Wednesday, 28 May 2014


It's October, 1974 and who's going to Prime Minister? Will it be Ted Heath (left); Jeremy Thorpe (centre) or Harold Wilson (right)? Meanwhile, Metro Radio is still in its infancy with a huge variety of news, drama, sport, motoring, quiz and music programmes.

Well it's back to 1974 now and time for a great tranche of audio from Len Groat, one of the original line-up of presenters at the Metropolitan Broadcasting Company when it started
transmissions earlier that year. Many of the clips supplied by Len were produced in-house by Metropolitan Broadcasting itself and are of jingles, programme trailers, promos or commercials.

To set the scene, you will recall that 1974 was the year of Miner's Strikes, three day weeks, two General Elections, and a Lib-Lab Pact. Television's hours were cut to 10.30pm closedown by government edict in order to save electricity. There were power cuts, bakers' strikes and there was the first of a couple of major oil price shocks, the result of an Arab-Israeli War, the Yom Kippur War of October, 1973.

Sunday, 25 May 2014



Presenter of the Mid Day Music Explosion, Metro Radio's
Steve King.
It's time for another trip back in in the musical time machine and another excerpt from the daily Mid Day Music Explosion presented by Steve King, a fantastic one hour mix of oldies and their statistics and chart positions. The oldies are mainly from the sixties and early seventies and the show is a great mixture of blockbuster oldies along with a sprinkling of singles that you haven't heard for some time. This excerpt is from August, 1977.

The Mid Day Music Explosion was followed by fifteen minutes of Metro News, Weather and Sport at 1pm, presented either by one Metro Radio's journalists, one of its presenters or one of Tyne Tees Television's in-vision continuity announcers from City Road in Newcastle such as Neville Wanless who also worked for Metro Radio.

Steve's programme continued at 1.15pm with more contemporary hits and a guest depending on the day of the week. These included Denise Robertson, Metro Radio's "agony aunt" helping listeners with relationship and personal problems, and the station's astrologist Joan Porter with her horoscope predictions.

So relax, settle back and let us take you on another nostalgic trip back to the early days of Independent Local Radio (ILR) in north east England, courtesy of Neil Siddaway of Middlesbrough. Thanks Neil!

The Mid Day Music Explosion, (excerpt) presented by Steve King. Air date: August, 1977. Duration: 17 minutes.

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Thursday, 22 May 2014


North east personality, chief Tyne Tees Television in-vision continuity announcer and Metro Radio presenter,  Bill Steel.


It's time for another excerpt from one of Bill Steel’s legendary north east Breakfast Shows, this time from September 1977 from 8.30am. In addition to great music, Bill's show featured news every half an hour, the all-important traffic and travel news, horoscopes, what’s on information, weather and sport. The Bill Steel Breakfast Show also included Sports Editor Charles Harrison’s Metro Mount Up, which although sounding risqué, was only the day’s horse racing tips!

Thanks go out once again to Neil Siddaway of Middlesbrough who lovingly recorded the following excerpt of Bill Steel’s programme via radio-cassette, and most importantly has lovingly kept this compact cassette recording for nearly forty years. I am sure it will bring back some great memories of Bill’s programme that was for many years an institution on Metro Radio, and indeed in the wider north east.

In late 1974 and 1975 while Metro Radio's output included the superb PAMS Productions Inc. of Dallas The North East Sound/Solid Rock 2 jingle package, Bill had some of his own PAMS cuts specifically for use on the Breakfast Show, and these are also included below.

Bill Steel's Breakfast Show. Air date: September 26, 1977. Duration: 22 minutes.

Bill Steel's Breakfast Show Jingles, PAMS Productions Inc. of Dallas The North East Sound/Solid Rock 2 jingle package. Air date: September 26, 1977. Duration: 22 minutes.


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Thursday, 15 May 2014



What are your over-riding memories of 1977? For myself as a teenager, it was listening to the fantastic music of the era on Metro Radio. And there were other 'little' things as well that I remember... college and GCE 'A' levels! And I remember undertaking long cycle rides with my friends on a jazzy 10-speed Peugeot racing bike, complete with handlebar radio tuned to 261! I also remember Peter Powell kites... stunt kites that you could operate in formation!

But of course there was also the really big local, national and international news that was brought to the north east on Metro 261. There were two really big stories in 1977 here in the north east. And they were the visit of US President Jimmy Carter to north east England in search of his roots and the defining news that shocked the world: the death of Elvis, the King of music in every respect.

We could console ourselves by listening to Elvis Presley on Metro and sharing the sentiments of its presenters. And despite the sad news about Elvis, there was some fantastic music in the charts in 1977, and if you didn't like the charts, Metro had a daily oldies segment, The Mid-Day Music Explosion at 12 noon!

Anyway, enough of the news, let's get into the music and the radio of the time. And what a treat we've got lined up for you with the following programme downloads, all lovingly recorded and preserved by Neil Siddaway of Middlesbrough.

Firstly, we have an hour of the Giles Squire Evening Show which featured the best in chart music, rock and soul broadcast on a weekday between 7pm and 10pm in the autumn of 1977. An ideal programme to enjoy while you should have been doing your homework or revising! Giles always played some superb music which often included the best new releases, thus allowing listeners to discover new artists and music. Canadian singer Burton Cummings (formerly with Guess Who) was one such artist for me. His song I'm Scared still remains one of my favourite tracks to this day (and yes, I bought the seven inch single on the Portrait record label!).

Secondly, we have an hour of Steve King's Mid-Day Music Explosion, except that this programme was presented by the late Marc Paul while Steve was on holiday. Marc was a popular sound on Metro Radio in the late seventies and he eventually left the UK to broadcast on National Iranian Radio and Television (NIRT). Although the chart music on Metro came from a weekly playlist formulated at a management and presenter's meeting, oldies were on the shole, chosen by presenters themselves. And judging by what you'll hear in Marc's programme, he had a phenomenal taste in the music of the sixties.

As always, I hope that you thoroughly enjoy these vintage recordings and once again, thanks to Neil for recording them, keeping them for four decades and sharing them!

Giles Squire Evening Show, Air date: October 3, 1977. Duration: 60 minutes.

The Mid Day Music Explosion, presented by Marc Paul. Air date: October, 1977. Duration: 31 minutes.


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Tuesday, 13 May 2014



Well, what a refreshing smorgasbord of nostalgia we have for you in the latest tranche of programme downloads, all lovingly recorded and preserved by Neil Siddaway of Middlesbrough.

Climb aboard our radio frequency time machine on 261 and enjoy not one, but three samples of seventies radio at its very best... and all from the North East Sound!

Firstly, we have an hour of the Giles Squire Show (broadcast on a weekday between 3pm and 7pm) recorded by Neil Siddaway on August 8, 1977.

It's sobering to think that as you listen to this programme, Elvis Presley would be dead within a few days, and Kerry Packer would transform the world of cricket with his World Series.

Oh... and Freddie Laker of Laker Airlines had 'gone to the top' and obtained permission from US President Jimmy Carter to launch his Skytrain service. And President Carter himself had just visited Washington and Newcastle-upon-Tyne in order to return to his roots.

All of this news whether local, national or international covered by Metro Radio!

Giles' programme featured four hours of good music, sport and pop news, including a chance to Voice Your Choice on the latest releases. Listeners could keep up to date with road, traffic and weather reports, and a full round-up of all of the local, national and international news was broadcast between 5.30pm and 6.00pm.

Secondly we have another hour of the Dave Burrows Morning Show, complete with music, chat and information that was designed to relax you through the mid-morning.

This particular programme was recorded on Wednesday October 5, 1977. Dave's programme also included advice for those looking for a job, what's on. recipes and vegetable and meat market prices. The programme was broadcast Monday to Friday between 9.00am and 12 noon.

To put the show in a musical chronological contest for our radio nostalgia time machine, ABBA had just reached number one in the singles charts with The Name of the Game.

Finally, we have a very rare recording from Neil of the late Marc Paul, another excellent broadcaster who eventually left Metro Radio to broadcast with Iranian Radio in Tehran (joining the late John Coulson).

The excerpt below is of Marc standing in for Steve King on the Mid-Day Music Explosion while Steve was on holiday. This segment of Marc's shoe featured the best in oldies from the sixties and early seventies and was broadcast between 12 noon and 1.00pm.

So, as I've said before, if the twenty first century all seems a bit too complicated and hectic, then it's time to bookmark our Programme Downloads page, and use it as a little piece of seventies magic, if not tranquillity and peace for even more programmes!

In the meantime enjoy two whole hours of seventies Independent Local Radio (ILR) at its best courtesy of Metro Radio 261MW 97VHF, the North East Sound.

The Morning Show, presented by Dave Burrows. Air date: October 5, 1977. Duration: 48 minutes.

Giles Squire Show, Air date: August 8, 1977. Duration: 47 minutes.

The Mid Day Music Explosion, (excerpt) presented by Marc Paul. Air date: 1978. Duration: 4 minutes.


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