35 years of commercial radio
It all started 35 years ago today. It was October 8th 1973 when the UK's first commercial radio station, LBC, first started broadcasting.
Today the station, now owned by Global Radio, is celebrating with a series of on-air montages reflecting how the station has reported the news to Londoners over the past three and a half decades.
The montages have been created by executive producer Chris Lowrie, LBC 97.3's longest-serving member of staff, having been with the company for 22 years. In addition to the montages, the LBC 97.3 website is marking the birthday with a number of dedicated pages featuring archive audio, stories and photos of some younger-looking LBC 97.3 legends, including Steve Allen and Clive Bull!
LBC first went on air at 6.00am on the 8th October 1973 with the strapline "Where news comes first."
David Jessel was the very first voice to be heard on LBC on that chilly October morning.
There is a rumour that just seconds before he started broadcasting, he was violently ill into the waste paper basket. Jessel recalls that moment: "You just knew disaster was looming, we went on the air with three hours stretching in front of us with no producers no reporters and no stories." Jessel remembers asking the bosses what should be in the show. "They said just talk about interesting things that have happened that day, I said it is six o'clock in the morning, the day hasn't happened!"
Chris Lowrie said: "LBC 97.3 is Britain's first commercial radio station – which also pioneered the radio phone-in. We are London's biggest conversation, as relevant to our capital today as we were 35 years ago when we first went on-air. We are delighted to mark this fantastic achievement in our history and we look forward to building on our heritage and success as the voice of London, by listening to London. Happy Birthday LBC 97.3 and here's to the next 35 years!"