LBC: Wikis


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LBC Radio (originally the London Broadcasting Company) operates two London-based radio stations, with news and talk formats. LBC was Britain's first legal commercial Independent Local Radio station, providing a service of news and information to London. It began broadcasting on 8 October 1973,[1] a week ahead of Capital Radio. The launch of LBC also saw the beginning of IRN's broadcasting, as LBC provided the service to independent local radio stations nationwide.

In April 2007 a new marketing slogan for LBC 97.3: "London's Biggest Conversation", a play on the initials, was introduced.[2] LBC is currently owned by Global Radio.


Current services

Both are also transmitted on DAB channel 12C and via a live stream on the LBC website.


The launch in 1973 attracted considerable attention and a sizeable audience, particularly for the pairing of the celebrated journalist Paul Callan and the writer (later national newspaper editor and TV personality) Janet Street-Porter who contrived to create a new form of radio, albeit unintentionally. The pair were pitched as co-presenters of the mid-morning show.[3] The intention was to contrast the urbane Callan with the less couth Street-Porter, whose accents were respectively known to studio engineers as "cut-glass" and "cut-froat".

In the end, friction between the ill-assorted pair led to an entertaining stream of one-upmanship that became required listening for many Londoners, the sharper put-downs being blamed for several collisions by motorists incapacitated with laughter. The programme was the first in the UK to combine interviews with celebrities and heavyweight political figures on the same show, blurring the line between classic British comedy and analysis of international affairs.

The original station spawned a number of stars who went on to become household names in the U.K. media. They include Jon Snow, Julian Manyon, Peter Allen, Rosie Boycott amongst others. Entertainment personalities included Jeremy Beadle who developed a late night phone-in programme and Mr Nasty - who argued over the telephone with children and went on to star in a Granada Television series.

Company history

Originally owned by a consortium led by the Canadian Selkirk Communications with a 46% stake, LBC was sold in 1987, beginning a turbulent commercial history.

The new owners were media company Darling Downs, later renamed Crown Communications, owned by Australian entrepreneur David Haynes. Crown sold the station's original base in Gough Square near Fleet Street in the City of London and relocated to Hammersmith; and in 1989 split the station into two separate services, the news and comment LBC Crown FM, and the phone-in London Talkback Radio on AM. The transition was not initially well received, and substantially increased costs, pushing the company into the red.

Sold on again to Shirley Porter's Chelverton Investments,[4] the company almost disappeared completely in 1993, when the Radio Authority failed to renew the company's two licenses, LBC Newstalk and London Talkback Radio, awarding the frequencies instead to London News Radio, a consortium led by former LBC staff and backed by Guinness Mahon.[5] The prospective loss of the franchise brought Chelverton to the brink of collapse,[6] and London News Radio (soon itself taken over by Reuters) bought LBC to keep it on air until the official handover date of October 1994.[7]


London News Radio

From 1994 to 1996, London News Radio operated the station from LBC's former studios in Hammersmith, as London News 97.3, a rolling news and travel information service on the FM band, and the phone-in driven service London News Talk 1152 on the MW band. These names were simplified slightly in mid-1995 to News 97.3 and News Talk 1152 respectively, but between October 1994 and July 1996 the LBC name was not used on-air at all.

Reuters then brought in additional shareholders, and between 1996 and 2002 LBC was part of London News Radio Limited, a company owned jointly by ITN, Daily Mail and General Trust, Reuters and the GWR Group. This new consortium revived the LBC name on 1152AM on 1 July 1996. At the end of 1996 the FM service was relaunched as News Direct 97.3FM. Production for the station was moved to the basement of ITN's new multimedia building in Gray's Inn Road.


In 2002 the company was bought for £23.5m by the media company Chrysalis,[8][9][10] who trumpeted their purchase with the promise that they would lift the listenership to at least one million from around 700,000 (LBC enjoyed an audience of more than two million in the early 1980s). Production was moved to Chrysalis's base in North Kensington, and the formatting of the two frequencies was swapped, with the talk format moving to FM and the news format to AM;[11] but an array of presenters including Boy George, Henry Kelly, Caroline Feraday, Dr. Pam Spurr, Sandi Toksvig (all no longer with the company), plus an array of on-air gimmicks and two managing directors saw the audience remain largely static. LBC's 97.3FM's increase in audience has been at the expense of its AM service.

In 2005, the station's Managing Director Mark Flanagan left Chrysalis to set up a political consultancy company and was replaced by David Lloyd.[12] Some claimed he held no previous experience in the talk and chat radio genre which overlooked the almost two years he spent with the Century FM brand in its Border TV ownership days where the station was a 50/50 music/talk service. David introduced a number of programme changes to mixed reactions - these included a 'Drive Time' slot presented by Iain Lee (since replaced by Paul Ross, then James and Petri and now James Whale), a daily 'Big Quiz' which promises (but has yet to deliver) huge cash prizes (and has since been cut down to one show a week) and a number of weekend repeats. He also introduced a 'podcasting' service, now called LBC Plus and a number of premium rate promotional opportunities to boost falling advertising revenues experienced by the radio sector.

Since September 2006 the LBC 97.3 station has been available nationally on the digital DAB platform, after Chrysalis bought out its partners and closed the Digital News Network rolling news station that had previously been carried on the MXR multiplex. Each multiplex region – the North West, West Midlands, Yorkshire, North East, South Wales and the West – broadcasts the London LBC transmission, augmented with reduced bulletins of regional news and information.[13][14]

Global Radio

In February 2007, Chrysalis confirmed media speculation that they were 'reviewing' the entire radio operation at its investors' request.[15] Further media speculation from The Guardian suggested that the group had little option, due to shareholder pressure, to sell its radio arm, including LBC, raising up to £200,000,000 for new acquisitions while The Daily Telegraph suggested that it could be the subject of a 'management' buyout. Subsequently it was announced on 25 June 2007 that LBC along with its sister stations The Arrow, Heart and Galaxy network were to be sold for £170 million to Global Radio by the Chrysalis Group, whose Chrysalis Radio operation closed down.[16] In December 2008 the station moved to the Capital Radio studios in Leicester Square.

The radio station became involved in the MMR vaccine controversy after a broadcast by Jeni Barnett on the subject was criticised as irresponsible and ill-informed by Ben Goldacre. LBC and Global Radio demanded that Goldacre remove the audio of the show from his blog, which resulted in it being made available at Wikileaks and elsewhere and the preparation of transcripts of the broadcast. David Aaronvitch in Times Online argued for

' a class action against LBC for permitting a presenter to inflict her preposterous prejudices on her listeners, to the detriment of someone else's kids.'[17]

Norman Lamb MP tabled an Early Day Motion criticising Barnett and LBC for the likely effect of the broadcast on public health.[18]

Station presenters


Current LBC 97.3 presenters include:

Current Newsreaders include:

  • Matthew Schofield
  • Russell Hookey
  • Sam Pittis
  • Michael Traboulsi
  • Katy Radley
  • Clemency Norris
  • Holly Ford
  • Peter Ferris
  • Alex Kirkland

Current Reporters/Correspondents include:

  • Tom Cheal, Political Correspondent
  • Daniel Freedman, Reporter
  • Declan Harvey, Reporter
  • Sasha Twinning, Business Reporter
  • Jo Parkerson, Showbiz Correspondent
  • Kevin Hughes, Showbiz Reporter

Sports Presenters include:

  • Phil Blacker, Sports Editor
  • Phil Kitromilides
  • Russell T Hargreaves
  • Katy Murrels
  • Nick Lester
  • Rick Kelsey

Current Travel Presenters/Reporters:

  • Hugh Broom
  • Helen Austin
  • Jay Louise Knight
  • Joanne Webb
  • Alan Joyce


Past LBC presenters include: Adrian Allen; Carol Allen; Dominic Allen; Mike Allen; Toby Anstis; Dickie Arbiter; Tre Azam; Phillip Bacon; Bill Bailey; Simon Bates; Jeremy Beadle; Alison Bell; Therese Birch; Frank Bough; Tommy Boyd; Gyles Brandreth; Paul Callan; Douglas Cameron; Mike Carlton; Mike Carson; Marcus Churchill; Andy Crane; Jamie Crick; Jono Coleman; Steve Crozier; Tim Crook; Dan Damon; Peter Deeley; Anne Diamond; Mike Dickin; Richard Dallyn; Jenny Eclair; Richard Fairbrass; Caroline Feraday; Mariella Frostrup; Krishnan Guru-Murthy; Boy George; Charlie Gibson; Charles Golding; Angie Greaves; Eric Hall; Bob Harris; Brian Hayes; Chris Hawkins; Phillip Hodson; Bob Holness; Eamonn Holmes; Jon Holmes; Fred Housego; Rufus Hound; Howard Hughes; Sue Jameson; Bob Johnson; Bryn Jones; Steve Jones; Barry Jordan; Charlie Jordan; Lesley Judd; Henry Kelly; Allan King; Gary King; Jenny Lacey; Iain Lee; Richard Littlejohn; Wendy Lloyd; Sir Nicholas Lloyd; Adrian Love; Dave Luddy; Kelvin MacKenzie; Richard Mackney; Mike Mendoza; Daisy McAndrew; Carol McGiffin; Monty Modlin; Douglas Moffatt; Jane Moore; Elliot Moss; Pete Murray; Paddy O'Connell; Michael Parkinson; Frank Partridge; John Perkins; David Prever; Martin Popplewell; Gill Pyrah; Anna Raeburn; Angela Rippon; Rowland Rivron; Richard Robbins; Paul Ross; Kenny Sansom; Adrian Scott; Valerie Singleton; Penny Smith; Jon Snow; Julia Somerville; Laurence Spicer; Dr Pam Spurr; Janet Street-Porter; Peter Stringfellow; Carol Thatcher; Sandi Toksvig; Petroc Trelawny; Michael Van Straten; Robbie Vincent; Becky Walsh; Sandy Warr; James Williams, Matthew Wright and Bill Buckley. Iain Lee once had a slot on LBC but now appears in the hysterical series"The Persuasionists"


People who have hosted 'one off' or temporary shows while regular presenters were away include:


External links


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