Column: I’m so proud to be keeping radio local

Our columnist Richard Oliff reflects on his career in local radio in this week’s column...

When I first began my career in radio, it was with KCBC in Kettering, a small AM station broadcasting from Robinson Close, apparently one of the highest points in the town, and an ideal location for our incredibly tall transmitter.

There wasn’t anything special about the building, certainly nothing that would suggest it was anything other than a medium- sized industrial unit.

It had an open-plan feel about the place, with a kitchen and toilets to the rear, and an upstairs office affair, where the management team were based.

In the open space below, there were sales and tele-sales people selling on-air adverting, the lifeblood in any commercial enterprise.

There were also desks dedicated to news gathering and news preparation for delivery to the studio.

Then we’d get to the ‘bits’ that were to be my inspiration for the best part of the next 27 years: two of the scruffiest little radio studios one could imagine, Studio 2 for editing, recording and on-air preparation, and the legendary Studio 1, from where all live broadcasts were made.

Every second of output was recorded on VHS tape, 24-7, a legal requirement for all broadcasters.

From those humble beginnings, a team of dedicated people, in various manifestations transformed over the years to become Connect FM, a name incidentally suggested by me and adopted, along with the strapline, “Feel the Music”.

KCBC and Connect FM will never be forgotten, as it begins a new life after being ‘purchased by the UK arm of Communicorp and rebranded as Smooth East Midlands.

This is why Corby Radio, HFM, and all the other small independent stations are worthy of our support, delivering ‘doorstep’ services that only truly local radio can.