BBC Radio Bristol launch

Sep 03, 2011, 01:17 PM

BBC Radio Bristol launched in September 1970, the ninth BBC Local Radio station, and the first one after the original tranche of eight.

Frank Gillard, seen as the architect of BBC Local Radio, appeared in the opening moments. A fitting time for such an appearance: this was his last year at the BBC; and it was the year in which the incoming Conservative Government appointed Christopher Chataway as Minister of Posts and Telecommunications. Whilst Chataway allowed the Corporation to continue with its planned BBC local radio expansion, his views on further growth were less than enthusiastic.

BBC Bristol slid on air in a thoroughly professional and confident way, albeit with the delicious style of a bygone age. Michael Buerk featured on the line-up in the early days and, as you’ll hear here a beautifully posh Kate Adie.

Like many of the early BBC stations, there were talented local characters on air for sufficiently long for the locals to take them to their hearts. Roger Bennett was one of those: a former local press reporter, he was one of the first through the door at BBC Radio Bristol as it opened in 1970. He then hosted 'Morning West' for 28 years. Like others in BBC Local Radio’s formative years, his death was felt deeply and rightly commemorated by a stained glass screen reflecting his life, placed in the St Mary Redcliffe Church, Undercroft.

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