manager at York and Leeds.  

Other key members of staff when Humberside came on-air were the Engineer in Charge Ken Fossett (succeeded in the post by Mike Jasinski ex. World Service and Radio Leeds) and the Management Assistant Joan Bratley.  


Another ex-Radio Stoke broadcaster was Derek Ratcliffe who was the station's South bank producer and reporter. As well as hosting Hello Neighbour he also co-presented Now Then -It's 4.30! (1975-76) from one of the South Bank studios and Both Sides Now (1976-77) which also, as the title suggests, linked both sides of the Humber. 

Paul Heiney was part of the original team here listed as presenting the Saturday morning show Scunsby Gookington, a contraction of Scunthorpe, Grimsby, Goole, Kingston-upon-Hull and Bridlington, offering a Singing Granny competition and Telephonagroan. Following an increase in broadcasting hours later that year Paul also presented the teatime show A Taste of Heiney. He left in 1974 to work as a reporter on Newsbeat and then Today. That's Life! and loads of other TV work followed.            

Looking after the sport in 1971 was John Withington. That coverage was mostly football, with Hull City, Grimsby Town and Scunthorpe United as the local teams and, of course, Hull's two rugby league sides. For the majority of the 70s Peter Ward was the voice of sport on Humberside. His first radio experience was with the British Forces Network but back in civilian life he was an assistant bank manager before starting to volunteer for a hospital radio unit in Rotherham and reporting on the rugby league games, this led to his full-time role on Humberside. Assisting were part-time reporters Stan Hall, who'd been providing match commentaries for Hull's hospital radio service though he was a printer by trade, and Elliot Opel, an ex-teacher again starting with hospital radio experience before joining the BBC as a regional sports correspondent. Elliot also devised, presented and set the questions for the long-running Top Town Quiz (1971-86) and also Top School Quiz.   

One of the station's longest serving sports presenters would be Dave Gibbins. Dave was with Humberside from 1978 to 1984 before hopping over to commercial rivals Viking Radio. After a spell with TFM he was back at Humberside as sports editor 1988-2000. Moving into television Dave was the sports presenter for BBC South West on Spotlight until his retirement in 2016. 

Presenting Club Together with news from local clubs is Al Gillyon. Over the next six or seven years Al would go on to present a number of shows such as The Good Companions, which became The Centre Show recorded with an audience from Hull's Centre Hotel (just round the corner from the Chapel Street studios, now the Portland Hotel),  For You Alone and Young at Heart. Both The Centre Show, which usually involved some community singing, and For You Alone featured Jimmy Gibbons at the piano. Al had made his stage debut aged 12 as a song-and-dance act. He went into repertory theatre before doing war service with the 2nd Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment where he would eventually produce variety concerts and plays for Army Welfare. After the war he appeared in variety and revues as a utility man playing character roles and made radio appearances on Variety Bandbox, Startime and Workers' Playtime. In the mid-50s he established himself as a club comedian and in 1961 founded the Hull based charitable organisation the Society of M.I.C.E (Men in Charitable Endeavour) along the lines of the Grand Order of Water Rats. (Another founder member was Clive Hunter). It was this entertainment background that led to his Radio Humberside appearances. In the 1980s he took on small television acting roles on programmes that included All Creatures Great and Small and Emmerdale Farm. He died in 1990.     

Other names in the original line-up include:

Jill Ward (now Hopkins) who left in 1974 to produce Roundabout East Anglia and was later at Radio 4, Radios Bristol, Stoke and Oxford. In 1976 she married David Eggleston, also ex-Humberside and at the time at Radio Bristol, who tragically died on their honeymoon in Rhodesia.


Ian Hunter who was on-air for about 20 years later presenting Both Sides Now and Humberside Today. Prior to working for the BBC he'd been with the local paper in Driffield. At Radio Humberside he was a sports producer for a while and inaugurated Countywide, presenting it for the first three years. (Its launch coinciding with the creation of the new county). He had two spells as a current affairs producer with the BBC in Northern Ireland. 

Tony Bell who would later produce the religious shows Jigsaw and Fresh Air.                

Colin Caley left Humberside for Plymouth where he was the senior producer of Radio 4 regional opt-out Morning Sou'west and later at Radio Devon.

Jim Hawkins, initially full-time then freelance until 1977 when became a playwright and novelist.

Arnold Miller was yet another former teacher. (Local radio at that time seemed to be full of folk that had given up the classroom or were attached to the education department which all the stations had in the 1970s. Two of my school teachers, Brenda Eveleigh who presented Contact and Margaret Henrickson on attachment to the education department, were with Radio Humberside). Arnold was the first education producer. He left in 1978 to become Programme Organiser and then Manager at Radio Nottingham.   

Pam Gillard was a secretary at the station when it started but left for BBC Radio Highland for a while before coming back to Hull as a station assistant, eventually hosting After Three. She moved south and worked for Radio Solent.

Presenting Round About Folk are local folk musicians Christopher Rowe and Ian Clark. Chris was a regular broadcaster on television and radio. His songs would often feature on the station including that for the tenth anniversary (included in the 1970s audio sequence below). Both were teachers in Hull at one time, Ian at Kelvin Hall and Chris at Hull HE College (he taught me in the early 80s) and together they released a number of records including Songs for Humberside. Ian now lives on Merseyside. Chris died in 2001.  

Humberside's geographic spread caused headaches for the station management as John Cordeaux explained in the Radio Times in March 1971: "After only a few weeks, Radio Humberside is having to pass up some first-rate material, simply because it cannot physically be collected by a modest-sized staff however enthusiastically they extend their efforts ... because of the distances involved in recording the programmes. But Radio Humberside is rapidly shortening its own lines of communications in two ways. First, we are training a team of part-time broadcasters, many of whom travelled far out and about with tape-recorders in their knapsacks and have already made their radio debuts. Then,  in our three studios in Barton-on-Humber, Cleethorpes and Goole, the central station has its own out-stations. News and the people who make it are heard immediately throughout the region." 

Moving forward a nearly two years here's how the programmes looked for the week commencing 30 December 1972 as Britain was about to join the EEC. The importance of Humberside's ports is recognised in Hands Across the North Sea with a live link-up from the North Sea Ferry MS Norwind. For many years they would 'Go Dutch' to celebrate the station's birthday and take a ferry load of listeners across to Amsterdam (and bring them back again!).   

By now there are some more familiar names who've joined the station.


Producing Top Town Quiz was Robin Pulford who'd go on to look after the daily phone-in show Countywide for ten years from 1978.  Robin's broadcasting career started as a Technical Assistant for BBC Television in London (he was a cameraman at Lime Grove for a while) before moving into general production and then radio. He worked for the BBC in Aberdeen and for BBC Records. At Humberside he was a news reporter and bulletin reader before moving into production and presentation. He left the station in 1990 to become the press officer for the Docklands Light Railway and is now retired.

Peter Adamson is now with Radio Humberside presenting programmes about jazz, something he'd continue to do at intervals over the next couple of decades - for a while his Great Northern Jazz show was also heard on other stations in the north east. In time he would become a household name across Humberside with his phone-in show Soapbox, at first on Sundays but in time every weekday throughout the 1990s. Peter left in 2004, shortly after picking up a Frank Gillard Award  for his Outstanding Contribution to BBC Local Radio. Soapbox continued until 2008 with Blair Jacobs (also on Look North and at Radio Solent, leaving Humberside in 2019) as one of the regular hosts.

Barry Stockdale became a very recognisable voice on the station over 20 years initially as a station assistant, joining three months after the station opened, and eventually becoming Programme Organiser. He presented Morningtide and for a while was the Grimsby-based producer and co-presented the South Bank leg of Humberside Today.  Barry was later the manager editor at Radios York and Sheffield and was a Project Director for the BBC leading the projects for the new broadcasting centre in Hull and later at Salford Quays.

Tex Milne, here listed as presenting Country Music Time, was the station's country music expert from 1972 to 1986. He was a storeman with a Hull based company but his interest in country and western dated back to 1959. For a while he worked in a record shop and in 1968 was compering at the original Hull Country Music Club. Tex jumped ship in 1986 to join Viking Radio. Country music remained a popular genre on the station and when Tex left both Tammy Cline (a local singer whose real name is Marilyn Cuff) and Bob Preedy (also a YTV continuity announcer and author) presented shows. 

With the Platter Chatter Show on Saturday morning were Paul Heiney, Barry Nettleton and Tim Jibson. (Three presenters for a 30  minute show!). Barry was a local music promoter involved with The Brick House music venue and later Hull Truck and the Beverley Picture Playhouse. I knew Barry when I worked as a part-time film projectionist at the Playhouse and also volunteered for the folk and jazz festivals. 


In the early 70s Tim Jibson's full-time job was as a transport manager but in time he'd be one of the best known radio voices across the county. Tim would go on to present a number of other Saturday morning pop music shows such as Stop the Wheel - "phone Hull 27744 and take your chance on the musical merry-go-round"  - Soundabout (taking over from Carl Kingston) which became Soundsabout Saturday. In October 1978 he came up with the idea for a weekly evening show called The Paull Hunsley Electric Wireless Show - taking its name from the transmitter sites at Paull and High Hunsley. Aimed mainly at a teenage audience and broadcast on a Tuesday night from 7.30 to 10.00 - the first time the station had regularly gone on into the evening apart from sports commentaries - it featured local bands, local music news, star name interviews, current chart hits and the Tuesday Talk-in which gave listeners at home and the teenage panel (of which I was one for a short time) in the studios (in Hull and usually one of the South Bank studios in Grimsby or the self-op studio in Dolphin Street, Cleethorpes) the chance to discuss issues of the day. Occasionally the talk-in would be replaced by a Juke Box Jury with, as participant Gary Clarke remembers from a 1980 appearance, "tipping whether new releases from the likes of Roxy Music and Split Enz would be Hits or Misses". One of the regular contributors was Scarborough-based Chas White, aka Dr Rock, who on one occasion was talking to Tim from the Grimsby base when the studio clock fell on his head.  As this programme, broadcast in 2019 and an edited version of a 2001 show, recalls,  some of the PHEWS participants went on to bigger things including John Beesley (BBC politics producer), Adela Nozedar (music producer), John Tondeur (long-time Radio Humberside commentator on Mariner's games) and Steve Massam. Steve joined the station on a permanent basis in 1983 presenting the mid-afternoon show Let's Go and then other afternoon shows until the early 90s in addition to a Sunday morning show originally called Sunday Spin that ran from 1983 through to 2016.

Tim presented The Paul Hunsley Electric Wireless Show until the end of 1983 at which time, probably in response to the imminent launch of Viking Radio,  it became a nightly one hour show with Carl Kingston until it ended in December 1984. Tim would, in time, also join Viking (as did Carl) but he was back at Humberside on Saturdays from 2001 to 2006 before leaving once again to establish Hull-based KCFM radio.

My hand thrown mug by Jerry Harper
of Blacktoft to mark the 10th anniversary 

The first news editor was Colin Adams. He left in 1973 to help launch Radio 1's Newsbeat (he was deputy editor to Mike Chaney) and was replaced in the post by Jim Latham who moved down from Radio Teesside (he left in 1983 to become a Senior Instructor in Journalism in the Local Radio Training Unit).

The news reporters in the mid-70s through to the early- 80s included: Charles Levitt (former Hull Daily Mail news editor), Chris Ramsden (ex HDM and Swiss Broadcasting Corporation), Nigel Robson, Paul Drewitt (ex. Radio Nottingham and HDM), John Andrews, Nigel Lucas, Graham McKenzie, Roderick Clark, Robin White, Peter Grant, Rod Crocker, Graham Smith, Neil Walker, Jane Howroyd, John Drury (ex-teacher and later a co-presenter of Chalk and Cheese), Michele Romaine, Geoff Barratt (ex. Radio Blackburn), Mike Cartwright (Grimsby based reporter for over 20 years), Alan Cuthbertson (also a presenter on After Three), Alan Douglas, Nick Haydon, Sam Jaffa, Steve Howard, Steve Williams, Mike Fennell (later the station's news editor), Nicholas Moss, Charlotte Counsell, Trevor Austin and Chris Bates.   

Rod, Charles, Jim, Paul and Chris are featured in this sequence that I recorded in, I think, 1979.

The biggest new story that Radio Humberside covered , in terms of one which quickly became a national and an international one, was the explosion at the Nypro chemical plant at Flixborough in 1974. 

Here's how the 1977 BBC booklet Serving Neighbourhood and Nation recounted the events of that day:       

Jim Latham, the News Editor of Radio Humberside, was at home digging his garden on the afternoon of Saturday 1 June 1974, when he was startled by an enormous bang at eight minutes to five. The Nypro chemical plant at Flixborough was exploding, and several days of frenzied news reporting were just beginning.  

By five o'clock the duty newsman at Radio Humberside that afternoon had put out a newsflash, even before the debris had stopped falling from the sky. He didn't yet know what had caused the explosion or how serious it was. He then had to summon the rest of Humberside's news team - but first he telephoned Broadcasting House in London with the news. He spoke to what's called the GNS desk (standing for General News Services - the BBC's internal news agency, which collects information and passes it on by teleprinter to BBC staff all over the country in one go). This was the first hint of the disaster to reach London, and the duty GNS man immediately moved over to a nearby microphone and spoke over the special loudspeaker system (reserved for important newsflashes alone) "GNS here: Radio Humberside reports a big explosion at factory near Scunthorpe" - and thus all the main BBC buildings in London were put on alert.

While news editors waited for further details, a Radio Humberside producer, Derek Ratcliffe, was the first journalist to reach the scene of the disaster at Flixborough. By 20 past five, he had picked up a phone in an evacuated house near the factory, and reported his first impressions on the spot - with time just enough before the police removed him too, for fear of another explosion. At a nearby airfield, a very fortunate Radio Humberside reporter, David Eggleston, just happened to be in a plane, ready to record a feature on aerobatics. So he too could record his impressions of the disaster, this time from the air.

In London the editor of the day prepared the six o'clock news bulletin on Radio 4, with the Flixborough explosion at the top of the running order. He recorded Derek Ratcliffe's eyewitness account, sent down from Radio Humberside, and told the station that he'd take any further reports it got - even if it were while the bulletin was going out on air. Television News also made use of the recording, because their camera crew hadn't yet had time to get to Flixborough from the nearest regional base at Leeds. And while the nation slowly became aware of one of the worst tragedies since Aberfan eight years before, the news team at Radio Humberside had to work quickly and efficiently to provide further information about casualty figures and the extent of the damage. They were working for all the BBC's national news output, plus the overseas broadcasts (both the World Service in English and the various foreign language bulletins) and, of course, for Radio Humberside itself, whose audience was, after all, worst affected by the disaster and anxious for every crumb of news. The station itself stayed on air until past three o'clock on Sunday morning, and for 16 more hours on Sunday provided further news, casualty figures, advice and warnings from the emergency services and so on. But during the weekend the national networks transmitted as many as 30 voice-pieces by Humberside reporters in an operation that is still legendary in London newsrooms.



In the early years the schedule was filled with short specialist programmes, anything from 10 to 30 minutes was not uncommon. These had all but disappeared by the early 1980s or at least been incorporated into longer sequence programmes. In 1981 some of those providing their expert knowledge for Humberside programmes included gardening advice from Fred Fletcher (former Hull University grounds manager) and Dick Robinson (Bishop Burton College lecturer), angling with Bill Mower and antiques and art with Margaret Garbutt.

In July 1981 Radio Humberside covered the opening of the Humber Bridge. See also my blog post Bridging the Humber. 

By 1986 Radio Humberside was finally venturing into regular evening broadcasting, sharing specialist music programmes with Leeds, York and Sheffield. So we have Great Northern Brass with Barrie Davenport, Great Northern Folk with Henry Ayrton (also presenter of The Real Music Show and Henry's Jukebox),  Great Northern Folk with Ray Williams (who'd already been presenting Humberside Folk), Great Northern Rock with Jeremy Hibbard, Great Northern Country with Bob Preedy, Great Northern Classics with Martin Hindmarsh and Great Northern Jazz with Peter Adamson. By May 1991 this sharing arrangement also included local stations in the north west (GMR/Manchester, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria) under the Night Network banner with Radio Humberside providing Adamson's Night Network Jazz and Ayrton's Night Network Folk. This arrangement continued throughout the nineties and the noughties with Humberside taking some networked shows or replacing it with local sports coverage. At the weekend Humberside has sometime shared shows from its sister station Radio Lincolnshire such as Melvyn Prior's Sold Gold Saturday and Howard Leader's musical nostalgia show.         






In 1988 Radio Humberside was proclaiming that "We're the One..." though it could just have easily said that it was number one as mid-80s listening figures showed that the station had the greatest percentage of listeners of any local station, both BBC and commercial.

The line-up now included:

Charlie Partridge, with the station from 1983, moving to BBC Essex seven years later and in 1994 promoted to assistant editor. Managing editor at both Radio Leicester and, from 1999 until taking voluntary redundancy last year, at Radio Lincolnshire.

Liz Meech here co-presenting Countywide with Robin Pulford had been with the station since the late-70s and started out as a researcher on that very programme. She later became the education correspondent for the BBC in the region.

Dave Taviner was with the station for 26 years from 1980 having volunteered at Radio Nottingham prior to that. Moving to television he worked on Songs of Praise until 2015 and then joined the United Christian Broadcasters as Head of Radio and now Director of Broadcasting.

Jonathan Cowap who moved to Radio York in 1992.

Mike Hurley presented the Saturday morning Hurley Burley between 1985 and 1996. Originally at Pennine Radio and then the launch team at Radio Aire he joined Humberside where he created the  "the archetypal, flat capped, opinionated Yorkshireman" Bill Bore, based on a bloke he'd met in a pub in Bradford. He did a similar show on Radio York (2000-05) but his bread and butter was as an advertising voiceover artiste recording thousands of TV and radio commercials. Mike won a Sony award as local radio personality of the year in 1986. He died in 2008 aged just 59.     

Here's Mike as Bill Bore recorded for the Radio Academy Festival in 1986.

Russell Harris presented a Saturday oldies show from October 1985 which became It's Russell Harris a couple of years later and won a Sony award in 1988 for best children's programme. He moved shortly after to BBC Essex then Radio Kent, GMR in Manchester and 5 live.


Clive Hunter was a local club comedian and musician who broadcast on Humberside from the mid-70s initially on Call Clivvy, usually going out on a Thursday afternoon,  in which listeners could phone-in and request Clive to play their favourites tunes on the organ. Call Clivvy was dropped in 1982, presumably because he'd now exhausted the 4,000 tunes in his repertoire that he could play off pat. He also wrote comic poems that he read on Both Sides Now. His next engagement was a Sunday music show of nostalgic records and the occasional tune at the organ. Clivvy's Soft Spot ended in March 1992.  This recording, courtesy of Dave Rhodes, dates from 28 August 1988.    

In 1988 the station also produced this promotional video. BBC Radio Humberside - We're the One features manager Geoff Sargieson (ex-Radio Sheffield, Radio Aire, Radio Scotland and later manager at Radio York), news editor Mike Fennell, programme organiser Barry Stockdale, engineer-in-charge Dave Matthews, Charlie Partridge, news reporter Clare Morrow, Liz Meech, LRAC member Joyce Bratton, Steve Massam and Robin Pulford. 


In 1991 Radio Humberside was claiming to be the county's number one. The daytime line-up included Martin Plenderleith whose radio career started at Radio Cumbria before a short spell as a Radio 4 schools producer then going freelance which included seven years on Humberside (1989-96) mainly on Morningtide and its successor Humberside Today. Martin returned to Radio Cumbria and also established his own production company.

Judi Murden is another long-serving Humberside personality. Starting in 1983 she was a presenter and then producer, latterly the Faith Producer, until last year. Judi was heard on Morningtide, Chalk and Cheese and Countywide.    

Also shown here are Katy Noone, a presenter from 1988, later a producer including BBC Introducing; Phil Squire initially part of the sports team later managing editor at Radio Leeds and now an Assistant News Editor; and Matt Watkinson also on Radio Cleveland and Radio York where he was the District Producer based in Scarborough.


At the turn of the millennium the BBC published plans to expand their services in East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire (The BBC: Connecting Locally). The plan included a new broadcasting centre that featured an Open Centre offering a free drop-in learning centre and bi-media studios for Radio Humberside and the newly launched Look North for the region co-presented by Peter Levy and Helen Fospero (for a while this came from a small studio built at Chapel Street). Radio Humberside eventually moved out its old Chapel Street home and into Queen's Court in 2004. Peter Levy himself would later appear on Radio Humberside between 2008 and 2014 in the old Soapbox slot.    

Paul Teague, Richard Usher, Lara King and Andy Comfort
in a far from sun-drenched photo shoot on Hessle foreshore

Some of the broadcasters on-air at the time of the move to Queen's Court included  Andy Comfort broadcast journalist and presenter at Humberside since 1995 who presented the breakfast show for 15 years, including a few years where he co-presented from Hull with Ruth Barcroft (journalist at one time on Channel Five) in Grimsby. Andy has been the station's drivetime host since 2013.

Carl Wheatley who was with the station for 25 years, joining in 1994. He was part of two radio  partnerships firstly a weekday mid-morning show with his 'mother' Gloria Johnson and then five years on the breakfast show with Lizzie Rose.  Carl left in 2019 to become CEO for the Northern Academy of Performing Arts.   

Steve Redgrave (ex-Viking) for many years (1993 to 2012) looked after the early show and had a 6 am and later a 5 am start. He now works behind the scenes as a weekend producer. 


David Burns, aka Burnsy, has been "making sense of the day's big stories" since 2011 and hosts what is now the main phone-in show on the station. See 2017 Face behind the voice article above.

Two of Radio Humberside's most unlikely stars were Beryl Renwick and Betty Smith. The pensioners were spotted by presenter David Reeves (with Humberside from 2001 and now the Social Media Producer) when they were on a tour of the station in 2006. They were eventually given their own weekly one-hour show, billed as Radio Humberside Rewind, which was a mixture of music, chat and banter between the two friends who met at an afternoon club in Hull in 1999 following the death of their husbands. Betty and Beryl garnered the best entertainment programme Sony Award in 2012 with the last show going out that Christmas.  

On 25 February 2011 Peter Adamson was back to present this look back at the station's 40 year history.

Also on-air that day were Steve Redgrave, Andy Comfort (on his bike from Grimsby to Hull to raise money for charity), Lara King (with the station from 1995 and at one time presenting the Grimsby leg of the breakfast show, now the NE Lincs reporter), Look North reporter Caroline Bilton sitting in for Peter Levy, David Reeves, Phil White (presenter from 2005 currently looking after Saturday breakfast) and James Hoggarth (ex-Kingstown Hospital Radio joining Humberside c.1999 as a Sunday afternoon broadcast assistant then seven years in the breakfast show production team. Presented the early evening show 2007-2012 and is now also the head of music).    

On that same day there was a light-hearted quiz Not a Clue on 202 chaired by Phil White that pitted the voices of 2011 Lara King, Andy Comfort and Carl Wheatey against the golden tonsils of Peter Adamson, Gloria Johnson and Martin Plenderleith with Dave Gibbins making a guest appearance. It was produced by Derek McGill, the Assistant Editor at Radio Humberside since 2007.

Other people you'll have heard on Radio Humberside across the decades include, in alphabetical surname order (and this is by no means an exhaustive list. It's taken from the Radio Times and online schedules so won't include news reporters and some sports presenters, nor necessarily those broadcasting from other Yorkshire stations such as York or Leeds and also heard on Humberside): 

Chris Arundel, Henry Ayrton (presenter of Great Northern Folk from 1987 and later The Real Music Show and Henry's Jukebox), Chris Barker (late 70s presenter of Farm), Keith Barnwell, Chris Bell (1979-87 later at Stray FM now working for a transport and logistics company), Jules Bellerby (long-time presenter on Radio York, also on BBC Essex), Helen Brookes, Jeremy Buxton (also worked at Radio Sheffield and BBC Devon, now on Radio York and a BBC Induction Manager/Trainer), Tony Cartledge (also on Radio Newcastle), Andrew Clark, Simon Clark, Lucy Clark (discovered following the 2017 Face of Hull competition and co-presents Absolutely Clueless), Ian Clark, Trisha Cooper, Averil Coult, Siobhan Daniels (1997, also South East Today reporter), Jenny Danks, Gordon Davidson, Chloe Davies, Mike Day, Matt Dean (senior sports journalist since 1999), Tony Delahunty (sports presenter 1982 but mainly at Pennine Radio as commentator/sports editor), Christine Dexter, Keeley Donovan (2014), David Doyle-Davidson (sports presenter, former Hull FC player), Clarke Dunn, Betty Dye (presenter of Fresh Air), Nigel Dyson (presented On Campus in 1976 and later produced this and other shows, see also  Radio Blackburn post), Charles Ekberg (1970s Letter from Lindsey and Scene from the South), Sally Fairfax (from 2012 previously at Radios York and Leeds), Dave Fewster (also on Viking Radio and manager of Beverley FM), Susanne Fraser (Grand Night In 2007-08) , Gail Fryer (1970s), David Golley (sports presenter also on Viking), Alan Grant, Paddy Grice, Joe Hakim (presenter of Culture Night), Kim Harrison (BBC New Voices winner), Paul Hartley (2001-07, later at Stay FM now cabin crew with Flybe), Chris Harvey, Rob Hawthorne (1980 sports presenter), Marcus Heald (co-presenter of Westenders), Graham Henderson (late 70s, 1980s presenter and producer), Andy Hollins (late 80s after Viking), John Howden, Kevin Howells, Paul Hudson (Look North weather forecaster), Nick Hull (ex-Voice of Peace, KCR FM in Ireland, Radio Wyvern, also on Radio Leeds, Radio Nottingham, Viking as Deputy News Editor, Essex Radio, talkRADIO and talkSPORT), Richard James, Bill Jenkyns (later on BBC York and a BBC Technology Manager), Keri Jones (went on to run Radio Pembrokeshire and Radio Scilly), Steve Kaye, Kevin Keane, Adam Kirtley (also on Radio Berkshire, now a media trainer), Jon Knighton (sport mid-80s before joining BFBS where he is the sports editor), Chris Langmore, Donna Larsen, Chris Lawrence, Alex Lester (1981, one of many BBC locals before joining Radio 2), Gwillym Lloyd, Keith Loxam, Martha Mangan (presenter of No FilterRichard Marginson (1970s), Sandi Marshall (mid-70s), Andy Marsters, Maggie Mash (mid-70s presenter of Morningtide and Both Sides Now, long time YTV announcer also on Radio Aire), Paul Massey, Ian Meikle (mid-80s, now in Australia), Russell Merryman (later at BBC News and Al Jazeera), Fiona Mills (from 2018 initially with Unheard and Uncensored evening show), John Mills, Honor Morris (mid-80s on It's Saturday, later on 5 live now business consultant), Mike Morris (late 90s sports presenter, ex. Viking FM, later a producer on Look North), Stuart Mountain (a BBC Senior Broadcast Journalist), Dave Nash (late 70s to late 90s including Sounds of Brass), Fr Mike O'Connor (1970s presenter of Jigsaw), Rob Palmer (sports presenter), Jonathan Parker (co-presenter of Westenders), Steve Parkes, Helen Philpott (also on Look North), James Piekos (from 2011 previously on Imagine FM, Hallam and Viking), Mike Plumb, Howard Pressman, Steve Quinn, Alan Raw (Sony Award winning presenter of BBC Introducing), Barrie Redfern (also on Radio Aire and BBC/ITV continuity announcer), Andy Ridler, Barry Robinson, Andy Roche (1995-98 also at Radio Oxford and now Radio Lincolnshire), Matthew Rudd (also on Viking and KCFM, now presents Forgotten 80s on Absolute 80s), Neil Rudd (also on Viking and Magic 1161), Dave Sanders (1970s to early 80s, also on Radios Nottingham, Cleveland, Nottingham and Lancashire before jobs with COI, CIPR and Lufthansa), Helen Schofield, Anne Skellern, Kate Slade (now News Editor), Mike Smartt (later on Look North and a BBC correspondent). 


Kofi Smiles
(current breakfast presenter, see Face behind the voice above), Les Smith (also on Viking & Yorkshire Radio Network), Eric Smith (Morningtide presenter mid-80s, also on Radio Sheffield, Radio Aire and 26 years as breakfast host on Radio Shropshire), Mike Soar, Rob Staton (sports presenter), Doug Stewart, Neil Symons, Paul Teague (1990s, now an author), Ernie Teal (presenter of The Great Outdoors), Katie Teakle, Sheila Tonge, Rev Geoff Towell (presenter of 70s religious programme Jigsaw), Petroc Trelawney (now on Radio 3), Alex Trelinski (also on Radios Leicester, Nottingham and Derby, now an author living in Spain), Richard Usher (1997-2001 also on Radio Sheffield, later Radio Berkshire, now actor and voiceovers), Kelly Vhora (The 9.5 Show in mid-70s, as Kelly Temple on Hallam and Capital), Jonathan Wall (later Controller 5 live), Joanne Watson (late 70s before joining Radio Sport in London), Mollie Weeks, Roger Westby, Amanda White (also presenter of the Sex, Drugs & Lullabies podcast) , Mike White, Steve White, Adam Wild,  Ian Wise (rugby commentator), Stan Wyatt (1970s) and Chris Yates.    

BBC Radio Humberside will be marking its 50th birthday throughout the day and the highlights include the return of Carl and Gloria (9 am  repeated at 6 pm) and a quiz with Andy Comfort (7 pm)

In addition to this blog post I'll be uploading some old Radio Times listings for Radio Humberside later today covering every year from 1976 to 2008.  

With thanks to Ken Clark, Gary Clarke and the staff of BBC Radio Humberside.

See also Happy 40th Birthday Radio Humberside

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