Radio Jackie celebrates 50 years since first broadcast

South West London commercial station Radio Jackie is celebrating 50 years of serving its local area.

The station started life as a pirate in 1969, with occasional programmes. The first transmission was just 30 minutes long before it expanded to a weekly broadcast. It was created by current owner and founder Tony Collis.

It pre-dated Independent Local Radio in the UK and was raided by the authorities more than once. In 1983 Radio Jackie launched a full 24 hours a day service with Dave Pearce and Paul McKenna amongst the people involved in their early careers.

As a pirate, it operated with full-time staff, high street offices and the support of locals. In 1984 a petition, calling for the station to be given a licence, was signed by over 55,000 people and supported by many local councillors and the MP for Mitcham and Morden.

The Radio Authority awarded a commercial radio licence to Thames Radio in 1996, leaving Radio Jackie disappointed. However, the subsequent misfortunes of Thames turned out to be an opportunity for Radio Jackie when the original management team behind Radio Jackie re-formed to purchase the loss-making station.

Following the acquisition of Thames in March 2003, the station’s output was completely revamped to include live local presentation around the clock and local news every hour. In July 2003 the station moved to new studios in Tolworth and on Sunday 19 October 2003 the station re-launched as Radio Jackie – the Sound of South West London.

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9 Comments
  1. Neal says

    Just goes to prove that all the constant posts on this site about it has to be Global or Bauer as nothing else can survive unless they buy it up is a load of bullshit. Here is s station that proves you can have a true local radio station that can survive forever provided it is not run by money grabbing parasites who have no interest in local radio at all. They and the regulatory body that has allowed these Gods to rape local radio in this county truly disgust me. Radio Jackie proves it does not and did not have to be “the Global Way” provided money and obscene profits at the expense of human beings is not your prime and only motive. How fitting it would be if these nasty people ended up sleeping rough in the streets in place of those unfortunate to be in that position now!

    1. Radio Geordie says

      They’ve done so well because they stayed true to what they believed in.

      Looking back, I wonder if they had bought the other South London licences that were handed back to Ofcom (Time FM in Thamesmead & South London Radio in Lewisham), just how big a dent they could’ve made to Global & Bauer’s listener figures?

      Unfortunately, we’ll never know as they were reused for Community Radio licences.

  2. Bob Sutton says

    Happy Birthday Radio Jackie. I worked on the station back in 80-83. I remember going to a house in the early mornings in Stoney Park Road or around that area. The studio then consisted of decks, Cart machine x 2 and the usual studio equipment. Their number ended in 7200 back then and I’m sure off the top of my head it was Dave Owen who looked after things then. But I remember it cost me more in petrol then I got paid, and that always made me smile. But it was a great place to work, and I loved it. Well Done Radio Jackie. Happy 50th. I’m still on Radio on a local station called Burgess Hill Radio 103.8FM or online @burgesshillradio.co.uk

  3. Ron Dobbyn says

    Are they the only radio station in the world with a bus stop outside, a bowling alley nearby, Marks, and. Spencer,s over the road, and a quick link to Chessington Zoo. I know all the animals there listen in. Well done Jackie.

    1. Ron Dobbyn says

      Sorry I think Global too has a bus stop outside in the Charing X road, the LBC presenters wave at the people at the stop, don’t they?

  4. Lord Reith says

    I always thought Nick Catford (Mike Knight) started Radio Jackie and Dave Owen joined the young team a few weeks later. Tony Collis certainly was involved in the early days.

    1. Bob Sutton says

      Dear Lordy,

      You’ll probably right. I’ve been searching through some old files to come up with names but to no avail except Dave Owen.

      A lot of tapes, disc’s, CD’s and cart machines under the bridge since then!

      Cheers.

  5. David Ellis says

    Happy birthday Radio Jackie loved to listen to you when living in Surbiton in the early 1990’s. Now away from you up in Liverpool.

  6. Steve Silby says

    Anybody who knew these guys back then would have recognised the fire in their eyes. They were perfectly serious. What they did and what they achieved was not trivial and it was always good quality, delivered with passion. Congratulations to one of the most remarkable radio stations these islands has ever seen. Glad the fire still burns bright.

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