Les Ross made a return visit to BRMB, nay, Free Radio, for its 40th birthday yesterday, joining Foxy & Giuliano at breakfast to host the Guess The Year slot.
He went on air to reminisce and answer texts and emails from listeners. “We never had texts when I was here last. Pigeons used to deliver the messages,” Ross joked with listeners. Afterwards, he said: “It was magical to be back on air again. Birmingham has always been one of the pioneers of commercial radio and I enjoy being a part of that.”
Ross’ appearance is part of a series of events Free Radio is holding across Birmingham — the first English city outside London to enjoy commercial radio — to mark the anniversary.
Last night [Wednesday night] Free Radio held a Civic reception at the Birmingham Ormiston Academy, with guests including the Lord Mayor and former DJs, including Ed Doolan and Jeremy Kyle.
Phil Riley, the CEO of Orion Media, which owns Free Radio, said that commercial radio in Birmingham was “dramatically different” to when it first aired in 1974, utilising digital platforms and social media to help reach out to new audiences.
“The first 40 years have been a blast, and I’m sure that in 10 years time we will still be able to stand here and say music; personality; listener involvement; information and community support – those are the key pillars upon which we continue to thrive and prosper as a radio station in this great city,” said Riley.
He added he was proud that “Free Radio remains, locally owned and managed – and there aren’t too many local stations which can make that claim.”