Monday 28 February 2011

Radio Humberside - Chapel Street Studios

For those that know their local radio desks here's a guide to Radio Humberside's Studio 1 and Operations Room from early 1980 when they were still on the Mark II versions.

Friday 25 February 2011

Happy 40th Birthday Radio Humberside

Cover of 10th Anniversary magazine

So Happy Birthday Radio Humberside, 40 years old today.

I have to admit that as a teenager I thought that Humberside was the station that your parents listened to. Dad would tune in to Morningtide (probably presented by Fiona Cowan) before heading off to work. At lunchtime it would be the local news and then the station would carry Radio 4’s The World at One. On a Sunday we’d hear Top Town Quiz, presented by the improbably named Eliott Oppel (I always liked that name. Apparently he was a former maths teacher turned broadcaster and sports reporter and died back in 2005). Years later I know that Mum liked to catch Soapbox.

In those days Radio Humberside was based right in the heart of Hull on the corner of Chapel Street and Jameson Street above the Post Office. As a young lad interested in radio I eventually got to see round the building with its warren of offices and studios. By a stroke of luck one of the teachers at school, Brenda Eveleigh, was an occasional presenter on the station (and can be heard presenting Contact in the audio below) and she introduced me to Tim Jibson. I helped out on the odd show logging his music tracks I recall, a manual process in those days. Eventually I got to go on air as part of the listeners’ panel on the Paull Hunsley Electric Wireless Show – a show named not after a presenter but the transmitter sites at Paull and High Hunsley.

Peter Adamson
The connections with the station continued at college where one of our lecturers was Peter Adamson, at that time presenter of Sunday Best and jazz programmes. I remember on one occasion Peter recorded a gardening spot with Dick Robinson, or it could’ve been Fred Fletcher, my memory isn’t clear on this one, in the small college studio. Here I also learnt the art of editing and splicing tape and using the large Uher tape recorders. One of my media assignments was on local radio and I interviewed the then station manager David Challis. (I still have a copy of that assignment called Broadcasting and the Local Community: A Study of Local Radio).

In the early 80s my wife Val was involved in drama productions with Vermuyden School and the Goole Youth Theatre; I’d help out with the sound. To promote the shows Val and the students would be interviewed and perform songs on the likes of Steve Massam’s show.

I’m saving the audio of the Walmsley family appearances on Humberside for future posts, maybe! In the meantime here are a selection of Radio Humberside jingles from the late 70s that I pulled together for Kate Slade, producer of the Happy Birthday Radio Humberside programme:

This audio sequence presents a selection of shows dating from the late 70s and early 80s. Incidentally the 10th anniversary song at the end of this montage is sung by Chris Rowe, another lecturer who taught me at college.

Edit (4 March 2011) Peter Adamson was back on air to celebrate Radio Humberside's 40th birthday. The programme included some of the audio clips and jingles I'd provided. The jingles were also played during the day and were used in the Look North report in the evening. Plus I managed to get two mentions during the day on the radio. A good day overall.

Sunday 20 February 2011

This is London - World Service Memories

When did I first ‘discover’ the BBC World Service? Perhaps it was sneaky listen in the wee small hours when you could hear it on 1500m long wave or 276m medium wave. Quite why I was listening to the radio at 4 or 5 a.m. when I’d have school in the morning I don’t know!

At the time the long wave transmissions lasted just an hour or two whilst Radio 2 was off the air. The medium wave service was carried for most of the day and was really aimed at Western Europe and not a UK audience. Reception varied according to the time of day and the seasons.

What do I remember? Well Lillibullero before the news of course. Radio Newsreel with a theme that must have been used since the war (which indeed I later found out it was). Radio 1 DJs popped up too – John Peel, DLT on A Jolly Good Show (what a jolly British title) and Paul Burnett with the Top Twenty. Saturday Special with Paddy Feeney. Highlights of Radio 4’s Week Ending but retitled Two Cheers for… whatever year or month the clips were from. The film series Take One. Drama productions, often a repeat of something from Radio 4 but original stuff too, seemingly always directed by Gordon House.

Regrettably I committed virtually none of the above to tape, so no audio goldmine here. Nonetheless in this post I’m presenting some snippets that I did record between 1979 and 1982 presented in four montages.

The World Service is back in the news at the moment. The BBC has announced that more language services will close and that up to 650 jobs will go. And the old medium wave transmissions cease from the end of this March too. On 648 kHz (463m) since November 1978 the closure is perhaps understandable when the World Service is available on the internet and digital channels, though vast areas of the globe still rely on short wave signals or local FM. But clicking on the Listen Live button on a web page just isn’t the same as tuning your radio dial to catch a crackly fading signal, is it?

In this sequence you'll hear World Service newreaders Peter Lewis, George Eason, Mel Oxley, Roger Collinge, Lawrence Reeve Jones, John Gordon, Peter Reynolds, Pamela Creighton, Peter King, Frederick Payne, Brian Empringham, Meryl O'Keeffe, Barry Moss, John Wing, Keith Bosley, Peter Shoesmith, Michael Ashbee and Brian Spink.

This first montage from 1980 includes part of the World News read by Pamela Creighton, News About Britain with Peter Lewis, Take One, Radio Newsreel, 24 Hours with Alexander MacLeod, Outlook with John Tidmarsh and New Ideas presented by Sarah Mills and Casey Lord

This second montage from 1980 features the World News, 24 Hours with John Tuhey, Radio Newsreel, Outlook with John Tidmarsh, Letterbox with Margaret Howard, Sports Round-Up with Simon Reed and The World Today

From 1982 Waveguide with Brian Ashen, English by Radio, Discovery with Tony Durham, A Jolly Good Show with Dave Lee Travis, The World News read by Michael Ashbee and Reflections with Olga Franklin 

World Service Newsreaders circa 1980 


Saturday 19 February 2011

Radio Newsreel and other themes

Whilst flicking through some back issues of London Calling I came across this article on the history of Radio Newsreel and the public outcry there was about the change of the signature tune. This incident is referred to in the edition of
Signing On I posted in November.

The article reads:

Its first broadcasts were to North America in 1940 intended to convey news of the war, in the Overseas Service of the BBC. By October 1941 it was being relayed to the Pacific and to Africa also in the Overseas Service, and in 1947 the programme was broadcast on the domestic network in the Light Programme.

The aim of Radio Newsreel was then, and still is, “to report faithfully on current events in Britain and abroad, and to present the picture attractively in a straightforward and unpretentious manner.”

The programme’s style marked a departure from the often necessarily solemn presentation of news during the war years. Its frank and enthusiastic approach to conveying the news endeared Radio Newsreel to listeners throughout the world, and today accounts for its lasting popularity.

In 1970 the programme ceased to go out in the Light Programme, but continued in the World Service, where it has since remained. In recent years proof of listeners’ affection for Radio Newsreel was shown when a decision to change its signature tune, Imperial Echoes, provoked an avalanche of letters in protest.

The very old recording of the music, composed by Arnold Safroni-Middleton, had finally worn out, and so was replaced by a modern, newly orchestrated version which was widely disliked. The protests were confirmed in a BBC questionnaire which showed that nearly two to one listeners preferred the original version.

But happily, a chance discovery brought relief to all concerned when BBC studio manager Keith Perrin, while browsing in a junk shop in Tiverton, Devon in England, found a mint copy of the recording of Imperial Echoes, which was promptly restored as the ‘rightful’ signature tune. 

In the Signing On programme David Rider tells us that the original version was performed by the RAF Band and that the re-recording by the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble.

This brings me onto a couple of other World Service signature tunes that I came across whilst putting together the This is London post. 

John Tidmarsh, presenter of Outlook
The theme for Outlook was immediately recognisable to me as The Hell Raisers, a fantastic tune by Syd Dale. This track appeared on the Girl in a Suitcase CD (an album I’m shocked to see Amazon is now selling at £50, and the 2009 upgraded version at just short of £100) in which the sleeve notes tell us it was used as the theme to the Rediffusion tv series Orlando. Orlando starred Sam Kydd by the way. How many other people play ‘Sam Kydd spotting’ when an old black & white British film is on the telly?

The theme for New Ideas is also a Syd Dale composition called Quite Contrary. I traced this through the KPM Music Library website. You can while away many an hour auditioning the tracks spotting many a recognisable theme tunes or piece of incidental music.

These themes, plus a number of others, are included in this montage. 

Post edited 13 March 2022

Friday 18 February 2011

Programme News - Vintage Charts and Vintage DJs

Here’s a couple of series coming up that should be of interest:

The Vintage Top 40 Show
This is initially going out on BBC Radio Devon and BBC Radio Jersey from this Sunday. Produced by Shaun Tilley the programme will feature two vintage chart rundowns. The presenters will include former Radio 1 jocks Mike Read, David Hamilton, Ed Stewart, Paul Burnett, Adrian John, Adrian Juste and Pat Sharp as well as Shaun Tilley himself. The first couple of shows are hosted by Shaun with Ed on 6th March and David on the 13th. Similar shows to this have gone out before. I recall that KCFM in Hull broadcast them 3 or 4 years ago.

Shaun also produces the syndicated UK Top 20 Rewind, though the only station I’ve found broadcasting this at present is Oasis FM in Tenerife.

David Jacobs - On the Record
This is a two part series on Radio 2 broadcast at 10 pm on Wednesday 2nd and 9th March. The programme copy reads:

James Moir, BBC Head of Light Entertainment from 1987-1993 and former controller of BBC Radio 2, presents a tribute to David Jacobs CBE, who this year celebrates 67 years at the microphone.

David started his broadcasting career in the Royal Navy in 1944. Shipped to Ceylon, he broadcast on Radio SEAC and in 1947 joined the BBC. His radio credits include Housewives' Choice, BBC Jazz Club, Pick Of The Pops, Saturday Show Band Show, Melodies For You, Any Questions? and, currently, The David Jacobs Collection.
As an actor, David played the part of Laurie in the first TV serialisation of Little Women. He has made numerous film appearances, and for several years was a commentator on British Movietone News.

For 17 years he was the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and is currently its High Steward.

David Jacobs in Journey into Space

This programme features new interviews and tributes from Michael Bowen, Field Marshall Lord Bramall, Ken Bruce, Desmond Carrington, Charles Chilton, Michael Crawford, Dame Judi Dench, Chris Evans, Sir Peter Hall, Ken Livingstone, Dame Vera Lynn, Brian Matthew, Pete Murray, Lord Rix, Carole Stone, Ann Widdecombe and Michael Winner.

I'll post some David Jacobs audio next month to coincide with this series.

Tuesday 15 February 2011

Radio listening in East Yorkshire

I grew up in East Yorkshire or, as it was known for a while for political reasons that now escape me, North Humberside. Listening to the radio in the 1970s a limited range of stations was available. (This is not to infer that there was a limited range of programmes on offer of course) Just the four BBC national stations, BBC Radio Humberside, Radio Luxembourg in the evenings and all those foreign stations on the dial. I distinctly remember hearing pop music from a Dutch station (in Hilversum?) on a Sunday afternoon before the Top 20. Commercial radio, in the shape of Viking Radio, didn’t arrive until 1984.

Of course if you fiddled around with the dial a bit you’d hear the BBC World Service and, coming through the ether, the English services of Radio’s Moscow, Sweden, Prague and Tirana. You felt a frisson of excitement as you dared to listen to the likes of Moscow and Tirana in those Cold War days.

Eventually I realised that if I had the radio upstairs and got the aerial pointing in just the right direction I could pick up some ILR stations. Radio Tees was a particular favourite and often had the best reception-this was in the era of Dave Gregory, Alistair Pirrie and Brain Anderson. Occasionally I’d get Pennine Radio and, if the weather conditions were right Radio Hallam. Other BBC local radio services also caught my ear especially Radio Sheffield, I enjoyed listening to the late Tony Capstick’s somewhat shambolic style.

On the odd rare day if the atmospherics were just right you could catch a station from even further afield. One such day was Sunday 28 May 1978 when the weather was exceptionally hot. Extraordinarily I picked up, according to notes I made at the time, Capital Radio, LBC, Radio London, Radio Oxford, Radio Birmingham and Radio Solent.
Found on the end of a cassette are these recordings made that day (a few snippets edited together on the radio cassette I had at the time) of London, Oxford, Capital and LBC plus Tees and Pennine:

Here are a few jingles recorded in the late 70s from Radio Tees and Pennine Radio:

And from Radio Luxembourg on a fading 208 signal these excerpts date from 1982:

Recorded on 2 April 1982 on Radio Sheffield clips of Tony Capstick and Afternoon Delight:

These programme extracts are from Radio Moscow in 1980 and 1982:

Finally some audio from other ‘foreign’ stations – Radio Sweden, Radio Prague, Radio Tirana and the Voice of America. These date from 1979 through to 1982:

Coming up shortly posts with audio from the BBC World Service and my old local station BBC Radio Humberside.

Sunday 13 February 2011

Wavelength Changes 1978 - Part 2

Here’s one of my favourite bits of audio from the lead-up to the frequency changes in November 1978 as Radio 3 announcer Cormac Rigby plays in Queen’s ‘Fat Bottomed Girls’.

Radio 3 moved from 464m to 247m, Radio 1s slot on the dial. To help its listeners before the switchover Radio 3 continuity announcers would encourage them to find 247 metres by playing a quick blast of what was going on over on Radio 1.

So here on 18 November 1978 is Cormac asking his engineer to fade in the Peter Powell show who just happens to playing the aforementioned Queen track. You can here the laugh in his voice just before it happens. What will the staid Radio 3 audience think if it?

The second part of this recording features Jon Curle on 20 November, but he just plays in part of Alan Dell’s ‘Dance Band Days’ – 247m was carrying the Radio 2 service in the evening.


Monday 7 February 2011

Webarama - Part 1

I thought I'd share with you some of the sites and blogs that'll be of interest to anyone who wants to discover more about the history of radio broadcasting. So here are a few taken from my favourites list:

Radio Rewind a great place to start to get a detailed history of the DJs and shows on Radio's 1 & 2. Plenty of audio clips too.
This is ILR an unofficial history of many of the original ILR stations.
Azanorak a vast archive of pirate radio shows plus stuff from BBC and ILR stations. You'll need to join the Radio Caroline Yahoo Group to access the audio.
Aircheck Downloads hundreds of scoped airchecks from the 80s onwards from UK and US stations.
Digital Spy Radio Forum want to know what's going on in radio and what people think about it then dip into this very busy forum. With the occasional contribution from me too.
Radio 2 Forum another active forum this time mainly for BBC Radio 2. Contact John Wright to sign up. Again you may spot the odd post from me.
Radio Today the latest industry news.
Vintage Broadcasting a mix of audio from the pirates, ILR and BBC (sadly no longer online).
Swedish Radio Archive despite the name you'll find audio from Luxy 208, BBC and plenty of Kenny Everett on Capital.
Radio Luxembourg Archive links to a whole load of shows from the 1960s onwards.
Whirligig Radio Days specialising in the 1950s you can read all about the shows on the Home Service and Light Programme.
Masters of Melody if you recall the old orchestral shows on the Light Programme then you'll find some audio of Music While You Work and other shows on this site created by Brian Reynolds.
Reel Radio Top 40 Aircheck Museum mainly from the USA. Annual contribution required.
Pirate Radio Hall of Fame want to read more about the pirate ships this is the site for you.
Cassette Archive private collector who's uploaded some old radio shows. Loads of 'Mark and Lard' shows here.
Internet Archive-Old Time Radio mostly US comedy and drama but some old BBC comedy shows can be found.
Frequency Finder this site has lots of broadcasting history articles. This link will take you to some classic Radio 1 schedules from 1967 to 2004.
Missing Episodes mainly geared to TV but there is a Radio forum to discuss any new finds.
Transdiffusion articles about TV and Radio mostly from an historic perspective.
Retrospace although not exclusively radio-related fellow blogger Andy Howells has covered radio comedy and some old 1960s radio schedules.

Jingle Sites

When I first started recording music off the radio I soon developed an interest in the jingles too. There are literally hundreds of collectors around the world who know far more about the subject that I do. Here's a list of just some of the jingle sites to visit, all have audio to download:

Jinglemad the best site for discussion about classic jingles and the current scene.
JAM Creative Productions the biggest and best producers who produced all the jingles for Radios 1 & 2 from the mid-70s to mid-90s.
PAMS of Dallas THE jingle company from the 50s to the 70s who produced many of the best known jingles still being re-sung today.
Music4 best known for producing jingles and beds for Chris Moyles.
s2blue new packages and re-sings from this Staffordshire based company.
Wise Buddah jingle and programme producers who most recently created the imaging for Smooth Radio.
GrooveWorx US production company who, as Groove Addicts, created the Radio 2 package back in 1997 and still in use today.
The Jingle Network current news plus archive material from the old Jingle Ark site. Produces a regular jingle-related podcast.
Jingles News with, guess what, news about jingles.
Norman Barrington's Radio Pages extensive audio from one of the original collectors of jingles.
Pete Wilson Jingles Site another long time collector.
Media Preservation Society site run by Tracy Carmen, the biggest collector and jingle archivist stateside.
Freeway Music European company who produce some great jingles for French radio, including my favourite Nostalgie. Site is in French.
Top Format Dutch company that produce their own material for stations across Europe.
Bespoke Music online audio from this UK company.
TM Studios Dallas-based company with mainly US audio online.
Jingle Jaunts blog written by Robin Blamires with stacks of jingles from the UK commercial and BBC local stations.

Next time I'll highlight some station specific tribute sites I've come across.

Sunday 6 February 2011

Ray Moore - a little bit more

I'm taking the opportunity to post a little bit more about Ray Moore as further research has unearthed these two articles that I want to share with you.

Firstly back in June 1986 the Guardian’s TV critic Nancy Banks-Smith felt moved to write about radio rather than TV and penned this homage to Ray when The Early Show changed its start time.  

I don’t think I shall bother to wake up at all this morning. For years I have been roused by the sound of Ray Moore coughing on Radio 2, like an early bird choking on a worm. It is a great comfort to his faithful if bedraggled following that he always sounds worse than we do.

All the ill-attended meetings of the Ray Moore Appreciation Society we all agree that he is the least well-known of all the well-known people in the history of the world. This is, of course, because he isn’t on TV. Some claim to have sighted him late at night dressed as a penguin, behind a potted palm and speaking highly of the paso doble but it seems unlikely. A leaked BBC memo states with a wince, “We have grave reservations about Ray Moore appearing on TV mainly arising from his face. As none of us has seen him we don’t know what this means and we’re not sure we want to know. 

He inhabits by early light a Lowry-like landscape. Here in a knit and spit (apparently a seaside shelter) sit a cottage loaf woman and a man in cut-down wellies, their little legs dangling. In the Terminal Café, regulars are eating breakfast with nonchalant haste. In Oxford Circus is a whey-faced busker sitting on a stool, who can only play two tunes. One is Cavatina. The other isn’t. 

Moore comes from a long line of wooden-legged greengrocers and short-sighted undertakers. His father used to take him to school in the hearse. Listeners sometimes (though not often) request a moving poem about Moore senior’s myopia, which he delivers in a monochrome chant.
My father had a rabbit
And he thought it was a duck
He put it on the table
With its legs cocked up

He claims to be related to Fletcher Christian, which gives you a faint frisson of sympathy for Charles Laughton. He is married to Management, referred to by Wogan as “a big Alma”. Consequently one imagines Moore as being exceptionally small.

Internal evidence like cries of “It’s Burt Bacharach, me old scouse mucker” lead one to suspect he may be Liverpudlian. He will sing you “Mersey Dock and Harbour Board” to the tune of Mersey doats and dozy doats if you’re not careful.

Like all Liverpudlians, he lives on the other side of a distorting mirror where nude ballooning is all the rage or if you don’t have the figure for it, single-handed round the world golf. Familiar buildings and singers emerge slightly askew as in the Royal Halibut Hall and Julio Double Glazing Arse. He seems to live in the plaintive hope of meeting Frank Sinatra, who never answers his letters.

Wogan called him a journeyman broadcaster, a jobbing jock. People used to set their alarms to catch the moment when those two programmes touched for a few fizzing minutes and Moore and Wogan went into their two-jocks-on-one-horse act. Wogan’s hole, so to speak, has never been filled. The head of Certain Things and Bits of Bent Wire at the BBC, as Moore puts it, has dropped Derek Jameson into Wogan’s hole today.

The splash of the displacement washes Ken Bruce forward, his psychedelic Scottish sweaters (“You could riddle bulldogs through them on a clear day”) disappearing dazzling into the distance. And it has washed Moore into the dark backward and abyss of time or 5.30 am if you insist, where he can be heard coughing in the dark like a Thurber seal.

There will be an extraordinary meeting of the Ray Moore Appreciation Society to discuss this at the Terminal Café. Big Alma in the chair, mixed gorilla on the menu, bring a fistful of wet change. And ‘phone Frank Sinatra.

And from The Independent dated 13 January 1989 here’s Richard North’s obituary for Ray. (Click image to view in full)
I was also reminded about the notes made by John Peel when he was drafting ideas for his autobiography, and reproduced as an appendix to Margrave of the Marshes. John wrote: " Trips to Eurovision Song Contests in Brussels-return to Heysel and hilarious meeting with King and Queen of Belgium in small party including the late Ray Moore leading to reflections on the really great broadcasters Moore, Lyttelton, Clayton, Arlott..."  

Anyway time for a bit more audio. First another Monday Movie Quiz, this one from 7 March 1983 that follows the edition I've already posted. So if you were waiting for some answers to the last lot of film questions here you are:

A couple of years ago in January 2009 Colin Berry paid tribute to Ray on this BBC Three Counties show. He included some links from Ray's last Early Show on 28 January 1988. Apologies for the quality of this recording, it was made at a low bitrate from the iPlayer:

Thursday 3 February 2011

Family Favourites

Following on from the Sunday Afternoon at Home  post I've found this cutting from the Daily Express from 1 November 1979. It reports how Family Favourites is to lose its identity and become part of Pete Murray's show.

Click to view
In the earlier post I also said that Family Favourites moved to its Sunday lunchtime slot in 1960, this seems to not be the case. Having tracked down a page from the Radio Times in 1954 the programme is on at 12 noon in between The People's Service and The Billy Cotton Band Show.
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