BBC Radio Leicester celebrates 50 years as the UK’s first local radio station
By Sophie Sandberg
It’s been 50 years since the first ever local radio program broke the silence in people’s households and was aired from BBC Radio Leicester.
There are now 40 BBC Local Radio stations around the UK but the first broadcast was aired on BBC Radio Leicester at 14.45 on November 8, 1967.
Celebrating not only the success of the station itself but also the success of local radio, a heap of events was arranged to mark this momentous day, including a one-day conference hosted by De Montfort University’s Leicester Media School and the MeCCSA Radio Studies Network.
“I think it’s a really special anniversary because being the first BBC Local station to reach this milestone and it reflects 50 years of life in Leicester and Leicestershire and making people smile,”said Kamlesh Purohit, the Deputy Managing Editor at BBC Radio Leicester.
“Local radio has in many ways been the voice of the people and in many ways, a companion to people in a way national radio can’t.”
Mr Purohit has been working at BBC Radio Leicester for 31 years and has seen a huge change in how radio is being perceived and produced over the years.
“The world of local radio is rapidly changing the way radio is being consumed,” he added, “young people are not consuming media in the same way they used to and we need to adapt to that without losing the magic of local radio.”
Among the industry experts taking part in a panel discussion about the diversity in BBC Local Radio was Gloria Abramoff, Managing Director at Tonic Productions, which provides content for radio, TV, brands, and charities.
She said: “I can only hope that local radio stations will go back to connecting much more closely with their audiences and make sure that their staffing reflects their audiences in order to understand them a bit better to create more authentic content and embed themselves in the community.”