London Broadcasting Company (LBC)
The LBC was UK's first authorized commercial radio station (as opposed to Radio Luxembourg and other pirate radios or PBS radio.). It was launched in October 1973
Early in 1973, LBC was awarded UK's first independent local radio franchise
under contract of the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). It set out
to provide news and information services for London and the areas directly
around (i.e greater London).
LBC was something people were doubting would happen - BBC had had more than
70 years of monopoly, and things didn't look as if they were going to change
LBC featured a mix between current affairs, news, interviews, sport
and arts programming. Unfortunately it was launched at about the worst possible
time for a new media relying on advertising income. The Middle East War that
was raging led to a quadrupling of oil prices, and Prime Minister Edward Heath
launched his controversial Phase Three prices and incomes policy. Shortly
afterwards a miners' strike led to widespread power blackouts and the country
being put on a three day working week. Because of all of this, the station
was taken off the air.
The station was re-launched in 1978. It gradually settled down and built a
loyal audience base. The station received much praise for its coverage of major
news stories. It was probably the station's coverage of the 1982 Falklands
war though which, above all, ensured that it was re-awarded the London franchise
in September the same year.
In October 1989 the FM version of LBC was renamed to Crown FM in direct
competition with the BBC's Radio 4.
Throughout this turbulent history the station has been host to some of the
best known names in British broadcasting, including Frank Bough, Douglas
Cameron, Anne Diamond, Brian Hayes, Bob Holness, Pete Murray, Michael
Parkinson and Janet Street-Porter.
All in all, the whole notion and demand for rolling news in the UK was pioneered
by LBC. They were able to broadcast events as they happened and to stay with
the story with live reports, interviews and audience reaction. Many of what
are now commonplace conventions on both radio and TV in the UK were pioneered
and developed by LBC.
Crisell, Andrew, An Introductory History of British Broadcasting, London, New
York: Routledge, 1997
Crook, Tim, International Radio Journalism, London, New York: Routledge, 1998
Franklin, Bob, Newszak & News Media, London, New York: Arnold, 1997
Shingler, Martin and Wieringa, Cindy, On Air, London: Arnold, 1998