23 Jul: Radio 1 hits the road

Concerned that it was too London-centric, the BBC commissioned a series of pop-up outside broadcasts for its youth music station Radio 1, kicking off modestly in Newquay on 23rd July, 1973. The events exploded in popularity, and spawned an annual tour of bucket-and-spade Britain, becoming the iconic ‘Radio 1 Roadshow’.

Despite the concerts pulling in massive crowds – and radio audiences of around 15 million – the events struggled to attract credible music artists, who didn’t want to be seen rubbing shoulders with popsters like the Wombles and the Bay City Rollers.

In this episode, Olly, Rebecca and Arion explain how Steve Wright came to ‘give away’ his son in a late-night escapade, reveal ‘the shorts rule’ imposed on the network’s presenters, and applaud the entrepreneurship of ‘Smiley Miley’, the roadie who wangled the rights to sell the merch… 

Further Reading:

Peter Powell hosts the Radio 1 Roadshow, 1982:

• A compilation of archive Radio 1 footage from the BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p06w9txp

• ‘The Happy Sound’ – a history of the Roadshow at Radio Rewind: https://www.radiorewind.co.uk/radio1/roadshow.htm