Unique is to make a documentary for BBC Radio 2 on the 40th anniversary of commercial radio.
The two, hour-long shows will highlight programmes on the history of the commercial sector and the contribution it has made to UK radio.
The material used in the programmes will then be made available to commercial radio either in built programmes or as elements for stations to produce their own features and documentaries.
The programmes examine the way in which commercial radio was first heard and then legalised in Britain. They report on the launches and early struggles of LBC and Capital Radio are remembered by people such as their early chiefs, Marshall Stewart and John Whitney.
The IBA’s first Director of Radio John Thompson, describes some of the “marriage broking” that created London’s Capital Radio. Philip Birch who founded the Pirate Big L and later Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio, says how one man’s murder changed a government’s attitude to radio whilst Jimmy Gordon remembers that six weeks after Radio Clyde’s opening, the newly elected Labour government threatened to close down all commercial radio.
From the later years of commercial radio, Ralph Bernard reveals how the Chairman of the BBC Duke Hussey, sought his advice on how to remodel the BBC and Gillian Reynolds suggests that without the advent of commercial radio, the BBC might well have downgraded its own investment in radio.
The programmes will go out on Radio 2 later this Autumn but material is being made available now to commercial stations that want to build their own programming or ask Unique to do so for them.
Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Radio 2, Radio 6 Music, Asian Network and commented: “￼I’m really pleased to be helping to mark the anniversary of commercial radio ￼and celebrate the unique mix of radio we have in this country and the way the ￼industry has developed over 40 years.”
Tim Blackmore, who is producing the programmes and is Editorial Director at Unique’s parent company, UBC media Group said: “I’ve interviewed more than twenty of the people who made commercial radio happen. This is their story and I feel privileged to have been allowed to help them tell it for today’s radio listeners. Commercial radio’s contribution to Popular British culture has been, and continues to be, both huge and dynamic Popular Music.
“I’m really pleased to be helping to mark the anniversary of commercial radio and celebrate the unique mix of radio we have in this country and the way the industry has developed over 40 years.”