Monday, 14 July 2014



Forty years ago today the Metropolitan Broadcasting Company, otherwise known as MBC or simply Metro Radio took to the airwaves of north east England. It was the sixth Independent Local Radio (ILR) station to open in the United Kingdom, and part of the first tranche of nineteen of such stations that would commence broadcasting by April, 1976.

Commercial radio back then was a new medium in a country that since the invention of radio in the early twentieth century had been allowed little choice when it came to listening to legal broadcasts. Domestically, there was just the BBC or Radio Luxembourg from the Continent. These were joined in the sixties by a plethora of pirate stations, operating from international waters in the North Sea.

Eventually the Government relaxed the broadcasting rules and regulated for ILR. This was a system of generally low power local radio stations that were required to identify strongly with their local communities via news, current affairs, sport, other speech-based, music and specialist programmes.