At the , a very active discussion is taking place
on Facebook in which former staff and listeners of Radio Orwell are sharing memories. The nature
of Facebook is such that only recent posts are shown and older ones are hard to find, consequently
there are already a lot of repeated questions. More importantly, a lot of memories that people
have committed to the page are already off the bottom of the page and in danger of being lost.
To save at least some of that discussion, I've created this page as a means to capture some of the
discussion in a manner that will make it findable long term.
I'm planning to make available some of my own archive from that time separately (I was commercial script writer, in house voice and
off-peak presenter from November 1985 - February 1990) but this page is about the station as a whole.
The First Hour
Radio Orwell began broadcasting .
Based at Electric House in Ipswich, it was one of the very first (legal) commerical radio stations in Britain.
The first voice heard was that of chairman Commander John Jacobs, followed by Managing Director Donald Brooks.
The future ITV News Royal Correspondent Tim Ewart
read the first news bulletin followed by the first presenter, Keith Rogers (real name Keith Chanter).
In its heyday, Radio Orwell was big and its presenters genuine local celebrities — far more so than any of
today's local radio folks. Here are some of the many pictures posted on the Facebook page by the biggest
star the station produced — and he really was a household name in those days —
Andy Archer (no relation, his real name is Andrew Dawson).
This page is about the station, not me, but here's a bit of me…
From launch until April 1989, Radio Orwell (later joined by Saxon Radio in Bury St Edmunds) would close down at night. By 1988,
before the station began broadcasting 24 hours a day, that time had been pushed to 01:00.
Paul Morris (now on TOWN 102)
recorded one such closedown, which I voiced
over the then station theme which was part of the jingle package created by David Arnold
(who should not be confused with the musician of the same name who is best known as John Barry's successor in making music for the Bond films)*.
Throughout the night we had to broadcast 'something' as much as anything to prevent the transmitters from going into some sort
of hibernation mode. As a result there was a tone played every few seconds and then every ten minutes or so you'd hear
Nick Coady giving
(in this case over one of the jingles that he produced to follow on from the David Arnold package in 1988).
Nick recorded a special message for Carl Goss to play
before the final close down on the night of . Paul Morris
caught it on tape.
If you like David Arnold's music, then I recommend you head over to
Radio and Telly.co.uk where, among other goodies,
you'll find Arnold's Listen to Essex — neighbouring Essex Radio's 1981 theme.
* I am grateful to Sean Saunders for correcting my earlier confusion
over the two David Arnolds. In short, the jingle-maker is not the same as the Bond composer.