The station began broadcasting at 5am on Tuesday 2 April 1974 and was named after Piccadilly Gardens in Manchester. The aptly named Piccadilly Plaza was home to the station until 1996, when studios were relocated to the Castlefield area of Manchester.
The founding managing director was Philip Birch, who previously ran the highly influential pirate station Radio London until it closed down ahead of the Marine Offences Act in August 1967. The first presenter on air was Roger Day – (another ex-pirate radio presenter) who launched the station with the song Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys.
Many of the UK’s best-known broadcasters started their careers at Piccadilly – including Chris Evans, Steve Penk, Gary Davies and Timmy Mallet to name just a few.
The station split into two in 1988 with Key 103 broadcast on FM following a contemporary music format, while Piccadilly continued on AM, initially under its full service format, gradually adopting a ‘golden oldies’ music playlist as Piccadilly Gold.
Here are a selection of jingles produced by Alfasound Tapetrix for Piccadilly in 1980