This week: looking back on 50 years of commercial radio

This week: looking back on 50 years of commercial radio
Clockwise top L-R: LBC broadcasting on 8 October 1973, Jane Garvey and Fi Glover at Times Radio, Ken Bruce at Greatest Hits Radio and Andrew Marr on LBC.
Feature: 50 Years of Commercial Radio

This Sunday marks the 50th anniversary since the first commercial radio broadcast in the UK.

LBC, then called the London Broadcasting Company, was the first legal commercial radio station to broadcast on 8 October 1973.

To mark this milestone, The Media Leader is publishing feature interviews this week with the UK’s major radio companies to find out the biggest changes they have seen and their predictions and priorities for the future.

We will also be taking a look back at some of the major events that have shaped the medium over the last five decades.

How commercial radio is modernising 50 years on

On Monday, Matt Payton, CEO of the trade body for commercial radio Radiocentre, shared his views on our podcast about how commercial radio, and by extension his organisation, is modernising.

News UK: Video and multi-channel talent loom large for radio

On Tuesday, News Broadcasting’s director of audio Dennie Morris and commercial director David Wilcox explained their vision of radio for the next 50 years, and how they are going after video and multi-channel talent.

Global: radio needs to be ‘a dynamic and forward-thinking medium’

Today, Global’s director of commercial audio Katie Bowden tells The Media Leader about the strengths of commercial radio, for example excelling in capturing and maintaining attention. Meanwhile, the senior managing editor for LBC Tom Cheal talks about how becoming a national station in 2014 “put rocket fuel under the brand” and how Andrew Marr became a surprise hit on TikTok.

Bauer Media Audio: ‘radio presenters are the original influencers’

Bauer Media Advertising’s managing director Simon Kilby explains how radio presenters have evolved into influencers while Bauer Media Audio UK CEO Simon Myciunka warns the radio industry against ignoring the possibilities of AI as the sector faces more change.

50 years of commercial radio milestones

What was the first national commercial station and when did it first broadcast? When was the first joint radio app launched? When was the first commercial broadcast on DAB? Find these answers in our interactive timeline produced by the Adwanted Audio team.

There will be much more to come over the course of the week so be sure to check back here daily for a glimpse of our coverage, or visit our dedicated audio page. And don’t forget to sign up to our daily newsletters for the latest news in your inbox.

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