BRMB - Launch in 1974
BRMB launched on 19th February 1974 – the first commercial radio station in England outside London. Its name is a puzzle to many: not actually an acronym, but its letters are plucked wildy from the company Birmingham Broadcasting Ltd which was awarded the franchise to broadcast. Back then, commercial radio’s regulator did the dirty business of transmission, and merely franchised out the fluffy business of creating programmes. David Pinnell was the first MD, with John Russell as Programme Controller (the title ‘programme director’ was rarely used back then).
BRMB’s company had been around since the early 1960s when commercial radio was first a possibility. It eventually began broadcasting on 94.8 FM (moving to 96.4) and on 1151 (later moving to 1152).
At the outset, BRMB was seen as a solid, dependable station which took its obligations seriously, whereas its fiery neighbour Beacon was altogether more colourful and daring. And, in its early days, more profitable. The contrast was epitomised by Beacon’s vibrant orange sunshine logo and lush jingles; compared to BRMB’s more traditional station identifications and staid logo. BRMB, though, became a much-loved station and its Walkathon raised hundreds of thousands for charities over many years.
Many well-known names have passed through the BRMB doors at its Aston premises or in the current Brindleyplace base: the loving Graham Torrington, Jeremy (Jezza) Kyle; Ed Doolan; and Phil Upton.