|Title||A history of BBC local radio in England: c1960 – 1980|
The story of BBC Local Radio in England, from the days of its conception around 1960, through to the launch of the first stations in 1967 and the finalisation of how to complete the chain in 1980 is a neglected area of research in media history. This thesis tells this story, using previously undocumented research from the BBC Written Archive Centre, and supplemented by oral history interviews with key participants. The approach is multi-faceted. Part of the investigation lies in gaining a greater understanding of how the BBC operated as an institution during these years. The internal culture of the BBC presents a series of complex issues, and the evolution of local radio illustrates this in many ways, in matters concerning management, autonomy, technology, the audience and finance. Linked to this are the differing notions and definitions of what „local‟ meant, in terms of the original concept and the output in practice. For local radio, this had a crucial impact on station location, the size of the transmission area and the degree to which the stations were able to represent and embody their communities. This history also assesses the impact the stations made, often in contrast to the popular image and perception of local broadcasting. The original contribution to knowledge that this thesis makes is in narrating this history for the first time, and in doing so, challenging previous assumptions about the nature of local broadcasting as part of the BBC and as part of the wider community.