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 much.

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