Droitwich Calling

Aug 20, 2014, 02:49 PM

Walk into any old antique shop and you'll see the huge old radio sets. Some will have dusty tuning dials marked with places, like Luxemboug, Moscow, Paris, Warsaw and little old Droitwich in Worcestershire.

The Droitwich masts tower into the sky to this day, visible from the M5, and seen at night too, thanks to the glow of the aircraft warning lights. The aerials beam out Radio 4 on Long Wave, and 5 Live, Talksport and Absolute on Medium Wave.

At its time, the transmitters at Droitwich were some of the most powerful in the World. Their history is almost a history of broadcasting itself, from the early days of regional and national radio, through strategic wartime use to the Home and Light Programmes, right through to present day BBC and commercial services.

The Long Wave transmitter was first switched on on September the 6th 1934. Although engineer, John Phillips, was not to join the Corporation for another nine years, his knowledge of those early days is flawless, as he proved to me when I spoke to him at Droitwich Heritage Centre, surrounded by his artefacts in the exhbition to commemorate 80 years of the masts: 'Droitwich Calling'.