INEVITABLE culmination of post-Rock’n'Roll Years eulogisation of bygone ‘golden age’ when radio was radio and played your favourites all day long, in the form of pseudo-transatlantically-hued occupation of whistle-friendly Long Wave frequency by zany ‘character’ DJs churning out Yank-skewed ‘classic rock’ twenty four hours a day. Novelty of hearing Turtles singles that didn’t chart in the UK exactly how they would have sounded on the radio when not charting in 1965 soon wore off, and nobody much noticed it after that.
DAY-LONG dosage of Two Way Family Favourites for the benefit of ‘our boys’ over ‘there’, utterly unremarkable content-wise but for occasional row occasioned by one of those pesky left-leaning musician types moaning about having no say on whether their records get played on the station or not. Late night phone-ins, reportedly, were a different kettle of tinned rationed fish altogether…
TV CREAM SAYS: "OK, SURE, YEP, WE'LL PASS ON YOUR BEST WISHES, AND HERE'S PHIL COLLINS JUST FOR THEM"
FIRST EVER UK-based commercial station, beating Capital to the air by that all-important couple of months, and offering up a heady mixture of news, news and more news. Light relief (though often only relatively so) provided by nattery likes of Janet Street-Porter, Clive Doig and Jeremy Beadle, the latter with a legendary Sunday night engagement wherein he crossed swords with phoning-in trivia hounds and perpetrated all manner of ambitious hoaxes (including once pretending to be broadcasting on foot, leading to a Police-angering crowd of listeners haring around London attempting to find him, when he was actually in the studio all along). Later scored some additional national attention when Peter Cook took to calling Clive Bull’s show in the guise of stranded Norwegian fisherman Sven, though arguably got its biggest audience ever with a weather bulletin cameoing on Blur’s Parklife LP.
TV CREAM SAYS: "IN TODAY'S SHOW - DO YOU THINK COUNCILLORS SHOULD ACT TO LIMIT
THE VOLUME MARKET TRADERS CAN SHOUT AT?"
ACE breathily passionate female sung “1! 9! 4! Radio Ciiiiiii-tteeeee!” heralded those Hatton’n'Dalglish-centric news bulletins for donkey’s years. Lion’s share of the actual content, though massively popular, has whizzed into cultural history in a blur of enthusing over China Crisis. Nonetheless, listeners all over the globe hungrily hunt down shows from the time when Pete Waterman hosted late eighties Saturday morning caffeine-pop showcase (heavy on the Kylie and Sinitta, unsurprisingly), whence came The Reynolds Girls and Sonia, and other ace shows included Tony Snell’s evening indie sequence, which once featured NME football favourite Pat Nevin on holiday deputisation stint: “mumble mumble…this is The Sugarcubes”. Relevance to city’s cultural firmament long since eroded but still pulls in the punters, now broadcast from the top of Tripods-esque defunct revolving nightmare the erstwhile ‘Tower Restaurant’.
TV CREAM SAYS: "COMING UP NEXT, THE NEW ONE FROM CHINA CRISIS"
ONCE ALL-CONQUERING only realistic rival to the BBC (barring the Pirates, which weren’t exactly state-approved, and kind of fall just outside the three mile exclusion zone-esque limits of the Radio Cream era anyway). The Duchy-centric UK-targeted All Pop And Nothing But service employed washed-up ex-pirates, up and coming new stars and big names who’d got into ‘trouble’ (ie Kenny Everett) to play a mixture of hits and ads, some of the latter – notably Horace Batchelor and his pools-cheating ‘K-E-Y-N-S-H-A-M’-heavy plugs – becoming almost as well known as the pop platters. Fortunes took a nosedive after the launch of Radio 1, and where the station was once big enough to command its own weekly magazine, by the eighties it was struggling to be heard at all (occasioning a series of embarrassing ‘please listen to us’ cinema ads with excruciating “shhh – I think I found ze knob!” punchline), and the 1992 closedown as grimly chronicled for a TV documentary could only muster about three former ‘names’ into the studio to say goodbye. Still, it once formed a pivotal part of the pop firmament, so much so that people get all misty-eyed even when talking about its prone-ness to signal fade.
TV CREAM SAYS: "MAKE A REGULAR DATE WITH 208"
SHORT-LIVED gap in the market-spotting from one Richard Branson, offering an overnight ‘sustain service’ for those impoverished local commercial stations that had to shut down at bedtime, with the exciting and new likes of Ruby Wax, Jonathan Ross and, erm, Steve ‘Interesting’ Davis entertaining late-night listeners (usually with one Chris Evans in the producer’s chair). Ground to a halt when purchasers realised they could save money and fill the gap by paying some eager-to-please newcomer next-to-nothing to present a ‘Love Zone’ made up of that Dan Fogleberg record and requests for ‘Jenny listening in Stockport there’.
TV CREAM SAYS: "DON'T TOUCH THAT DIAL - NOW YOU WON'T NEED TO TOUCH IT EVER AGAIN"
JUST sneaking in under the Cream-Era radar courtesy of initial incarnation as round-the-clock provider of actual genuine ‘talk’, much of it provided by unusually ‘talk’-friendly roster that included Terry Christian, Tommy Boyd, Anna Raeburn, Dale Winton, Samantha Meah, Simon Bates (at last unencumbered by having to fit those pesky ‘records’ into his rants) and Jeremy Beadle, reviving his revered LBC days with a show that involved a demented jingle that rhymed ‘disagreeable’ with ‘Beadle’, and a phone-in quiz about falling down a hole or something. Commercial ownership meant that before long tampering was on the agenda, and it duly mutated into TalkSport, like some nightmarish radio-personification of the 1978 Scoop Sports Annual.
TV CREAM SAYS: "ALSO COMING UP - LIZ HURLEY HAS CAUSED A BIT OF A FUSS THIS WEEK"
ENDURING Hull station which breathed life into the country’s most populous backwater area and still dominates the locality to this day. Early era best remembered for the national canonising via the Best Commercial DJ poll in Smash Hits for much-loved evening jock Tim Finlay (“Hi! How are you?”) who usually came second in the vote to Pat Sharp, to the bemusement of everyone who lived west of Howden. It was here where a Bolan-haired Jon Culshaw was encouraged by a receptionist to quit presenting and forge a career out of the impressions he did; while it also became the first place to put talented urchins JK and Joel together on to what became an unrivalled breakfast show, after years of watching them get pissed together while on separate shifts. Maintains its dominant presence by the city’s Marina to this day.
TV CREAM SAYS: "GOOD MORNING - I'M DESPERATELY TRYING TO SOUND AWAKE"
UTTERLY INSANE technologically regressive courting of the ‘moaner’ listenership launched amidst much ‘back to basics’ Classic Rock hoo-hah on 30th April 1993, promising some kind of revolutionary exploding of the way we listen to radio, which turned out to involve little more than ‘quallidy music’ by the likes of Eric Clapton and Simply Red, toted by the sort of presenters who’d recently been thrown out on their ear by Radio 1, and all of it in glorious Medium Wave Muffle-O-Sound. Drew spectacular fire from the likes of Danny Baker, Chris Morris and Terry Christian, and became something of a laughing stock until a BBC-fleeing Chris Evans bought out a hefty wedge of the company and installed himself on Breakfast, with loads of voluble ‘rising media star’ chums (Jonathan Ross, Gail Porter etc) in tow, when its stock rose a little. Now renamed Absolute Radio and seemingly solely concerned with capturing Razorlight in ever more advanced states of ‘live’.
TV CREAM SAYS: "TWO MINUTES AND COUNTING - TO THE RADIO REVOLUTION!"
DO YOU have fond memories of a local or even national Non-BBC radio station that we haven’t got listed here? Can you say a couple of words about the character of its output that doesn’t just involve listing presenters and dates or waffling on about ‘airchecks’ (whatever they are exactly)?
If so, then please do exactly that in the comments below; even Radio Cream hasn’t heard every station in existence, so this is where YOUR memories come in… and if they’re good enough, you’ll get a namecheck (and not an ‘aircheck’) in the eventual entry!