Now I know that this is really a radio blog concentrating especially on my own escapades behind the microphone at 102.4 Radio Hartlepool, commercial radio and radio stations that are long-gone. But you can't just look at radio in isolation... you've got to take a broader view and put it into the context of what was happening in society at large at the time. And that's my rather lousy excuse for introducing television as a topic... certainly in the commercial world the two often worked hand in hand with advertisers participating in cross media advertising including radio, television and also newspapers. In the 1960s and 1970s in the UK these were all locally owned with personalities and presenters from one medium appearing on another.
Of course since those psychedelic decades, Britain has changed dramatically both economically, socially and with regards its media... and some of course would say not for the better either (but who am I to possibly comment!?). Take ITV for example. Most people back then would have known it stood for Independent Television funded by commercials and regulated by the ITA (the Independent Television Authority) i.e. not BBC licence payer funded. In the 70s and with the advent of commercial radio the ITA, a government regulatory quango that also provided the transmitters and engineering expertise, changed its remit to encompass the new medium and changed its name to the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA). And until the start of Channel 4/S4C in 1982 it oversaw the UK's only commercial channel, ITV that was regionalised in a federal system of private programme contractors providing local and national ITV programmes for each area. The network shared the resources of Independent Television News (ITN) that still provides news to the present day ITV quasi-national network.
And TV broadcasting hours were very restricted back in the 60s and 70s too, with normal programmes (for children) not starting until after 4pm on weekdays. During the day there may have been a clutch of lunchtime programmes including the news with programmes for schools and colleges during the mid-morning and mid-afternoon. All three channels, BBC1/2 and ITV usually shutdown before midnight. That of course left at least half of the day with little or no transmissions, apart from ubiquitous test cards and trade test films. The signals were distinctly low resolution and analogue too broadcast on VHF at 405 lines with black and white vision and mono sound. Things improved in 1967 with the arrival of the first colour television sets and the roll-out of the UHF 625 line colour system.
The Tyne Tees opening music consisted of an instrumental medley and arrangement of north east songs composed by the late Arthur Wilkinson. It was called the Three Rivers Fantasy (perhaps composed when the station was originally going to be called Three Rivers Television). The songs used in the montage were Bobby Shaftoe, Keel Row, Waters of Tyne, the Sailor's Hornpipe (on which the original Tyne Tees jingle was based) and the Blaydon Races and local and distinctive it was as the start-up video of the station portrays:
Tyne Tees Television Start-Up: 1960 405- Line Black and White
Tyne Tees Television Start-Up: 1978 625-Line Colour
Yorkshire Television on the other hand employed a fantastic lively march complete with magnificent drum rolls called the Yorkshire March, composed by Derek New and Ron Goodwin (the latter composer you may recall composed the unforgettable soundtrack and theme tune to the war-time movie 633 Squadron). Here is a 405-line start-up sequence from Yorkshire Television in 1968:
Yorkshire Television Start-Up: 1968 405- Line Black and White
Yorkshire Television Start-Up: 1976 625-Line Colour
Does the old Yorkshire Television logo bring back memories for anyone in North Yorkshire and the North East, and the announcer Redvers Kyle?