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40 years since Radio Tees launched 24th June 1975 June 23, 2015

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radio tees

This is the station I joined as a Middlesbrough schoolboy- Radio Tees. I was sat at home listening to all of the first day, all 18 hours of it. My turn would come on the Sunday at 10 am.

This is the first ever show on Radio Tees, at 2 minutes to 6 on Tuesday 24th June 1975; the Breakfast Show with Les Ross. One of my favourite radio DJs. It was on 257 MW, that’s 1169 AM. Yep, before FM was popular.

Radio tees launch 5.58 am 24th June 1975

This was the test transmission played in the 2 weeks before launch from the MW transmitter site next to the Horse and Jockey roundabout in Stockton. it’s still there today. Voiced by mid morning presenter David Hoare.

Test transmissions

This was the opening and closing theme for Radio Tees. Played just before 6am and after midnight, or even 8 pm on Sundays. When I did the breakfast show I had a 5 am start and had to play it at the unearthly time of 2 minutes to 5. Many thought this music was recorded for Radio Tees, but it was the inspirational choice of Programme Controller Bob Hopton, my first boss. Eric Gale – Forecast.

Radio Tees opening theme

Here’s what the station looked like when it was launched in downtown Dovecot Street, Stockton-on-Tees. This footage is taken from a Tyne Tees TV report. BBC Look North wouldn’t feature the station- it was commercial/independent!

Radio Tees on the telly TTTV inc. raw footage

Here’s a random selection of other stuff. This one features Alistair Pirrie (The Big P on the Big T) and me, back in 1975. Alistair’s shows were some of the funniest and most outrageous radio shows I’ve heard, to this day.

Alistair P R E or Pirrie PM or The Big P on the Big T

A few slices of the Mark Page Breakfast Show on Radio Tees.

18th June 1980

Sat in a deckchair in Dovecot Street from 7 in the morning, because it was sunny.

Outside broadcast from outside the front door

My final breakfast show on Radio Tees in 1983. Next was Radio One.

Radio Tees Bye Bye Now after 8 years

Some early adverts for the Mark Page breakfast show. Alistair Pirrie is the Star Wars voice.

Breakfast show trailers

Please return here soon for some new uploads.

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Radio Tees 40 years on May 29, 2009

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40 years since independent local radio arrived on Teessideradio tees

On 24th June 1975, Teesside woke up to hear commercial radio for the first time, as Radio Tees took to the airwaves. The area was one of the first ten in the UK to get an independent station and it quickly proved to be a success. Within a few years, around half of the one million population between Durham and Ripon were tuning in each week. The company that ran it, Sound Broadcasting Teesside, included many local businessmen and a shareholding by the Evening Gazette.

Lesley Ross presented the station’s first breakfast show, opening with the song Everything’s Tuesday, by the Chairman of the Board. Broadcasting on 257 metres medium wave, before FM became the first choice for listening, the station opened up at 6 AM, with closedown at midnight.

The original line up included David Hoare, Steve Gordon, Alistair Pirrie and Middlesbrough schoolboy Mark Page, who was also the UK’s youngest radio presenter. He says without the opportunity he was given, he would have missed the chance to put Teesside on the map.

“It was a bold move to put a school kid from Kings Manor on the air, but I was there at the birth of commercial radio in the UK. Radio Tees really was a great station and we certainly punched way above our weight in terms of personality and listening figures. The five years I did on the Breakfast Show, allowed me to “Talk Teesside” which no other broadcaster had done before. And the world, or rather Teesside, was my oyster. I had characters like Dennis Brain of the Boro who had a melon farm on Eston Hills with his pal Gormless Gordon. I talked about the Redcar Triangle and the infamous Redcar Holes. Things like this and catchphrases became a talking point. To have been able to do this in my home area was phenomenal. At one stage, one person in two on Teesside was listening in every morning.”

Page was also the longest serving DJ during the station’s history, being there for eight years before he joined BBC Radio One. He later won Britain’s top presenting prize, the Sony Gold for Britain’s Best breakfast Show and several more, including another two gold awards.

However the station faltered after eleven years, with listening figures and sales in decline and the station was bought up by neighbouring Metro on Tyneside, when it was just days from closure. The name change to TFM followed.

Now forty years on, former members of staff have been gathering at various events to mark the birth of Radio Tees. They include scores of people who went on to broadcast and manage on local and national radio, as well as in TV. Perhaps the best known name now is Jeff Stelling, who started at the station as a journalist and sports presenter.

Page has compiled a selection of audio from Radio Tees, including that first morning’s broadcast on the 24th June 1975, and it will be available online on the birthday morning. It is available a http://www.markpage.com. He said:

“If there’s demand for the Radio Tees nostalgia there’s lots more of it to be heard and we’ll look at opening up the archive. I’m sure many Teessiders who were around to listen to the station, remember what a positive effect it had on the area and the novelty of hearing your area, even your road on the air, was pretty ground-breaking.”