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NEW Prelaunch Chat - a few minutes before Radio 1's launch, Robin Scott describes the new Station.
Robin Scott was the first controller of Radio 1 (and 2) . He started his radio career with the BBC French Service in 1942. He was the bilingual voice in 'English by Radio' for French listeners, for 10 years. He commentated in French for most major events, including VE and VJ day. He wrote the music for Ruby Murray's song 'Softly Softly' which topped the charts in 1955. He produced programmes for Europe such as 'Miss England' and 'Miss World'. He resigned from the BBC in 1962 to set up his own TV company in Switzerland. In 1964, having returned to the BBC, he directed the 'Top Beat' concerts from the Albert Hall and went on in 1966 to produce 'Its A Knockout'. In March 1967, he was appointed Controller, BBC Light Programme.
He blueprinted Radio 1 in March 1967, and launched it six months later. He was in charge for just over a year, during the crucial launch period. Robin Scott said that 'Hundreds' of would-be disc jockeys had been interviewed for Radio 1 Jobs, and about 25 would go non air from September 30th. The d.j.'s would come from pirate radio ships and present BBC announcers.
He stated that the Radio 1 broadcasting day would be broken in "strips". This meant that some comperes would present a show at the same time, five days a week. There would be jingles, station identifications and promotions for other disc jockeys, in a similar way to the pirates....except there would be no advertisements. Radio 1 would have its own theme tune composed and recorded by George Martin and his Orchestra and called "Theme One", which could be bought by the general public.
He said that 24 hours before launch, it was found that there was a 2 second gap to switch from one studio to another, when a programme finished or started. They managed to cut this down to 1 second, for smoother, faster shows. He was responsible for cutting down on the supporting team for each D.J. In the old 'Light Programme' days, a typical D.J. might take a producer, a production assistant and two technicians - one to put the record on for him, the other playing tapes. The new way was to have the D.J. on his own. "Too big a production staff gets between the performer and his audience" he insisted.
Robin said one of his happiest success stories of 247 was that of Jimmy Young, who joined Radio One from the Light Programme. For many D.J.'s and technicians, he was known as 'Mr 247' - the man who started it all. He was succeeded by Douglas Muggeridge, and became head of BBC-2 Television.
Sadly, Robin passed away in February 2000 aged 79.
Alan Yentob, then BBC Director of Television, on hearing of Robin Scott's death said; "He will be remembered as a pioneer at the BBC..he was a great advocate of quality programme-making and encouraged many talents inside the BBC. His passion for the arts was infectious".