BBC Radio One was the UK's first official pop music radio station. Before its launch in 1967, the nation's youngsters could only get their fix of pop music by listening to pirate radio stations1, fiddling around trying to receive distant signals from Radio Luxembourg, or tuning into the few pop music shows broadcast on the BBC's Light Programme.
BBC Radio One through the Decades
After the introduction of the Marine Offences Act which allowed the government to close down pirate stations, the BBC created Radio One to fill the gap. The station launched at 7am on 30 September, 1967, when Tony Blackburn played 'Flowers In The Rain' by The Move2. Other Radio One DJs of the era included Terry Wogan, Alan 'Fluff' Freeman, Kenny Everett, Jimmy Saville and John Peel.
1973 saw the launch of a new idea - the Radio One Roadshow. This involved the DJs touring the seaside resorts of the UK, setting up their equipment in a public place, and playing records at people. Despite the simplistic formula, the idea proved immensely popular, and the Roadshow became a staple of the Radio One's summer schedules. Radio One DJs of the 1970s included Dave Lee Travis, Peter Powell, Simon Bates, Johnnie Walker and John Peel.
John Lennon gave his last interview to Radio One, broadcast hours before his death in December 1980. The decade's major rock event, the Live Aid concert, was broadcast in full on Radio One in July 1985, and towards the end of the decade, the station was finally awarded its own FM frequency, after sharing with Radio Two since the 1960s. Radio One DJs of the 1980s included Mike Read, Steve Wright, Bruno Brookes, Gary Davies and John Peel.
In 1993, for the first time, Radio One had a rival - Virgin Radio, the UK's first national commercial rock music station. This prompted a major rethink at Radio One, resulting in the departure of some of the station's biggest (and oldest) names, including Dave Lee Travis who resigned on air after launching a scathing attack on the BBC. The station underwent a number of image changes, including a brief period when it was renamed simply 'One FM', in an attempt to appeal to a younger audience. Radio One DJs of the 1990s included Simon Mayo, Nicky Campbell, Chris Evans3, Mark Goodier and... John Peel.
2000 and Beyond
Although many of the station's listeners (and indeed its DJs) have defected to the more relaxed surroundings of Radio Two, Radio One continues to survive in the face of ever increasing competition from Virgin Radio, independent local radio and MTV. In 2000 the Roadshow was finally axed, as the station began to focus on more credible events such as the Love Parade dance event. Current Radio One DJs include Mark Radcliffe, Dave Pearce, Chris Moyles, Sara Cox and - inevitably, thankfully - John Peel.