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Sounds of Your Life

Sounds of Your Life

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Sounds of Your Life

The history of Independent Radio in the UK

A unique study.

Publication date: April 2010
Total pages: 368
ISBN: 9780 86196 690 5
Price: £ 22.50


Independent Radio from the mid-1970s onwards touched the lives of an entire generation. Stations in the big cities and the smaller towns provided the music and the news and the style which accompanied the changing patterns of life as the UK grew into a youth-driven, modern state. The initial attempt to harness the power of popular radio, funded by advertising, to provide local public service was characteristic of the ambition of the times. Its later decline into commercial music radio illustrates the failure of those hopes on a wider front too.

Sounds of Your Life is the first comprehensive telling of the stories and the histories of Independent Radio. Its author, Tony Stoller, was a major figure in the medium. He has had unique access to the people who made and unmade the system, and to the formal and informal archives which cover over 30 lively years. The book is a substantial and substantive history, which illustrates the way in which Britain moved from a social to a market economy, while telling the tales of the people and the processes of Independent Radio as it touched its tens of millions of lsteners up and down the country.



Section I Prologue

Chapter 1 The long and winding road 1898 – 1970s

Section II Debate, design and implementation 1970 – 1979

Chapter 2 Paving the way for ILR 1970 – July 1972

Chapter 3 Making a start. August 1972 – October 1973

Chapter 4 Turn your radio on. The first year of ILR

Chapter 5 The pioneer years Summer 1974 – Summer 1976

Chapter 6 Is there anybody there? Audience research

Chapter 7 Now we are nineteen Autumn 1976 – 1979

Section III The independent radio experiment 1980 – 1989

Chapter 8 Victories and losses 1979 – 1985

Chapter 9 Doing well by doing good. Secondary rental and programme sharing

Chapter 10 London Heathrow Calling. The Heathrow Conference and its impact

Chapter 11 Left of the dial. The failure of community radio: 1965 – 1989

Chapter 12 Changing the guard 1986 – 1989

Chapter 13 Copyright wars. The long battle over music copyright

Section IV Victory of the commercial model 1990 – 2003

Chapter 14 Shadow and substance 1990

Chapter 15 Classic, Talk and Virgin Independent National Radio: 1991 – 1994

Chapter 16 Glad confident morning. ILR 1991 – 1993

Chapter 17 Awards and re-awards. Licensing in London and beyond: 1993 – 1994

Chapter 18 High summer 1994 – 1996

Chapter 19 Challenging the regulator 1994 – 2000

Chapter 20 Radio by numbers. Digital radio

Chapter 21 Things can only get better. 1997 and all that

Chapter 22 Weddings and wind-ups 1998 – 2000

Chapter 23 RSLs and Access Radio. The strange triumph of the social engineers: 1990 – 2006

Chapter 24 Breaking the mould 2000 – 2003

Section V Postscripts

Chapter 25 Epilogue

Acknowledgements, sources and bibliography

Annex A Radio advertising and sponsorship revenue 1972–2008

Annex B Independent radio licences in issue 1972–2008

Annex C Radio audiences 1972–2008



Tony Stoller can claim to be better informed than anyone about Independent Radio – commercial radio – over the past 40 years, and is uniquely well placed to write its history. He has been involved with the radio services since early in 1974, as a station manager, a booster, and eventually as its most senior regulator. He was Chief Executive of the Radio Authority from 1995 until it was swept up into the new communications regulator, Ofcom.

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