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13 November 2014

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You are in: Devon > BBC Radio Devon > Behind The Scenes > BBC Radio Devon celebrates 25 years

BBC Radio Devon - some of the original team

Some of the original team.

BBC Radio Devon celebrates 25 years

Since it went on the air 25 years ago BBC Radio Devon has made itself as much a part of the county as clotted cream or Dartmoor ponies. The line-up of entertaining programmes makes it a favourite with thousands of listeners. But how did it all begin?

Taking over from a BBC Radio 4 regional service, BBC Radio Devon started broadcasting on 17 January 1983 - the same day as neighbouring station BBC Radio Cornwall and also BBC Breakfast Television took to the air.

BBC Radio Devon's original 'home'

BBC Radio Devon's original 'home'.

From the start, BBC Radio Devon faced an uphill struggle against the established local commercial radio stations. This wasn't helped by the fact that the Exeter studios weren't ready on that first wet and windy day in January.

Presenters were forced to host their programmes from portable cabins on a building site until work on the studios was completed a few weeks later.

When building was finished, the Exeter studios were opened by the then BBC Director General, Alastair Milne, on 30 September 1983.

Over the past 25 years, BBC Radio Devon has built a loyal following of listeners with a distinctive mix of news, information and entertainment.

From humble beginnings to big boss: John Lilley

John Lilley's now in charge of BBC Southwest.

The station covers the entire county with reporters based in Exeter, Plymouth, Paignton (which looks after Torbay) and Barnstaple (covering North Devon).

BBC Radio Devon has won several Sony Awards for its programmes, and even once featured the then American President, Ronald Reagan when it joined forces with a station in Boston, Massachusetts, one New Year's Eve.

Inevitably, there have been many changes over the years: BBC Radio Devon now shares a newsroom in Plymouth with the website teams and regional TV.

Despite the changes, BBC Radio Devon has kept to its policy of providing a wide range of popular programmes to serve the county it proudly bears the name of.

Douglas Mounce

Douglas Mounce, one of the original team.

In 2005 a new FM service was launched to give the city of Plymouth its own frequency and a selection of bespoke programmes.

The station now broadcasts two simultaneous breakfast shows, one for Plymouth and the other which covers news from across the whole county.

Douglas Mounce and Phillip Hunt hold the accolade of being the only original presenters from 1983 who are still broadcasting on the station today, while former programme organiser John Lilley is now in charge of the BBC in the South West.

last updated: 25/09/2008 at 11:38
created: 03/10/2005

Have Your Say

We'd love to hear your memories of listening to BBC Radio Devon over the past 25 years.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Sue and Colin in London
We're listening on the internet - lovely to hear a little bit of Devon even when we're so far away.

Hans-Joachim Hoffmann
A very good evening from Berlin Germany, I am listening your programme on the internet, found your programme during my Guernsey holiday . this song was very famous in germany

lynne and tony from swindon
we live in swindon but always go to devon three four times a year always listen to devon radio when were there when were home we listen on the net love it

it was really great fun listening to dougie mounce on a sunday morning , not just listening but taking part in his program by getting a family member or friend set up live on a phone in for TRAP DOOR SECRET PANEL , does anyone remember this program, excellent .....

Cheryl Purchase
We live in South Wales and started listening to Radio Devon when our son Ross was in the Navy, We could plan what time he would arrive home after hearing what time his ship landed, Ross is no longer in the Navy but we still listen to Radio Devon, its an excellent station, interesting, informative and ammusing.We are luckly enough to be able to pick it up on A radio thats about 30 years old we dont even have to use the internet.

Patrick kiefer
I have been listening to Radio Devon since it started,I love Radio Devon it so good,I remember Brasso on the midday show,and hurst when he used to play loads of 60s music,whatever happend to the good old sixties,I know Tony Gillham does the sunday 2hrs,but your still THE BEST.

I did listen to another program for a while but I have been back with Radio Devon for more than a year now, its brilliant, keep up the good work.

D J Bowden
Does any one remember Colm Connoly? He presented Mid-Day Parade and Morning Sou-west. And Guy Slatter, the producer? The Shielan, Trekenner, but then of Ivybridge.

Margaret, now in Cumbria
Just moved to Cumbria after living in Bude, and listening to Radio Devon for years. I used to look forward to listening to Michael Chequer every morning as I was getting ready for work, and Ian Brass years ago when he was on weekday afternoons

I allways listen to radio devon. miss justin now he gone

Stephanie in Bideford
I only started listening to Radio Devon afer my mum converted me from another station. Best move I've ever made. All the radio's in my house are tuned to Radio Devon and are on all day long. It's such a friendly station and it's like your part of a large extended family. Happy birthday Radio Devon, here's to the next 25 years.

Hyder Ali Pirwany
I have been a radio Devon listener since 1992. I first talked to Jerry Clarke and Sue Lloyd on the phone-in shows. I used to participate in the debates and controversies on the evening shows. I miss Sarah Gorrell immensely. Though I l like Duncan Warren and Joy it is not quite the same now. Duncan talks a lot over the introduction of the record. He should stop talking when the record starts. the starting music can be as much important as the song itself. I hope I cause no offence to Duncan by saying this. I would like to have the old formats back please on the evening show. Thank you.

justin gone is the end of an era. miss his humor.

just the best

I am the one that thought Justin was more than a coffee fetcher and offered him the chance to come into BBC RAdio Cornwall and help out. It's great to see that you've done so well. Very proud of you.Gary

Hilary Mabon
Just to say a huge Thank you to you and all the Staff of BBC Radio Devon for the superb Birthday celebration Special programmes. Hearing the voices of past presenters, evoked so many happy memories of programmes enjoyed over many years.My, what a long way BBC Radio Devon has come. You must be so proud and rightly so.

Jimmy from Up holland, West Lancashire
I have been a listener and contributer to the Judi Spiers show for about the last eighteen months or so and I love listening. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!

I haven't been listening to Radio Devon for the 25 years but wish I had. What a great bunch. I have converted many others. Keep up the good work

james lee
i love to Listen to bbc radio every day best radio in devon

lovely programme on radio devon today after 9am,nice to hear some of the old presenters

Jan Stainer
What can I say? There is no other Radio or Television Station like our wonderful Spotlight or Radio Devon. As in the song "You are simply the best". You give us news, you give us facts, you give us laughs and you sometimes can make us cry. Sincere congratulations to each and everyone of you for the past 25 years, may you continue to go from strength to strength. THANK YOU for being "our" radio station and for all that you give. You are "second to none".Our very best wishesRay & Jan Stainer

ann topsham
dear Judi, just trawled through the photographs of last 25 years. What memories, what fashions,haircuts, and expanding waist lines!! You've kept me company from the first broadcast and allowed me to put my 2 pennyworth in from time to time. You've helped me through some bad times, just listening to you, like an extending family. Thanks to one and all. Happy birthday. Love and regards ann Topsham

Peter and Maureen Thursby
Have heard many local Radio Stations on our car radio and none of them are half as good as Radio Devon! We are proud of you and wish you continuing success for the next 25 years! Congratulations!Our beloved late blind friend would also be proud today--he was on the very first Advisory Council with Roy Corlett!

Greg Allen
Congrats on you special day, Hear BIG AL reading travel, my personal top of the 25 yrs?! FANG - YOUR FURRIEST FRIEND

In the 80's John Pierce had Chris Murray from Pennywell Farm as his regular contributor on the early morning breakfast show. Chris brought a large farm bird in with him one morning and the creature deposited a large "whoopsi" on Johns lap! The bird was certainly an early morning contributor that morning! John was not amused!

Jon Harvey
I moved to Dorset in Jan 1984, having just retired from the RAF in Cornwall. I somehow found Radio Devon, and always listened to G=good old David Bassett. Very distinguished he sounded, and very particular if a caller didn't say it was Devon County Radio, or possible Radio Devon, but Devon Air or similar. Good ticking off sometimes, and made the caller repeat the correct radio name. At this period, Radio Cornwall, was also part of this programme, and two callers of note, were Harvey from N Devon, and John (from memory,) Cockle I believe. Both always had really interesting matters to discuss, and like David, didn't really need introducing, as listeners knew who they were, immediately, by their voices. Then there was a lady called Ester, from, I think Pathfinder village, sounded elderly, but always full of joy, and good conversation. I think she was also visually impaired, so maybe that is why she came over the airwaves in such a refreshing way.

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