Happy Birthday LBC Radio

December 1974: That's me driving the desk in Control Room 2 - the producer was Philip Bacon (Photo: Martin Stevens)

LBC, Britain's first 'legal' commercial radio station began broadcasting 35 years ago today - Monday 8th October 1973 at 6.00am.

My radio career began 9 months later - Monday 1st July 1974 - as a studio operator/sound technician at LBC. I stayed there - eventually becoming a producer and, then, spending 8 years as 'Head of Production' - until December 1987, and even after more than 20 years later I still have a soft sport for my radio 'alma mater'

I do find it hard to believe, though, that it was 25 years since Charlie Rose (LBC's archivist for many years) and I produced the 10th anniversary programme - much of which was used five years ago for the station's 30th.

This was the station's original weekday line-up:

0600 The Morning Show - David Jessell
0900 Two In The Morning - Paul Callan & Janet Street-Porter
1200 Open Line - Phil Jay
1400 At Home - with Steve Merike & Bel Mooney or Gillian Strickland
1630 The Afternoon Show - with Clive Roslin
1930 Feedback - with John Torode (not the chef of the same name!)
2200 Nightline - with Stewart Francis or Dennis Rookard (yes - an 8-hour show!)

After a few weeks, Dennis Rookard took over the lunchtime phone-in - replaced on weekend Nightline by Adrian Love - and Phil Jay moved to weekends.

I'm currently in the process of writing a book (publication tba), which will include many stories from my time at LBC - inept management, industrial disputes taking the station off-air for hours, or even days/weeks, at a time, alcoholic staff, the member of senior management who used to keep baby piranha fish in his office, the newsreader who valiantly continued to read a bulletin while a Page 3 girl was stripping off in front of him, the station’s investment in heavy construction plant, the local sales team members with their own ‘back-pocket’ business sidelines, the presenter who was sent home with five minutes to go before his programme because he was too drunk to go on-air…

(In my office at LBC in the mid-1980s - the door behind led to the production studio)

A memento of my time with LBC - my own station jacket (for wearing on Outside Broadcasts etc.). It still fits, by the way!