Saturday 26 November 2011

Down Your Local - Beacon Radio

This is the final post in a series looking at the original nineteen ILR stations. This week Beacon Radio.

Airdate: 12 April 1976
Still on air?: Yes, after changes of ownership and branding

Beacon was based at studios in a converted Victorian house in Wolverhampton and was the last of the original nineteen to go live. Essentially covering the Black Country the transmission area did in fact overlap with BRMB’s. Initially its music policy had a heavy slant towards country rock (the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt being favourites on the playlist) and soul music and sounded very slick in comparison to some of the other earlier ILR stations, complete with its EMISON Sunshine Sound jingle package and the use of sound compression. This may have been because the first Station Manager was American Jay Oliver working alongside Scots/Canadian Allan MacKenzie and Canadian consultant Gerry Laing.
Despite initially returning a reasonable profit – it was also hot on merchandising to boost income - the station came in for criticism from the IBA for lacking a community identity and was in danger of losing its licence. By 1979 Beacon was given a shake-up by incoming MD Peter Tomlinson (ex. ATV) and Programme Controller Bob Pierson (ex. BFBS). Tomlinson stated that “we have radically changed the style of music to middle-of-the-road music with a heavy emphasis on golden oldies ranging back to 1955. Before we took over no pre-1966 music was played on the station. We didn’t even have the discs in the library.”

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

One of the first DJ recruits was Mike Baker, who launched the station. Mike was yet another United Biscuits Network (UBN) bod and was a sound engineer at Capital. He’d also been a pirate at Radio’s Kaleidoscope, Veronica and Caroline – being one of the few to be prosecuted under the Marine Offences Act – and subsequently worked at Chiltern Radio, Lantern FM, Supergold, Heart, Saga, Smooth and Radio Maldwyn. Nowadays you can catch Mike on the morethan40 internet radio service, alongside other ex-ILR stalwarts Mike Hollis and Dave Jamieson.

Another experienced voice at Beacon was George Ferguson who’d started broadcasting on Manx Radio in the 60s. After a spell in the States he came back to the UK and joined BRMB, taking over from Kevin Morrison to present the Breakfast Show. He moved across from BRMB to Beacon, was on Radio 2’s Weekend Early Show in the mid-80s before returning to the Isle of Man to become a manager and presenter at Manx Radio. George left Manx in 2003 to set up 3FM where you can still hear him every weekday morning.

The other Beacon ex-pirate was late-night host Dave Owen who for many years was associated with London station Radio Jackie. Read more about Dave here.

Beacon’s genuine American DJ was Tony Silva (pictured above) with a CV that covered stations WPRO-FM, WSAR and WPJB in New England and a number of other US TV and radio outlets, including CNN. Already an MA when at Beacon he’s now Professor of Communications at the University of Rhode Island.

It’s not uncommon for the on-air talent to also be part of the management team and Phil Brice, presenter of Kid’s Stuff, was the Commercial Production Manager. The “Poison Dwarf” in the billing is copywriter Paul McMahon. Phil went into radio and TV advertising full-time setting up Soundhouse in 1979 and Koala Limited in 1997.

Mick Wright was yet another ex-UBN DJ. He became Head of Music at Beacon and continued to broadcast in the Midlands for the rest of his career at Xtra AM, WABC, Telford FM and Saga. 

Working at the weekends was KKJ. Later he would broadcast on BRMB as Kris Kennedy Junior but apparently “KKJ” was also derived from his club DJ days when wearing a King Kong mask he acquired the pseudonym “King Kong Junior”.

The media group behind the Beacon licence was the Midland News Association. Journalist on the MNA-owned paper The Wolverhampton Express and Star, and later deputy chairman of the group, was Mark Kersen, host of the Press Ear current affairs programme. Mark also founded the other Wolverhampton based radio station 107.7 The Wolf.

This is the station information published in January 1978:

Do you have any audio clips of Beacon Radio from the early days? If so please contact me.

Web Links

Thanks to Andrew Hewkin

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Those Radio Times! (BBC TV and Radio Selections for 22 November 1961)

Ever wondered what was on the telly and the wireless the day you were born? Well, OK some of us are sad enough to want to know and back copies of the Radio Times from eBay or Kelly Books come in useful.

It was my 50th birthday yesterday and over at Online Scribblings my fellow blogger Andy Howells has very kindly added 22 November 1961 to his Those Radio Times! series of posts. Pop on over and have a look.

Friday 18 November 2011

Down Your Local - Downtown Radio

This is the eighteenth post in a series looking at the original nineteen ILR stations. This week the Northern Ireland station Downtown Radio.
Airdate: 16 March 1976
Still on air?: Yes

Based in Newtownards in County Down the station was unique in that its broadcast area matched that of an ITV company and a BBC region as it covered the whole of Northern Ireland.

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

Downtown Daybreak was presented by Michael Henderson (aka Hendi). Like a certain Mr Wogan Hendi had worked in a bank before a career in broadcasting beckoned. After running a mobile disco he presented on the BBC Home Service and Ulster TV before joining Downtown. After nearly a decade at the station it was back to TV at both Ulster and the BBC. His most recent radio gig was at U105 in Belfast.

In all these ILR profiles that I’ve written there are just two DJs that were on air in 1977 and are still broadcasting at the same station-both are at Downtown. First is Trevor Campbell, Big T to his listeners. Giving up a career in the civil service he worked as a club and disco DJ as well as short stints on Manx Radio and Radio Nordsee International. Joining Downtown in 1976 Big T eventually became their “king of country” and had hundreds of registered County Cousins.  Prior to launch country and western music had been identified as a particular favourite of the Northern Irish audience.

The Dinner Spinner was John Paul, full name John Paul Ballantine. He also gave up a steady job as a naval radio operator to become a club DJ in London and the South East before returning to Ulster and joining Downtown. John was later at Cool FM and is now Programme Controller at Citybeat in Belfast.

The other long-standing name at Downtown is Candy Devine. An Australian by birth she started off as an actor and cabaret singer touring the world before settling in Northern Ireland. Candy can still be heard on the station every weekend.
With Sounds Easy was Eddie West. Later at Radio Nova, Eddie is now Programme Director at Downtown & Cool FM.  

A regular broadcaster is those early days was Jackie Flavelle, presenter of the Saturday night jazz show. Well qualified to host the programme Jackie was with the Chris Barber Jazz Band for many years and also performed at London’s Marquee Club and at the Reading Festival alongside Hendrix, Free and the Stones. Later he would become the station’s Programme Coordinator and then Press Officer. His daughter Lisa also followed him into the business working at Cool FM, Citybeat, Downtown and U105.

Another father/daughter connection at the station was Derek and Karen Marsden. Derek presented a couple of shows on Sunday. Following his death in 1998 Lisa worked at Downtown, with a Sunday morning religious programme Reflections, until 2003.

One of the hosts of Downbeat and the Top 40 Countdown was Lawrence John. Many DJs have worked on pirate stations and then gone legit but Lawrence did the reverse. He was at a number of stations both in the province and over the border in the republic  – Downtown, Nova, BCR Belfast, Kiss 106.6, Kiss 103.7 (as John Friday), Riviera 104 Monte Carlo, Radio Nova Dublin and Q102 Dublin (where he was station manager) and at pirate station Energy 106 which he ran between 1997 and 2004 and during which time he infamously claimed to have been abducted by aliens. 

Its a little unusual perhaps for the station's Record Library Manager to be on-air but that's precisely what Cherrie McIlwaine (pictured above) did on Friday's Night Moves. Cherrie has continued to broadcast and can be found each weekday evening on BBC Radio Ulster's The Late Show. She's also a keen gardener and presents Ulster's Gardeners' Corner and used to co-host Greenmount Garden on BBC1 Northern Ireland.

Two names worth mentioning that don’t appear in the 1977 schedule but worked here a couple of years later are Paul McKenna, later at Radio 1 and these days helping people to quit smoking etc. and Gary Bones, the producer of Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 show.

This is the station information published in January 1978:

Web Links

Wednesday 16 November 2011

A Random Jotting

Random Radio Jottings is one year old today.

The blog has its genesis in the Digital Spy Radio Forum. A poster asked whether anyone recalled a Radio 2 weekday music show from the mid-80s called Music All the Way. I not only remembered the programme but had a copy of it too so I posted it online for people to listen to. This gave me the idea – why not post more old programmes that I’d recorded over the years and share my archive. But rather than just upload them I’d write about the programmes, providing context, history, production details and so on. So I started Random Radio Jottings.

Over the intervening year I’ve been encouraged by the positive comments, feedback and audio clips that I’ve received  from like-minded enthusiasts and bloggers as well as from those in the radio profession. A big thank you to everyone.  

So here is that recording of Music All Way as broadcast on 11 February 1986. The announcer is Tim Gudgin.


Random Radio Jottings in numbers:
Blog Posts 113
Blog Page Views 20,000
Audio Downloads or Plays 11,000
YouTube Views 8,000
Audioboo Plays 600

Monday 14 November 2011

All In the Name of Research

How much easier is it to research a radio blog such as this with the internet? For starters you realise how many other like-minded people recorded and saved radio output, kept magazines, cuttings, leaflets, car stickers etc etc.

Although I either sold or threw away a lot of “stuff” (not nearly enough according to my long-suffering wife) before leaving the UK and moving to France I still have recourse to 30+ years of tapes, books, Radio Times, notebooks, publicity and magazines.

Just to show you that I was undertaking radio research as far back as 1982 here’s a copy of the Information Please section of the Radio Times from 20 November of that year with my letter asking for more gen on Radio 4’s Just a Minute.

No letter to the Radio Times required today. In a few clicks here’s all the information I need about that first series and without too much difficulty you can track down a recording (albeit a home recording) of that first programme from 1967. Too easy!
Just a Minute_First edition_extract

Friday 11 November 2011

Down Your Local - Radio 210

This is the seventeenth post in a series looking at the original nineteen ILR stations. This week Radio 210 from Thames Valley Broadcasting.

Airdate: 8 March 1976
Still on air?: No, now part of the Heart network

The contract for the radio licence for the area was awarded by the IBA to Radio Kennett with the recommendation that the two other bidding groups, Radio Thameside and Radio Thames Valley, be allowed to participate. By launch date the company traded as Thames Valley Broadcasting Ltd with the station known as Radio 210, making it the only one of the first ILR stations to be solely known by their medium wavelength. However, broadcasting on 210 metres meant the station battled each evening with Radio Luxembourg on 208 metres. The studios were set in tree-lined gardens in Tilehurst just outside Reading, Berkshire. 

Managing Director Neil ffrench Blake promised that they would be an easy listening station, the first since the old pirate Radio 390. Speaking in 1979 he also went on to say that “we don’t employ disc jockeys, we employ broadcasters. Disc jockeys are people who play records in discotheques – and if they’re good they say nothing. (Broadcasters are) people who have something to say between records. And that’s why we have a reputation for professionalism”.   

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

The Breakfast Show was in the safe hands of Paul Hollingdale. Paul was certainly used to the early rise as he’d presented Breakfast Special on the Light Programme and Radio 2 from 1965 to 1970; his was the first voice on both Radio 1&2 when they started in 1967. His broadcasting career began with the British Forces Network in Germany. He then helped to set up CNBC (part of Radio Veronica) and next joined Radio Luxembourg. After leaving Radio 2 he moved into music management and also worked at BBC Radio Brighton before launching Radio 210. Paul’s interest in the movies is evident in the 1977 listings as, in addition to the breakfast slot he presented 210 Cinema. Note that on Thursday evenings he had a four hour phone-in until 1 a.m. and was then back on air at 6 a.m.

Radio 210 Launch

In 1979 Paul helped set up Blue Danube Radio in Vienna and he remains in Vienna to this day working for ORF and Inflight Productions. but in the interim had spells at LBC, Chiltern Radio, Country 1035 and on Sky TV. Hear an interview with Paul on his website.

Mike Matthews is pictured in the Radio Guide listing though they seem to have got confused between him and Brian Matthew. Mike gained his broadcasting experience in New Zealand, where he co-hosted Family Favourites, the United States, BBC Radio Brighton and on Radio 4 for whom he made some documentary programmes.

Of all the DJs listed in this ILR series the best known still to have a daily show is Steve Wright. Back in 1977 he was working on weekend breakfast, the chart show and a couple of mid-week evening shows. His celebrated shows on 210 with Mike Read had by now ceased as Mike had moved on to Radio Luxembourg.

Steve had been a local newspaper journalist before working for LBC. His first broadcast was in 1975 on Radio Atlantis in Belgium. After three years at 210 he also joined Luxy but there, he told the Radio Times in 1983, he felt “very uncomfortable, everything was so different, so cosmopolitan” and he hankered after Corrie and digestive biscuits. By 1980 Steve was back in the UK and on Radio 1, the rest, as they say, is history.

This is an oft-repeated clip of Steve on 210:
At the weekend It’s Croze was Steve Crozier. He had worked on the sales team at 210 before getting in front of the microphone. Subsequently he broadcast on Capital Radio 604 – the one based in South Africa – LBC, Melody FM, KTN in Kenya and then moved to Santa Barbara. Steve is now a broker but still dabbles in radio in his home studio. Hear Steve Crozier on the opening day of Capital Radio on their website.

I am light on information about afternoon DJ Tony Fox, pictured above, other than he had worked at LBC and is now deceased, nor news editor, later Programme Controller, David Addis (ex. BBC Radio Oxford) or drivetime host Steve Williams. 
With its close proximity to London, Radio 210 was able to draw some national names, they probably lived in the area anyway. In 1978 Bob Harris joined as did Pete Drummond who presented the Top 40 show. A year or so after that Radio 2 presenter and newsreader Jean Challis was on air for a spell. By 1979 the team changed considerably with the introduction of John Hayes (another UBN alumni), Gavin McCoy (who had been at Beacon and would later work with Wrighty on Radio 1), Howard Pearce and Keith Butler (see Radio Victory post).  

This is the station information published in January 1978:
Web Links

With thanks to Martin Peters
Do you have any audio from 210’s early days? If so please contact me.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

David Symonds

A year ago a poster on the R2OK forum asked whether anyone had any recollections about David Symonds. The post below is based on my response to that query supplemented with additional research and audio.

David was born in Oxford in 1943. At university he read botany for a year but left and headed off for New Zealand where he got his first radio job working for the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation.

He returned to the UK in 1965 and joined the BBC as a staff announcer working across all the networks. For the first 18 months he mainly read the news on the Home Service and presented classical programmes on the Third Programme. But he ‘swapped’ with David Dunhill and joined the Light Programme taking turns on Playtime, Newly Pressed and Breakfast Special. His break came when he took over from Keith Fordyce on the Sunday morning pop show Easy Beat.

David was part of Radio 1’s launch team in September 1967. Initially he presented a weekday afternoon show between 5.30 and 7.30 p.m. from October 1967 to February 1968. The time changed to 4.30 to 6.25 p.m. between February and July 1968. From July 1968 to January 1969 he was on air from 4.15 to 5.45 p.m.

In January 1969 he lost his daily show to Tony Brandon and moved to Sunday mornings, back in his old Easy Beat slot, where he was billed as ‘Uncle David Symonds’. Symonds on Sunday ran until September 1969 when DLT took over. During this period David was also one of the DJs on Radio One Club and during February he covered for Tony Blackburn on the Breakfast Show.

From April to October 1970 he presented the Monday editions of Sounds of the Seventies, before leaving the station. He spent time in recording studios learning about production and for a while managed the bands The Purple Gang and Fairfield Parlour. Back in radio by 1973 David was a production manager for Radio Luxembourg.

Writing in The Independent in 1992 he explained the possible reason his demotion from his Radio 1 weekday show: "In 1969 I was the first (and, as far as I know the only) Radio 1 DJ to be busted. I had left my overnight bag in a Doncaster hotel while on assignment for Radio 1 Club. An over-zealous manager called in the police when he found a small amount of grass in the bag. Douglas Muggeridge, who by then had replaced Robin Scott as controller, assured me that no stigma would attach to my BBC career. Perhaps it was coincidence, then, that the latter became downwardly mobile from that moment on, and I left Radio 1 altogether in 1971".

David’s voice was the first DJ on air when Capital Radio launched in October 1973. 

Here's David in action on the Capital Countdown on 15 February 1975.

A couple of years later he was chosen as the first Programme Controller for Radio Victory in Portsmouth. He was at Victory for a year or so. This aircheck dates from 22 June 1976.

By 1978 he was back at the Beeb as a Radio 4 announcer. He did many of the promotions for Radio 4 UK in advance of the move to 1500m in the November. His was the first voice to welcome listeners to Radio 4 on long wave. His stint here lasted from October 1978 to August 1979.

In July 1979 David was again had an afternoon music show this time on Radio 2 presenting  Much More Music, a programme of easy listening. This started on 9 July 1979 and ran through until 1981. These clips date from 1979 and 1980.

Then it was off to California to live out “the lost dream of sun, sea and rock 'n' roll” presenting the morning show on station KEZY in Los Angeles.
Back in the UK by 1985 David was again on Radio 4 as an announcer and newsreader. Here he is on 3 July 1986 with news of the Peacock Committee report on broadcasting.

By all accounts David “hated” his time on Radio 4 and so jumped at the chance to return to pop music presenting on Capital Gold from 1988 until about 1993.

Dreams of broadcasting from somewhat sunnier climes were realised when David moved to Cyprus in about 1995. There he set up radio station Coast FM in Limassol as well as running Rondor Creative Services Ltd. Saying that “it was everything I’ve lived for since I was a boy” the station ran for about 10 years. But the recession hit and earlier this year David sold the company to new Russian owners. Apparently his intention was to apply for a new radio licence for a station that is more “international” than “English”;

Do you have any recordings of David on either Radio 1 or Capital Gold? If so I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday 6 November 2011

Tim Gudgin

The BBC has announced that Tim Gudgin who reads the football results each week on BBC1’s Final Score is to ‘retire’  on 19 November. Tim has been reading the results since 1995 when it was part of Grandstand. He was associated with that programme since the mid-60s, reading the racing and rugby results back in the days when the hand-written captions used to fly across the screen.

Here’s Tim reading the results and talking to presenter Steve Ryder on Grandstand’s 40th anniversary programme on 10 October 1998.
Tim also features in this BBC2 short film called 4:45 broadcast as part of the 10x10 series on 11 June 2000.

But Tim’s main day job for about 40 years was as a presenter, announcer and newsreader on BBC radio.  He long held ambitions to be on the radio but a careers master maintained that “to be a broadcaster, you require a first-class degree.” Tim was educated at Hardy’s School, Dorchester, Bishop Wordsworth’s, Salisbury and Whitgift School in Croydon.   

Tim at BFN Hamburg
Tim got his break in broadcasting after he was called up for National Service. Posted to Hohne in Germany he successfully auditioned along with 200 other hopefuls for the job of announcer with the British Forces Network. At the BFN he was trained by Robin Boyle – with whom he would later work with at the BBC - and became involved with the Drama Club, alongside another future BBC man, Don Moss. Working for the BFN in Hamburg and later Trieste Tim presented programmes such as Morning Story and Early Bird.

Returning to civvy street Tim joined the BBC in 1952, first on the European Service and then on both the Light Programme and Home Service and subsequently Radio 2.  He hosted a wide variety of programmes such as Music Box, Top of the Form, Midday Spin, Housewives' Choice, Round the Bend, Saturday Night at the Light, News Time, Swingalong, Out and About, Treble Chance, Melody Hour, Radio 2 Top Tunes, The Late Show and You and the Night and the Music.

Radio Times 28 September 1967
Here's a short audio montage of Tim on the Light Programme, Network 3, Radio 4 and Radio 2.

On television he was also chairman of the Square Deal Surf Forum advertisement, the proceeds of which bought him his first brand-new house. Blue Peter viewers may also remember him as the voice of the Bleep and Booster stories.

Tim – enjoy your well-earned retirement.

Saturday 5 November 2011

Mixed Peel

John Peel first came to prominence in the UK with his post-midnight Perfumed Garden show on pirate Radio London. John was part of Radio 1’s launch team in September 1967 and presented Top Gear on the second day of broadcasting at the fledging station. But what’s this? Before the Marine Offences Act came into force in August 1967 John had already made it back to the mainland in a BBC Home Service feature, Peel’s Progress.

Radio Times 6 June 1967
Peel’s Progress was a short feature in the daily afternoon magazine programme Home this Afternoon. “Each week”, proclaimed the Radio Times, “John Peel talks about people and places he has come across as he walks from Land’s End to John O’Groats.” In actuality this isn't the John Peel. John had left Californian radio station KMEN in February 1967 and had joined Radio London by March. Chances are it was Tory MP William John Peel or, as Robin Carmody suggests, a former BBC scriptwriter of the same name. If you have any further information please let me know.

During John’s career he was increasingly used to introduce or narrate programmes with themes far removed from his usual musical tastes. He’s an example from 1968 which is, however, music-related, The Voice of Pop, looking at pop lyrics and censorship. Here’s how the Radio Times reported on the programme that was first broadcast on Saturday 19 September 1968. Note the appearance in the programme of Elektra Records boss Clive Selwood, who would go on to run Dandelion Records with John, and in the discussion afterwards, Gillian Reynolds then radio critic at The Guardian now of The Daily Telegraph.

In 1988 John provided the opening and closing announcements to a Radio 1 four-part series in which listeners talked “openly about romance, sex and love” in What’s Love Got to Do with It? John’s voice presumably offering reassuring, trusting bookends to the mix of frank vox pops. Here’s part of the second programme called Is That All There Is? Broadcast on 19 September 1988. Warning: this  programme includes material of a sexual nature.  

By the mid-90s John was presenting and narrating an increasing number of TV programmes. One such was the Channel 4 series Classic Trucks. Here’s an edition from that series about Britain’s post-war buses, Ticket to Ride. One can only assume that John found the early footage of buses in Ipswich of interest as it was just 16 miles down the road from Peel Acres. This programme was first broadcast on 24 January 1995. The recording is of the repeat on 30 April 1996.

And finally, in this random selection, everytime Radio 1 commissioned a new jingle package they recorded a DJ ident for John even though he rarely used them; on the occasions I heard his daily late-night show I can’t ever remember him playing it. So it fell to other DJs to play John’s jingle. Here from 30 March 1978, in a tantalisingly short clip, is Paul Gambaccini sitting for an absent Mr Peel.

Read more on the John Peel wiki site.

Friday 4 November 2011

Down Your Local - Radio Orwell

This is the sixteenth post in a series looking at the original nineteen ILR stations. This week Radio Orwell.

Airdate: 28 October 1975
Still on air?: No. Now part of the Heart group.

Radio Orwell was the first local radio station in East Anglia-the BBC still classed the area as one of their “regions” and Radio Norfolk only went on air in 1980. Orwell operated out of Electric House in the centre of Ipswich.

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

With its base just in from the Suffolk coast it seems natural for Orwell to have had a connection with the old pirate ship stations. Orwell’s ex-pirate was Andy Archer (born Andrew Dawson) whose claim to fame is to be the only DJ to have worked on the offshore stations in the 60s, 70s and 80s. After a brief stint on Radio City in 1965 Andy was in the RAF for a couple of years before going back to sea and working for Radio Caroline, in its post-Marine Offences Act days, working alongside the likes of Johnnie Walker and Roger Day. (A few years later he would become one of the first people to be prosecuted under the Act). In 1970 he got a call from Roger to join the team at Radio Nordsee International (RNI). Just after leaving for Holland he received a telegram offering him holiday relief cover for Dave Cash on Radio 1 – an opportunity he later regretted having missed. Andy would later re-join Caroline and also work on Radio Seagull before going legit and becoming a continuity announcer for Tyne-Tees. From TV it was back to radio and joining the launch team at Orwell.

Throughout the 80s Andy Archer did the rounds of a number of commercial stations – Devonair, the short-lived Centre Radio, County Sound, Invicta Supergold, Mellow 1557 as well as a further period on the re-launched Caroline and a return visit to Orwell. He was also on the original team at North Norfolk Radio in 2003. Inevitably, as with many of the old ILR jocks he started to work for BBC local radio, initially in Suffolk and latterly back in his home county of Norfolk – his final show on the station was in April this year. 

The other ex-pirate was Greg Bance although he also had something of an identity crisis whilst working in pirate radio appearing as Roger Scott and Arnold Layne. Greg was on Radios Essex, 270, 390, Caroline South and RNI. But it was as a television continuity announcer that Greg was mainly employed working at most of the ITV stations – Harlech, Anglia, Granada, Tyne Tees, Southern, HTV, ATV and London Weekend.

On the radio Greg was at the United Biscuits Network for a short while. As well as Orwell he was a DJ on Breeze, Beacon, Two Counties and Melody Radio as well as reading news bulletins on IRN.

Orwell’s third pirate was breakfast host Keith Rogers – who also broadcast as Dave Rogers but had been born Ernie White. Keith was also on RNI as well as Radio Atlantis. Back in the UK he worked at Radio City before moving to Ipswich and Radio Orwell. Essex Radio, Breeze and Mercury followed before he dropped out of broadcasting altogether.

Next comes the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) connection.

Music to Midnight presenter was Patrick Eade. Patrick started in hospital radio on HRI in Ipswich before joining Orwell. In 1982 he was part of the launch team at Wilshire Radio before joining BFBS three years later. With the BFBS Patrick has broadcast around the world; from Germany at the time the Berlin Wall came down, from the Balkans on BFBS Skopje and in the Middle East following the invasion of Kuwait. He still broadcast on BFBS2 and is now Managing Editor, Defence & Welfare.

With Orwell Country two nights a week was Nigel Rennie. He maintained an interest in country music, later picking up a UK Country Music Award in 2002 whilst at BBC Radio Essex. Nigel is currently a presenter and producer for the BFBS in Cyprus, though he is currently posted to Brunei. 

Not yet nationally famous as the country’s favourite tv cook Delia Smith was on Orwell each Sunday morning with One Faith. I guess that aside from her cookery and love of Norwich City football club Delia is known for her religious faith. She was christened into the Church of England before converting to Catholicism in her early-20s. 

Programme Controller Australian John Wellington, who also made a couple of appearance on-air during the week, had worked at Capital and then Metro Radio before setting up Orwell. He performed a similar role at Essex Radio and Radio Mercury.

Also worthy of mention is Leon Fourie with Tuesday night’s Innovations. Leon had learnt his craft in South Africa on LM Radio (in Lourenco Marques) where he was the first DJ in the country to champion progressive rock. He went on to present a programme on Swazi Music Radio, also called Innovations. In the UK from 1974 to 1989 to returned to his native country where he was a voiceover artiste.

With On the Road, a motoring magazine, was David Cocks, the station’s Head of Sales. David continued to work for Orwell and then Suffolk Group Radio and now holds an executive position at the Tindle Radio Trust.

I can find absolutely no information about Anthea Clarke. If you know anything about her please contact me.

This is the station information published in January 1978:

Back in 1975 Anglia TV featured the opening of Radio Orwell in Switched On in Ipswich. The audio from that programme exists. In this recording you’ll hear Keith Rogers, chairman John Jacob, MD Donald Brooks, John Wellington,  Andy Archer, David Cocks, Tim Ewart and Harry Rowell.

This picture features some of Orwell’s on air team in 1975 - Harry Rowell. Kate Glass, Greg Bance, Keith Rogers & Andy Archer. Harry had been at Metro Radio before joining Orwell. In 1977 he got the opportunity to cover on Radio 2 for a holidaying Pete Murray.  
Web Link

Some material in this post comes from the Remembering Radio Orwell Facebook group.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

75 Years of BBC Television

Radio Times - Television 50th
Anniversary Cover 1.11.86
This blog normally concerns itself with radio matters but tomorrow marks the 75th anniversary of BBC television.

Unlike the 50th anniversary the BBC, usually never ones to miss marking significant milestones in their history, have gone for a very low-key affair – just a few pages in this week’s Radio Times and an evening of repeats on BBC4.  

If you want to see what BBC TV, and ITV and Channel 4, looked like back in 1988 then head over to my other blog. I’m recalling the day when the British Film Institute and all the major broadcasters ran the One Day in the Life of Television project.

Download the first television issue of the Radio Times here:
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