Friday, 15 July 2011

Down You Local – The Original 19 ILR Stations

Welcome to this first post in a series on the initial tranche of the UK’s Independent Local Radio (ILR) stations. Each week from now until November I’ll be featuring programme listings and station information for all nineteen stations.

The inspiration for these posts came from the rediscovery of a Radio Guide booklet published in December 1977 issued with Tune-In magazine, from the publishers of the TV Times. The Radio Guide has a couple of pages for each station showing their programmes in a typical week. I’ll be featuring those programme listings together with relevant pages from the IBA Television and Radio book published a month later in January 1978.

The nineteen stations went on-air over the period October 1973 to April 1976 under licences awarded by the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). Each ILR area had a Local Advisory Committee – a cross-section of the public who fed back information and opinion to the IBA.

Unlike today’s commercial station the programming was very varied and not the wall-to-wall high rotation chart music we ‘enjoy’ today. This diversity was similar to that offered by BBC Local Radio and was a necessary requirement to meet the lofty ideals of the IBA Act. So you’d get classical music (all stations offered at least one programme a week and Capital financed the Wren Orchestra), jazz, folk and country. Phone-ins, arts programmes, current affairs, religion, children’s programmes (Plymouth Sound had a Head of Women’s and Children’s Programming), drama (Radio Forth produced Mary, Queen of Scots for example), gardening, all found their way into the schedule. 

The core of the output remained music but needletime was restricted to nine hours per day, hence the other programmes and live music and concerts. News for all the stations was provided by LBC either by taking the actual bulletins from London or a news feed to help the station produce their own bulletin.

So over the next nineteen weeks remember the ILR programmes and presenters of 1977 in the order that they came on air, from LBC to Beacon.

As usual your memories, audio clips and photographs are more than welcome.


qxr963 said...

Looking forward to this series immensely. I do remember seeing some wonderful job titles in the old IBA yearbooks. One station I think had a 'Head of Talks' - a delightfully 'Home Service' designation!

Andy Walmsley said...

Thanks. You're right, Bryan Wolfe at Capital was Head of Talks.

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