The station was launched at 6:30 am on 4 July 1983, a launch which was featured on the cover of the Radio Times. A year before its launch, BBC Radio York provided a temporary service to cover Pope John Paul II’s visit to York. The service, which ran for just over 24 hours, operated on what was to be the station’s MW frequency.
Initially, the station was only on air for a few hours a day – (6:30 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm during the week with weekend programming restricted from 8 am until around 2 pm) BBC Radio 2 was used as a sustaining service for the rest of the time. At first, local sports coverage was produced by BBC Radio Leeds, however during the second half of the 1980s broadcast hours slowly expanded. Afternoon broadcasting was introduced and programming started earlier in the day – 6 am during the week and 7 am over the weekend. Radio York also started producing its own sports programmes on Saturday afternoons but did not introduce its own Sunday afternoon programming until the end of the decade.
Evening programming started in August 1986 when Radio York joined with the other local BBC stations in Yorkshire broadcasting an early evening service of specialist music programmes. May 1989 saw the launch of the BBC Night Network – a group of BBC Local Radio stations in the North of England which featured networked programming every evening. This provided BBC Radio York with evening programming, keeping the station on air until midnight seven days a week, extended until 12:30 am in the early 1990s, and to 1 am by the end of that decade. One of those shows, Late Night North with David Dunning, often aired from the York studios and in 2002 the BBC’s Yorkshire stations, including Radio York, parted from the network to bring back a phone-in with Alex Hall, who had hosted a similar show on Pulse, as presenter. Other programming included Martin Kelner’s Late Thing. The Early Show from BBC Radio Humberside (within the BBC Yorkshire and Lincolnshire region) was also carried.
Radio York Jingle Montage
(Produced by David Arnold)