Marking a quarter century on the airwaves

Les Dawson at the Radio Wave launch, in 1992.
Les Dawson at the Radio Wave launch, in 1992.
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It’s now 25 years since the Fylde coast’s first radio station, Radio Wave, took to the air.

A huge launch event took place on May 25, 1992, including a glitzy roadshow on Blackpool Promenade and the release of 9,650 voucher-filled balloons from the top of the Tower – where the transmitters were based.

Crowds at the Radio Wave launch in 1992

Crowds at the Radio Wave launch in 1992

Fylde funnyman Les Dawson was one of the special guests, along with TV presenter Derek Batey, John Culshaw, actor Basil Soper and comedian Tom Bright. There was also a performance by the Ray Cornell Dancers.

According to The Gazette report from the day “cheering crowds joined in the fun and police stopped all seafront traffic and trams as Les Dawson cut the Radiowave ribbon at noon.”

It had taken years of lobbying the radio industry regulator for an Independent Local Radio (ILR) licence for the Blackpool and Fylde area, before one was finally granted in 1992.

John Barnett, then managing director of the Layton-based independent radio station, said at the time: “We made this a great launch party to let everyone know who we are.

Radio Wave presenter Hayley Kay. Pic: Andy Bolton

Radio Wave presenter Hayley Kay. Pic: Andy Bolton

“This was just the start and we are going to put on loads of exciting and innovative events now we are up and running.”

In its first year of broadcasting, the station – which transmits on 96.5 FM – won a Sony Radio Academy Awards Gold Award and was commended in the Local Station of the Year category.

These fantastic Gazette and Radio Wave archive pictures show the launch event and various events and landmarks involving the station over the last two-and-a-half decades.

Pic: Andy Bolton

Pic: Andy Bolton

Chairman of Radio Wave, John Barnett (centre Left) with new owners UTV  Chief Executive John McCann and showgirls Chloe Atherton and Leila Othieno, in 2005

Chairman of Radio Wave, John Barnett (centre Left) with new owners UTV Chief Executive John McCann and showgirls Chloe Atherton and Leila Othieno, in 2005

Radio Wave presenters Roy Lynch and Janine Jones broadcast live from the top of the Big Wheel on Central Pier Blackpool, in 2006

Radio Wave presenters Roy Lynch and Janine Jones broadcast live from the top of the Big Wheel on Central Pier Blackpool, in 2006