Monday, 11 May 2015

Pictures from the Past

Disc jockeys are meant to be heard not seen.  But these pictures from the Getty archives really do sum up a time and a place.

Enjoy here, one of the launch pics from the opening of Radio 1 in 1967. Sir Tony staring into the camera lens, griping onto a pair of those funny BBC headphones. And what a fine bit of woodwork there from the BBC joiner.


Rosko was the rebel in those days, with his lunchtime show. Look, he's barely clothed here.  John Dunn famously introduced  his news bulletin in Rosko's show with: 'now the news. In English..."



And on the station's first birthday, the presenters famously gather feet away from Broadcasting House, to return to the steps of All Souls Church.  For many of the characters, it is the closest they'll get to singing hymns. The assembly was a little diminished from the parallel shot a year before, not least because the fledgling Radio 1 policy was to hire everyone on four week contracts and see who worked out best.  Canny approach.




Down the road at Capital, in a rare 1973 shot in his office at Euston Tower, Chairman Richard Attenborough is likely none too pleased as he peruses the company's early accounts. 





And the early team at London's LBC were no strangers to challenging accounting. In this shot, a tech op watches as Janet Street-Porter and Paul Callan present 'two in the morning' (get it?) on that launch day in October 1973.  I'd prefer to have been the tech-op, as he got to hammer the buttons on the ITC triple stacks.





Commercial radio, in a fashion, had been heard in the UK much earlier, thanks to the wobbly signal from Radio Luxembourg, after it returned following the War.  Its influence was sufficiently powerful to make stars of people like Pete Murray, later on Radio 2 and LBC. Even the Teddy Boys looked up to him. And Pete's suit looks a lot better than a sweat shirt with your name on which his descendants puzzlingly chose to wear.




Back at Capital, surely 1974 mid morning host Michael Aspel does not surely need quite so many EQ channels on his mixer.





And colleague, Kenny Everett, is evidently aghast at the contents of the Capital Radio manifesto.





As Capital's Graham Dene celebrated 5 years with the station, a cake arrived. With Michael Aspel in it. Thank goodness those rumours of radio being rife with back stabbers are false.  Technics turntables were poised  - alongside the classic Neve desk which was a stranger to PFL.





Kid Jensen arrived in the UK from Radio Luxembourg in 1975, lodging at Nottingham's Radio Trent for a year before graduating to Radio 1. Here he is, in a novel pose.  It is certainly better than clutching headphones, or pointing to an alarm clock or cheque. 





By 1976, the cult of Wogan had begun; and this talented Irishman began to relax and enjoy it. Just keep your feet away from those Gates turntables, Terry. They were truly the best.





Surprisingly little audio exists of Chris Tarrant, despite his long rule at the Capital London helm.  Maybe he was more of a listener's presenter than an anorak's - and there's little wrong with that. Thank goodness we have pictures though. Note how many more screens there are in this 2004 shot, compared with the 1960s BBC shots. 


Frank Phillips is the name of a BBC newsreader better known than many before him. Not least as it was Frank who became the first newsreader to announce his name.  All part of making British broadcasts immediately recognisable as such in times of War.  The habit stuck, and now every contributor of travel, weather, whatever commences their broadcast with a smile and a proud namecheck.  Even though the War's over.




You don't see many of those discussion booths now: minimalist acoustic rooms equipped with just a bouncy table, a mic and a talkback box, thanks to the show engineering happening 'through the glass'.  Pete Murray enjoyed himself here in October 1970, with a pair of those dinky little BBC cans clipped to his 'earoles. 




The old BBC desks were industrial in style. Like cars before power steering, you had to pull these faders down with force when your needed the next jingle from the ITC cart machine.  It was no problem for good old JY, even with the future PM looking on and crashing the vocal in February 1975.



You can always tell a jingle anorak when they  concentrate more on the cart labels in a pic rather than the person pictured. Try this Radio 1 shot from the early eighties. Ignore Adrian Juste at your peril, though.


Thanks to all the photographers through the ages who have patiently witnessed our medium. We are grateful.  

One final shot.  How delicious is this. As the BBC moved premises in 1932 from Savoy Hill to the newly built Broadcasting House, a photographer paused to film the removal men at work. But why has than man got a crate on his head. And who is in the coffin?





Grab my book 'How to Make Great Radio' from Biteback. Proceeds to the Radio Academy

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