Timeline of BBC Radio London

This is a timeline of BBC Radio London, a BBC Local Radio station broadcasting to London.

Radio LondonEdit

  • 1970
    • 6 October – BBC Radio London launches. It is the fourth station to launch as part of the BBC’s second wave of BBC Local Radio stations and the 12th local station to go on air.
  • 1971
    • No events.
  • 1972
    • No events.
  • 1973
    • 8 October – The station faces commercial competition for the first time when the UK's first Independent Local Radio station, LBC, launches.
  • 1974
    • Robbie Vincent launches a late-night phone-in called Late Night London.
    • 22 November – The first regular programme for the black community Black Londoners launches, presented by Alex Pascall.[1] The programme was initially launched as a trial run of six programmes before becoming a weekly fixture in the schedules.
  • 1975
    • No events.
  • 1977
    • May – Robbie Vincent moves from Late Night London to the lunchtime show, swapping with David Simmons who moves to the late evening show in August.
  • 1978
    • 8 May – Black Londoners launches as a daily programme, having previously been a weekly Friday night programme.
  • 1979
    • 17 August – After more than five years on air, Late Night London is broadcast for the final time. It is not replaced and from the 20th, weekday programming ends at 10pm. This enables BBC Radio 2's output from 10.00 pm to midnight to be heard in FM quality, when Radio 2's national FM network was taken by BBC Radio 1 for the John Peel and Tommy Vance shows.
    • 17 November – BBC Radio London makes major changes to its weekday programming. Home Run, which had been on air since the station's launch, is replaced by London News Desk and a new arts-based programme called Stop, Look, Listen, London Live moves from mid-morning to early afternoon and is replaced in mid-morning by The Robbie Vincent Telephone Programme with Rush Hour extended by an hour. The evening shows are dropped with weeknight programming ending at 8pm instead of 10pm with some of the displaced programmes moving to Sunday afternoons.
  • 1980
    • No events.
  • 1981
    • 11 February – BBC Radio London begins broadcasting in stereo.
    • The station is relaunched. It adopts an easy listening format ranging from softer contemporary pop to light classical music. Despite being unpopular with employed staff, who thought it very un-hip, and politicians who would question the need for a local radio station to sound like the two music-based BBC national networks, the relaunch led to improved audience figures and a string of awards and accolades.
    • Tony Blackburn joins the station to present the afternoon programme.
  • 1982
    • No events.
  • 1983
  • 1984
    • The station is relaunched with the tagline The Heart and Soul of London, with more soul music being played during the day. Changes include Tony Blackburn taking over the mid-morning show.
  • 1986
    • No events.
  • 1987
    • No events.

Greater London RadioEdit

  • 1988
    • 7 October – Test transmissions for Greater London Radio (GLR) begin.
    • 25 October – At 6am, BBC GLR launches. Put together by new Managing Editor Matthew Bannister and Programme Director Trevor Dann, the station is aimed at 25- to 45-year-olds and is on air daily from 6.30am until midnight. Early promotions use the phrase "rock 'n' rolling news" with a music mix that was best described as Adult album alternative and travel news every 20 minutes . The new weekday line-up consisted of Nick Abbot at breakfast, Emma Freud presenting the mid-morning show, Johnnie Walker and Tommy Vance hosting Drivetime and Dave Pearce hosting an evening club music show.
    • A number of specialist speech programmes launch, many of them broadcasting as a MW opt-out. They are aimed at London's communities: Asian, Afro-Caribbean, Jewish, Gay and Irish. Black London was presented by Margaret Jones aka Ranking Miss P and Lavender Lounge, the programme for the gay community, was presented by comedian Amy Lamé.
  • 1989
    • January – Danny Baker joins the station as presenter of the weekend breakfast show.
    • Janice Long joins the station to present the breakfast show, hosting the programme until 1991. She replaces the departing Nick Abbot.
    • GLR sets up a youth-based radio training facility at Vauxhall College, SW8, which was followed with a second course based at White City.
  • 1990
    • Chris Evans makes his on-air debut, having spent the previous year producing Danny Baker’s programme. Initially presenting a Saturday afternoon before moving to a weeknight evening show called The Greenhouse.
    • Summer – Dave Pearce leaves the station to join new commercial music station Kiss 100.
    • November – Johnnie Walker was dismissed after making the comment that people would be "dancing in the streets" about the resignation of Margaret Thatcher as prime minister.[2]
  • 1992
    • No events.
  • 1994
    • Summer – Bob Harris joins the station to present the Saturday late show, later hosting the mid-evening show on Monday to Wednesday evenings.
    • Big George Webley joins.
  • 1996
  • 1999
    • Following a consultation exercise on local broadcasting in the South East, the BBC decided to rebrand GLR and substantially change the programming. A campaign to "Save GLR" is organised and a petition delivered to the BBC.[4][5] Although the campaign was unsuccessful in saving GLR, and the rebranding went ahead the next year, it demonstrated the existence of a loyal audience for its format.

London Live 94.9Edit

  • 2000
    • 25 March – BBC London Live 94.9 replaces GLR. Promising even more speech and less music, the station launches with new on-air personalities and new shows, including a speech-heavy breakfast show and a mid-morning phone-in and debate. Only drivetime and the specialist shows would remain, albeit refreshed. Lisa I'Anson, Vanessa Feltz and Eddie Nestor join.
    • July – The station starts broadcasting via DAB.
    • Phill Jupitus leaves.

BBC London 94.9Edit

  • 2001
    • 1 October –
      • BBC London Live changes its name to BBC London 94.9 and the presenter line-up is changed. The change sees a new presenter line-up. Danny Baker hosted a breakfast show, which was co-hosted with American comedian Amy Lamé. Jon Gaunt then hosted the mid-morning phone-in show. Vanessa Feltz replaces Lisa I'Anson in the afternoon slot with Eddie Nestor and Kath Melandri presenting drivetime. The changes also see Tony Blackburn return to present a Saturday classic soul music and chat show.
      • The station becomes the first BBC local station to begin live streaming on the internet.
  • 2002
    • No events.
  • 2005
    • JoAnne Good takes over as presenter of the breakfast show.
  • 2007
    • No events.
  • 2008
    • February – Norman Jay leaves following a decision to move his show to a "digital only slot".[7]
  • 2009
    • No events.
  • 2012
    • 24 November – The final edition of The Late Show with Joanne Good is broadcast.
    • 25 November – A line-up change takes place. JoAnne Good moves to the afternoon show, replacing Danny Baker and Simon Lederman takes over the weeknight late show.
  • 2013
    • 2 January – Penny Smith replaces Gaby Roslin as co-presenter of the breakfast show. Other schedule changes see JoAnne Good move to the mid-afternoon programme with Simon Lederman taking over the weeknight late show and Nikki Bedi taking over the weekend late show.[8]
    • 5 January – The BBC Local Radio stations begin a new Saturday evening show titled BBC Introducing. Hosted by a local presenter on each station, the programme's aim is to promote musicians from the area.[9]
    • 7 January – The debut of the BBC's networked evening programme takes place, hosted by former Classic FM presenter Mark Forrest.[10] The show replaces all local programming, apart from local sport coverage.
  • 2014
    • No events.
  • 2015
    • 5 July – Duncan Barkes joins to present "London's Late Night Radio Phone-in”.[11]

BBC Radio LondonEdit

  • 2018
    • 26 November – Following the decision to reinstate local programmes on weeknights, BBC Radio London launches The Scene, which is described as "a platform for London’s community arts, entertainment and cultural activities, featuring new talent and emerging artists, performers and creators." Six new presenters are recruited to host the show.[15]
  • 2020
    • 4 April – BBC Radio London stops broadcasting overnight and instead begins broadcasting BBC Radio 5 Live between 1am and 5am.[16]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Alex Pascal MBE – Writer, broadcaster and musician" Archived 18 January 2013 at Archive.today, Black in Britain.
  2. ^ "Whensday – Tears at Ten? Thursday 22nd November 1990". Xplosure. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 23 December 2013.
  3. ^ "AM/FM Online Edition #17: November 1993".
  4. ^ "Save GLR Page (or not!)". Archived from the original on 16 December 2001. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
  5. ^ "Save Greater London Radio (GLR)!". connectotel.com. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011.
  6. ^ Jessica Hodgson. "DJs slam 'dumb' BBC radio". Evening Standard.
  7. ^ John Plunkett. "DJ Norman Jay leaves BBC London". the Guardian.
  8. ^ Presenter Penny Smith to join BBC London 94.9 FM BBC, 10 December 2012
  9. ^ "New Saturday night show for BBC Locals". Radio Today. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  10. ^ "Mark Forrest to host BBC networked show". Radio Today. 4 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  11. ^ Duncan Barkes joins BBC London for Lates
  12. ^ John Plunkett. "BBC Radio London name to return after 27 years of rebrands". the Guardian.
  13. ^ Plunkett, John (23 October 2015). "Vanessa Feltz to take helm at flagship BBC Radio London show". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  14. ^ BBC Media Centre Tony Hall pledges a "renaissance" for BBC local radio as the service marks its 50th anniversary
  15. ^ A fresh new sound to BBC Radio London’s evening shows - The Scene… from Monday 26 November, 8-10pm
  16. ^ Late Night Schedule Changes at BBC Radio London