As Sky News Radio turns 10 years old today, Executive Producer Andy Ivy takes an exclusive look back at a decade of the service in the UK, for RadioToday.co.uk.
Harry Potter's voiced hadn't broken, Pierce Brosnan was playing James Bond and Concorde was still in service. It was spring 1999 and I was assembling a team for a new radio service. Talk Radio UK wanted Sky News to provide its bulletins and given my previous ten years in radio I was asked to come off producing on the rolling news channel to make it happen. I spent many hours going through bags of demo tapes on cassette and with a small but experienced group of radio journalists we went on air at midnight. After four hours trying to sleep in a nearby hotel I was back for the early shift. We began with a royal wedding (Edward and Sophie) and since then Sky News Radio has covered two Gulf Wars, two General Elections and the 9/11 and 7/7 terror attacks.
For the first six years, Sky News Radio operated from an office with two workstations and two studios in a building next to the main Sky News studio – a 30 second dash along the corridor.
In 2005 we moved into the new Sky News building with four purpose-built radio studios and eight state-of-the-art workstations, each with direct access to multiple feeds from around the UK and the world.
The number of clients grew and looking back at the names – Chrysalis, The Wireless Group, Virgin Radio, DNN – it's a reminder of how much has changed and is changing in the commercial sector. If events had taken a different turn, Sky News Radio would now be operating a radio rolling news channel on the Channel 4 digital multiplex. As it is, we are now proud to be providing the news service for IRN which brings all the commercial sector together again. It's also exciting to be providing bespoke bulletins for talkSPORT, Kiss 100 and Magic 105.4.
There is great support for radio from everyone at Sky News. On one occasion our Political Editor Adam Boulton was on a flight with then Prime Minister Tony Blair. There was a technical problem with a camera which meant there could not be a TV interview, but Adam borrowed a mini-disc recorder and provided us with a radio exclusive. Newsgathering has moved on and as we have witnessed from Iran, the digital age is changing the way stories are reported and importantly the way audiences access news. For all the excitement of Internet and mobile phone services, let's remember how many millions of people wake up to news on the radio and listen in their cars. It's a fabulous medium and I hope we'll be a part of it for a long time to come.
By Andy Ivy, Executive Producer, Sky News Radio.