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.”

Ed Doolan – Radio WM photo card

Ed Doolan

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

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for making this Radio WM photo card of Ed Doolan available.

Ed Doolan was born in Sydney, Australia, and spent ten years working as a school teacher, before taking up broadcasting, originally in German.  He started with Radio WM at BBC Pebble Mill in 1982, and began his consumer show in 1988.  He was awarded an MBE in 1998, and was the first person to be awarded Honorary Degrees by Birmingham City University, University of Birmingham and Aston University!

Andrew Langstone makes the following comment about working for Radio WM:

“I did some stints of work experience during university vacations with BBC Radio WM (as it was then) assisting on the mid-morning ‘206 Team’ with Gyn Freeman and Stuart Roper. Production team was Phil Horner, and Bill Morris who went on to big things at Broadcasting House in London – I think he’s now left the BBC and is involved in the opening of The Olympics next year. The 206 team shared an office with Ed and also Malc and Rosie of ‘The Barmaids Arms’! Happy memories indeed!”

Tim Manning makes the following comment:

“I was Ed’s first producer when he joined BBC Radio WM from BRMB. It was an important and slightly nervous moment for the then senior management (Manager John Pickles and Programme Organiser Jeremy Robinson) as it was important both for the future of the re-launched station and morale that Ed’s show worked. Some longer-term members of staff weren’t entirely comfortable about his high-profile arrival from commercial radio and the new emphasis on personalities. Ed was nervous too, as moving was a risk for him and he needed to convince an audience which wasn’t just Birmingham, but we spent a few weeks before he went live settling ourselves in and recording some shows, and when he did hit the airwaves, we had a great time. I moved on to very different things, but the years have since proved that Radio WM turned out to be the perfect home for Ed.”

Pebble Mill walkthrough – 1997 video by Tony Wadsworth

This video of the BBC Pebble Mill building was taken by Tony Wadsworth in 1997. It is a walk-through from outside to the studios of Radio WM where Tony worked from 1991-2004. Featured are: Julie Mayer, Lesley Hale, Lee Stone and Malcolm Boyden.

Thanks to Tony Wadsworth for making the video available.

BBC Radio Birmingham – Blog by Nick Owen

I first worked at Pebble Mill in 1973 after I landed a job as a news producer on BBC Radio Birmingham, the forerunner of BBC WM.  It was a case of third time lucky getting into the BBC, having failed twice in the previous months to get a job in the Midlands Today newsroom. I arrived from The Birmingham Post and was overwhelmed with all the technology! I was always hopeless with anything mechanical, so learning to work a tape recorder was terrifying, but I got the hang of it in the end and became pretty adept at editing too, with razor blades and tape etc! I was told I had a fairly boring voice so I had to work on my intonation, to try to sound a bit more interested, but I really felt I had found my vocation. In fact, I loved it.  It wasn’t long before I read my first live bulletin – I was introduced on air by a young disc jockey called Les Ross, but I have no idea what happened to him!

Ultimately, I became Sports Producer, following my friend Jim Rosenthal, and that took me all over the country and Europe following the fortunes of our football teams.  Up the corridor, of course, was the Midlands Today newsroom with such luminaries as Tom Coyne, Alan Towers, Geoffrey Green and Tony Francis ( whom I’d trained with long before I came to Birmingham). I remember one day Tom Coyne said hello to me in the gents and I was so thrilled I nearly had an accident.

I left in 1978 to join ATV but returned to Pebble Mill to present Good Morning with Anne and Nick in 1992. More about that some other time, but I have to say thanks to the BBC at Pebble Mill for giving me my first chance in television back in August 1977.  They were doing a regional opt to herald the start of the football season, but Tony Francis, who would normally have been expected to front it, was away on holiday so they were clearly desperate and asked me!  I co-hosted it with Peter Windows, then a familiar face on continuity, and our studio guest was someone who became a great friend Larry Canning, the former Aston Villa player, then well known as a reporter for Sport on Two. The show was produced by another long standing friend, Rob Kirk, now at Sky News.

Some very happy days!

Nick Owen


Slimming on the Radio – Pete Simpkin

Pete weighs in

Slimming on Radio Birmingham

‘Pete weighs in’ and ‘Slimmers’  illustrate another group dedicated to improving their health in a series organised by the local Health Service…..I lost half a stone in the month long series but several others did much better!

Pete Simpkin

Slimmers celebrate