Sunday, 25 December 2011

Christmas is Covered

#AdventCalendar
From Random Radio Jottings a Happy Christmas to all my readers. Thank you for your continued support. For the last three weeks over on Facebook and Twitter I've been taking you back to Christmases past. Here are those Christmas Radio Times covers, and more, again. Back in 2012.  

Friday, 23 December 2011

You're Surrounded - Experiments in Quadraphonic Sound

In the week that the BBC is broadcasting the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in High Definition Surround Sound I’m reminded of the experiment with quadraphonic sound back in the mid 1970s.

In April 1977 the Radio Times advised listeners how to set up their hi-fi equipment to hear the quad broadcasts during the year long experiment. The system used existing stereo transmissions but required the purchase of either a quadraphonic decoder or a second amp and set of speakers.

Assuming you managed to get yourself wired for sound you could hear Proms concerts, Radio 1 In Concert, a production of The Tempest and the BBC Radio Orchestra in glorious surround sound. That Christmas the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was also a quad transmission.   

Across the 1977 festive season you could also enjoy quad broadcasts of Alan Freeman’s Saturday afternoon rock show, a production of As You Like It, Cliff Richard In Concert and on Radio 1 Jonathan King Rules.  Recordings played in quad on the Radio 1 shows were preceded by this effect.


Writing in the Radio Times in May 1977 Director of Programmes Douglas Muggeridge accepted that “few people will be able to take full advantage of the quadraphonic transmissions at the outset of the experiment.” The cost to the BBC was estimated at £10,000 to £15,000. Listeners also complained that the corporation needed to extend its stereo network first before embarking on the broadcasts. Remember that at the time the provision of stereo VHF was still not complete and that Radio 1 still shared VHF frequencies with Radio 2.

So, 34 years later, plug your PC into your surround sound system and plonk your headphones on and listen to these version of the Christmas concert provided on the Radio 3 blog.

Read more about quad here or download the BBC’s 1977 research paper on the subject here.

Christmas Bells

For many years the peal of bells on Christmas morning provided the start to the day’s broadcasting.  This is no longer the case. So let me take you back to Christmas 1977 and Paddy O’ Byrne opening up both Radio 1 and Radio 2 with the bells of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. You’ll also hear the start of John Dunn says Happy Christmas.



And from the days when Radio 4 had a half-hour Christmas morning programme called Christmas Bells this recording, taken from a poor quality tape, features veteran broadcaster and commentator Robert Hudson. The programme was broadcast in 1983. Christmas Bells was last broadcast in 1986.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

1976 Again


In contrast to the relaxed presenting style of Tom Browne in the 1976 Remembered post here’s another slice of ’76, this time with Alan Freeman. This is an edited version of Pick of the Pops as broadcast on Radio 1 on 6 December 1992. 


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

1976 Remembered

I don’t know if you’ve been watching the BBC Four repeats of Top of the Pops this year. The repeats started with shows from 1976, the first year in which there is a more complete archive of programmes. I know if may not be the best year musically speaking. It certainly seemed to have more than its fair share of novelty acts and one-hit wonders. But it’s the year that I started to buy singles and when I really got into music and radio. So for me it’s a great year!

I don’t actually remember the first record I bought, but one of the first was the hit song of the summer, Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee. I still have the record, see the scan below.


I started recording songs from the chart show with my little tape recorder, at that time presented by Tom Browne, back in 1975 but in the following year I was consistently listening to the charts and keeping the records that I liked. On 2 January 1977 I recorded the rundown of the best selling twenty singles of 1976. My recording has one link and the countdown missing but I’ve reinstated these from another source as well as adding Tom’s closing announcement. Preceding the show is a short trail that was heard during the week.

So let’s go back in time (frighteningly its 35 years ago) as Tom Browne goes on air at 6 p.m. As for Elton and Kiki, they made it to number two.




I was very much into following the singles charts at that time and for a while wrote out the weekly chart positions. I’ve long since thrown or lost those pieces of paper but I have found a handful of charts that I actually went to the trouble of typing up, here’s one from July 1976. Back in 1976 Tom Browne only played the Top 20 on Sunday but when the chart was announced on the Tuesday, at the time during Paul Burnett’s lunchtime show, you got the Top 30.



Monday, 19 December 2011

The Jason Explanation

There was a time when the Yuletide telly appearance of David Jason was as regular an occurrence as the untouched box of Newberry fruits and the DFS Boxing Day sale. Mind you he’s back on BBC1 this Christmas in The Royal Bodyguard.

Rightly loved an applauded for his performances as Del Boy, Frost and Pop Larkin et al, Jason’s radio hinterland is often overlooked. His  versatility in ‘doing voices’ was first put to good use in Radio 4’s weekly satirical sketch show Week Ending (1970-1998). David was a regular on the show between 1979 and 1982 alongside Sheila Steafel, David Tate and Bill Wallis. I plan to post about Week Ending in 2012.

Doing straight impressions David was a semi-regular on Radio 2’s The Impressionists and you can hear an edition of that programme here. 

From 1977 to 1981 David also had his own Radio 4 series The Jason Explanation of… , with a different theme explored in sketches and song in each programme. This is the 1981 Christmas offering The Jason Explanation of the Festive Season as broadcast on 25 December.




The programme has an incredible comedy pedigree. Alongside Jason at the mic is Sheila Steafel and Jon Glover (also on Week Ending and provider of voices on Spitting Image). Writers include Any Hamilton and Guy Jenkin (TV’s Drop the Dead Donkey and Outnumbered), John Langdon (a regular writer for Rory Bremner), Peter Hickey (creator of Trivia Test Match), Jon Canter (later Lenny Henry’s regular collaborator), Tony Sarchet (Delve Special on the radio and This is David Lander on Channel 4) and Geoffrey Perkins (Radio Active and BBC Head of Comedy).  The producer is Jimmy Mulville (Who Dares Wins and co-founder of Hat Trick Productions).

You can also hear David Jason on the radio this Christmas Day presenting classic comedy clips on BBC Radio 2 at 6 p.m.


Thursday, 15 December 2011

Fixed for Christmas

There are a couple of programmes celebrating the life of Sir Jimmy Savile that are worth looking/listening out for this Christmas.

On Radio 2 at 9 p.m. on Christmas Day Jimmy Savile:In His Own Words. The programme information reads:

In this intimate and revealing programme, Radio 2 gives iconic broadcaster Sir Jimmy Savile the last word on his remarkable life.
Using newly discovered - and mostly never heard before - archive of his final in-depth interview recorded in February 2011, plus other rare and forgotten interviews given by Sir Jimmy, this programme understands the man who by his own admission was "odd".
From reading telegrams to those who'd lost loved ones in the Second World War, his relationship with his mother ' The Duchess', his charity work and his life in the limelight - Sir Jimmy reflects on his life and even admits when asked about his own mortality, he's not going anywhere.
From the launch of Top Of The Pops, to Jim'll Fix It, plus his attitude towards fame and fortune, this is the life of Sir Jimmy Savile as seen and experienced by the man himself.

Meanwhile on Wednesday 28 December at 7 p.m. on BBC 2 you can see Sir Jimmy Savile at the BBC: How's About That Than? described as:
An affectionate tribute to Jimmy Savile via the BBC archive courtesy of Top of The Pops, plus rarely seen footage of Clunk Click, the Saturday night entertainment show which eventually made way for his series Jim'll Fix It.

Read more about Jim’ll Fix It on my other blog.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Last Christmas I Gave You This...

Just a reminder that last Christmas I posted a couple of seasonal programmes from my BBC Radio 2 archive.

Jimmy Young Sings for Christmas features JY, the Mike Sammes Singers and the BBC Radio Orchestra conducted by Neil Richardson. This was not, as I posted at the time, the last programme to feature Jim's smooth singing tones, similar programmes went out on Christmas Day in 1980 and 1981.

And from Christmas Day 1982 this is Once in Royal David's City. The programme features Deryck Guyler, Dana, Leslie Crowther, Percy Edwards, The Riding Lights Theatre Company, Frank Topping, Magnus Magnusson and The Bishop of Winchester John Taylor

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Christmas Knowledge

This Radio 1 show dates from a time when the station was also the home of some cutting edge comedy. Victor Lewis-Smith, Armando Iannucci, Julian Clary and Loose Talk featured in the schedules of the early 90s.

The Knowledge was a four-part spoof documentary narrated by Alan Freeman, this recording is of the one-off seasonal version, The Christmas Knowledge, broadcast on 30 December 1993.

What makes this such a hoot is not just the script but Fluff’s reading of it, a true tour de force. There’s also a bit of fun to be had against his Radio 1 colleagues including “beardy Scouser” John Peel.

The programme also features Tim Whitnall, Bernadine Corrigan, David Howarth, Peter Serafinowicz (man of voices including Darth Maul and Terry Wogan) and Julie Gibbs. Music is by Murray Gold (of Doctor Who fame) and the script written by Andy Riley (Bunny Suicides) and Kevin Cecil (who would both later write Hyperdrive and Robbie the Reindeer).  The Producer is Gareth Edwards.



Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas 41

Memories of Christmas some seventy years ago in this “nostalgic medley of radio” presented by Christopher Andrew.

This was the period of Lord Haw-Haw, Churchill, De Gaulle, The Brains Trust, Vera Lynn (pictured above), blackouts and rationing. 

The programme was broadcast on Radio 4 on Thursday 24 December 1981.
 


Also from 1941 is this Crown Film Unit Christmas Under Fire directed by Harry Watt.



Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Radio 1 DJ Calendar

December, so time to get hold of your calendar for next year. Why not buy the Radio 1 calendar with “twelve stunning pictures of all your favourite DJs, in full colour”. OK, so it went out of production sometime in the 80s. But back in 1976 here’s new recruit Kid Jensen advertising the 1977 calendar available for just £1.
 


This promo is for the 1983 calendar – with thanks to whoever first posted it on Jinglemad. The voiceover here provided by Michael McClain.
 

 
With pictures ranging from straight forward portraits to increasingly bizarre situations, the 1981 circus theme is particularly tacky, the calendar was just part of the station merchandising from Radio 1 Offers. Look out for more goodies in the New Year.

 
Tony Blackburn, Maggie Philbin & Keith Chegwin

John Peel and Tommy Vance

Steve Wright and Jimmy Savile

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Humbug!

Charles Dickens at Christmas is as much a festive tradition as the 3 p.m. address from The Queen and a Morecambe & Wise repeat. In this Radio 4 programme, Humbug!, the writer and broadcaster Brian Sibley explores the popularity of A Christmas Carol.

The tale that is “more widely known than read”, is part of the fabric of Christmas; a Dickensian Christmas offering a familiar and comforting vision at odds with the poverty and destitution of 19th century London that inspired the story.

In the programme you’ll hear performances and readings from Lionel Barrymore, Roy Dotrice, Albert Finney, The Goons, Alec Guinness, Patrick Magee, Mr Magoo, Daniel Massey, Walter  Matthau, Ralph Richardson, Leonard Rossiter, Scrooge McDuck, Paul Schofield, Alastair Sim and Orson Welles.

Humbug! was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Tuesday 22 December 1987. The readers are Norman Bird and Diana Olsson. The producer Glyn Dearman.


The story of A Christmas Carol has been retold many times. The BBC radio version starring Michael Gough and Freddie Jones is repeated on Christmas Day over on Radio 4 Extra. The best cinema version has to be The Muppet Christmas Carol and I see that in a Radio Times poll it came out as the second favourite festive film behind It’s A Wonderful Life – a film I defy you to watch without shedding a tear at the end. Dickens’s story also features in three other films in the Top 50: the wonderful Alastair Sim as Scrooge at No.9, Bill Murray’s retelling as Scrooged at No. 13 and Jim Carrey in A Christmas Carol at No. 14.

There’ll be heaps more Dickens over the next year as 2012 sees the 200th anniversary of his birth. Read more on the Dickens 2012 website.  More about Scrooge on Brian Sibley’s blog from where I downloaded the Ronald Searle illustration at the top of this post.



Thursday, 1 December 2011

Jingle All the Way

It’s the countdown to Christmas and over the next three weeks or so I’ll be bringing you some seasonal radio treats.
Sung Christmas jingles are rarely heard on UK radio these days. So let’s fire up the audio DeLorean and firstly hear some of the jingles that BBC Radios 1 and 2 used in the 70s and 80s.
We Wish You a Jingle Christmas

Some of these jingles came from the Christmas Kit package produced by JAM Creative Productions. Here’s a slightly edited version of what the package offered.
Christmas Kit

I’ll conclude with a Christmas jingle montage sequence put together in 2009 by Wixy1360 over on Jinglemad. I think the audio may have disappeared from that site during the overhaul they had to make earlier this year but in case Ian does decide to re-post it here’s just a short sequence from it.
Christmas Jingle Montage

In the meantime if you follow Random Radio Jottings on either Facebook or Twitter then each day until Christmas I’ll be bringing you a Radio Times Advent Calendar. Featuring Radio Times covers from my own collection I’ll be covering the years 1999 to 1976. 

For another radio-themed advent calendar head over to DX International written by fellow blogger Chrissy Brand.

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.
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