Monday, 5 May 2014



Imagine the scene, it’s Tuesday September 5, 1978, you’ve just arisen from bed ready for work and it’s time to make a cuppa and switch on the radio tuned to Metro 261!

In the seventies, Metro Radio wasn’t twenty four hours a day and closed down after James Whale’s Night Owls Phone-In and IRN News at 2.00am on a weekday. At about 5.50am each day blasting out of the ether would be a short start-up sequence complete with the Metro Radio Song, which gave a fantastic choral account by the PAMS Singers of Dallas, of the station’s primary service area and raison d’etre.

Metro Radio Start-up Sequence including Good Morning and Metro Radio Song, (taken from the 1974 PAMS of Dallas jingles package, available here or on the Jingle Pack Download Page). Air date: September 5, 1978. Duration: 2 mins 11 secs.
After that it would be straight in to the first Metro News, Weather and Sport bulletin of the day at 5.55am, presented by one of the Metro Radio newsroom staff, or sometimes using one of the Tyne Tees Television continuity announcers who also worked for Metro Radio, such as Neville Wanless.

Neville had experience presenting radio news bulletins having often read the regional opt-out bulletins on BBC Radio 4 VHF in the early seventies (these were eventually superseded and replaced in the north east by BBC Radios Teesside (Cleveland), Radio Newcastle and Radio Carlisle (Cumbria).

At 6.00am it was time for Bill Steel’s legendary north east Breakfast Show, with news every half an hour, the all-important traffic and travel news, horoscopes, what’s on information, weather and sport. And then of course there was the best in music to kick start your day. 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! 

Bill's programme always used to contain a good sprinkling of jokes such as the little classic today. It's a cricket and Baked Beans joke, so it'll still have you "bowled over" and in "creases" (sorry!) today!

Thanks go out once again to Neil Siddaway of Middlesbrough who lovingly recorded the following excerpt of Bill Steel’s programme in September 1978 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. The excerpt to which you are about to listen is the 8.30 to 9.00am segment, that would be followed by Metro News at 9.00am, and the Dave Burrows Show at 9.05am approximately.

Bill Steel's Breakfast Show, (excerpt). Air date: September 5, 1978. Duration: 26 minutes.

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