Len Groat, voted Number One presenter and programme on Metro in 1975.

Metro Radio initially broadcast for twenty hours per day, and here is the schedule from Monday July 15 and Tuesday July 16, 1974:

Here is a typical initial weekly schedule commencing October 28, 1974 for Metropolitan
Broadcasting, before the necessary format changes:


0600: Morning All - good humour and good music to start the day
0900: Groat Market - lively music laced with competitions and quizzes
1100: City - daily serial centred around a football club
1115: Metro Daily - magazine programme
1315: Quiz In - chat with questions and prizes
1345: The Giles Squire Show - music, astrology and human interest
1430: Timbertops - music story for young children. The music and songs I am fairly sure were written by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley one of the most successful song-writing teams in the UK at that time. There was an album produced and released.
1445: The Giles Squire Show
1715: Various -

Monday: By Arrangement - Brian Baird looks at the best in big band music through the eyes of the arrangers

Tuesday: The Jack Leonards Show - nostalgic music
Wednesday: The Musicals - Maggie Mash brings us the old time greats
Thursday: Family Robinson (repeat of Saturday's programme)
1715: Sport
1730: Street Of The Week (repeat of Saturday's programme)
1815: Metro Pop 30 - Tyne/Wear's own Top 30 Chart
1945: Phone In
2045: Various


2045: Progress Report - on local industry, commerce, planning etc.
2100: Westminster NE - Westminster politics affecting the NE
2130: Country Collections


2045: Motoring - (repeat of Saturday's programme)
2130: Jazz with Alan Twelftree - world jazz scene


2045: Time Off
2130: Bridges - underground music


2045: The Case For - local people with interesting and lively minds discussing regional topics
2130: Master Music - selections from the world's greatest classical composers


2045: Women's Weekly - evening programme for working women
2130: Recorded Folk - local and international folk music

2245: City - repeat of the morning's episode)

2300: Sounds In The Night - mixed bag magazine on the day's happenings
0200: Close Down


0600: Rise 'n Shine - good music and good things to do over the weekend
0830: The Ken Blakeson Show - children of the NE request programme
1030: Easy Listening
1215: Motoring
1300: News
1310: City Omnibus - weekly events in our City serial
1400: Saturday Sports Arena
1700: News
1710: Family Robinson - families of famous sporting personalities and their record requests
1815: Results
1830: Clock Golf Quiz
1900: Street Of The Week
1945: Time Off
2030: Tune Twister - panel game
2100: News
2110: Saturday Concert
2400: News
0005: Stateside - American pop scene
0200: Close Down


0700: Sunday Sunday - gentle music, gentle chat to star the day
0900: News
0910: Sunday Sports Arena
0945: Metro Gnomes - lively children in the studio - anything can happen
1045: Timber Top Tunes
1100: Disney Magic - we reflect the magic created in the minds of children by the genius of Walt Disney
1130: Yours For The Asking - request programme linked with the Tyneside Hospital Broadcasting service
1345: News
1400: The Jack Leonards Show - (repeat of Tuesday's programme)
1500: Metro Road Show - latest on the pop scene
1800: News
1810: City Omnibus - (repeat)
1900: Clock Golf Quiz
1930: Songs of Joy - hymns, gospel songs, favourites in churches throughout the North East
2000: On Call - debate on controversial topics
2200: Sounds In The Night - mixed bag magazine with Sunday flavour
2400: Morning Mood - particular mood for the early hours

1976 Schedule

1977 Schedule

By the late 1970s, with the help of Canadian consultants, these early schedules had changed to a broader appeal, but one of Metro Radio's enduring programmes is the Night Owls Phone-In, still aired today, and introduced by Alan Robson.  This programme was first broadcast in 1975 with James Whale, followed by Alan Beswick, Tony Crosby and Dave Porter.

News and Sport

ILR stations had, and still have a choice of how their news bulletins are broadcast. In the 1970s, they all subscribed and contributed to Independent Radio News in London.

Bob Holness and Douglas Cameron presenting the AM programme on the London Broadcasting Company (LBC), London's news and information Independent Local Radio service. On the top of the hour the three minutes national news bulletin was networked as Independent Radio News (IRN) a subsidiary company of LBC.

This was the only independent news service for the commercial radio sector with news bulletins and stories syndicated to the ILR stations, who could, in turn, contribute important local stories that were nationally important.  Alternatively, as in the case of Metro Radio, each bulletin between 6.00am and 6.00pm, and also at 11.00pm would be read by a local newsreader, with national stories re-broadcast by a local newsreader. IRN was a wholely-owned subsidiary of LBC (London Broadcasting Company).

These, along with downloaded reports would be incorporated into the bulletin, along with local stories and read in order of importance. This seamless format is in use today by many commercial stations, along with BBC local radio, but in the 1970s seemed to be most popular only with the larger ILR stations with more resources. 
Michael Chisman, Metro Radio reporter
At all other times, a standard three minute IRN bulletin was relayed. An interesting and rare feature was a full seven minute ILR national bulletin at 12 midnight during Night Owls. This was most uncommon (except for the news station LBC in London). This was probably broadcast to decrease "needle time", which was restricted by the IBA. 

There were two substantial news magazine programmes – a fifteen minute magazine at 1.00pm and a half hour programme at 5.30pm to catch the drive time audience. Both took a more in-depth look at that day’s news. 

Journalists and newscasters also included Neville Wanless (also worked as a continuity presenter at Tyne Tees Television), Ann Dover, Kevin Rowntree, Tony Belmont, and Tony Cartledge.

Metro FM - Programmes & Features

The Countdown Hour (Weekday mornings 9am) - A top ten from either the 70s, 80s or early 90s of that week.

Love In The Afternoon/Lovesongs (Weekdays) – A listener’s relationship story (read over a cleverly edited version of ‘Our Love’ by Michael McDonald), and the playing of three appropriate love songs. Started off each day at 2:30pm , then broadcast at 11:30am, with an afternoon repeat.

FirstBeat (Mon-Fri about 12:30) – A first playing of a future release single. 

Four From One At One (Weekdays 1pm) – Four hits, from one year.

The Metro FM Money Minute (Weekdays 1.35 and 5.30pm) - A representative from the Financial Times would report the latest financial news. 

Chartwise (Monday to Friday 4pm to 5pm) Starting with the ‘Four at Four’ competition. Listeners called to name each song, the artists, and the year they were hits. Following on would be a different daily present day chart countdown from that week, e.g. the UK top 40 Monday, the American Chart Tuesday, The North East Chart Wednesday, The Dance Chart on Thursday and on Fridays would be the most requested hits of the week.

Hitwave (Weekdays 6pm) – Two 30 minute non-stop music sweeps with a short news bulletin in-between. 

Hits Not Homework (Weekdays 7pm) – Presented really well by Lee and Ingrid. Recent hits and chat for teenagers. Sponsored by North Tyneside College. 

Heart To Heart – Friday/Saturday 11pm-2am. Lovesongs and dedications with a smooth talking presenter. 

The North East Nightshift (Daily 2am to 6am) - Usually broadcast From The Metro FM studio (sometimes from the GNR side – you knew from which phone number they were using!). Simulcast across the North East on Metro FM, GNR, and some stations in Yorkshire. Music from the 60s all the way to the present day. 

Oldies Travels (Sunday 12noon (Metro) 5pm (GNR)) –  a selection of chart hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s. Sometimes recorded from board cruise ships etc. Only on GNR from about 1997, with Luis Clark playing two top tens from the 80s or 90s over on Metro. Intro music was an edit of 'S'Wonderful' by Ray Coniff & his Orchestra. 

Dance Decades – Originally including the weekly dance chart, eventually became two hours of classic dance tracks. 

Classic Hits – Saturday 12 noon and Sunday 7pm – No chart hits, just oldies and listener requests. Some really great 70s and 80s hits could be heard on this show.

Night Owls - A brief history by ex-Metro Radio presenter, Dave Porter

The Night Owls programme was invented and presented by James Whale when Metro Radio started.  James presented it for about seven and a half years.  When he left, Alan Beswick took over.  Alan's from Manchester, never settled in the North East, in fact he lived in the Station Hotel in Newcastle during the week and went back to Manchester on the weekends.  Alan presented it for 6 months.  He's now, and has been for many years, a presenter on BBC GMR in Manchester.

Next, Tony Crosby.  Again Tony presented it for 6 months. Then me.  I presented Night Owls for a year.  Probably it's darkest days.  The Miners strike was on for much of the year I was on the show and that was a frequent topic of conversation!  Not surprisingly!  The problem was that as there was little or nothing happening on a daily basis on the picket lines, there wasn't really much to talk about. This made for a dull show.  After a year they took me off, I didn't really want to be a phone in presenter in those days, I¹m happy to do it now.

Then Alan Robson, who had arrived at the station some time earlier.  Alan was working at a job centre, and was presenting the Saturday Rock Show. Alan was offered Night Owls after I came off and has been on it ever since, more that 20 years now. Full details and background of Alan Robson MBE and the Night Owls phone in are available by visiting:


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