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On this Day 1967: BBC launch Radio Leicester

On this Day

On this Day 1967: BBC launch Radio Leicester

OTD, November 8th, 1967…

ATV Midland News reported on the latest venture from the BBC.

Reporter John Wilford took a look at the opening of BBC Radio Leicester, including an interview with station manager Mr Maurice Ennals.

Ennals tells Wilford that he is very pleased Leicester will now have its own local radio station and that it will be a great service for the local community and is in fact the first of its kind in the country. Radio Leicester was the first of the new wave of BBC Local Radio stations introduced in the 1960s. Radio Leicester began broadcasting at 12:45 on 8 November 1967 on 95.05 VHF from a transmitter located on Gorse Hill above the city centre.

The station was launched with the first local radio jingle, which was a version of the Posthorn Gallop. It was followed by a speech by the Postmaster General, the Right Hon. Edward Short. The guests, including the Lord Mayor of Leicester and senior Beeb staff from London, who were greeted by a protest from members of the Free Radio Association, who bemoaned the loss of the pirate stations.

Radio Leicester’s first-ever news bulletin was broadcast next, compiled without any journalists as it was provided by a local news agency. Initially the station only transmitted for four hours a day.

The growth of pirate radio in the 1960s prompted the BBC to draw up a new plan. This included the creation of Radio 1 and Local Radio. Eight experimental stations opened in cities where local authorities were willing to fund part of the cost. BBC Radio Sheffield, BBC Radio Merseyside and BBC Radio Nottingham all followed Leicester onto the airwaves within a few weeks.

In 2023 the Beeb has faced much criticism over their running of BBC Local Radio; with many popular long-standing presenters ditched for a more ‘youth-aimed’ output and areas merged into ‘super regions’ to save money. “They never cut management, do they? It is always the broadcasting side that sees cuts.” said TV Critic Vivian Summers.

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