Radio Luxembourg - Story

Nov 12, 2011, 03:47 PM

A dip into the rich history of Radio Luxembourg. Often referred to, erroneously, as a pirate, 'Luxy' was licensed in all but its very early days. In the 1930s, when the BBC distanced itself from entertainment, Luxembourg rose to the challenge, beaming the UK with a first taste of commercial radio. Commercial it was too, in a 21st century brand integration way.

The transmitters were seized during the War, and happy presenters were replaced by the tones of Lord Haw Haw, whose 'Germany Calling' call-sign can be impersonated by the generation which heard him, and which later saw him hanged for treason.

The new Luxy flourished after the War. Having moved to its famous 208m position on the medium wave, it was embraced by a young Britain both before the 'pirate' era - and beyond, as a young UK 'independent local radio' pursued its early 'worthy' programme policy. Owing to the format gap, Luxy bounced through the seventies and only began to suffer real attrition as Radio One moved to FM; and commercial radio was freed for a more populist approach and the growing network seized Luxy revenue.

The station eventually waved farewell to 208 in 1991 - and remained on satellite until its closure a year later. The station is remembered to this day for: 'the Ovaltineys' sponsored programmes; the presenters it spawned (Murray, Savile, Edmonds, Freeman); the poor reception ('the Luxembourg effect'); and for being listened to 'under the bedclothes' (unavoidable really, given it only managed to occupy its frequencies in the nightime).