Paul Gambaccini - History Of Music Radio

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01Broadcasting Has Come to Stay20121113

Paul Gambaccini presents a six-part history of music radio in the UK and USA.

The opening programme of the series reveals that the first piece of music ever played on radio was Handel's Largo - the aria Ombra Mai Fu from the opera Xerxes. Reginald Fessenden featured a recording of this music during a broadcast from the coast of Massachusetts on Christmas Eve 1906. And Paul traces the developments made by the early radio pioneers from this moment, to the end of the Second World War.

Daily transmissions by the British Broadcasting Company began 90 years ago on 14 November 1922. Pete Murray and David Jacobs recall the broadcasts of dance bands from the Savoy Hotel and the programmes of the country's first DJ Christopher Stone. American historian Craig Havighurst, meanwhile, recounts the origins of country music station WSM in Nashville and Grand Ole Opry, the longest-running live music show in the world. We also look at the network sponsored shows broadcast in the States during this era, when the most successful radio star was Bing Crosby, who presented the Kraft Music Hall for ten years.

Before the war, the BBC was seriously challenged by commercial stations such as Radio Normandy and Radio Luxembourg beaming entertainment shows to millions of British listeners. The outbreak of war in September 1939 led to the BBC playing a vital role throughout the conflict. As radio critic Gillian Reynolds recalls, popular music became more available on the newly established Forces Programme. And Vera Lynn remembers the success of her request show Sincerely Yours. A livelier American presentation of music was heard following the launch of the Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme on 7 June 1944 and, although aimed at troops in Europe, it was also heard in the UK.

01Broadcasting Has Come To Stay20121113

Paul Gambaccini presents a six-part history of music radio in the UK and USA.

The opening programme of the series reveals that the first piece of music ever played on radio was Handel's Largo - the aria Ombra Mai Fu from the opera Xerxes. Reginald Fessenden featured a recording of this music during a broadcast from the coast of Massachusetts on Christmas Eve 1906. And Paul traces the developments made by the early radio pioneers from this moment, to the end of the Second World War.

Daily transmissions by the British Broadcasting Company began 90 years ago on 14 November 1922. Pete Murray and David Jacobs recall the broadcasts of dance bands from the Savoy Hotel and the programmes of the country's first DJ Christopher Stone. American historian Craig Havighurst, meanwhile, recounts the origins of country music station WSM in Nashville and Grand Ole Opry, the longest-running live music show in the world. We also look at the network sponsored shows broadcast in the States during this era, when the most successful radio star was Bing Crosby, who presented the Kraft Music Hall for ten years.

Before the war, the BBC was seriously challenged by commercial stations such as Radio Normandy and Radio Luxembourg beaming entertainment shows to millions of British listeners. The outbreak of war in September 1939 led to the BBC playing a vital role throughout the conflict. As radio critic Gillian Reynolds recalls, popular music became more available on the newly established Forces Programme. And Vera Lynn remembers the success of her request show Sincerely Yours. A livelier American presentation of music was heard following the launch of the Allied Expeditionary Forces Programme on 7 June 1944 and, although aimed at troops in Europe, it was also heard in the UK.

02The Moondog Kingdom20121120

Paul Gambaccini continues his six-part history of music radio in the UK and USA.

The second programme traces developments from the end of the Second World War, to the early 60s. The war had demonstrated the central role of radio in the lives of listeners. And in post-war America, large companies wished to remain part of that relationship with sponsored network shows.

Philco Radio Time with Bing Crosby introduced a revolutionary technical innovation. The edition broadcast on 1 October 1947 was the first American show to be recorded on tape.

In the 1950s American radio was changed forever when minority music such as country and rhythm and blues began to spread through the airwaves. Alan Freed was a pioneer rhythm and blues DJ, first heard in Cleveland, and then on WINS in New York. Hunter Hancock played a similar role in Los Angeles. And 'Jumpin' George Oxford was a ground breaker in San Francisco.

It was impossible to hear rhythm and blues on the BBC in the mid-50s. Even shows featuring gramophone records were still rare on the BBC Light Programme. Family Favourites and Housewives' Choice were two record request shows attracting huge audiences.

The most innovative BBC DJ of the late 40s and 1950s was Jack Jackson. He was also heard on Radio Luxembourg, which had resumed its broadcasts to the UK in 1946. The station offered an alternative to both the presentation style and music policy of the BBC. One of its innovations was a Top Twenty chart show.

The BBC eventually responded - seven years later - with its own show of best-sellers called Pick Of The Pops! After a long run on the programme, David Jacobs was replaced by a broadcaster with experience of a more dynamic style of presentation - Australian DJ Alan Freeman. When asked what he thought of British radio, he replied, "It's a bit dull, love, isn't it?".

02The Moondog Kingdom20121120

Paul Gambaccini continues his six-part history of music radio in the UK and USA.

The second programme traces developments from the end of the Second World War, to the early 60s. The war had demonstrated the central role of radio in the lives of listeners. And in post-war America, large companies wished to remain part of that relationship with sponsored network shows.

Philco Radio Time with Bing Crosby introduced a revolutionary technical innovation. The edition broadcast on 1 October 1947 was the first American show to be recorded on tape.

In the 1950s American radio was changed forever when minority music such as country and rhythm and blues began to spread through the airwaves. Alan Freed was a pioneer rhythm and blues DJ, first heard in Cleveland, and then on WINS in New York. Hunter Hancock played a similar role in Los Angeles. And 'Jumpin' George Oxford was a ground breaker in San Francisco.

It was impossible to hear rhythm and blues on the BBC in the mid-50s. Even shows featuring gramophone records were still rare on the BBC Light Programme. Family Favourites and Housewives' Choice were two record request shows attracting huge audiences.

The most innovative BBC DJ of the late 40s and 1950s was Jack Jackson. He was also heard on Radio Luxembourg, which had resumed its broadcasts to the UK in 1946. The station offered an alternative to both the presentation style and music policy of the BBC. One of its innovations was a Top Twenty chart show.

The BBC eventually responded - seven years later - with its own show of best-sellers called Pick Of The Pops! After a long run on the programme, David Jacobs was replaced by a broadcaster with experience of a more dynamic style of presentation - Australian DJ Alan Freeman. When asked what he thought of British radio, he replied, "It's a bit dull, love, isn't it?".

03Good Night To You And Good Morning20121127

Paul Gambaccini continues his six-part history of music radio in the UK and USA. The third programme traces the developments that led to the start of the BBC's first dedicated channel for pop music - Radio 1 - in September 1967.

In the early 1960s, pop music on BBC radio was severely rationed. Its only show to play the week's best-selling records was Pick Of The Pops, presented by Alan Freeman. Pop was dominating the world, but it was hardly heard on UK radio. The public demanded a change. The change came, but it didn't come from the BBC. A form of popular music radio developed that was deeply influenced by recent changes in the United States. Writer Ben Fong-Torres explains the rise of the US radio format called Top 40 and we hear from New York veteran DJs Cousin Brucie, Harry Harrison and Dan Ingram.

In 1964, UK listeners had a choice other than the BBC and Radio Luxembourg for the first time since the Second World

War. Stations on ships anchored outside the UK's three-mile territorial limit were outside the law of the country, so they began broadcasting as many records and commercials as they liked. First on the air at Easter was Radio Caroline. By Christmas 1964, independent commercial radio took a great leap forward with the arrival of 'Big L' Radio London. It had American financial backing and introduced the Top 40 format to the UK.

Tony Blackburn, Dave Cash and Johnnie Walker recall how their careers were launched on boats in the North Sea and how the pirate era led to the birth of Radio 1.

03Good Night to You and Good Morning20121127

Paul Gambaccini continues his six-part history of music radio in the UK and USA. The third programme traces the developments that led to the start of the BBC's first dedicated channel for pop music - Radio 1 - in September 1967.

In the early 1960s, pop music on BBC radio was severely rationed. Its only show to play the week's best-selling records was Pick Of The Pops, presented by Alan Freeman. Pop was dominating the world, but it was hardly heard on UK radio. The public demanded a change. The change came, but it didn't come from the BBC. A form of popular music radio developed that was deeply influenced by recent changes in the United States. Writer Ben Fong-Torres explains the rise of the US radio format called Top 40 and we hear from New York veteran DJs Cousin Brucie, Harry Harrison and Dan Ingram.

In 1964, UK listeners had a choice other than the BBC and Radio Luxembourg for the first time since the Second World

War. Stations on ships anchored outside the UK's three-mile territorial limit were outside the law of the country, so they began broadcasting as many records and commercials as they liked. First on the air at Easter was Radio Caroline. By Christmas 1964, independent commercial radio took a great leap forward with the arrival of 'Big L' Radio London. It had American financial backing and introduced the Top 40 format to the UK.

Tony Blackburn, Dave Cash and Johnnie Walker recall how their careers were launched on boats in the North Sea and how the pirate era led to the birth of Radio 1.