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 Monday, 6 January, 2003, 17:48 GMT
News veteran Gall makes radio return
Sandy Gall
Gall won an award for his work in Afghanistan
Former News at Ten presenter Sandy Gall has signed up by London radio station LBC to become its world affairs editor.

The 75-year-old has come come out of retirement to join the talk and news station, which relaunched Monday.

He helped kick-start the relaunch on Monday, joining breakfast show presenters Jane Moore and John Nicolson to discuss the possibility of a war with Iraq.

Mariella Frostrup
Frostrup hosts a film show

Sir Elton John was also in the studio as the breakfast show's star guest.

A spokesman for the station said Gall would not comment on air daily, but would be called upon to discuss world affairs at regular intervals.

"He is a veteran broadcaster and has all the attributes needed for such a role," said the spokesman.

"People are interested in world affairs, particularly in the current climate, and Sandy has the knowledge and the gravitas to discuss such matters.

"We are really chuffed he has joined us."

Front line

Gall is probably best known for his stint on ITN's News at Ten but even after he stopped presenting the news he refused to retire, reporting from inside the front line of war-torn Afghanistan in the 1980s.

He won a Lawrence of Arabia memorial medal in 1987 for the reports.

Gall joined ITN in 1963, where he worked until 1992. Before that he was a foreign correspondent with Reuters.

In addition to his work in Afghanistan, Gall has reported from the Middle East, Vietnam and Africa.

He joins a raft of other star presenters, including comedians Sandy Toksvig and Roland Rivron, TV star Mariella Frostrup, and journalist Matthew Wright.

Rivron will present an "anti-sport" show on a Saturday afternoon while Frostrup will host a film slot.

Wright is down to host a current affairs programme and Toksvig is hosting a daily lunchtime show, featuring celebrity guests.

Capital battle

Station bosses are hoping the star names will help boost listening figures for the revamp of LBC, which is the UK's oldest independent station, launching in 1973.

Sandy Toksvig
Toksvig is one of LBC's star presenters
Well over two million Londoners tuned into the station in its heyday in the 1980s, but increased competition and financial problems saw its audience wither away, with a low coming in 1993 when the original LBC company lost its licence and went into recievership.

The LBC name was revived in the late 1990s, and the station has now been bought by media group Chrysalis, which has restored it to its old 97.3FM frequency, swapping wavelengths with its sister station News Direct.

London is the most competitive radio market in the country, and station bosses will be hoping to compete with the long-established Chris Tarrant breakfast show on Capital FM, which also relaunched on Monday. LBC's morning show features Tarrant's former newsreader Howard Hughes.

Chrysalis also owns pop station Heart, which has seen its ratings rise at Capital's expense.

Also in their sights will be BBC London 94.9, which itself relaunched with an almost all-talk format in 2001.

See also:

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