Frequency Changes

Oct 08, 2011, 12:08 AM

1978 saw stations packing their trunks and moving homes up and down the band, both commercial and BBC. My good friends at Trent quietly moved 1kHz from 998 to 999 AM – as the separation between channels became a neat 9 kHz - but other changes were more substantial.

On 23th November 1978. Radio 2 waved farewell to Long Wave, making way for Radio 4. 693 and 909 kHz became Radio 2; and Radio 1 moved off its old 247 wavelength – over to 275 and 285; leaving 247 for radio 3. I use wavelengths, rather than frequencies, in the latter clause as the digits are but so familiar, thanks to generations of jingles.

The UK was also given 227 kHz, but did not rush into using it. I recall during my time at the Radio Authority, the regulator debated, rather quickly, whether to bother.

The frequency changes were a major project. The BBC plonked little stickers through the doors of all households. Indeed, some lucky old radio sets may still have them on. There were announcements too: Terry Wogan explained all calmly to TV viewers; and radio services carried announcements and jingles. JAM were summoned to do a typically beautiful complex and lengthy frequency-change cut; but. Most notably, the King Singers stood to recite this beautiful psalm.