Radio recall 

3 October 2007

On their 40th anniversary, Ian Beaumont remembers the Radios 1 & 2 he grew up with

As a youngster, I was initially much more of a Radio 2 listener. My mornings were spent listening to the late great Ray Moore, whilst my nights would be spent listening to the News Huddlines and The Law Game, amongst the myriad of game shows and panel games, usually followed by Brian Matthew’s Round Midnight.

I only started listening to Radio 1 in any way shape or form because Radio Cornwall used to rebroadcast the official UK singles chart on Sunday afternoons at 5pm. From that beginning, I started to explore the world of Radio 1 and discovered the news was on the half hour, rather than on the hour. So I developed a habit of listening to Radio Cornwall News on the hour and Radio 1 News on the half hour, and this was years before the idea of half hourly news outside of drivetimes was even considered.

I gradually started listening to the shows around the news and developed a taste for some of the presenters. Simon Bates, Steve Wright and Gary Davies were among my favourites. I liked the fact that they were cheerful, fun and generally happy. But it sounded natural, rather than others on the station whose cheerfulness sounded forced.

All that changed in 1993 with the arrival of Matthew Bannister as Controller of Radio 1. He changed the station from being the fun Contemporary Hit Radio station that it had been to being a marketing man’s stereotypical idea of a young persons station, with stereotypical ideas about music and what young people thought was fun. I was 21 years old at the time, and right in their target audience. But I found it to be even further away from the reality of a 21 year old than what they felt the previous incarnation of Radio 1 was.

I have to say that in general terms a lot of BBC Radio changed around that time, and seemed to be driven by marketing ideas, rather than on the ground realities. For a while I left BBC Radio behind almost entirely and found myself almost exclusively listening to commercial radio.

It’s funny because the Radio 2 I remember, from the early 1980s, was a great station. The Radio 1 I remember from the late 1980s was not only a great station, but was the most popular station on the dial. Yet both stations were tossed away into the garbage of history to be replaced by new incarnations that were in my view significantly worse than their predecessors. And in recent years, both have gone back in that direction somewhat, although Radio 2 has gone much further in that direction than Radio 1 has.

But I still prefer to think of Radio 2 and Radio 1 as I remember hearing them back in the 1980s. They were so much better back then, than they are now.

A Transdiffusion Presentation

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2 responses to this article

keith martin 14 August 2014 at 12:00 pm

I remember, as you do too, that during the early months of Radio 2, the music heard included light classics, played by staff orchestras, along with others playing and singing popular songs. Plus, from time to time, commercial gramophone records. So, do you remember too, mmm?

vincent campbell 17 January 2015 at 12:06 am

A wonderful station my favourite was Ray Moore in the Priest’s hole
A brilliant broadcaster who made every morning a joy to be awake
Sadly missed and never replaced

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