LBC Radio (originally the London Broadcasting Company) operates two London-based radio stations, with news and talk formats. LBC was Britain's first legal commercial Independent Local Radio station, providing a service of news and information to London. It began broadcasting on 8 October 1973, a week ahead of Capital Radio. The launch of LBC also saw the beginning of IRN's broadcasting, as LBC provided the service to independent local radio stations nationwide.
- LBC 97.3 - talk format, transmitted on FM.
- LBC News 1152 - rolling news format, transmitted on MW/AM.
Both are also transmitted on DAB in London and via a live stream on the LBC website.
The first presenter at launch on Monday 8 October 1973 at 06.00 AM was David Jessel. There were practise broadcasts for the station which started Wednesday 29 August 1973. The station attracted considerable attention and a sizeable audience, particularly for the pairing of the journalist Paul Callan and the writer (later national newspaper editor and TV personality) Janet Street-Porter who contrived to create a new form of radio, albeit unintentionally. The pair were pitched as co-presenters of the mid-morning show.
The original station spawned a number of stars who went on to become household names in the British media. They include Jon Snow, Julian Manyon, Peter Allen, Rosie Boycott, Bel Mooney, amongst others. Entertainment personalities included Jeremy Beadle, who developed a late night phone-in programme, and Mr Nasty - who argued over the telephone with children. Both went on to star in the Granada Television series, Fun Factory.
Originally owned by a consortium led by the Canadian Selkirk Communications with a 46% stake, LBC was sold in 1987, beginning a turbulent commercial history.
The new owners were media company Darling Downs, later renamed Crown Communications, owned by Australian entrepreneur David Haynes. Crown sold the station's original base in Gough Square near Fleet Street in the City of London and relocated to Hammersmith; and in 1989 split the station into two separate services, the news and comment LBC Crown FM, and the phone-in London Talkback Radio on AM. The transition was not initially well received, and substantially increased costs, pushing the company into the red.
Sold on again to Shirley Porter's Chelverton Investments, the company almost disappeared completely in 1993, when the Radio Authority failed to renew the company's two licences, LBC Newstalk and London Talkback Radio, awarding the frequencies instead to London News Radio, a consortium led by former LBC staff and backed by Guinness Mahon. The prospective loss of the franchise brought Chelverton to the brink of collapse, and London News Radio (soon itself taken over by Reuters) bought LBC to keep it on air until the official handover date of October 1994.
London News Radio
From 1994 to 1996, London News Radio operated the station from LBC's former studios in Hammersmith, as London News 97.3, a rolling news and travel information service on the FM band, and the phone-in driven service London News Talk 1152 on the MW band. These names were simplified slightly in mid-1995 to News 97.3 and News Talk 1152 respectively, but between October 1994 and July 1996 the LBC name was not used on-air at all.
Reuters then brought in additional shareholders, and between 1996 and 2002 LBC was part of London News Radio Limited, a company owned jointly by ITN, Daily Mail and General Trust, Reuters and the GWR Group. This new consortium revived the LBC name on 1152AM on 1 July 1996. At the end of 1996 the FM service was relaunched as News Direct 97.3FM. Production for the station was moved to the basement of ITN's new multimedia building in Gray's Inn Road.
In 2002 the company was bought for £23.5m by the media company Chrysalis, who trumpeted their purchase with the promise that they would lift the listenership to at least one million from around 700,000 (LBC enjoyed an audience of more than two million in the early 1980s). Production was moved to Chrysalis's base in North Kensington, and the formatting of the two frequencies was swapped, the talk format moving to FM and the news format to AM; but an array of presenters including Boy George, Henry Kelly, Caroline Feraday, Dr. Pam Spurr, and Sandi Toksvig (all no longer with the company), plus an array of on-air gimmicks and two managing directors, saw the audience remain largely static. LBC's 97.3FM's increase in audience has been at the expense of its AM service.
In 2005, the station's Managing Director Mark Flanagan left Chrysalis to set up a political consultancy company and was replaced by David Lloyd. Some[who?] claimed he held no previous experience in the talk and chat radio genre, which overlooked the almost two years he spent with the Century FM brand in its Border TV ownership days where the station was a 50/50 music/talk service. Lloyd introduced a number of programme changes to mixed reactions - these included a 'Drive Time' slot presented by Iain Lee (since replaced by Paul Ross, then James Hartigan and Petrie Hosken and now James Whale), a daily 'Big Quiz' which promises (but has yet to deliver) huge cash prizes (and has since been cut down to one show a week), and a number of weekend repeats. He also introduced a 'podcasting' service, now called LBC Plus, and a number of premium-rate promotional opportunities to boost falling advertising revenues experienced by the radio sector.
Since September 2006 the LBC 97.3 station has been available in other parts of the country on the digital DAB platform, after Chrysalis bought out its partners and closed the Digital News Network rolling news station that had previously been carried on the MXR multiplex. Each multiplex region – the North West, West Midlands, Yorkshire, North East, South Wales and the West – broadcasts the London LBC transmission, augmented with reduced bulletins of regional news and information.
In February 2007, Chrysalis confirmed media speculation that it was 'reviewing' the entire radio operation at its investors' request. Further media speculation from The Guardian suggested that the group had little option, due to shareholder pressure, to sell its radio arm, including LBC, raising up to £200,000,000 for new acquisitions, while The Daily Telegraph suggested that it could be the subject of a 'management' buyout. Subsequently it was announced on 25 June 2007 that LBC along with its sister stations The Arrow, Heart and Galaxy network were to be sold for £170 million to Global Radio by the Chrysalis Group, whose Chrysalis Radio operation closed down. In December 2008 the station moved to the Capital London studios in Leicester Square.
The radio station became involved in the MMR vaccine controversy after a broadcast by Jeni Barnett on the subject was criticised as irresponsible and ill-informed by Ben Goldacre. LBC and Global Radio demanded that Goldacre remove the audio of the show from his blog, which resulted in its being made available at Wikileaks and elsewhere and the preparation of transcripts of the broadcast. David Aaronovitch in The Times argued for
'a class action against LBC for permitting a presenter to inflict her preposterous prejudices on her listeners, to the detriment of someone else's kids.'
Towards the end of October 2012, the station ceased DAB broadcasts to some other parts of the country. As a non specific, (i.e. sports only), talk channel, available for listener contributions, this has proved an unpopular move as Social media sites suggest
On 8 October 1973 London got a new talk radio station. The website goes behind the scenes with pictures from the past and present.
Help a London Child
Help a London Child was founded in 1975 by Richard Attenborough CBE. It is a grant-giving charity which twice a year provides practical support to groups working with those aged 18 and under.
In the first year £8,000 was raised and grants given to 10 charities in Camden. Over 34 years since then, the charity has raised over £20 million, helping over 1 million children.
Grants are awarded to refuge and homelessness projects and to support groups for children and young people with a disability, special need or an illness, as well as to a range of sports, music, drama and leisure activities, holiday play schemes and residential breaks in the UK, cultural activities, supplementary schools, and literacy programmes.
Help a London Child is also working in partnership with London sports bodies to identify the need, and the groups and agencies required to deliver FS4A.[clarification needed]
It was the winner of Outstanding Contribution to London Lifestyle at the London Lifestyle Awards.
LBC 97.3 Presenters
Travel presenters and reporters
- Andy McColl (Breakfast)
- Jay Louise Knight (Drive)
- Joanne Webb
- Russell Holding
- Adam Moore
- Amy Solomon
- James Worley
- Brooke Burfitt
Past LBC presenters include:James Max; James Whale; Adrian Allen; Carol Allen; Dominic Allen; Mike Allen; Toby Anstis; Dickie Arbiter; Tre Azam; Phillip Bacon; Bill Bailey; David Bassett; *Jeni Barnett ; Simon Bates; Jeremy Beadle; Alison Bell; Bill Bingham; Therese Birch; Frank Bough; Tommy Boyd; Gyles Brandreth; Bill Buckley; Paul Callan; Douglas Cameron; Mike Carlton; Mike Carson; Clare Catford; Marcus Churchill; Nick Conrad; Andy Crane; Jamie Crick; Jono Coleman; Steve Crozier; Tim Crook; Gino D'Acampo; Dan Damon; Peter Deeley; Anne Diamond; Mike Dickin; Richard Dallyn; Jenny Eclair; Richard Fairbrass; Caroline Feraday; John Forrest (Producer-Director); Mariella Frostrup; George Gale; Krishnan Guru-Murthy; Boy George; Charlie Gibson; Charles Golding; Angie Greaves; Eric Hall; Bob Harris; Brian Hayes; Chris Hawkins; Phillip Hodson; Bob Holness; Eamonn Holmes; Jon Holmes; Fred Housego; Rufus Hound; Howard Hughes; Sue Jameson; Bob Johnson; Bryn Jones; Steve Jones; Barry Jordan; Charlie Jordan; Lesley Judd; Henry Kelly; Allan King; Gary King; Jenny Lacey; Iain Lee; Richard Littlejohn; Wendy Lloyd; Sir Nicholas Lloyd; Adrian Love; Dave Luddy; Kelvin MacKenzie; Richard Mackney; Mike Mendoza; Daisy McAndrew; Rod Lucas; Carol McGiffin; Monty Modlin; Nathan Morley; Douglas Moffitt;Bel Mooney; Jane Moore; Elliot Moss; Pete Murray; Paddy O'Connell; Rod Lucas; Tom Parker-Bowles; Michael Parkinson; Frank Partridge; John Perkins; David Prever; Martin Popplewell; Gill Pyrah; Anna Raeburn; John Richards; Angela Rippon; Rowland Rivron; Richard Robbins; Paul Ross; Kenny Sansom; Adrian Scott; Valerie Singleton; Penny Smith; Jon Snow; Julia Somerville; Laurence Spicer; Dr Pam Spurr; Lee Stevens; Janet Street-Porter; Peter Stringfellow; Carol Thatcher; Sandi Toksvig; Petroc Trelawny; Michael Van Straten; Robbie Vincent; Becky Walsh; Sandy Warr; Brian Widlake; James Williams; Matthew Wright; and Martin Young.
People who have hosted "one off" or temporary shows while regular presenters were away include:
- "On this day: 1973 - Commercial radio joins UK airwaves". BBC News. 8 October 1973.
- Oatts, Joanne (3 April 2007). "LBC becomes 'London's Biggest Conversation'". Digital Spy.
- Media UK's LBC page
- "‘Mr. Nasty’ is alive and well in America". Assistnews.net. 2009-09-17. Retrieved 2013-04-22.
- New Owners For LBC, AM/FM News, February 1993.
- LBC To Appeal Over Licence Decision, AM/FM News, September 1993.
- Receivers In At LBC, AM/FM News, April 1994.
- Eaton, Lynn (5 October 1994). "LBC signs off after 21 years". The Independent (London).
- Reece, Damian (15 December 2001). "London News Radio for sale with £30m tag". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Milmo, Dan (25 September 2002). "LBC takeover imminent". The Guardian (London).
- Cassy, John (26 September 2002). "GWR confirms LNR sale". The Guardian (London).
- Day, Julia (6 December 2002). "LBC goes off air in relaunch gamble". The Guardian (London).
- Deans, Jason (18 July 2005). "Flanagan quits LBC for politics". The Guardian (London).
- "LBC Radio in DAB Expansion - potential 17 million audience" (Press release). LBC Radio. 28 July 2006.
- Day, Julia (1 August 2006). "Ofcom gives nod to LBC news hub". The Guardian (London).
- Tryhorn, Chris (12 February 2007). "Chrysalis joins consolidation race". The Guardian (London).
- Thelwell, Emma (26 June 2007). "Chrysalis sells three radio stations". The Daily Telegraph (London).
- Aaronovitch, David (10 February 2009). "The preposterous prejudice of the anti-MMR lobby". The Times (London).
- "Early Day Motion 754: MMR vaccine and the media". UK Parliament. 10 February 2009.
- LBC Official Site
- History of LBC
- Another history of LBC, including the original 1973 schedule
- LBC - from 1973 to today, The Guardian, 4 December 2002
- Year-by-year ownership and management details
- Tim Crook, The History and Development of Independent Radio Journalism in Britain, January 1998
- Brian Hayes, LBC: you could have been a contender, The Guardian, 1 October 2003
- John Plunkett, Stars reflect on 30 years of LBC, The Guardian, 1 October 2003
- Vincent Graff, How we beat the BBC, The Independent, 14 October 2003
- Audience figures for LBC 97.3 and LBC News 1152, 1999–2008