Radio Birmingham – ‘206’ relaunch

This is a report from the Sandwell Evening Mail in November 1980 about the re-branding of Radio Birmingham as “206”, and the tag line ‘Five Star Listening’.  According to the article the ‘five star’ could refer to the 5 main presenters, the five counties ‘206’ broadcast to, or to the quality of the station!  The article features a photo of Tim Manning, Radio Birmingham’s Community Relations Officer.

Thanks to Tim Manning for making the article available.

Radio WM information card

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

The Radio WM information cards were distributed to promote the station, and make sure people knew the right frequencies to tune in to. The cards were given out around the time of the official relaunch of the station with its new name – BBC Radio WM, instead of Radio Birmingham (which took place on November 23rd 1981), and were designed to publicise the additional medium wave transmitter on 828 khz at Sedgley, aimed at improving the signal in Wolverhampton and across the Black Country.

‎”Five Star Listening” was the tag line for the station, it was used before the official name change as well.  From late 1980 onwards when the name Radio Birmingham was played down and the station started to refer to itself wherever possible as “206”. There was a lengthy discussion going on between BBC Local Radio HQ in London and the management at Pebble Mill about what the new name for the station would be. John Pickles was determined that the re-vamping of the station wasn’t going to be delayed forever by internal debate, and so the 206 strategy (the MW frequency) was adopted.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for making this card available, and to Tim Manning for providing all the information.

On Her Majesty’s Service – Pilot

Copyright remains with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.  Photos from Gail Herbert.  Gail was the PA on ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’.

‘On Her Majesty’s Service’ was a drama pilot made by John King’s department in 1988, which never went out.  It depicted life in a British army camp during the era of National Service.

Tim Manning, who worked on the pilot added this information: “This was a comedy drama pilot about National Service, which starred Keith Barron. It was lovingly made, involving nearly everyone in John King’s LE team (script by members of it, too), but though a full pilot was commissioned, the series wasn’t. I can’t remember whether it coincided with a change of BBC1 Controller; and you have to bear in mind too that there was fierce competition from London departments for slots for this kind of thing.”


Some of the filming took place on the Severn Valley Railway, as shown in the photos.