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Last Updated:  Thursday, 27 February, 2003, 16:35 GMT
Radio 2 starts Gulf mission
DJ Steve Wright
Steve Wright's programme has more than three million listeners
DJ Steve Wright will lead BBC Radio 2's efforts to support British troops in the Gulf with special programming to keep them in touch with friends and family.

From this Sunday, Wright will have a dedicated slot during his Sunday Love Songs programme for messages and dedications from the UK to loved ones in the armed forces.

Richard Allinson will then relay requests and dedications from the Gulf to the UK in his late-night show from Monday to Thursday.

The BBC will be able to provide the service through a link-up with the British Forces Broadcasting Service.

BFBS has set up a network of FM transmitters to provide a dedicated radio service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Radio 2 controller Jim Moir said: "Steve Wright has over three million listeners tuning in every Sunday morning, many of whom will know some of the 40,000 plus people currently stationed in the Gulf.

"Through these live link-ups we can help them to keep in touch through dedications, messages and requests."

Tradition

BFBS Radio controller Charles Foster initiated the Radio 2 collaboration.

"BFBS radio is so important at a time like this. Our troops rely heavily on us for up-to-the-minute news and round the clock programmes made especially for them, many of which carry messages from their friends and families back home.

"Reaching out to those friends and families is another vital part of the service and I am delighted that BFBS has such solid support from Radio 2 at this difficult time."

Radio 2 is following in a long BBC tradition of broadcasting to the forces.

The most popular show was Two-Way Family Favourites, first broadcast on the Light Programme - the predecessor to Radio 2 - on 7 October,1945.

At the height of its fame, the programme had an audience of about 20 million in the UK and seven million in Germany.

The last show was broadcast in January 1980 as part of Pete Murray's Radio 2 Sunday slot.

Local BBC radio stations also linked up with various BFBS stations around the world for their versions of Family Favourites.


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