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40 years of BBC Radio One
by Asa Butcher
2007-09-30 10:03:11
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At 7 a.m. on September 30th, 1967, BBC Radio One was launched with Tony Blackburn welcoming in the new broadcasting era with the words, "And, good morning everyone. Welcome to the exciting new sound of Radio 1!" That 'exciting new sound' has finally reached its fourth decade, although it should be stated that I was not born when the station was launched and my days of being a Radio One listener are now in the past.

I must emphasis that it wasn't too far in the past, but I am man enough to admit that the majority of the music played on Radio One today isn't quite to my taste. I began listening to Radio One in the early-1990s, while my Mum was driving us to and from school every day. The half-hour drive to school was filled with Simon Mayo presenting the Breakfast Show, with his ingenious "Confessions" segment in which listeners would submit their embarrassing sins and stories and then Simon would read out them out in the way only he could.

After school we would be treated to Steve Wright in the Afternoon, who is still in the same time slot presenting the same programme – by the way, "Love the show"! I had listened to Steve Wright for years conjuring up an image of the man in my mind's eye, so it was with immense shock that when he appeared on television one day he looked nothing like I had imagined.

It was a similar experience when my brother, future wife and I headed down to Brighton beach early one summer Saturday morning to watch the Radio One Roadshow. The Roadshows were a feature of British summers from 1973 till 1999, when they were sadly replaced by One Big Sunday, and they gave the public the chance to head down to that day's seaside destination and watch a show live, with fun, games, competitions and live performances.

The crowds for the Roadshows were huge and it was no different for Brighton that year, although we were near the front. Half an hour before the show was due to go on-air a scruffy-looking man walked out on to the stage, and was ignored, but when he spoke into the microphone everybody came to life as they realised he was the body of Chris Moyles. One further memory of Radio One Roadshows was my first in Portsmouth, circa 1993, when Take That, who were at the height of their initial success, made a surprise appearance and I was almost killed by the surge of females bodies…. God, the screaming was like the Greek Sirens!

I stuck with Radio One through the 1990s listening to Mark Goodier's Sunday Top 40 Countdown and trying to record certain songs on to cassette – he always talked over the start and end. Chris Evans, Mark and Lard, Zoe Ball, Jo Whiley and many more would accompany me through summer jobs, long drives across country and moments alone, since I am somebody that always needs to have background noise to concentrate. Today many of my favourite presenters are playing my favourite tracks over on Radio Two, so you can find me there – maybe in another 15 years I will have dropped down to Radio Three.

As part of the 40th anniversary celebrations Radio One is taking a nostalgic and, occasionally, embarrassing look at its history since 1967. It is still the foremost radio channel in the UK for certain ages, at least, and it will always be close to my heart and in my memories. At 7 a.m. today Tony Blackburn is joining Chris Moyles as they recreate the launch of the station together; I wonder if they will be playing the first song ever played on Radio One, The Move's "Flowers in the Rain", because I can't imagine the last time it appeared on the station's playlist!

"Woke up one morning half asleep
With all my blankets in a heap…"


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Clint2007-10-01 15:01:00
40 years!! No it was only yesterday. It was one of the most sensible decisions a government had introduced to combat the Pirate Radio Stations. Great DJ's, Great music [then not now] Great times.

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