Piccadilly Launch - Medley

Aug 26, 2011, 11:17 AM

Manchester, a fitting home to the fifth ‘ILR’ commercial radio station. It was to become one of the biggest, taking out ads in the Times, proudly trumpeting it as the ’largest station outside London’ (Jicrar 1978).

A week before launch, the station claimed to have booked £1/4m of revenue from 100 clients. Its national sales were to be handled by Air Services, at a time when national advertising sales were handled by a variety of oft-changing sales houses. Piccadilly had 70 staff at launch, including nine journalists and plans for three more.

Piccadilly had music radio genes, culled from the pirates and the biscuit station UBN, thanks to the likes of Philip T Birch as MD. Philip had been one of the brains behind the slickest of the pirate ships, Radio London. Colin Walters from the BBC was the first Programme Controller (and speaks on this audio), although one could hear the influence of Bob Snyder (ex pirate Radio 270, and later to Programme Trent) in the station’s slickness and first jingle package.

The first voice on-air on 2nd April 1974 was Roger ‘Twiggy’ Day. Sounding bright and together at launch, it was unfortunate that the Beach Boys wowed in. I guess he rather wishes the World would forget that now. As you can see on the comment below, it was purely a case of the bloody turntables not quite doing they were paid to do.

Piccadilly was the first station outside London to go 24 hours. As befits one of the ‘great’ English stations, a flood of names trickled out over the years, not least Steve Penk, Timmy Mallett, Gary Davies, Mark Radcliffe, Geoff Lloyd, Andy Peebles, and that Evans chap.

Unlike most stations, the ‘heritage’ brand , Piccadilly, was transferred to AM when the station split its AM from FM, with the then up-market Key 103 arriving on FM. Piccadilly on AM ultimately became 'Magic' - a brand name which, eerily, gets a mention in these first seconds of 1974 output.