In the age of television, radio simply had to become more predictable in its output. The splitting of the Light Programme into two in allowed the BBC to accommodate the political and broadcasting needs for a popular music channel, with a clearer distinction between styles of output — variety and light entertainment, pop music. But as Gillard had noted, re-ordering them in numerical sequence raised the inevitable question of which would be considered as being of principal or least significance.
People tuning in would hear awkward jumps from T-Rex to Mantovani, from brash youth to gentle maturity. The Controller, Robin Scott, spotted another, deeper, problem.
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Another of Radio 1's problems was that it came into being at a time when Pop Music was going through a period of indecision and uncertainty. The Beat boom had in fact died before - with only the unique Beatles continuing to develop musical content and invention whilst retaining wide popular support. The record buying public was divided as never before into a number of different factions or 'cult audiences', the most vociferous of which campaigned for more 'progressive Pop' music. Much of this music was commercially unviable because of its strangeness and untunefulness provoked antipathy.
It was in danger of burying Pop which is entertainment music and Popular by definition into a confusing underground maze form which there seemed to be no clear way-in even if it was 'way-out'. This music had - in the - associations with Hippies and drug-taking and was, therefore - fairly or unfairly - socially suspect.
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It was to some extent 'drop-out' Pop in that it reviled the commercial scene - yet arrogantly attache the mass audience for not adopting it thus depriving it of the commercial success it appeared to deplore! At the same time the age-gap reached absurd proportions and was used by certain interests to exploit enthusiasms or - hatreds - for certain types of Pop commercial records.
The so-called 'in' crowd made it their business to dislike ballad singers and standard melodies in principle - and in so doing provoked the inevitable response. The previous agreement had been signed in June and was subject to a two-year review. The BBC pleaded for more time on the grounds that it had not been able to implement the new system until March and suggested a review for June It was also keen to see an increase in the amount of recorded music it could use, something the union instinctively opposed because of its long held view that the playing of records denied work to musicians.
As plans were drawn up for a new station, initially called , it became clear to the BBC that if it wanted to replace the pirates and fulfill its goal of broadcasting continuous popular music from early in the morning until the early evening, it needed some movement from the Union and PPL on needletime.
These negotiations dragged on through and 67 before agreement was reached that the new station, now known as Radio 1, would get 2 hours a day above the previously agreed amount of needle time 2. Needletime was to last until a Monopolies and Mergers Commission MMC report on collecting licensing found that the practice was a restraint of trade and sounded its death knell. Meanwhile, back in , few within the BBC seriously opposed the principle of needletime, at least not in public. While some may have had reservations, these sentiments rarely surfaced in the public domain. This was to change with the arrival of Radio 1 and of a new cohort of DJs, many of whom were former pirates used to working on stations which played non-stop popular music around the clock without any concerns about the amount of record music being used.
For them, joining the BBC and encountering needletime was something of a cultural shock.
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Henceforth the role was not simply to announce, but to entertain. In common with the pirates, Radio 1 used jingles in its programmes. In fact the BBC had had to move quickly to get the jingles done and was concerned that making them in the UK would lead to protracted negotiations with the Union and delayed their use within a new stations dedicated to promoting a more modern image.
With the issue of jingles simmering in the background, needletime soon came to the fore. The catalyst here was a lunch time speech given by Robin Scott, Controller Radio 1 and Radio 2, soon after the formation of the stations in which he suggested that the needletime agreement needed to be changed in order to allow the stations to play more music.
We believe that broadcasting should do its utmost to promote the good health of those professions on which it heavily depends. We believe that excessive use of commercial gramophone records in broadcasting is a trend which is injurious to the music profession and must be resisted. All this we have said many times over, both to you in private and to the word at large in public. We have been heavily criticised for having this attitude but we have remained steadfast. However, he continued to explain that Scott was describing the restrictions he was operating under in his attempts to provide a replacement for the pirates and that:.
We hope that in due course the Union will be ready to reopen negotiations on this matter. Meanwhile I hope you will set Mr. We uphold the principle on which the Union bases its policy.
Investigation into disorder at Radio 1 Xtra Live event - CoventryLive
But these skirmishes were merely harbingers of things to come and when voices on Radio 1 began to criticise both needletime and MU policy more broadly, relations between the BBC and the union took a turn for the worse. He was clearly exasperated, writing that:. Perhaps this is my fault. I become so infuriated with much that happens in broadcasting that I am seldom in a sufficiently calm mood to engage in the polite for of correspondence that has been characteristic of our relations with the BBC for many years.
But he was more concerned that needletime was being attacked. It if was right, I should have thought you would by now have educated those that are allowed to provide material for publication in the press. In the article Everett bemoaned the bureaucracy he found at the BBC, the poor equipment he had to use, the fact that the stations banned records and a general lack of freedom for disc jockeys when compared to the pirates.
Part of the article read:. Although they appear to be cutting their own throats by this rule, they insist on sticking to it, though their reasons fro doing so are clear to nobody but themselves.
Ratcliffe was clearly very upset by this, referring to various BBC employees he had dealt with, wrote:. Everett get away with it? I recall many months ago drawing Mr. But he is still around.
He is no doubt regarded by the public as of much greater importance than your Governors or Director-General. You have created a position for him in which, with more time on his hands than we have, he can attack the Union with impunity. This is simply not good enough. Unless an end can be brought to the nonsense, it would perhaps be more profitable for me to meet Mr. I have at the moment a fair number of letters from Mr.
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Turnell on subjects that involve our making what we regard as concessions. I cannot risk making any. I may not even reply. His complaint may now seem somewhat over the top, but at the time it obviously caused some discomfort. However, one problem for the Corporation was that while Everett had been warned before, he, in common with many of the DJs, was not actually a BBC employee.
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