October 01, 2007

Horse 808 - Established 1967


30 Sep 1967 - In response to pirate radio stations, in some cases almost literally as they were hosted from off-shore platforms and ships in the English Channel, the BBC dusted off its very very stodgy attitude and spun four stations from its sole station.

Radio 1 and Radio 2 came from the ex-Light Programme, the Home Service morphed into Radio 4 and the Third Programme not surprisingly became Radio 3.

The very first record played in the new Radio 1 was Flowers in the Rain by The Move. Some saw it as symbolic as the end of the "Flower Power" era, though it would appear that Tony Blackburn selected it merely because it sounded nice.

The Beeb has gone right to the nines with this. Since all four of the original post-split networks still exist, they all celebrate their birthday on the same day. The BBC is still esentially the biggest radio company in the world, and at the inception of the four networks, was deriving most of its income from the radio licence which has subsquently shifted to a TV licence.

I must admit I do happen to like the BBC, because not being hampered with playing what's commercial, it tends to try experiments. It is probably singly responsible for Madchester and Britrock and the current Grime and Hip Hop resurgence in the UK. It heralded glam rock and punk and saw out then end of metal as a force. Personally I hope that Radio 1 continues to lead the world, because when British music is on top, the world is better for it.

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