BBC plans for Radio 247 

12 August 1966

The BBC is finalising plans for a 24-hour radio music station to replace the condemned pirate “pop” ships. It is expected to be called Radio 247, and will aim to attract the millions now listening to pirate broadcasts.

Radio 247 could be ready in just over a month. It would take over the medium wavelength used by the Light Programme.

News too

It would use all the present music programmes broadcast by the Light Programme, including Housewives’ Choice and Double Spin.

But when the Light goes into talks or drama, such as Radio Newsreel or The Dales, Radio 247 would put in music and leave the main service to the Light Programme 1,500-metre waveband.

But Radio 247 would not be all “pop.” It would carry news headlines and occasional classical music.

The Government is preparing a plan for replacing the pirates when the BIll outlawing them comes into force next year.

Under its charter, the BBC could go ahead immediately with Radio 247. But the scheme is being held back to await the Government’s overall plan for the future of broadcasting.

The BBC plan would not mean extending the present limit of 37½ hours a week “needle time” – the time allocated to gramophone records, agreed with the Performing Right Society.

Radio 247 would get round the restriction by using tapes of music made in its studios.


The BBC’s plan, which is likely to be included in the White Paper on broadcasting later this year, follows a visit by Mr. Wedgwood Benn. former Postmaster-General, to Sweden earlier this year.

He examined the Swedish system and was told of a new all-music national station.

Mr. Benn said afterwards: “This would seem to be the answer, although it is not for the Government to tell the BBC how to run its own house.”

A BBC official said last night: “The Corporation is willing to use one or other of the Light Programme wavelengths to give light music. The Government knows this.”

from the Daily Mail 12 August 1966

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