United Biscuits Network

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United Biscuits Network
Slogan The Home of Good Baking
First air date 1970 to 1979
Format Popular Music and Speech
Owner United Biscuits

United Biscuits Network (or UBN for short) was an internal radio station serving the factories of United Biscuits. It was in operation from 1970 to 1979.[1]


UBN broadcast from the United Biscuits factory in Osterley to United Biscuits factories in London, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow 24 hours a day. It was the training ground for many of the UK's most famous radio presenters including Roger Scott, Adrian Love, Chris Grant, Nicky Horne, Graham Dene, Peter Young, and television personality Dale Winton.[2][3]

The first Programme Director, when the station opened in 1970, was Neil Spence the former Radio London DJ known as Dave Dennis.[4] He was followed by Roger Scott (joined London's Capital Radio), Adrian Love (LBC, BBC Radio 2), Dave Anthony (Radio Luxembourg) and finally Allan King (LBC, Melody FM, BSB News, Sky News) the Programme Director when the station closed in December 1979.

Because there were very few non-BBC radio stations in the 1970s, the network became surprisingly important in breaking new acts.[5]

It was closed down in 1979, when the decision was taken to play Independent Local Radio stations in the factories instead.[6]

The Chris Petit film Radio On was partly filmed at the UBN studio. The protagonist is a DJ at an industrial radio station similar to UBN.

Distribution of the 'radio' from the Osterley studios to the various factories was via GPO landlines, then 100v loudspeaker systems in each factory. Each pair of workers had their own loudspeaker and volume control. To accommodate the already high ambient noise levels in the factories, the audio was highly compressed.

UBN's program content was similar to contemporary commercial radio, except that 'commercials' were to encourage safe work practice, among other subjects, and music requests were, for example, from Fred on the Chocolate Digestive line to Doris on the Jaffa Cakes.

In its time UBN was, on the whole, popular with staff and its introduction was credited with a dramatic reduction in staff turnover.

Programming was very similar to BBC Radio 1 and 2, but there were specialist programmes for Asian listeners and Country and western fans in Liverpool and Glasgow[7]


  1. ^ Korczynski, Marek (2013). Rhythms of Labour: Music at Work in Britain. Cambridge UP. p. 229. 
  2. ^ "List of Presenters". Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  3. ^ Winton, Dale. My Story. p. 127. 
  4. ^ Billboard, 30 April 1977
  5. ^ Pope, Mal (2010). Old Enough to Know Better: Mal Pope's Autobiography. Y Lolfa. 
  6. ^ "UK On air thread". Retrieved 2009-12-22. 
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved November 21, 2010.  BBC Radio 1 News report on UBN

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