Tuesday, 25 February 2014



Metro Radio was, and still is a hotbed for the development of broadcasting talent. Many well known faces on television and voices on national radio cut their teeth at the station. One such youngster during the mid-eighties was a young Jeremy Vine, who presented at Metro Radio whilst studying for his degree at Durham University.

Jeremy's show was called Through The Night With Jerry Vine and the BBC Radio 2 lunch time phone in presenter was kind enough to spare some time and contact this website. This is what he had to say about his time at Metro Radio:

I just found this site; what an excellent archive. I presented on MetroRadio at Swalwell between 2.00 and 5.00am roughly once a week, between 1984 and 1986 while I was a student at Durham University.

I was given the slot by Giles Squire (who was then a DJ/executive) and whom I still see. Mic Johnson was the controller. Alan Robson was doing the show before mine. It wasn't really mine anyway - it was Dave Bray who was the main presenter of the overnight show when I was there. I wasn't much good but I learnt a lot.

Other DJs were Steve King, Nicky Brown, Peter Duncan and Dave Porter. Dave Porter usually came on at 5.00am. My first record on my first show was Abba's, Dancing Queen, in 1984.

I was paid £8 per hour on air, which was a fortune to me. I will always be grateful to Giles and Mic for the start.

Best wishes
Jeremy Vine
BBC Radio 2

You can listen to Jeremy every day between 12 noon and 2.00pm on BBC Radio 2 for his phone in show that he has broadcast for over ten years and was a replacement for the retiring Jimmy Young.


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Wednesday, 12 February 2014


from webmaster ANDY FLEMING

Like many credible and comprehensive websites and blogs, this brand new Metro Radio 261MW 97FM tribute site is the culmination of much hard work and time over the last ten years 
Myself and wife, Gill
presenting a programme
together on hospital
radio in the summer
of 1992.
not just by me, but the many very kind individuals who have gone to sometimes quite extreme lengths to locate and share nostalgic multimedia material and memories. In either producing the website or providing stories and media we all have had one thing in common: a desire to preserve an integral part of the broadcasting history of north east England before it slips from memory completely with no preservation whatsoever of the vintage media recordings associated with Metro Radio. In a broad sense it assists in negating Winston Churchill's observation that "A national that forgets its past has no future".

Our meagre attempt at the preservation of history includes vintage audio stretching back over forty years in the form of Metro Radio's jingle packs, trailers, commercials, Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Regulatory Announcements, Public Service Announcements, and full programmes. Their are photographs, publicity material, and even IBA and Metro Radio Trade Test Transmissions from May,1974!

Much of this material is quite simply irreplaceable and has been ported from analogue audio cassette or reel-to-reel magnetic tapes into digital format ready for you to download or listen online.

Bill Steel was a familiar voice
on Metro Radio with a highly
popular Breakfast Show in
the 1970s. He was also the
chief continuity announcer at
ITV Tyne Tees Television for
nearly 20 years.
One particular contributor and listener, Philip Dack living in Whitley Bay in 1974, recorded some of Metro Radio's earliest programmes via an old Philips reel to reel tape machine whose microphone picked up programmes via a Ferguson radiogram and its speakers! Unfortunately it also picked up electrical interference from the blower motor present in his  ducted air central heating system, very popular in the early seventies!

The fact that the radiogram was tuned to Metro Radio's high quality VHF (FM) stereo signal was rather lost due to the use of a single mono microphone and the RF interference. Many visitors and listeners of a certain age will empathise with this, when as youngsters we recorded from the radio with a microphone, before the advent of compact audio cassettes and especially radio/cassette combinations. What happy memories, and how we were spoilt!

Another special contributor was the late and sadly missed David Barras of South Shields. He also frequented the internet's highly popular Jingle Mad forums and I had the pleasure and privilege of talking to him several times about the fantastic guided tours of the radio station both of us enjoyed in 1977/78. He was kind enough to send much publicity material about Metro that he had lovingly collected as a child and most importantly kept as an adult! Although David and myself had several guided tours we never spoke in person until 2005. Such is the power of the internet in bringing people together! The radio station's guided tours were organised via Metro Radio's friendly promotions manager at the time, Kath Hamill
Myself making the switch
from the hospital radio band
to FM, presenting Solid Gold
Sunday on Radio Hartlepool.

I also must include special thanks to Brian Lister, who commenced working for the Metropolitan Broadcasting Company as a technical supervisor in 1974. He graduated through the ranks which culminated in him guiding, overseeing and directing the merger with Radio Tees 257 in 1986, and managing the AM/FM split that saw three separate radio arise in the region at the end of 'simulcasting'.

These of course were all owned by the Metro Radio Group and included Metro FM 97.1, TFM96.60 and Great North Radio (GNR) on 1152AM (north) and 1170 (south). In combination these three radio stations occupied the two AM and two FM IBA ILR franchises in north east England namely, those of Tyne/Wear and Teesside.

Thanks are also due to Len Groat, mid-morning presenter in Metropolitan Broadcasting's original line-up from 1974 to 1975, for providing more publicity material. Len was also responsible for commissioning those fantastic PAMS Dallas singers jingle packs complete with amazing acapellas. Incidentally, Metro's "North East Sound" package was derived directly from those of station 13KOL in Seattle in North America. Len will be staying in contact with the site and will be producing something special to celebrate Metro Radio's fortieth birthday on July 15, 2014. I for one am certainly looking forward to that.

Afternoon presenter and later 1980s Programme Director Giles Squire has also been instrumental in supplying the website with much needed verified background information regarding the organisational history behind Metro Radio, This has replaced much speculation by myself as a listener.

I wish to thanks Brian Clough for supplying some much needed publicity material for both Metro Radio in the 1970s and particularly Great North Radio in the 1990s. Brian was the presenter on both radio stations of the Friday Night Country Crowd for nearly two decades.

Thanks also to Dave Porter, presenter at Metro Radio in the 1970s and 1980s including hosting the Night Owls programme during a controversial period in the north east's history, supplied a superb article about the programme and its forty years history from the presenting of James Whale, Alan Beswick right the way through to the present presenter, the great Alan Robson.

Most recently, more thanks go out to Neil Siddaway, a listener, like myself of Metro Radio on Teesside going back decades who lives in Middlesbrough. Neil recorded much Metro Radio output in the seventies via tape, and is in the process of transferring much of the material to digital format. At present, most of Neil's uploaded material is located on our Time for a Commercial Break page. Many thanks Neil, and to the visitor enjoy! And to Neil, yes... I too had one of those "261MW METRO RADIO 97VHF" sun visors on my 1975 Mini Clubman, and used to sport one of those lovely Metro Radio/Gentle on Your Mind (with butterfly) T-Shirts!

Finally, thanks go out to all the listeners and station staff from technical personnel to presenters and former managers who have shared their memories of Metro with us and have filled in some of the gaps about he whereabouts of former presenters and staff.

Don't forget if you have any audio or video on whatever format, or publicity material or photographs of Metro Radio or Great North Radio from 1974 right up to the present day, and you would like to share it with visitors of this site, please do get in touch with myself Andy Fleming, webmaster of this site here.

I look forward to hearing from you.


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Tuesday, 4 February 2014


Metro Radio's studio in Swalwell, Gateshead,
photographed here in November, 1974.
Metro Radio began broadcasting on July 15, 1974. Officially named the Metropolitan Broadcasting Company Limited (MBC), it supplied programmes initially between 6.00am and 2.00am the following morning.

The new studios were located on a light industrial estate at Radio House, Longrigg, Swalwell on the southern bank of the River Tyne, slightly west of Gateshead.

The first programme was The Breakfast Show with Don Dwyer, an Australian presenter who had worked for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Harry Rowell who had previously worked in the News Department of Tyne Tees Television.

MBC reflected life in Tyne and Wear, and unlike many fledgling ILR stations of the time, pop music and entertainment were to be of less importance in its early programme schedules.  Indeed, its early output relied heavily on speech-based programmes, such as news, costly-to-produce dramas, children's programmes and documentaries.

This website is a tribute to a unique, innovative, creative, entertaining and informative radio station, and to the people with flare, passion and imagination that ensured that over four decades it would develop into one of the most successful examples of commercial radio in Britain. This of course extends down through the decades to Metro Radio’s management, presenters, newsreaders, administrative staff, advertisers, and last but not least its highly loyal and enthusiastic listeners. The extensive and nostalgic jingles, programmes and videos are bound to provoke the fondest and happiest memories of those who have lived in north east England.

The website and associated blog also records Metro Radio's fascinating history as an independent company, its merger with Radio Tees 257 in 1986, the AM/FM split (the end of so-called ‘simulcasting’ by the IBA on Medium Wave/VHF (FM)) that created Metro FM and Great North Radio (GNR), and  the EMAP acquisition of 1997. This brings us right up to date with Metro Radio and its sister station on AM, Metro Radio 2 The Greatest Hits (formerly Magic 1152) being owned and operated by Bauer Media Group.



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