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A history of BBC local radio in England: c1960 – 1980

By Matthew Linfoot


The story of BBC Local Radio in England, from the days of its conception around 1960, through to the launch of the first stations in 1967 and the finalisation of how to complete the chain in 1980 is a neglected area of research in media history. This thesis tells this story, using previously undocumented research from the BBC Written Archive Centre, and supplemented by oral history interviews with key participants. The approach is multi-faceted. Part of the investigation lies in gaining a greater understanding of how the BBC operated as an institution during these years. The internal culture of the BBC presents a series of complex issues, and the evolution of local radio illustrates this in many ways, in matters concerning management, autonomy, technology, the audience and finance. Linked to this are the differing notions and definitions of what „local? meant, in terms of the original concept and the output in practice. For local radio, this had a crucial impact on station location, the size of the transmission area and the degree to which the stations were able to represent and embody their communities. This history also assesses the impact the stations made, often in contrast to the popular image and perception of local broadcasting. The original contribution to knowledge that this thesis makes is in narrating this history for the first time, and in doing so, challenging previous assumptions about the nature of local broadcasting as part of the BBC and as part of the wider community

Topics: UOW9
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Provided by: WestminsterResearch

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  1. (1995). A The History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom: Vol 1 Broadcasting and Society (Oxford:
  2. (1962). BBC starts a training course for local broadcasting production techniques in Poole 30
  3. (1970). Diary entry 19
  4. (1965). Immigrant Programmes Advisory Committee, which subsequently became the Asian Programmes Advisory Committee
  5. (1964). Labour Government elected; Tony Benn appointed Postmaster General
  6. (1980). Michael Starks‟ list for the next wave of local radio stations was:
  7. (1979). Paper: A Radio Management Green Paper 26
  8. (1971). Radio Derby goes on air 1972: Radio Durham closed May 1973: Crawford Committee on Broadcasting set up October 1973: First commercial stations go on air:
  9. Radio: The BBC‟s Response to the Government White Paper: A Note Prepared by Local Radio Council Chairmen [no date] in Local Radio: Board of Governors Sub-Group R78/1388 In response, Annan proposed abolishing LRCs altogether.

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