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Prelaunch Chat - a few minutes before Radio 1's launch, Robin Scott describes the new Station.
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' 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
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
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"
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".