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13 November 2014

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You are in: Bradford and West Yorkshire > Memoryshare > Never mind the TV..!

People in newsroom

The newsroom, 60s-style!

Never mind the TV..!

When BBC Radio Leeds celebrated its 40th birthday in June 2008, we discovered a bit more about the station which has been broadcasting across West Yorkshire for over four decades. And we'd still love to hear YOUR memories of 'Wireless Leeds' too!

What you'd have heard on BBC Radio Leeds' first day was certainly very different from what you would hear today - one dischuffed listener is even heard complaining the whole idea of a radio station serving West Yorkshire as 'a bl**dy waste of time'.

the old Radio Leeds office

Radio Leeds @ The Merrion Centre

Despite this, Radio Leeds (named this way even though it was soon serving the whole of the West Yorkshire) was one of a select group of pioneering, experimental local radio stations which were partly paid for out of the council rates. This caused concern and a little bit of anger from the local rate payers!

The station certainly had its moments, though...In its first few months BBC Radio Leeds:

  • Ran a greyhound at the races called 'Radio Leeds'
  • Was accused of kidnapping singer Anita Harris
  • Featured a talking budgerigar
  • Launched a coffin in the seas off Scarborough (that well-known part of West Yorkshire!)

Opening contributions, from its home in the Merrion Centre, included an Alan Bennett monologue and THAT talking budgerigar.

Radio Leeds' 1998 birthday bash

The 1998 birthday bash!

Despite limited resources, the station regularly broadcast from the 'Radio Car' from all over Leeds. At first, the station's transmission area only covered Leeds, but it was expanded to the whole of West Yorkshire as BBC Local Radio started to spread across the country, several years after the 1968 launch.

Today, listeners almost take local radio for granted but our first programmes left people bewildered. Radio Leeds soon sowed the seeds of a real journalistic voice in the region. And even - especially - today it's still passionate about local affairs, asking awkward questions on people's behalf across West Yorkshire.

Radio Leeds' 30th birthday was celebrated in 1998. Cakes were baked, concerts held and special broadcasts made from many West Yorkshire shopping centres. Then on 24th June 2003, BBC Radio Leeds was 35 years young. Again, the station celebrated in style, hosting a special day of programmes featuring old jingles and a special documentary. The very first voice heard on BBC Radio Leeds, Liz Ambler (nee Oyston) returned to present the birthday breakfast show. There was also a special lunch in honour of the most important people at BBC, the listeners!

Radio Leeds wavelength display

Radio Leeds, 21st Century-style!

Since then, the station's moved to its swanky new HQ in Leeds city centre and it's opened its very own Bradford studio in the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television where this very website is also produced! So even after 40 years, BBC Radio Leeds is still helping to make sure YOUR voice is heard across the WHOLE of West Yorkshire...

Just click on the link below to find out how to share YOUR West Yorkshire radio memories with Memoryshare - and to see what other people are saying...

...and remember you'll be doing your bit to build the BBC Memoryshare archive of hundreds of memories from across the UK since 1900 until the present day!

last updated: 28/01/2009 at 15:41
created: 17/07/2006

You are in: Bradford and West Yorkshire > Memoryshare > Never mind the TV..!



Take a new look at West Yorkshire's history and heritage!

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