The winner of Metro Radio's Big Pop Contest receiving his award from Giles Squire.
By the 1980s Metro Radio’s output had seen a remarkable transformation, coinciding with a complete turnaround in the company's financial position.changed remarkably during the 1980s.  It started as a station providing a rich variety of specialist music, local news and current affairs programmes under tight IBA regulations and broadcasting 20 hours per day.
Metro Radio's Money Go Round
Competition with Giles Squire.

The ethos and economic doctrine of the UK government in the 1980s was deregulation and liberalisation.  By the end of the decade, even the IBA itself was on the verge of being abolished (to be replaced by the Radio Authority in the early 1990s, and later OFCOM).

The effects of this on commercial radio in the north east were 24 hour broadcasting being embraced by Metro Radio, incorporating the Nightshift programme between 2.00 and 6.00am.  Gradually, an increase in needle time was allowed and by the time of the AM service split in March 1989 Metro Radio was more or less a chart hits station, with a religious and classical music programme only

In 1986, Metro Radio took over Radio Tees, and in 1990 the company acquired Pennine Radio in Bradford (re-launched as The Pulse of West Yorkshire), Viking Radio in Hull, and Radio Hallam in Sheffield.  The AM medium wave franchises of these stations were then re-launched as Great Yorkshire Radio (later Great Yorkshire Gold).
Steve King (Wells) in the early days of the small Metro-Centre studio, Gateshead.

Metro Radio's ever-popular Christmas Appeal and Charity Auction launched in the seventies, and continued in the eighties, raising in this one year alone £33,000 for local chaities and the needy.

In October. 1988 Metro Radio's VHF FM frequency was changed slightly from 97.0MHz to 97.1MHz, and at the same time the power of the Burnhope transmitter was increased from 5kW to 10kW, to give better reception in marginal areas.

Metro FM Breakfast Show Video with Steve Coleman and James Whale.

Great North Radio Promo & Station Song ITV Tyne Tees, March 1989.

In terms of output, the next big change was on April 8, 1989, when in line with government 
policy the company ended 'simulcasting'.  It meant that the ILR companies could no longer broadcast the same output simultaneously on both their medium wave AM and VHF FM franchises (with only a few exceptions).  Metropolitan Broadcasting's answer to this was the formation of the Great North Radio (GNR) on AM medium wave, and Metro FM on VHF FM.  The former was broadcast on 261 metres medium wave (1152kHz) in the ILR Tyne and Wear area, and 257 metres medium wave (1170kHz) in the ILR Teesside area (Radio Tees' old AM medium wave franchise).

Great North Radio Commercial, ITV Tyne Tees Television, 1992.

Go back in time and read here about Metro's History:The 1970s
Listen to Metro Radio (FM) and Metro Radio 2 (AM) today (click either logo)



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