May 26, 2011
In the 1980s I used to exchange cassette tapes of radio shows with a friend in the States. She would send me stuff from New York and I would send her our “best”. For some reason she loved Steve Wright in the afternoon and Simon Bates with his mid-morning “Our Tune”. (Amazing to think both of them are still presenting 30 years on…). I think it was probably the accents of the English DJs she liked most. I failed to convert her to John Peel or Boothby Graffoe though !!
When the radio station Atlantic 252 first began on Long Wave in September 1989 I sent her a few tapes. She wasn’t impressed. It just sounded like the constant-rotation Top 40 she could hear on any number of local stations. Here Atlantic 252 must have been a big hit if they eventually achieved an audience of 4 million. It seems odd that initially they only broadcast daily until 7pm but I guess they wanted people to re-tune to sister station Radio Luxembourg in the evenings. I was surprised to find that Atlantic 252 lasted until as recently as 2001 after a steady decline in audience share and a failed attempt to re-invent themselves as a more trendy “dance music” station. One problem was that they only broadcast in mono. The 1990s saw a rise in popularity in “oldies” stations. BBC Radios 1 and 2 improved. Local commercial stations had local news as well as Top 40 rotation. Perhaps Long Wave was simply not a very “hip” place to visit anymore. Before filing this particular cassette tape under B(1)N I’ve decided to salvage the contents for my audio archive. Here is an extract from Charlie Wolf’s early evening show from October 1989 . In hindsight the radio station doesn’t sound as bad as I thought it would….it sounds quaint and even the music (which I probably didn’t much like at the time) now sounds nostalgic.