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Opinions/memories of Radio 1 and Radio 2 presenters, music policy, shows, style, roadshows, events

past  and present are welcome, but I do reserve the right to edit prior to publishing.



Please also let me know if you wish your e-mail address and/or home Town shown.

Messages will normally appear within 14 days.



Sent: 06 October 2009 21:50




Hi may i pass on my thanks like many others for a fabulous site; the memories are stunning and like so many others the nostalgia you create is second to none.


I was born in 1960 and my first memories are of Radio 1; I used to see the roadshow on many occasions and they were great entertainment - I currently work in commercial radio.


Over the years I have noticed our playlists are becoming more prominent with music of the past, so I do agree with many of the emails which make the point about Radio 2 being the popular station of the nation.


Please do post these comments and once again many thanks for the hard work you have put in to this site - and long may it continue.


John Tay [mailto:vonjohn68(at)]


Sent: 12 January 2009 08:43



Dear Alan,


Thanks for the interesting site. I appreciate all the hard work which must have go into putting all this together.


It was good to listen again to some of the sounds of early days of Radio One to confirm that my memory is not failing!


Radio one was as someone once said (but I can’t remember who!) like “Big-L” played at half speed at the end of a tunnel”!!


In September 1967, I listened to Radio One for just 2-hours, then my dial returned to 259 and a ‘real” radio station – despite all the “plug” records, fake ads and problems of broadcasting from the North Sea, Caroline was miles better than Radio 1 in my opinion!

But perhaps I am a bit biased, I broadcast on Caroline North from November to March 1968, having had the dubious honour of being on a radio station which was towed away (very few can say that).


I am now retired and living in South Africa


Please put my comments on the webpage (who knows perhaps after all these years I can stir up a bit of a hornets nest?)


Best regards,

(Lord) Charles Brown (Terry John)




Sent: 22 July 2008 17:23



Just found this wonderful site browsing through the Internet. My husband and I (we were born in Liverpool just before and during WWII) have enjoyed listening to all the old signature tunes again. I think it's marvellous you have the broadcast of Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain's solemn message advising Britain we had gone to war with Germany. I have book marked the site so that my children and grandchildren can listen to it.


My wartime memories are listening to Music While you Work and the ITMA and Band Wagon shows. When I was older I used to rush home from school to light the fire in a cold living room, toast myself a piece of bread which I spread liberally with jam and, in the dim light with the shadows of flames licking the walls, would settle back on the sofa in front of the fire to listen to Children's Hour. I particularly remember Kenneth Grahame (I believe it was him) reading excerpts from his Wind in the Willows book. What a voice he had. Sometimes this cosy retreat of mine would be interrupted when the "workers" arrived home and immediately switched on the light!


I believe my lifelong love of classical music stems from listening to orchestral radio broadcasts as a child.


Thanks for the memories!



Sent: Wed 04/06/2008 12:38



Glenn makes some good points. Radio One seems totally out of touch with todays music scene.
BUT........I feel the problem lies with the music itself.
Throughout the years, music has always dated, and has carved a "niche in time" for itself. For example, listen to a chart from 1968, and the songs on that chart clearly belong to the 60s.
You get that feel, that atmosphere !
A chart from 1971 will give you a feel of the 70's. Thats how music should always be.
However, todays sounds will not do this. A lot of the songs ( not all ) are made on computers, by faceless people. They wont date. Todays kids have too many distractions.
You can only work with what you have got. The DJs, no matter how talented or creative they are can only do so much with the songs from the charts that are put in front of them.
Ill give you an example. Listen to a chart from 1972, and then, a chart from 1977. In just 5 years, those 2 charts have dated themselves. Two completely different charts with completely different types of songs. The listener knows whereabouts in time that the charts belong.
Then, do the same with charts from say, 1962 and 1967 and then 1982 and 1987. The same thing happens.

NOW......Do the same with a chart from 2002 and 2007. They sound like charts from the same year. Same monotonous dance beat. Ill wager it wont get any better in the future, and sub consciously, the kids have accepted that. We all have our favourite eras, and in years to come we will hear songs from those eras and will be able to remember the artist, song and probably the year. Todays kids, when they reach their forties / fifties will not, I firmly believe, be able to do this !

Don't get me wrong, there's still some decent material being made, if you know where to look for it.

Just don't look for it on Radio One !!

Thank goodness for the Gold stations throughout the country. Hard to imagine those stations in 2045 catering for todays kids.

And Radio Two, I feel, is getting its act together and offering a nice, diverse range of musical styles for its listeners. It also brings to the fore, the decent material of todays era. The "David Jacobs" style shows that Glenn mentions, are still produced for those that want them. Documentaries, biographical programmes, they are all there if you look at the listings.

And finally, look at the listening figures. In the 70's and 80's, Radio One had millions more listeners than Radio Two. Now, that has completely reversed. Radio Two is, by far, the most listened to station in the country. That, for me, speaks volumes about the music that is available to the Public.
Yes Glenn, I agree with you. The powers that be at the BEEB are shortly going to have to look at these matters, and address them.

And, that could be the end of what was once a truly great station.

Eric Lawton
St Helens


From: Ray Douglass
Sent: 02 May 2008 20:21

Firstly what a great site, I have just spent a couple of hours listening to the old jingles reading and remembering my teen years listening to what was the nations favourite radio station. I was an avid radio listener during the late 70's / 80's it was radio 1 That gave me the inspiration to become a DJ (Mobile the Club) A job that has lasted me 25 years...
During the 80's radio was entertaining and broke through new boundaries (Zoo Radio) with people like Steve Wright. where did radio 1 go wrong?? I used to love the variety, the different styles now it just seems to be Rock music with the odd dance tune. Lifeless presenters with no inspiration.

I can remember a Radio 1 Roadshow that I went to what a piece of mind blowing entertainment. Gary Davis and a huge crowd doing exactly what he said.... He split the crowd into 2 halves and made them sing to a Wham track (Edge of Heaven).
I remember listening to the top 40 on a Sunday afternoon waiting to see what would be the weeks number 1, the highest climbers and the fastest fallers. Then rushing out to my regular gig to run down and play the best of the charts.

I Now have children of 10,16 and 18 The 18 year old loves radio 1 because of all the rock music, The 16 year old hates it because there is no variety and listens to Heart 106.2 on Digital as does the 10 year old. I too listen to heart in the mornings the its over to Kiss followed by Heart for my hours drive home until I loose signal then its Kiss 106 to see me to the door.. There has never been so much choice for music and I feel Radio 1 Has lost some of its kerb appeal by not following the massive trends of music that is available.

That's enough of me ranting on.... What a great site I will be back again and again

Please DO Not Use My email Address if you post my comments

Ray Douglass, UK


Sent: 22 March 2008 19:19

Radio 1 is Just Embarassing

For all it talks about being cutting edge and the home of new music, I think Radio 1 is becoming like a retirement home for acid house throwbacks like Pete Tong and DJ's who still wish it was 1995 like Jo Whiley, who has become as predictable and tired out as Simon Bates was 20 years ago, but without the Golden Hour. If there was to be a Bannister Mark II appointed to clear out the forty-something presenters, then he'd have an easy task as clunkers like Jo Indie Whiley, Pete Having It Large Tong, Dave Phat One(physically too; as he's a bit of a porker in a stupid cap) Pearce, Judge Jules, and Steve Lamacq are well into middle age and seem stuck in either a Britpop or a rave era time warp. Meanwhile we have the ultimate embarrassment of a granny called Annie trying to sound like a 19 year old clubber on Sunday mornings. At 66 it sounds totally ridiculous and she should retire.

My niece is 14 and should logically be a Radio 1 listener, as most 14 year olds were in my day( the eighties). She is also a very good MC'er in the junior rave scene, a bit like a rapper but more dancefied and less violent in lyrical content. I asked her what she thought of the Radio 1 dance output and she said it was " ancient rubbish and like something from the nineties" and the DJs were fat old men. She said they didn't have a clue about newer developments in club music and kept playing tired out trance and house music, while the MC ing scene was the most popular part of this genre among the under 18s. None of her friends liked Radio 1 as it was " full of old people like Jo Whiley" and the music was boring and samey and the DJs talked too much. Not much of a recommendation then for the station which considers itself to be at the cutting edge when it ignores a whole genre of music that a fair percentage of teenagers like. Also I've heard from young rock fans- my town is divided half and half between dance and rock fans- that the modern equivalents to heavy metal get a poor deal, although Radio 1 in the old days was never that keen on rock, and the station plays indie too much.

So there you have it from the station's core age group, Radio 1 is boring and irrelevant. Maybe it's time Dave Pearce's worn out record box was thrown away and Jo Whiley was sent home to listen to her Oasis CD's as as it's not delivering the goods. Also that tedious grey ident, about the worst they've ever had, sums it up: total grey porridge with presenters who've been around for too long and have become complacent.

Glenn Aylett


Sent: 09 November 2007 16:22

Radio 2 wasn't 'all Mantovani'


The common perception of Radio 2 until the late nineties was of a very sedate radio station using ageing presenters such as David Jacobs playing music from before 1960 and concentrating on extremely middle of the road music by people such as Mantovani and James Last. While this was probably true during the Frances Line era from 1986 to 1996, when most pop music was out of favour, the period from 1967 to 1985 was very different, in some ways a little like Radio 2 is now.


For a start, the misconception of a Radio 2 listener being elderly was totally wrong. Until August 1990, Radio 2 was the BBC's main sport station and programmes like Sport on 2 and live football matches on weekdays, when these were very rare on the television, would have pulled in a large audience of young men, although it's unlikely many of these listeners would have stayed tuned for Listen to the Band.


Then, of course, there were the dual broadcasts of Radio 1 programmes on Radio 2. As Radio 1 reception could be patchy on 247 metres, fans of David Hamilton and the Top 20 would often retune to 1500 metres, as the reception was better and the programmes were the same as Radio 2, again giving a larger younger audience to Radio 2. However, I would doubt that Radio 2 programmes at night, which were broadcast on Radio 1 simultaneously and tended to be very Light Programme, would see many Radio 1 listeners tuning in.


Even after dual broadcasting ended in February 1979, Radio 2 attracted a reasonable following of younger listeners who admired the wit of Terry Wogan, which was always so much better than the boring behaviour of Mike Read on Radio 1, and the afternoon show hosted by David Hamilton, which was broadcast opposite Steve Wright, was very close to Radio 1 in his choice of music and he even had Madness do the jingles for him and as a teenager at the time, I know many of us preferred David Hamilton to Steve Wright. Also the hilarious madcap behaviour of Kenny Everett on his Saturday show attracted millions of younger listeners. Indeed Radio 2 comedy output, barring the more sedate Hinge and Bracket and Castle's on the Air, would have appealed to listeners of all ages as it was so good.


Even the music policy on Radio 2 in daytime, though certainly not at night and most of the weekend, was broader before 1986, though still not as broad as it is now. Sixties music was always popular on daytime shows- Terry Wogan, as now, was a huge fan of The Beach Boys and helped me get into this excellent sixties band- and the more middle of the road pop hits were regularly heard, Abba being a favourite on Radio 2 during their 8 year career. Indeed at times there was little to differentiate between Radios 1 and 2, I can remember in 1982 hearing Paperback Writer by The Beatles on Wogan and then hearing it an hour later on the Golden Hour on Radio 1. It was no surprise that Radio 2 was pulling in 15 million listeners a week in the early eighties.


However, the appointment of Frances Line as head of music in January 1986 saw Radio 2 change totally. Under her familiarity, melody and excellence dictat, most contemporary pop was transferred over to Radio 1 and the music policy of the previous 19 years was narrowed down to showtunes, light instrumental music, pre 1960 pop singers and light classics. It was no wonder David Hamilton walked out the station and blasted it as " geriatric" and his replacement for a short time became Hughie Green, playing forties music. Audience figures nosedived and when sport was transferred to Radio 5 in August 1990, the last of the younger listeners abandoned it and audience figures fell to 8 million. It was this grim period in the station's history that Radio 2 deserved its nickname Radio Grim Reaper as it really was a geriatric station playing anti diluvian music and when Radio 1 abandoned playing older pop records and sacked its popular presenters, for anyone born between 1940 and 1970 there was nothing on BBC Radio to listen to.


Jim Moir saved Radio 2 from a slow death when he took over in 1996 and started hiring ex Radio 1 DJs and making the music policy broader and of more appeal to baby boomers, and he is widely credited with creating the success of the modern day Radio 2, but it would be wrong to say that the station was only for the elderly before that and, until 1986, had a large younger following.


Glenn Aylett




Sent: 20 December 2006 11:41

Amateur Night

I found your excellent website a few weeks ago, and fascinating it is too. So many memories of Radio 1, it was a bit of a let down compared with the spontaneity of the pirates, but not all that bad really. I was disappointed that Mike Ahern didn't get a regular spot, as he was such a favourite on Caroline. And looking back to those days, the D.J's obviously had their hands tied behind their backs so to speak.

Moving on to radio of today, my listening is to the Togmeister himself, Sounds Of The Sixties  and very few others on the Beeb. The standard of the vast majority of local radio is appalling, it sounds like amateur night on hospital radio most of the time, why do these so called personalities get these jobs.


Possibly the only one I know that seems to be different from the rest is Roy Waller on Radio Norfolk, but sadly I don't listen much now that we have 'Big L' back on, but for how long, and the reception in most areas is far from good. And let's not forget Keith Skues, the master of them all, but again, here in Lincolnshire, Radio Lincolnshire only takes his Sunday evening programme, they ought to listen just to see how many people in the Lincolnshire area contact his programme. 



Skellingthorpe, Lincolnshire.


Causing Some Debate


Hello, me again !  You know, I've been reading the comments that have been written by everybody on this site. There's some real good points made, very interesting. Great to know that radio can still cause so much debate in these days of 400+ channels on SKY TV. 


I believe a lot of the problems with today's radio are the charts / songs themselves. Look in your chart books and just pick any chart from say 1963 - 1980. Go through each track. You'll remember probably 90% of the songs. 35 - 45 years time, will today's teenagers be able to do the same, look up a chart from say September 2005 and say honestly that that they remember the majority of todays songs. Time will tell, but I honestly think not !   


Don't get me wrong, there's still some talented bands around, but not anywhere near the same amount as the 60's, 70's and 80's. 


That's why a lot of us "oldies" look forward to the long established bands making new albums. I cant wait for the new Eagles album in early 2007 for example.               


And what are we going to do about these DJ's, especially on Radio 2. Radio 2 would add hundreds of thousands to their listening figures by re-introducing guys like Noel Edmunds, Tony Blackburn, DLT and the like. Not saying for one minute that they would WANT to come back, but if they did, and the BBC marketed the moves well enough, the listening figures would soar. Dales a hell of a nice guy, but he's just not cut out for POTP..........................Wonder if Tom Browne would be interested ?? Hmmmmmm !! Noel's a great TV host, but a far better radio host. Those guys have forgotten more about radio presentation than today's five minute wonders.


I'm sure this is going to cause some debate. Lots of you guys are going to agree with me, lots are going to disagree. However, that's what its all about.


Great site, great discussions. Incidentally, just got tons more Radio shows from the 60s' and 70's including an unbelievable amount of John Peel stuff. Whatever You've got in your collections, Ill be interested in trading mp3 CD's with you.  ..................................................SAD ARENT I ??


Cheers Guys.   

Yours in radio -----------------------------------------

Eric Lawton St Helens.



Sent: 16 July 2006 23:22


Radio 1 totally revolutionised BBC Radio, although cynics will admit most of the ideas and DJs were stolen from the pirate stations. I have just been reading the interview with Bob Holness and he said the station was a total contrast from the overly formal, scripted programmes on the Light Programme and working on Radio 1 was a revelation as the atmosphere was far freer than the stuffy old Light Programme.

Before Radio 1 was created in 1967, the BBC Light Programme did not employ disc jockeys, as they were then known. Unlike the pirates, which aped American radio stations by using disc jockeys and jingles, the Light Programme used presenters, often formal sounding announcers, who worked from a script, used technicians to play records, and instead of a seamless link between two shows, an announcer would announce in formal BBC English the next programme. Instead of shows named after the presenter, Light Programme shows were named around the time slot, Breakfast Special on the Light was a typical example of this, where Radio 1 and the pirates named the show after the presenter. Also the stodgy nature of the programmes, where pop was relegated to cover versions by middle of the road instrumental groups, seemed never to have changed since the station was created in 1945.

When Radio 1 was created, the Light Programme style of programming was swept away. ( As well as Radio 1, Radio 2 moved towards the use of disc jockeys, jingles and shows named after the presenter, which was a total break with the Light Programme that Radio 2 was supposed to be a continuation of.) Instead of an announcer like Jimmy Kingsbury announcing the next programme, the disc jockeys would often indulge in a bit of banter before they handed over and then a jingle and a signature tune would announce the next programme. Unlike the Light Programme, most disc jockeys, who had learned their craft on pirate radio, drove their own desk and this did away with the need to employ a technician to play the records and cut costs. With the shows largely unscripted, Radio 1, and indeed many Radio 2 shows, had a less formal feel than the Light Programme and were more fun to listen to. Certainly someone like Kenny Everett, who wrote all his own material, would have sounded far less funny if he was on the Light with its restrictions and scripts.

Above all Radio 1 moved BBC music radio into the modern era. Quaint music ensembles like the BBC Top Tunes, which performed twee instrumental versions of pop hits and were terrible to listen to, were largely replaced by records. Although for the first few years the station was restricted by needletime agreements and a shortage of funds, it was a bold move for the BBC to operate a network that was devoted to pop music, where previously the Light Programme was a hotchpotch of a few pop shows, cloying shows of instrumental music, light drama, sport and religious programming that by the mid sixties was becoming extremely dated and largely avoided by listeners under 25. Radio 1, for all it stole its ideas and presenters from the pirates, was a move into the swinging sixties for the BBC and rapidly became extremely popular. Also Radio 2 aped Radio 1 presentation styles, although at a more genteel pace, and this soon became a much loved and far better replacement for the Light Programme. The dual broadcasting arrangement between Radios 1 and 2 meant that listeners to both stations were exposed to a huge range of music, Radio 1 listeners at times could hear a big band and Radio 2 listeners could hear The Beach Boys. In areas where there were no pirates, such as most of Scotland, and listeners had to endure the Light Programme or nothing, Radio 1 now offered everyone in Britain a national pop station.

Radio 1 made disc jockeys into some of the most recognisable and successful celebrities in Britain, where previously many were only heard on a ship in the North Sea. Tony Blackburn stated in an interview in 1984 that Radio 1 made him and his colleagues into some of the richest and best known celebrities in Britain. Certainly when Kenny Everett was sacked from Radio 1 in 1970, unlike his sacking from pirate radio in 1966, a national campaign was launched to save him and car stickers with Bring Back Everett were often seen.

Radio 1 also gave more prominence to regional accents. John Peel's scouse type voice was the most recognisable non BBC accent, but there was also Terry Wogan's Irish accent, Stuart Henry's Scottish and the Northern accents of Jimmy Saville and DLT. It certainly opened the doors to accents that BBC Radio a few years previously would have excluded.

Radio 1 certainly helped to popularise BBC Radio again, and until the Bannister changes, was a well loved radio station. When the independent stations arrived in the seventies, they often employed Radio 1 staff as a selling point, Kenny Everett becoming hugely successful on Capital for many years and transferring the skills they had learned at Radio 1 to new stations. Conversely many ILR DJs saw this as a stepping stone to greater things and getting a show on Radio 1 was the main aim of anyone who started at these stations. Most of the current crop of Radio 1 DJs learned their trade at local stations.

Above all the old school Radio 1 was fun and was the BBC's most successful venture. At its height the station had 26 million listeners and even after the competition began to bite into its ratings, achieved 17 million listeners a week well into the nineties. Considering that the station mostly broadcast on crackly medium wave until 1988, when ILR had stereo FM from the start, this was a huge achievement, but listeners didn't mind as shows were never interrupted for adverts for Dave's DIY shop and the presenters were mostly professionals who loved the station. A shame that such a well loved institution was steadily destroyed in the nineties and presenters who had worked at the station since the sixties were forced out in favour of loudmouths and money obsessed idiots who cared little about the music and only their pay packets. Radio 2, to an extent, carries on the Radio 1 tradition and it's ironic that the son of the Light Programme, using ex Radio 1 staff, now is far more popular and carries a lot more respect.

Glenn Aylett


Sent: 03 July 2006 01:16

Radio 1 Memories.

Firstly i would like to say what a fantastic website, and listening to some of those jingles from the late 70's to the 90's brought a tear to my eye. I often remember how the jingles used to go...but i never thought i would hear them again...thanks to this website.

Radio 1 (like many in their 30's or 40's) was their station way back then and you could listen all day because of the sheer quality of presenters and excellent programming.

It was great to wake up to Tony Blackburn with 'Junior Choice' (i must have been around 7 or 8 yrs old at the time). Back in the 80's i listened to Radio 1 non-stop whenever i could with shows like Simon Bates's 'Our Tune' to Gary Davies...Steve Wright...Peter Powell...Janice Long, DLT. etc...each presenter had their own 'exciting' personality, and not forgetting Nicky Campbell, Philip Schofield and Anne Nightingale's Sunday Night Request show.

Those were the days when radio WAS radio.

What HAS happened to Radio 1? - it has deteriorated rapidly ever since they switched nationally to FM in around 1988. The station has 'modernised' and brought in presenters with no personality...or IS that really the case? Or could it be that we have grown up since the early days of Radio 1 and find todays 'modern' music and presenters simply do not match our criteria?

I am sure there are teenagers from our present generation who love Radio 1 as we did back then..or do they?

With the huge amount of commercial radio since the early days of radio 1, this gives the listener more choice. I read with interest that some of the present radio 2 programming relates to the old radio 1 programming with a few ex-radio 1 presenters doing their stuff...i sincerely hope so! Radio 2 needs a shake up on some programmes as they are way outdated, but their will always be a vacume of memories related to radio 1.

As for radio 1 as it stands at the moment...i have not listened to it for years because of it's current format...and i do not intend to listen.

Maybe it's maturity because i prefer radio 2 as oppose to radio i type this and having mentioned radio 2 needing a shake up...i am currently listening to Janice Long on Radio 2 who has just played 'Manic Street Preachers' - If You Tolerate This...followed by a Johnny Cash track...unfortunately the format does not mix whatsoever. (just my opinion)

Great website...and some fantastic memories!

Andy from Birmingham


Sent: 16 June 2006 19:27


Radio 1 makes "Elderly People Frown"


"Hello you all - sorry, I'm 42 years old you know and I love Radio 1 the way it is now. Yes, I remember DLT, Tony Blackburn, Jimmy Saville Steve Wright (uugh) and all the Fab FM crowd. Apologies but I am glad they have all gone. If you want Fab FM it is either on Radio 2 or on any commercial station you have access to. Radio one now is sounding the best I have ever known it and admittedly at times it is too much for me, but that is cos I am 42 years old you know. In the 1970s and 1980s, when the happy sound was at its height, I was usually listening in to the poptastic 2FM from the RTE, Radio Caroline, Nova, Laser anything else bar the happy sound. Radio 1 for me only started to take off in the 1980s when Simon Mayo came along, the Mary Whitehouse Experience started there, John Peel did the 8.00 to 10.00, slot followed by Nicky Campbell etc, but I still stuck with the pirates largely.


I do agree that the changes in 1993 were done far too abruptly, but Bannister had very little choice. That great parliamentary statesman, John Major had put the message out that if Radio did not change it would be privatised, so it did change, and then muggins here started listening and I have to say, thank God. Yeah, if you do not like what young people listen to nowadays, yes Radio 1 is not for you, but your parents probably also moaned about it in the 1970s when you wanted to listen to it and they wanted to listen to Radio 2. Is the penny beginning to drop now. To put it simply, Radio 1 has always been there to make more elderly people frown and go tut tut tut, and that is what most of you are doing in this forum, therefore it is doing the job it is supposed to be doing. Long may it carry on. -


Dermott - Orpington"



Sent: 29 May 2006 01:40


Doing Something Right


Oh dear, what a tragedy – could it be that we’ve all got a bit older and the Radio 1 we listened to in the 70’s was targeting us as younger listeners. It would be totally wrong if I (at 55) found today’s Radio1 1 to my taste. Radio 2 sometimes sounds a bit young for me too! It’s hard to argue with the almost 13 million people (RAJAR March 2006) who tune in – that’s over quarter of the population. Radio 1 has recovered to reach just under ten million. Personal taste is just that – personal. If you just want your favourite tunes, put on a CD.


If you want some intelligent conversation join the 10 million listening to Radio 4. BBC Local Radio (the launch pad for so many Radio 1 DJ’s in the past), also attracts over 20% of the nation – so they must be doing something right. I really enjoyed the Pirates in the 60’s – Caroline North being my favourite. I remember when Radio 1 opened that I felt then it just wasn’t the same – even though many of the ex Caroline and Big L DJ’s made up their roster. Change is inevitable – and Radio has evolved a lot in the past 40 years. I just can’t believe that the vitriolic comments published here would be matched if you asked today’s teens & twenties for their views. PS – I quite like Smooth FM (in the North)!


Warren from Lancashire


Sent: 19 May 2006 20:22

Disservice to the Listeners


In regard to the last post about Radios 1 and 2, I think his or her comments are totally spot on. Radio 1 has been dragged down so much it's a disgrace: the DJs totally lack intelligence or wit and think they are some kind of prima donna celebrities, when most of them are thick chavs totally lacking in charm. At weekends it's the same tired out druggy dance music presented by fortysomethings who are trying to relive their glory days from at least 15 years ago. I thought the big clearout of fortysomething DJs was supposed to have occured under Matthew Bannister, but now we have the dance music equivalents of Smashey and Nicey playing the same repetitive and dated twaddle that passes for weekend Radio 1 music. Since you can usually get chart music, rap, urban music and dance on commercial radio, what really is the point of Radio 1 now as it's just like some version of Kiss FM funded by the licence fee?


However, while Radio 2 is good some of the time, even it has gone down the drain in the last 12 months. Yes, Wogan is still excellent and Ross, Bruce, Vine, Allinson, Maconie, Harris and Walker are very good, but it's becoming too much like a slightly older Radio 1 at times. The appointment of Chris Evans at Drivetime, which saw well loved faetures like the Mystery Voice scrapped in favour of some stupid competition with Evans bullying contestants, has dragged Radio 2 downhill. He's not funny, his choice of music is useless.. he's relegated Sally Boazman to simply reading the traffic out (how I miss the banter with Johnnie Walker) and, worst of all, he loves the sound of his own voice. Similarly Steve Wright still thinks he's on Radio 1, with a posse of stupid sycophants and annoying sound effects, and has now dragged up his funny characters again in the shape of the Old Woman, who should be retired to a home, and the totally unfunny Ask Elvis.


Then we've had a raft of hopeless celebs inflicted on the station like Dermot O Leary, in the place of Richard Allinson, and Davina Mc Call. Thankfully Evans has moved over on Saturday to make way for Stuart Maconie, but really Macaroni was the listeners choice to replace Johnnie Walker on weekdays and he's wasted here. I don't think it will be long before the likes of Sara Cox and Jade Goody end up on Radio 2 as it's becoming as full of celebs as Radio 1.


Then the station goes from the sublime to the ridiculous. Sunday Radio 2 is still very much the Light Programme, and while Radio 1 is inflicting no wits like Spoony on its audience, the Radio 2 alternative is Parkinson, playing his miserable collection of jazz records and interviewing his stuck up friends for his own amusement. As Sunday progresses, you get Russell Davies and his collection of ancient records, Pick of the Pops, which seems to never get past 1966, then a bit of light relief with Johnnie Walker, but even he sounds neutered in this slot. Following on from Johnnie is the fun that is Melodies for You, as morbid as it was when David Jacobs scared people with it on Sunday mornings in the eighties, and then even more antiquated programmes like Your Hundred Best Tunes and the David Jacobs Collection. Meanwhile Radio 1 is churning out Sara Cox, the hopeless new look Top 40 and Mr Smashey of the dance scene Dave Pearce.  BBC Radio's music stations are a total no go area for anyone under 65 and over 30 on Sundays.


Radios 1 and 2 seem to be performing a great disservice to the listeners at the moment, especially those of us who want to hear interesting presenters, uninterrupted music and stimulating chat. I'll admit Vernon Kay isn't too bad on Radio 1, and 1 is still excellent for covering concerts, but it's not a patch on what it used to be. Radio 2 is still excellent in parts, especially from 7.00 to 2.00 during the day, and through the night, but the way it's going is worrying as it's becoming like a lighter Radio 1 and competiting head on with Radio 1, which is pointless. What Radio 2 should offer is an alternative to the pap on Radio 1 aimed at the listener over 30 who wants to hear interesting programmes and a wide range of music without DJs talking over it. Fortunately, my local BBC station, Radio Cumbria, can provide an alternative of news, music and guest interviews while Wright, Evans and Mills are indulging in an ego battle, and their specialist Night Network programmes are a must for fans of quality pop and rock. However, it's a shame that two once great radio stations are being usurped for music and presentation by a backwater local station in Cumbria.


Glenn Aylett



Wed 12 April 2006 21:17


What is Radio 1?

You know, I was reading through all of the emails here and one question I asked myself was: 'What is Radio 1?' Apart from the mainly crap music, the so-called 'sales' charts {never in a million years are those Top 40 charts legit}, we have Scott Mills sounding like a bloody schoolgirl still with his virginity intact. We have Chris Moyles, whose mouth matches his gut. Jo Whilley, who may well be a very nice person in real life, but on the air she's 2006's version of Annie Nightingale. We have Spoony who has a habit of stopping after almost every three words and fights to put a sentence together. A pair of giddy pillocks to present the Top 40 show {and if you believe in that charts' acuracy more fool you!}. There's a pair of squabbling kids on in the weekday afternoons. So I ask again, what is Radio 1?


From one Monday morning to the next, non-stop, we are left with faceless 'presenters', most of who are about as intelligent as Sooty. Friday nights sound like a bloody den for drug addicts!


In 1993, a Radio 1 controller, Matthew Bannister gave some of the finest presenters and talent the sack. He decided Radio 1 needed a bit of a, ahem, change. So out went Bob Harris, Johnnie Walker, Adrian Juste, the great Fluff Freeman, Jakkii Brambles, Tommy Vance, Gary Davies ... In fact, the only two of the 'old guard' left were Annie Nightingale and John Peel.


It appears Radio 2, in 2006, is about as near to what Radio 1 was in the early 90s. But we aren't quite right here either.

Hands up anybody who can stand school mistress Sarah Kennedy? ... No, Neither can I. What about motormouth Mo Dutta, who loves listening to his own voice more than he does anybody else's or even the music? ... I quite agree. A complete arse! What about Steve Wright? ... Not bad, but weren't many of us listening to 'Steve Wright in the Afternoon' on Radio 1 in the 80s? I swear blind we were. I remember also him escaping {just} from a Glaswegian guy's fist near a Radio 1 caravan in George Square in 1984. Now what about Dale Winton? ... He took over from Fluff Freeman on April 1 2000 presenting the long- since legendary 'Pick of the Pops'. Six years later Winton still can't do a Top 20 countdown without making a cock-up {oops!} of one kind or another.

Winton tries doing a Fluff and rushes the countdown, leaving far too much of the 'Swingin' Cymbals' music breezing along behind him, errr, behind his voice!! Almost every artist gets two mentions, as does almost every record title. You'd think he would have gotten hold of it {countdown} after six years, but no. 'Pick of the Pops' is now a bloody mess, with Winton about as knowledgeable with the charts as Tony Blair is with the 'A'-'Z' of Ann Summers latest fashions in kinky lingerie.


I'm never surprised by the number of under 20s who write/email in for requests on the excellent 'Sounds of the Sixties', presented by Brian Matthew every Saturday morning. What scares me is who is going to replace Brian when he decides to turn it in? That's if some wretched controller at Radio 2 doesn't make a clear-out first, making Brian a casualty.


Who listens to that ginger-headed Chris Evans on Radio 2 each Saturday afternoon? ... No, nor do I. I'm sick to death of the many folk who class this freak as a 'genius'. He's no more a genius than your local fish 'n' chip salesman. The only thing that's got Evans where he is now has been his big mouth.

To think Chris Evans is taking over from Johnnie Walker on Radio 2's 'drivetime' show at the end of the month is about as crazy as any member of BBC management can get. And we know all about them now don't we?


Commercial radio is crap. Virgin FM, Heart, Capital FM, Kiss FM, all playing the same bloody half-dozen records every single hour of the day. Jazz FM was replaced by Smooth FM. What's so Smooth about the likes of "Uptight" by Stevie Wonder, "Going To A Go-Go" by the Miracles, "The Night" by Frankie Valli & the 4 Seasons and "Hold Back The Night" by Trammps? C'mon, you're either Smooth FM or you're not. At present you're nothing.


Many of us will always remember the talents of presenters such as Simon Mayo, Simon Bates, John Peel, Tommy Vance, Anne Marie Grey, Gary Davies, Adrian John, Dave Lee Travis, Adrian Juste, Fluff and the like. Presenters who could be relied on to put a show together with minimum of waffle.


All Radio 1 is left with now are faceless, drug-induced, brain-dead zombies who think good music has to be accompanied by five tons of crack cocaine.

Who says Radio 2 won't follow in five years time? The muck is already sliding in, via the likes of Evans on 'Drivetime'.


I'll catch up with you in five years ...


Russtti Gaynor


Sunday 26 March 2006 23:29

Is Radio 2 the new Radio 1?


I'm sure that, barring Friday and Sunday nights, Radio 2 is becoming the new Radio 1. The signing of Chris Evans for drivetime- not my ideal choice, as he replaces the respected music lover Johnnie Walker- seems to me that Radio 2 is on the offensive. Listening to Steve Wright, his show sounds almost identical, without the funny characters, to the one he hosted on Radio 1. The way the show majors on eighties pop makes me think that I'm listening to his show from twenty years ago on Radio 1. If I hadn't listened to the radio since 1989, I would be convinced that I was listening to his Radio 1 show again as the clapping and cheering and the use of a zoo format is almost identical.


However, the ultimate irony was two weeks ago when I was on the way to a football match in Darlington. The minibus had Radio 1 on opposite to the Jonathan Ross show on 2 and Vernon Kay was far more restrained and the music was as mild as that Wogan would play, well not quite, but near enough. Normally, we'd protest if we had to endure Radio 1 on a weekday- Chris Moyles in particular- but no one complained and the show was sedate to say the least. It was funny that when Radio 2 is at its most cutting edge on a Saturday, Radio 1 becomes very restrained and tame. I was even expecting Terry Wogan to appear. Perhaps the BBC think by making Radio 2 like Radio 1 with Ross, O Leary and Evans on, the fan of less manic presentation will drift across to Radio 1. Even Sara Cox sounded about as threatening as Sarah Kennedy. I was pleasantly surprised.

However, all seems to be very strange at BBC Radio at the moment. I even heard on Johnnie Walker's show a 17 year old, surely core Radio 1 material, e mailing in to say how much he and his friends loved the show, when logically they should be listening to Scott Mills. Similarly my boss, who is 37 and should be a Radio 2 man, detests the station and always listens to Radio 1. It's strange that Radio 2 can play some very cutting edge music like The Arctic Monkeys, while Radio 1 seems happy to plod away with rap, pop and dated dance music, which is about as radical as Sing Something Simple. Even hearing Dave Pearce last week made me realise how safe and conservative this music has become and the show seemed a sanitised thing, unlike the moral panic this music caused 16 years ago.


However, the radical, new look Radio 2 on Saturdays and soon on weekdays must make you wonder what is the point of Radio 1, as it seems to be missing the core audience, who are drifting across to Radio 2 to hear some celeb presenter or the Arctic Monkeys, while catering to ageing clubbers and thirty somethings who think they're trendy. Scott Mills, Edith Bowman, the knocking on Jo Whiley, Dave Pearce and Vernon Kay seem so safe they should be on Radio 2, while Radio 2 is trying to be some kind of new Radio 1 it looks odd. Don't be surprised if Radio 2 sign up Chris Moyles next, while Radio 1 presents some kind of dance show playing ancient rave tunes for the over thirties hosted by Dave Pearce.


We're living in odd times, where Radio 2 is cutting edge now and Radio 1 seems to be left behind. However, so long as Wogan and Ken Bruce hold the fort on 2, I'll be happy, but Radio 1 is becoming odder, while Radio 2 is becoming so trendy it'll hire Abi Titmuss next to do the traffic.


Glenn Aylett



Saturday, 18 March 2006 14:20

The Golden Days of Early Radio One


I frequently tell my kids today whilst they're watching all the rubbish at Breakfast time that if we wanted entertaining at breakfast when we were kids (and I'm nearly 45 ) we only had the radio. my opinion, we were lucky. My staple breakfast before school was toast, cereals, a boiled egg and Tony Blackburn. A large glass of orange cordial ( Remember Quosh? ) and I was ready to take the world on. Tony Blackburn, DLT, Noel Edmonds, they weren't just DJs, they were entertainers. Great music, corny jokes, great phone ins, a great era for radio.


I'm a really big radio fan from the 60's and 70's and I have literally 1000's of shows that I've recorded myself and traded with guys and gals off this site and elsewhere. I was very, very lucky, my Dad was a radio nut himself and therefore, we always had good radio and tape equipment around the house. At 4 years of age, I could tell you the names of all the pirate DJs and can remember listening to shows at various times of the day and night.


P.O.T.P. on the Light Programme was a must. Fluff in my opinion is the greatest DJ ever to walk the planet. I was 6 years old when Radio 1 was launched that famous day in September 1967. My Dad recorded the very 1st show with Tony Blackburn and I still have it to this very day ( although I've since got hold of a better quality copy).


The Golden years for Radio 1 were I feel 1967 - 1987 with the peak of those years being 1969 - 1979. Terry Wogan, Jimmy Young, Kenny Everett, Johnny Moran, Tony Brandon, DLT, Tony Blackburn, Noel Edmunds, Rosko, Dave Cash, Pete Murray, Ed Stewart, Alan Freeman. Thank Goodness I'm a hoarder and I can listen to all these loads and loads of shows to bring back all the happy, warm memories that these guys gave me.


I always feel comparing other Sunday afternoon Top 20 presenters with Tom Browne is like comparing other James Bond actors with Sean Connery. That's another thing I did, keep all the Top 20s from 1972 onwards, still listen to them now..........................virtually every day. It's not sad, its just appreciation of what radio gave to people my age in that wonderful wonderful era. I'm a Radio 2 guy now, plus a few local Gold stations in and around my area.


AND.................Matthew Bannister and Co., remember this... in 40 years time, the kids of today when they're in their 50's and 60's will find it very hard to remember the names of all the DJs that they're listening to today on Radio 1. They are faceless, (in a lot of cases without talent or charisma) and will be forgotten very quickly. Our heroes will never be forgotten.


I'll sign off now, I happen to know that a lot of folk my age will read this and identify so well with what I'm saying. We were so lucky to have what we had.


Ah well, Ive got an Alan Freeman POTP show to enjoy now from April 1972. Must go!!


Not arf.


Eric Lawton.




Sun 27/11/2005 18:40


Anne Nightingale Request Show


This was essential listening for me and a couple of million other devotees in the eighties. Well faced with Game for A Laugh on the family television and Anne Nightingale playing Killing Joke, I always chose the latter.


Replacing the legendary bluesman Alexis Korner was always going to be a difficult task, but Anne's move into this slot soon developed a large following. ( Her request show was previously an afternoon thing.) For eleven years Anne's eclectic mix of music, interesting letters and the endorsement" this is the show the stars listen to" was a winner. While the most banal chart music was never played, you'd never hear Kajagoogoo on her show, Anne played a mixture of classic but cool tracks from the seventies and sixties- on one show in 1992 she played the full version of Shine On You Crazy Diamond by Pink Floyd-, contemporary alternative rock and a few comedy records, Otway and Barrett regularly cropped up. As the show had quite a discerning listener base, requests for Black Lace would obviously get binned, the choice of music was excellent. I can recall many happy evenings listening to the request show, and Anne obviously had an excellent rapport with the audience.


Unfortunately the request show was Bannisterised and ditched in 1994, but Anne Nightingale still broadcasts a programme of chill out music on Sunday early mornings and has a huge following in the dance scene. Now that John Peel has sadly died, Anne is now the longest serving DJ on the station and is in her sixties.


In place of Anne Nightingale's Request Show is a more modern take on her show, Dave Pearce's Dance Anthems, which has been running for eight years in Anne's old slot. While it's a different show, majoring on dance music, the principle is similar if more up to date, with listeners e mailing and phoning in their "shouts" and Pearce behaving like Anne Nightingale used to acting like the listener's friend and playing their requests.


Perhaps Anne Nightingale's Request Show could be revived on Radio 2, which would be the ideal base for this kind of show, perhaps replacing morbid old Miseries for You and giving people something worth listening to on Radio 2 on Sundays. It would be an excellent idea for the millions of us that have fond memories of this show from the eighties.


Glenn Aylett




27 October 2005 02:12

BBC Management "Destroyed a Radio station"


Really enjoyed the website. I stumbled across it earlier today and am still up at 2 in the morning listening to clips of Burnett, Edmonds and of course the genius that was cuddly Ken.


I, like so many children of the 60s, was a devotee of Radio One. Noel Edmonds's show was what I and my friends talked about when we got to school. People who now regard Edmonds as naff should look back to those days when he was on the breakfast show. He was the coolest thing in broadcasting - the radio equivalent of The Beatles.


The station, up until the 90s reorganisation debacle, was required listening both for the music and the DJs. Of course there was a lot of rubbish on there too. I loathed some of the DJs like Gary Davies but Maybe I was just jealous because all the girls seemed to fancy him. And of course he had my dream job. Equally though some of the programming was sublime and witty and it was wonderful to hear some of it again.


The astonishing arrogance of BBC management destroyed a radio station that was loved and enjoyed by millions and for reasons that it is still hard to understand. It is something that could only be done by a corporation that has a guaranteed income from a tax that we must all pay but over which it seems we have absolutely no influence. Yes, the station needed some reform and some of the DJs were complacent and needed moving on, but at its heart there was nothing fundamentally wrong - as Radio 2 continues to prove.


Paul Owen



26 October 2005 12:34


Liverpool Week Out


"I remember when Radio 1 came to Liverpool for a week in 1981/2 where the station came down to publicise its new transmitter on 271 metres. I wasn't that much into the station at that time, but can vaguely remember a week of programmes and roadshows from this time.   About 15 years later I boarded a local bus with a big rapidly fading mini poster on the drivers door with Radio 1, the big 1 logo on it and underneath 271!   What we'd give for a shot of this one!   PS the main thing I miss from the Radio 1 is all the formal stuff, time signals and especially VHF switchovers. When the station ditched the metres and went to KHz and from VHF to FM, the whole thing was never the same & something unique about British radio was lost for ever.  


Dave LLoyd




Wed 17/08/2005 23:38


Radio 1 Not The Same


Carol Dooley, former breakfast crew member on the Simon Mayo show in 1988 recalls her time at the station;


"My time at Radio 1 was too short, just a few months, but it was very sweet. I count myself lucky that I got the opportunity to work with people I had always looked up to,- jocks who were huge to me and to most of their audience- Simon Mayo of course, DLT, Adrian John (great guy), Simon Bates, Steve Wright (who was just terrific).


"Just to be in the same studio that Roger Scott had broadcast in was an amazing thing to me. What a wonderful broadcaster he was...Anyway most of these guys left not long after that time so I will always be grateful for having had the opportunity to work with some of them."


"Radio 1 just isn't the same any more. Johnny Beerling was a great boss though I remember getting into trouble for using the word 'toss' on the air (In Ireland it had a different connotation). I have a memory of Simon Mayo sliding onto to floor and I knew I had said something that I shouldn't!! I was young and shy and thought I would be fired!"


"I could tell you a couple of stories but it might be best to let them rest! " 


Carol Dooley
Program Director
Classic Rock 92.9 KISM


Sat 23/07/2005 15:23


Matthew Bannister - The Butcher of Radio 1


Could you imagine BBC1 or ITV 12 years ago deciding that Eastenders and Coronation St were too popular and getting rid of all the established stars, seeing ratings nearly halve and then declaring the changes to be a success while most of the established viewers abandoned the shows in droves? No, I hardly think the producers of these shows would have dared. However, such a thing happened at Radio 1 between 1993 and 1997, when the new controller Matthew Bannister, a former Newsbeat newsreader and a BBC hatchet man approved by Bad King John Birt, wrecker of the BBC, decided that Radio 1 was too bad because it attracted 16 million or more listeners a week- similar to the audiences that watched the two big soaps- and wasn't elitist enough.


Birt, because the trendies in the music press sneered at Radio One and Harry Enfield sent up the station on his television show, decided to instruct Bannister to totally update the station and brutally purge established favourites in favour of music journalists and serious presenters. The appointment of Bannister saw the rapid departures and sackings of such established favourites as DLT, who rubbished the new order on his Sunday show, Simon Bates, Adrian Juste( who was sacked on air, a total disgrace by the BBC), Gary Davies, Jakki Brambles, Alan Freeman and Bruno Brookes. In their place came the totally joyless Emma Freud, whose lunchtime show had such jolly subjects as Rwanda as its talking points, the hopeless Lisa I Anson, and such deadly dull music experts as Jo Whiley, whose show sounded like it was sponsored by the NME as it was relentless indie music and club DJs whose tuneless dirges replaces such well loved shows as the Friday and Saturday rock shows. No wonder 6 million listeners deserted the station in 18 months, who could stomach Emma Freud's humourless show. When the station decided in 1995 that it would no longer play records more than five years old, and became so obsessed with being trendy it refused to play a new Beatles single, listeners over 25 ran away for good. And Bannister and his Stalinist head of music, Trevor Dann, considered these brutal and callous changes to be a success.


Then there was the fiasco that was the Chris Evans breakfast show. While Evans temporarily reversed the ratings decline at Radio 1, his show soon became noted as a bastion of laddish, second rate, often lavatorial humour, while the DJ gained a reputation for being a loudmouthed moron who thought he was bigger than the station. Unless you were a new lad type, his breakfast show was something you steered clear of. However, even Bannister tired of Evans egomania and when he demanded a shorter working week, and insulted Bannister on air, the ginger one was sacked. In his place came the even more unbearable Mark and Lard, whose breakfast show shed listeners like dandruff, and you gained the impression by 1997 that Radio 1 was committing suicide.

In July 1997 the unthinkable happened. Radio 1's audience figures fell below 10 million for the first time and the station fell behind Radio 2, losing its title as the nation's favourite radio station. The reasons were simple: Radio 1 had become so obsessed with breaking new music and its presenters so talentless and joyless it had become unlistenable. Gone were the days when millions would down tools to hear Our Tune, in its place was now some dirge by an obscure indie band, so audiences fled. Radio 2, seeing that the changes at Radio 1 were costing the BBC millions of listeners, decided to ditch its Radio Senile image, hired some old Radio 1 favourites like Steve Wright and Johnny Walker, and started playing classic pop songs instead of Mantovani. Radio 1 was now trapped in a ghetto that was great for indie and dance fans, but totally unbearable for everyone else and no had the ultimate insult of being overtaken by Radio 2 in the ratings. Locally, in Cumbria, Radio 1 in 1993 was the most popular station, but by 1997 had fallen to fourth.

Matthew Bannister finally stepped down as Radio 1 controller in April 1998. In five short years he had turned a well loved institution into a national joke, Radio No One and Radio One Listener were common jokes at the time. While it was certainly true Simon Bates and Steve Wright in the Afternoon were becoming tired out by 1993, the wholesale destruction of presenters and shows was a disgrace from which Radio 1 has never recovered.


This is what I think should have happened in 1993 if I was given the job of modernising Radio 1. Simon Bates was becoming worn out in his weekday morning slot, the simple solution would be to give him weekend breakfasts- Our Tune would have been ideal for Sundays- and his show would complement that of the veteran DLT. In his place on weekdays, which actually happened, would come Simon Mayo, while I would have moved Steve Wright from the afternoons to breakfasts, again Wright held the breakfast show for a short period before being replaced by the awful Chris Evans. Lunchtimes would still be hosted by Jakki Brambles, whose career was brutally cut short by Bannister, while Nicky Campbell and Bruno Brookes would have hosted the afternoon shows. In the evenings, seeing the rise of dance music at the time, Dave Pearce would have been given a two hour dance show from 6 till 8, followed by Steve Lamacq and John Peel playing alternative music. The weekend schedule would have remained largely unchanged with old favourites like DLT, The Old Record Club and Anne Nightingale's Request Show being retained, though Pete Tong would gain a show on a Saturday night to play club music. Radio 1 would have played a mixture of cutting edge music at night and a mixture of current and old pop hits by day. Ratings would have remained high and Maybe Radio 1 to this day would have been the nation's favourite.


Unfortunately Bannister and Trevor Dann went to the other extreme and decided Radio 1 had to be so relentlessly trendy it alienated millions of long term listeners. Fortunately Radio 2 came to the rescue and hired many old Radio 1 stars in the late nineties. However, when Radio 2 does its Light Programme thing on a Sunday, anyone under 60 has nowhere to go with BBC Radio, as Radio 1 rigidly sticks to its new music policy. This is a gap the BBC needs to fill, perhaps when Radio 2 goes back to being Radio Senile, why doesn't Radio 1 put on something like the Anne Nightingale Request Show opposite Miseries( Melodies) For You. I'm sure this would be a good ploy by the BBC to keep 30 to 60 year old listeners on a Sunday.


Glenn Aylett,


Sat 25/06/2005 20:24

Johnny Beerling



Following on from my post on Derek Chinnery, how about his successor and the last true Radio One controller, Johnny Beerling, who was pushed into resigning from the BBC in 1993 because it was " like working under communism." We all know what came next, a purge at Radio One that Stalin would have been proud of that ruined the station and a music policy that was so rigid it felt like it was being policed by the KGB. Beerling was the last great controller of Radio One in my view.


Beerling had succeeded Derek Chinnery with a Radio One that was still in excellent health even with competition from ILR and the pirate Laser 558. The line up of DJs and shows that had been established under Chinnery was still very popular, Simon Bates was pulling in nine million listeners, for example, and it was probably true to say most factories downed tools when the theme to Our Tune came on. Shortly after taking over the station, it was Beerling who had to organise Radio One coverage of Live Aid, a mammoth undertaking that involved 14 hours of live outside broadcasting from London and Philadelphia, and which was broadcast with few technical problems despite the oppressive heat at both concert venues.


Radio One under Beerling also benefited from changes at Radio Two. While Radio Two was often the older relation to Radio One, concentrating less on pop and rock, its more youthful presenters like Steve Jones and David Hamilton appealed to Radio One- type audiences who weren't keen on Steve Wright. Under changes Matthew Bannister would have been proud of, Radio 2 in February 1986 decided to abandon most contemporary pop in favour of show tunes, MOR nonsense and Melodies for You style classical music. Jones and Hamilton were forced out in favour of David Jacobs and, for a time, Hughie Green( as bad as it sounds.) No surprises that Radio Two audience figures nosedived and Radio One was established as the nation's primary station for all categories of pop and rock from Elvis to Erasure.


Finally, under Beerling, Radio One gained its own FM frequencies after years of sharing FM with Radio 2. This meant the station's sound quality could now be appreciated in stereo and was better for listening to a rock track than on medium wave, this brought Radio One into line with ILR stations which had always broadcast on stereo FM. This helped ratings stay at an excellent 18 million for the rest of the eighties as listeners had complained for years about Radio One being on medium wave and this silenced one major criticism of the station. One beneficiary of the move to FM was Top of the Pops, which became a simulcast between BBC1 and Radio One. 1991 also saw Radio One go to 24 hour broadcasting.


In terms of presenters Beerling hired Simon Mayo, who was to become one of the station's major stars until he retired in 2001, Johnnie Walker was rehired to present the Saturday Sequence, Jakki Brambles took over the lunchtime show from Gary Davies in 1991, and Nicky Campbell's authoritative tones were first heard in 1986. In terms of sackings, mercifully Janice Long, who was like an earlier version of Jo Whiley: boring and biased, was shown the door in 1988, while Mike Smith's hopeless reign on the breakfast show was brought to an abrupt end when he was replaced by the superior Simon Mayo, who brought the concept of a zoo format to the breakfast show which has been copied ever since.


However, it was true that the station's format was becoming a little tired by the early nineties and audience figures were falling among the under 25s, though overall Radio One was still attracting 16 million listeners a week. The station had largely ignored the rise of the dance scene in the early nineties, although it was probably true that the audience who tuned into Simon Bates would be less than pleased to hear an ear splitting rave track on Our Tune, while DLT and Nicky Campbell railed against " techno computer printouts" and moaned about " singer songwriters hiding in their bunkers." Sixties oldies, which would have been more suited to Radio Two, were still heard on Radio One, while in 1992 the station broadcast an Emerson, Lake and Palmer concert from 1974, hardly the kind of thing a teenage raver or grunger would have wanted to hear. Also the line up of shows like Simon Bates and Steve Wright seemed to never change and the presenters were becoming complacent. New stations like Atlantic 252, which played chart music with little talk, and also had competitions where listeners could win £ 5000, were attracting five million listeners.


However, regardless of what John Birt thought, Radio One was still a huge success and the DJs were still very popular, as Johnny Beerling pointed out when he left the station. Beerling, I think, if he was kept on for a few more years, would have made some cosmetic changes to the station, just as he did in 1988 when under performing DJs like Janice Long and Mike Smith were sacked. I think Simon Bates would have been moved to the early show, as he had a big following with truckers, while the morning show would have been passed to someone like Bruno Brookes. Realising the station wasn't attracting the dance music audience, I would imagine Dave Pearce and Pete Tong would have been given shows, but the whole unlistenable weekend night output would have been avoided and favourites like the Friday and Saturday rock shows would have remained. Meanwhile shows like DLT, the Old Record Club and the Anne Nightingale Request Show would have continued.


While Beerling has sometimes received an unfair press for letting Radio One become complacent, I still think he is one of the Radio One greats and wasn't prepared to ruin the station just because a few trendies didn't like it. After all, when he retired, Radio One was still very popular, but under the new style BBC of Birt the station had to be brutally purged and modernised and Beerling wasn't prepared to do this. I admire him for standing to his principles and the changes he made to Radio One during his eight year reign.


Glenn Aylett,



Sat 04/06/2005 15:23

Derek Chinnery


While much mention is made of the great DJs and shows on Radio 1, very little is mentioned of the controllers, barring Matthew Bannister for obvious reasons. How about Derek Chinnery, who ran Radio 1 from 1978 to 1984.

Under Chinnery Radio 1 gained the far superior 275/285m wavelengths and gained home rule from Radio 2, Chinnery being Radio 1's first controller- pre 1978, the station was run by a Radio 2 controller- and Radio 1 finally had to stop taking programmes like Friday Night is Music Night from Radio 2. Radio 1 saw its broadcasting hours extended to 18 hours a day under Chinnery, useful in the fight against the growing number of 24 hour a day ILR stations.


Derek Chinnery was responsible for hiring such eighties ratings winners as Steve Wright, Gary Davies and Mike Read. It was under Chinnery that the Read/ Bates/ Davies/ Wright set up was established that proved to be such a success in the eighties. In specialist programming, Radio 1 in the Chinnery era saw The Friday Rock Show established as the only and excellent national heavy metal show on the radio, Robbie Vincent's funk show appeared as this new genre of music was taking off, while Radio 1 introduced its first current affairs show in 1980, Studio B15, a kind of Panorama with a bit more fun. Other memorable shows which appeared in the Chinnery era were My Top Ten, where a celebrity gave an interview to Andy Peebles and chose their favourite Top Ten records, the legendary Anne Nightingale Request Show and Paul Gambaccini's documentaries on rock legends like the Rolling Stones. It was no surprise that Radio 1 ratings stayed at 18 million throughout Chinnery's reign as the shows were so good.


Chinnery wasn't afraid to get rid of some dead wood shows either, although he was not a brutal axe man like Bannister and believed in keeping respected names on the station along with newcomers. Paul Burnett's afternoon show wasn't making the grade, so Chinnery replaced him with Steve Wright and saw ratings double on what was considered a graveyard show. The patronising and outdated Junior Choice was finally laid to rest in 1984 and it was replaced by a far more contemporary show presented by Peter Powell. Similarly the un Radio 1 Sounds of Jazz was finally farmed out to its natural home Radio 2 in 1982. DLT's late afternoon show was becoming tired by 1982, but, as DLT was such a familiar DJ to millions of listeners, his show was given a new lease of life on weekend mornings.


There were some mistakes made, of course. Letting Noel Edmonds give up his legendary Sunday morning show was a colossal error as this was the best show on the radio at the time. Similarly getting rid of Kid Jensen and replacing him with the dull Janice Long and her obsession with Liverpool indie bands was another mistake. Swapping Tommy Vance for Simon Bates on the Top 40 made the show boring. Meanwhile Steve Wright started to get very overbearing on his afternoon show, and I often wonder why the station didn't push harder to get Kenny Everett instead of Radio 2 as he would have made a fantastic successor to Noel Edmonds.

However, these were minor quibbles and Derek Chinnery will always go down in my book as Radio 1's finest controller.


Glenn Aylett,



Mon 16/05/2005 21:31


Not 'Because We're Older'


Looking through this excellent website has brought back some happy memories for me. 


Whilst the principal objective of Radio 1 was always to champion current and new music, in particular the Top 40, in some ways the music played was less important than the quality of the DJs themselves.  Put simply Radio 1 had a way of making you feel good about life – even when, as happened from time to time, the quality of music in the charts was going through a bit of a lull.  Having been born in 1965 I was lucky to have been a teenager during what surely must rank as the station’s ‘golden era’ of the late 1970s and early 1980s.  During this time it was inconceivable to me or my friends that we would listen to any other Radio station.  Waking up to the sound of DLT and later Mike Reid was a joy each weekday morning and on Tuesday lunchtimes we’d be glued to the new Top 40 countdown on the Paul Burnett show.  The fact that Top Of The Pops was also presented entirely by Radio 1 DJs made our association with the current music scene complete.  In those days the vast majority of number one singles first entered the chart at a fairly low position and then climbed steadily to the number one spot over several weeks – thanks mainly to Radio 1 airplay.  This concept is almost unheard of now.


The ever changing face of British pop music ensured that Radio 1 evolved in its own way over the years and like many I have never been able to accept the aggressive changes that were made from 1993 by Matthew Bannister and co.  The fact that Radio 1 is a national station funded by a compulsory licence fee and had excellent listening figures at the time made the upheaval even harder to swallow.  How the net result of losing millions of listeners to rival commercial stations can ever be considered value for licence payers’ money is beyond me.  At the time Radio 2 had yet to develop its appeal to those in their late 20s and 30s and many people, my wife included, never made the transition to Radio 2, preferring instead to stick with commercial stations.  The way some Radio 1 DJs were treated in ‘93, in particular DLT and Simon Bates, was nothing short of disgraceful.  Surely the Simon Bates show must rank as the saddest casualty of all.  I mean how can a show that attracted a following of up to 11 million be dropped entirely from BBC Radio?  Alright Maybe at times we didn’t know whether to cry or cringe during ‘Our Tune’ but this and the ‘Golden Hour’ were national institutions and certainly this was one show that should at the very least have been moved to Radio 2.  These days Simon is well established on Classic FM where the length of classical music tracks and commercials only serve to restrict his dialogue.  I hope that it will never be too late for him to come back to national BBC Radio.


It’s easy for some people to dismiss our disapproval of the current Radio 1 as simply being a symptom of getting older but we all know that there’s more to it than this.  A previous contributor to this page sums up the situation very well when he says that youngsters are not only interested in hearing up-to-date music (not just dance tracks though) but also want to be able to respect the DJs.  Too many of today’s Radio 1 DJs have zero class and sound like drunken louts.  How can anyone – whatever their age - respect them?  In my opinion Terry Wogan’s remarks made in August 2001 about Radio 1 bosses now catering for "the lowest common denominator" are spot on.    


Thanks for some great memories.  I still live in hope that sometime in the not too distant future the kids of today will have a Radio 1 that that will mean as much to them as it once did to us.



Mark Woolley




Fri 25/03/2005 19:44


Rock Revival


It's a shame that not long after the legendary John Peel died that another Radio 1 legend, Tommy Vance, died. Tommy was one of the few champions of heavy metal on British radio and as a 17 year old metal fan, his show was the only place to hear the latest offering from Van Halen. He had a genuine enthusiasm and love for the music, and when he returned to Radio 1 in 1978 after a stint at Capital Radio, he was in the right place at the right time as the second generation of heavy metal bands like Iron Maiden were starting the British metal revival. When Tommy said a band was good, you'd better believe it, and bands like Iron Maiden, Motorhead and Def Leppard owed their success to Tommy's endorsements.


Apart from metal, Tommy was also the greatest Top 40 host ever. Fair enough, you couldn't expect him to have much liking for Haircut 100, but he never let it show and he made the Top 40 interesting by telling people snippets of information about each act before playing their single. His gravelly voice also made the show interesting to listen to, his successor, Simon Bates, made it a chore.


Sadly what now occupies Tommy's slot is dance rubbish, the kind of music that has a very limited shelf life and is totally forgettable, unlike all the great rock and metal bands that Tommy promoted and go on forever. Even now bands like Iron Maiden still play to packed venues and Tommy would be delighted to know all the bands he promoted 25 years ago are still popular with rock fans who were too young to remember them first time round.


Now wouldn't it be a good idea if Radio 1, or even Radio 2, which plays a fair bit of heavy rock now, revived the Friday Rock Show. With rock music now bigger than ever, there's a gap in the schedules that needs filling instead of endless dance dross. Come on, BBC, give all us old and young rockers a show we would listen to.


Glenn Aylett,





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