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You are in: Leicester > Local Radio > Features > History of BBC Radio Leicester

BBC Radio Leicester in 1967, Roger Matthews

History of BBC Radio Leicester

BBC Radio Leicester, YOUR local radio station, is 40 on Thursday 08 November 2007. But how did it all start? Listen to a special documentary about the first Local Radio station's beginnings!

The first BBC radio broadcasts were very local. 

Back in the 1920's, the BBC’s network started as a few small transmitters serving London, Birmingham and other cities. 

It was not until the years before World War II that the BBC joined up those services into national networks called the Home Service and the Light Programme.

Lord Mayor of Leicester & Alderman Sir Mark Henig

Listen: Special Documentary

So in 1967, the BBC became local again. Leicester was one of nine local authorities that agreed to fund an experiment. 

Listen to a special documentary about BBC Radio Leicester's broadcasting history...

An election just a few months before the experiment was due to start meant that political power changed in some of these local authorities. So Manchester changed its mind and pulled out, and for a while the administration in Leicester wavered.

So on Thursday 08 November 1967 the people of Leicester were the first to hear this new version of an older form of radio service. BBC Radio Leicester offered really local and relevant programmes with local voices talking about local matters.

Station assistants ready for the start

1967 - The Beginning

At first, the small staff of 16 men and women provided just four hours of programming each day, and there were no journalists!  All the news stories were provided by a local news agency. 

Just over two years later, the experiment was declared a success. In each of the eight station areas, people said they wanted local radio to stay. The BBC received Government approval to open a further 12 stations, and that was just the start.

Although there have been changes over the years, with some stations moving location and changing name, we now have 40 local stations across England which can be heard by over 90% of the population.

Over the past four decades, many hundreds of people have contributed their skills and energies to BBC Radio Leicester's programmes. Presenters, producers, researchers and engineers have all combined to make BBC Radio Leicester an essential part of so many people's lives. 

There have been plenty of famous voices like Adrian Juste and Julian Worriker, but also many hundreds of other people who have moved on to other parts of the BBC and other broadcasting organisations.

Radio studio

2007 - The Present

And today, our broadcasting centre at 9 St Nicholas Place is a truly multi-media operation. 

Local radio is at the heart of what we do, but now we have a vibrant website and a regional television team too, reflecting the lives the people of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

So we are celebrating! 

But we are also looking forward, building on the experiences and achievements of the past. 

This IS BBC Radio Leicester. Local radio from the BBC for the 21st Century!

last updated: 07/11/07

You are in: Leicester > Local Radio > Features > History of BBC Radio Leicester

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