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Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Friday, 3 September 2010 12:20 UK
BBC Radio Manchester marks 40 years on air
BBC Radio Manchester in 1970 (c) Manchester Libraries

BBC Radio Manchester is celebrating the station's 40th birthday with a day of stories and memories.

The radio station hit the airwaves at 6am on 10 September 1970 billing itself as 'the newest sound around.'

The first voice on air was Alan Sykes and the 10am news was read by Sandra Chalmers, sister of the TV presenter Judith.

To mark 40 years of broadcasting, the station looks back to the day BBC Radio Manchester was born.

10 September 1970: Ted Heath was Prime Minister; Smokey Robinson topped the charts with 'The Tears of a Clown'; Jimi Hendrix was making his final recording before his untimely death a week later.

And, at 6am, from a small studio in Piccadilly Gardens, the 'on air' light went on at BBC Radio Manchester for the first time.

Early morning listeners who tuned in to 95.1 VHF that morning heard presenter Alan Sykes announce: "This is BBC Radio Manchester."

It was also the year that the station unleashed 'The Baron' on the airwaves, a mystery figure who hosted a late night show 'for the city's groovers'.


On 10 September 2010, Radio Manchester marked its 40th anniversary with a range of programming including:

  • replaying the first two hours as they were originally broadcast;
  • inviting Sandra Chalmers back to read the 10am news;
  • interviewing the first presenter Alan Sykes
  • looking back at how the station reported the opening of the Arndale Centre, the Woolworths fire, the Pope's visit to Manchester and the Moss Side riots.

Managing Editor John Ryan said: "It may only be 40 years ago but listening to the station on that first day is a world apart from the way we sound now.

"Some of the content, such as an interview with a lamp lighter, is bizarre to say the least, but at the time the team was breaking new ground - there was no other local radio in Manchester.

Adding: "We have come along way since the days of telegrams and being able to hear people puffing on pipes live on the air.

"We would love to hear from people who remember that first day and their thoughts on how it felt to be a part of something so new."

If you have any memories of the station's first day or its early broadcasts then get in touch by email radio.manchester@bbc.co.uk or contact us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @bbcradiomanc .



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