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A Beginners’ Guide to The Bradshaws

Almost everything you need to know about Buzz Hawkins’ radio comedy series from a fan’s view

The 1950s was a pivotal decade in British 20th Century history. We began the fifties in austerity with rationing still in place till 1954, and ended that decade with a consumer boom. New Towns emerged with publicly funded housing fit for our daily needs. Away from the backdrop, many of us lived in tenement blocks or terraced houses. Instead of gardens, it was backyards and ginnels.

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Tecsun PL-310ET radio receiver (with Revolution 96.2FM).

Greatest Hits Radio Ditches MW Frequencies

Iconic 999kHz and 1152kHz wavelengths to go in North West

“In the North West, you know what’s best…”

“We thank you for sharing your days with us/For The Best Hit Music with a smile/Whatever the time of day or night, your music and your friend…”

If you are older than 30 years old, there’s every chance you’ll remember listening to the latest chart sounds on Medium Wave. Forty years ago, a lot of our radio listening came from medium wave (or AM) radio stations. BBC Radio One used to be on 275m and 285m (now occupied by Talk Radio). BBC Radio Manchester used to be on 206m, a little close for comfort on the dial beside Radio Luxembourg.

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"Put the needle on the record..."

(Do You Remember) Needle Time?

Past of the M60 looks at the long forgotten practice of needle time

If you have a few records, CDs and cassettes in your collection, you may have come across this notice:

“Unauthorised public performance or broadcasting of this record is strictly prohibited.”

Today, this notice or the like refers to the public performance of any recorded music in a public place. If your employer or local hairdressers has BBC Radio Two on in the background, they need to get a licence from the Performing Rights’ Society (PRS). From PRS licences, some part of the money goes towards musicians’ royalties.

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Sangean ATS-909, Oona Raisanen (2006)

Taking Back Control of Independent Local Radio

Is there space for truly independent Independent Local Radio in the UK?

Contrary to popular belief, radio is a more popular medium than ever. Today, the listener has more ways of tuning in to their favourite station than ever before. Not only on LW, MW or FM wavelengths and DAB channels. Other mediums include Internet radio, digital satellite and cable channels, and dedicated apps.

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Must-Listen Alternative Radio Stations: The Not So Perfect Ten

East of the M60 looks at ten must-listen-to alternatives to more familiar radio stations

Philips 170A - warm glow
A radio. A proper radio. The warm glow of a Philips 170A, photographed by Ronan Cantwell, 2011 (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Non Commercial-Some Rights Reserved).

In the last month, we have seen Key 103 change into The Hits Radio. Its transmission area has been extended from Greater Manchester and parts of Cheshire and Lancashire to become a national station. A national station with its headquarters in Manchester rather than London.

On 103.0 FM it is a ‘local’ station with Manchester-centric news, weather, and travel reports. The same music which can be heard in Stalybridge on the FM band, could also be heard in Stevenage on your DAB receiver. With nationwide adverts. A bit like London’s opt-out with LBC, a national station since 2014 (please note that LBC stood for London Broadcasting Company).

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The First 39 Tunes on Piccadilly Radio: A Past of the M60 Rebellious Mixtape Special

Ever wondered what the first ten tunes on Piccadilly Radio were? Your questions have been answered

On this day in history, Piccadilly Radio began broadcasting 44 years ago. The first voice on Piccadilly Radio was Roger Day. As for the first record, that was The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations. What company may you ask had the first advert on Piccadilly Radio? It was the North Western Regional Gas Board. With the tagline “The North Loves Gas Best”.

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A History of Piccadilly Radio Jingles (Part Two): The Nineties

Another nostalgic look at the former radio station’s jingles

The 1990s was a seminal decade for Piccadilly’s two radio stations. It opened with an upsurge in Key 103’s fortunes and the transformation of its AM service as a golden oldies station. By the end of the decade, Key 103 was top dog among Greater Manchester’s radio listeners. Piccadilly Gold became Piccadilly Magic 1152 – later Magic 1152 and Key 2 in the 21st Century.

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Tecsun PL-310ET radio receiver (with Revolution 96.2FM).

Irritating Radio Adverts of Times Past: The Not So Perfect Ten

Ten earworm-tastic radio adverts from the last 40 years of Independent Local Radio

Four sources of inspiration are behind our latest Not So Perfect Ten. One is my memories of 1980s Independent Local Radio – Piccadilly Radio in particular. The second source is an episode of Pablo [CBeebies’/RTEJr’s exciting children’s television series] where Pablo is tickled by a radio advert. Which reminded me of my formative years with Piccadilly’s adverts. The third source of inspiration is Half Man Half Biscuit’s cover of Mandy.

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Ringing the Frequency Changes: AM to FM and DAB to DAB+

Personal musings on broadcast radio frequency changes


Vintage radio image by Jeff Holt, 2012. (Creative Commons License: Attribution-Some Rights Reserved)


Before I went to bed, I learned about the possibility of more tasty radio stations coming my way. “Whoop whoop I thought,” thinking my erstwhile DAB receiver would benefit from a few new stations, using the DAB+ system. Then I realised the only one I would have been likely to listen to was Steve Penk’s Wind-Up channel. Chris Country was definitely out, so my opinions on the Manchester digital multiplex’s selection was met with a “meh”.
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A History of Piccadilly Radio Jingles (Part One): 1974 – 1990

A nostalgic look at the former radio station’s jingles

After a six year hiatus I have, in a professional capacity, returned to my spiritual home. Central Manchester. Back on the bus to Piccadilly Gardens though the train and tram could be suitable alternatives. To pass the time (and conserve battery life on my smartphone), I have rediscovered the joys of radio. In spite of the lure of free WiFi on an Enviro400 double decker bus.

Via Tameside Radio. The joys of its new breakfast show. Very good it is too, not least the fact I can get a clear signal up to Piccadilly Gardens. Good old FM: light on the battery life compared with YouTube. Sometimes better quality sound.

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