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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