BBC Radio Wales celebrates 40 years on-air

Wales’ national English-language radio station, BBC Radio Wales, is today celebrating its fortieth birthday.

Four decades ago to the day (13th November), Anita Morgan became the first voice broadcast on the station as she presented AM, the first breakfast show. Rugby dominated the headlines for the day, and she was also joined in the studio by a talking parrot.

Radio Wales is this week marking its 40th birthday by embarking on a week-long tour of Wales, visiting Aberdare, Barmouth, Connah’s Quay and Llandrindod Wells where the station’s presenters will broadcast special editions of their shows.

Today presenters Jason Mohammad, Wynne Evans and Eleri Sion will take their shows to Kittle in Swansea on the second day of the tour. Eleri will be linking up with Catherine Zeta-Jones on the programme to talk about her latest work.

As part of the celebrations, the first presenter on Radio Wales Anita Morgan will step back into the studio to co-present Good Morning Wales. There will also be a special look ahead to the station’s future as Tuesday’s Good Evening Wales will become the first programme to broadcast live from Central Square – soon to be BBC Wales’s new home – in a special one-off programme.

The station’s birthday celebrations will culminate in a Variety Gala in Swansea’s Grand Theatre on 22 November where veteran Radio Wales presenter Owen Money will host a night of music and comedy, and will be joined by special guests including Gabrielle, Only Men Aloud, John Owen Jones, Mike Bubbins, Hannah Grace and many more.

BBC Radio Wales station Editor Colin Paterson says: “Radio Wales has been a part of the social fabric of Wales for forty years. Alongside BBC Radio Cymru it has played an important role in capturing the nation’s stories, news and views. From the whole team at BBC Radio Wales we want to say thank you to our listeners right across Wales for their loyalty and support.

“And as we mark our fortieth year, the station is attracting the biggest names in broadcasting, producing more content from different parts of Wales and working with partners to bring great programmes to audiences across the country, and this shows no signs of slowing down.”

Reflecting on the first broadcast on November 13 1978, Anita Morgan says: “I was expecting nerves but I found excitement. It was the birth of BBC Radio Wales. It was something new, something for the people. It was like a curtain going up and I was practically bouncing on my seat. The station was set up to give the people a voice, where people come together, and I’m proud that it’s still like that 40 years later.”

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  1. Dan Dean says

    Part of the social fabric??????, what is this man talking about. It has always been a complete White Elephant that nobody without a vested interest of some sort listens too, even when it had no competition for listeners it could not attract an audience, twenty million pounds of tax payers money wasted. The audience figures are lower than they have ever been because the whole thing is a mess, trying to cater for everyone and reaching no one, and led by a man that even his own staff , who never listen themselves by the way, think is clueless!!! I see ,above, another Outside Broadcast with nobody there!!!, same old then!!!!

    1. Adrian says

      If it only reaches 12% of the population the comments are a bit over the top.I used to like some of the output but not these days.I feel it should be cutting out a lot of the music which often jars with me.There is definitely potential for the station to do well as we are not blessed with a lot of great stations here but not with the current line-up which seems to veer all over the place every day targeting different audiences in each show.

      1. mb23 says

        It has lost almost 30% of its audience and 43% of total hours in just six years. BBC Radio Scotland & BBC Radio Ulster are broadly flat over the same period. Why are people in Wales not interested in hearing about their country?

        1. Joe Smith says

          Why blame the people and not the station?

  2. Pat says

    Go into shops and cafes and you usually hear only Radio 1,2 or Heart.TV news programmes for Wales are pretty boring and ignore large parts of the country.The Welsh speakers are of course enthusiastic about Radio Cymru and S4C but most of the commercial stations have cut back on local programming and with Radio Wales being a pretty unattractive listen the national brands seem to be flavour of the month.

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