Beacon Radio in 1979 

26 August 2017

Beacon Radio・12 April 1976

Beacon Radio Ltd, PO Box 303, WOLVERHAMPTON WV6 0DQ
Tel: 0902 757211. Telex: 336919

Directors A W Henn (Chairman); J C Oliver (Managing Director); K Baker; B F Blakemore; G Cromarty Bloom; M G D Graham; C J Halpin; J C Jones; P B Woodman; A Willis (Company Secretary).

Senior Staff J C Oliver (Station Manager); A R Mackenzie (Assistant Station Manager/Programme Controller); P J Stevenson (Commercial Controller); M Stewart (Head of News); J Plant (Company Accountant); B Warburton (Chief Engineer); G Laing (Head of Presentation); P Brice (Commercial Production Manager); I Donnahey (Local Sales Manager); A Powell (Promotions Manager).

IBA Local Advisory Committee for Independent Local Radio in Wolverhampton/Black Country Mrs B Wright (Chairman); Cllr W Brownhill; C J Carder; Cllr Mrs C Durham; Cllr A King; Mrs C McNicol; Naranjan Singh Noor; H Parsons; D Simpkiss; Mrs V Stone; L Thomas.

Beacon’s Beach Buggy out at Hednesford Raceway – with recording group Child.

Beacon Radio 303 is the youngest of the ILR stations, having gone on the air in April 1976, but during the last year it’s consolidated its position in the West Midlands. In just two years. Beacon has claimed an audience of one third of listeners in the West Midlands, an area with probably the widest choice of radio stations in the country.

Beacon covers the Western part of the conurbation – mainly the industrial Black Country, together with the City of Birmingham at one side and the more rural areas of Shropshire and mid-Staffordshire on the other. There is no obvious centre, with several large towns all merging into each other. With a slogan ‘We do it for you’, the station has been keen to get more involved in the community over the past year, getting out and meeting people and getting people more involved in the programming.

The local news output has been stepped up recently as part of the gradual development of the station. With IRN providing the national and international news bulletins on the hour. Beacon’s own newsroom has been able to concentrate on local and regional issues for its regular bulletins and nightly current affairs magazine programme.

Local news can be heard every hour on the half hour throughout the day, together with regular sports bulletins featuring national and local sport. There’s also a weekly sports preview magazine on Friday nights and the Saturday Sports Special with reports direct from six West Midland grounds.

On the community front, Beacon’s regular Jobspot and Workforce slots have been a big success. Jobspot gives details of jobs open to people in the area and Workforce tries to help youngsters looking for their first job. The station has also just launched a new feature to find foster parents for homeless youngsters.

The world of politics has also been covered in depth in a series of six half-hour specials, featuring the former Labour MP Dick Taverne.

Plans are in the pipeline to expand Beacon further, including the setting up of a brand new newsroom, new studio consoles designed and made by Beacon’s own engineering staff and a custom built commercial production facility which must only help to improve the standard of radio commercials.

One innovation over the past year has been Beacon’s promotions caravan which continues to gain admiration. It has been out and about at a number of carnivals, fetes and outside broadcasts during the Summer.

It is all helping to get Beacon’s name across and show that Beacon is doing it for the West Midlands.

IBA Transmitters
VHF Transmitter (FM with stereo capability)
Turners Hill (NGR: SO 969 887)
97.2 MHz
Max erp 1 kW
Circular polarisation
Aerial ht. 975 ft aod

MF Transmitter
(medium wave, mono only)
Sedgley (NGR: SO 905 939)
303 m (990 kHz)
Transmitter power 0.1 kW
MF omnidirectional aerial

Air Date: 12.4.76

VHF COVERAGE. The map shows the area within which most listeners should obtain satisfactory mono reception on VHF and, with adequate aerials, good stereo reception. Medium wave coverage is designed as far as possible to match VHF.

You Say

3 responses to this article

Westy 26 August 2017 at 10:22 pm

Were all the directors local?

The reason I ask is, there’s a BF Blakemore mentioned & I wondered if they were related to the local grocery wholesaler AF Blakemore, who I work for?

Just curious.

Russ J Graham 27 August 2017 at 1:30 pm

Not *all* local by any means. But very many of them were indeed locals.

Maark 3 October 2017 at 12:43 pm


I don’t think all the directors were local, no. Alan Henn, I believe, was a jeweller and owned a shop in the area. Jay Oliver was American, but had been involved in commercial and pirate radio in the UK for several years as well as being a journalist. He was instrumental in helping to set up Downtown Radio in Northern Ireland, but was meanwhile head-hunted to set up Beacon since it was the 19th and final station in the first phase of ILR and potentially a difficult area to make commercially viable. Jay (with his Programme Controller, Allen McKenzie) went all out commercial and made the station profitable within a few months, surprising everyone.

The local advisory committee was certainly made up of local people. They were largely responsible for the management crisis which almost lost the station in franchise in 1979.

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