Radio WM, Paul Franks

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Paul Franks had a career as an executive with Ford, before winning a competition at Radio WM and beginning a whole new career as a Sports front man for the station.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for making this photocard available.


Radio Birmingham Newsroom – photo from Annie Gumbley

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

The photo is of the Radio Birmingham Newsroom.  It probably dates from 1974, judging by the calendar, phones and the haircuts!  It includes: Peter Perks, Jim Rosenthal, Stuart Woodcock, Michael Woodhead and Bob Sinkinson.

Thanks to Annie Gumbley-Williams for making the photos available.

Birmingham producer/presenter Pete Simpkin adds the following comment:

“Fascinating picture because it shows just how similar Radio Newsrooms in those days were to newspaper office layouts………just phones and typewriters……….no sign of any technology……….any tape recorders and editing machines were hidden away behind pillars and in corners.
When the Newsroom moved upstairs under ten years later the whole design was more like what we now know as technology led with tape and recording facilities much more in evidence and visible…….there were cart machines in the duty editors workstation and there was even a dedicated broadcast studio in the newsroom.”

Pete Simpkin, Radio Studio 3

Copyright resides with the original holders, no reproduction without permission.

This is the famous studio 3 at Radio Birmingham in 1979 and and shows the logistical placing of two reel to reel tape machines, two turntables, a cartridge jingle machine and the mixing desk all within reach of the presenter. It also reveals the futuristic ‘low level’ control panel so the eyeline for interviewees was not obscured, and the presence of the ash tray shows that smoking was actually allowed in studios…..but not whilst I was present!

The second photo shows Cliff Richard, who was in for a Religious Phone-in and the young lady in the picture had contacted my ‘Dream Come True’ feature to meet Cliff.  We are still trying to track her down as she does not have this picture!

Pete Simpkin

Gyn Freeman, Radio WM photocard

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for making this photocard available.

Gyn Freeman was a presenter on Radio WM at BBC Pebble Mill; she was part of the 206 team with the late Stuart Roper.

Here are some comments from people who worked with Gyn:

Pete Simpkin: “Gyn and I had at first a ‘love-hate’ relationship…she worked in London supplying tapes of items to all the local stations and we both regarded this as a chore …….when she arrived in Birmingham to work with the late Stuart Roper we got on very well and I still treasure a recording of a live show from a Birmingahm canal where I was being instructed how to operate a canoe and was scared witless on air with only her cooling words from the bank to keep me going!”

Marie Phillips: “Gyn is my very best friend. We met when I was Children in Need Co-ordinator and she was co-producing it. We came to realise that her job was to report the projects we funded and mine was to protect the “good stories” from being exploited. We came to a very happy compromise and worked so well together.There are so many stories from the various CIN programmes – when we got stuck in the lift, “Dicky Heart and the Pacemakers” and so on … We forged a close friendship which continues and long may it. She has a formidable intellect and such a wealth of stories and we are never short of a laugh. Gyn is simply unique.”

Viv Ellis: “I loved working with her – she made me get sawn in half (by a magician) on Children In Need one year!”

Radio Birmingham, Pete Simpkin – photo from Annie Gumbley

Photo from Annie Gumbley, no reproduction without permission.

This photo shows producer and presenter, Pete Simpkin ready for action in the Radio Birmingham radio studio!

Pete adds the following information about the photo:

“This was in the late 70s and the studio was built to meet the demands for more production space as Radio birmingham continued to grow. I presented the Mid morning Show from here.

The studio was constructed in what was the Education producer’s Office…… It was equipped with some ex-Midland Region equipment due to the cunning of the then Engineer in Charge the late Stuart Miller and had the latest……for the time…..TV studio style C29 microphones. Famous people who squeezed into the studio with me included Roy Hudd, Cliff Richard, Johnny Nash and Minister of Droughts and Floods Birmingham MP Dennis Howell. Pat Mellor did the first Yoga by radio in here and I actually fell asleep during a live Yoga relaxation broadcast being awoken by a kick from Pat. Many journalists put together their ‘packages’ here in the days before the news operation moved totally to the Local Newsroom.”