by Bill MacDonald

Managing Director, Radio Hallam

Radio Hallam is not too shy to say it is a popular station. Not just that it has more listeners in this area than any other except one of the national networks (broadcasting, incidentally with over 400 times our power). No — we mean by popular that Radio Hallam is for the people, of the people, and to an extent unusual even in these days of ‘access’ broadcasting, by the people.

We try to provide a radio service which South Yorkshire folk will recognise is for them. A blend of entertainment, information and companionship. A radio service which you can dip into as the mood takes you, or listen to all day. In the morning and late afternoon there’s important local information for people on the move. During the day the talk is more for people at home, but our ‘middle of the road’ music is carefully chosen to suit most tastes.

Music isn’t just better in stereo — on radio it’s marvellous, exciting, fantastic because you hear it without interference from the foreign stations that afflict the medium wave. Radio Hallam is in stereo all day long, but we understand that our listeners for the most part can only sit down and listen in comfort to their own sets during the leisure hours. So at night we spread before our gourmet listeners a feast of music which calls for attentive listening, ranging from heavy rock to full length classical music.

Radio Hallam is not just a supplier of music, not just a supplier of news and information. Our abiding belief is that people matter, and people are interested in people. South Yorkshire is renowned for its good neighbours and community feeling, but it would still take a long time for you to meet every one of your million plus neighbours in this region. So we try to introduce you to as many as we can on air… that’s why we go out and about so much, talking to people in the street, in the clubs — in their homes even, introducing them all to you. So shake hands with your neighbour and enjoy his company through Radio Hallam. In the following pages you’ll meet the people who want to introduce you to your neighbours. They also want to tell you what’s going on and where, keep you company and keep you amused. If we don’t do this, our reason for existence has gone. No public authority, national or local, grants us any money to keep going whether we are wanted by our listeners or not. We hope you’ll continue to like our company for a long time to come.

Managing Director, Radio Hallam

Bill MacDonald


  • Gerard Young, CBE, JP (Chairman)
  • Mrs Dawn de Bartolome
  • John P. Graham
  • Thomas P. Watson, JP
  • William S. MacDonald (Managing Director)
  • Lord Darling of Hillsborough
  • John J. Jewitt, JP
  • Herbert Whitham

Senior Executives

  • William S. MacDonald (Managing Director)
  • Keith Skues (Programme Director)
  • Darryl Adams (Sales & Publicity Manager)
  • Derrick Connolly (Chief Engineer)
  • Ian Rufus (News Editor)
  • Graham Blincow (Company Secretary)

IBA Advisory Committee

  • A. T. Wickham Robinson (Chairman)
  • Councillor R. Barton
  • Mrs E. Galbraith
  • Mrs P. Spittlehouse
  • Councillor Mrs D Walton, JP
  • Dr A. K. Admani, JP
  • P. Bennett-Keenan
  • Councillor G. H. Moores
  • Miss L. Waldie

Who owns Radio Hallam


  • The Automobile Association Ltd.
  • Mrs Dawn de Bartolome
  • Balfour Darwins Ltd
  • Brightside & Carbrook (Sheffield) Co-operative Society Ltd.
  • British Syphon Industries & James Edward Eardley
  • Jon S. Carter
  • County Bank Ltd.
  • Lord Darling
  • Delta Enfield Cables (Holdings) Ltd.
  • Mrs Jean Doyle
  • Wilfred Edmunds Ltd. (Derbyshire Times)
  • Footprint Tools Ltd.
  • Henry Garnett & Company Ltd. (Rotherham Advertiser)
  • General & Municipal Workers Union Yorks. & North Derbyshire Region
  • Hallamshire Industrial Securities Ltd.
  • J. H. Hancock
  • Industrial & Commercial Finance Corporation Ltd
  • J. J. Jewitt, MBE
  • J. J. Jewitt J.P.
  • Kenning Motor Group Ltd.
  • W. S. MacDonald
  • M. J. Mallet
  • Samuel Montagu (Nominees) Ltd. (The University of Sheffield)
  • Sheffield Chamber of Commerce
  • Sheffield & Ecclesall Co-operative Society Ltd
  • Sheffield Newspapers Ltd.
  • Matthew Sheppard
  • Sissons & Son Ltd. (Worksop Guardian)
  • Keith Skues
  • South Yorkshire Times
  • Trident Television Ltd.
  • Union of Shop Distributive & Allied Workers
  • Ruben Viner
  • J. G. West
  • Henry Wigfall & Son Ltd.
  • G. F. Young

How it all began

How it all began

by Keith Skues

Programme Director

Legal land-based commercial radio for South Yorkshire was given the go ahead by the government on June 19th, 1972. Announcing this the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Sir John Eden, said that a radio station would service the Sheffield and Rotherham area.

The Programme Department of Radio Hallam was formed some 18 months before the company won its contract from the Independent Broadcasting Authority. A guidance team under Tom Chalmers (formerly Controller of BBC Light Programme) drew up detailed plans.

I was appointed Programme Director on March 14th, 1974.

My first endeavour was to recruit a handful of well-known personalities from national radio and complement them with a number of respected local broadcasters.

Whilst in London I formally approached Roger Moffat, Johnny Moran, and Bill Crozier, and to my amazement they all agreed to leap into the unknown and come with me to Sheffield. The four of us collectively had over 80 years radio experience and had seen service with BBC radios One and Two, British Forces Broadcasting Service, (formerly BFN) and Radio Luxembourg. Individual biographies can be found later in this booklet.

I wanted a personality radio station run by professionals and I knew these presenters had individual styles and were not exploited to the best of their abilities on other radio networks.

In our early days we worked from London operating from the offices of Radio Fleet and Trident Television. This was a temporary measure until a pile of bricks in Hartshead, Sheffield became more like a building. We were to occupy the top two floors — one ostensibly for Sales and Administration staff and the top floor to become two Studios, two Control Rooms, a Reception area, Record Library, News Room, Presentation Area, Workshop, Typing Pool and offices for the Managing Director, Programme Director and Chief Engineer.

In May 1974 the Managing Director and myself moved to Sheffield and joined the Chief Engineer who was already on site. More staff were recruited — News Editor, Sales and Promotions Manager, Company Secretary, Music Producer, who was also to be in charge of the Record Library, and a Secretary.

All the time I was holding auditions for local broadcasters. We received applications from over 700 hopeful Disc Jockeys but I could only take 3, all of whom had worked with BBC local radio. Later a Women’s Editor and Features Editor were appointed to the staff.

Announcers came on strength from August, although Roger Moffat joined a month earlier.

Eventually a General Office was constructed which housed everyone from the Managing Director to the Secretary. Day by day the building began to look more like a radio station — lights were fitted, telephones installed, typewriters and desks assembled.


The foreman of the firm building Radio Hallam, Longdens, owned a dog called Mutley who became the station mascot. The dog was a great footballer and enjoyed nothing better than a quick game of soccer with the staff. Mutley was a relief to what were very worrying days. Would equipment arrive on time? Could we work out a detailed music format? We had no Library, no record players, no tape recorders, but during the months of May, June and July we had made useful contacts with record companies in London most of whom had either local or regional salesmen based in Manchester or Leeds.

Record companies have been invaluable since we went “on air” providing us with both new records and an excellent back-catalogue of discs. It was through them we had access to many of today’s top recording artists who visited Radio Hallam.


Although we as presenters had worked in radio for many years, some of us upwards of 20, none of us had been in at the birth of a new radio station. There was less than a week when all technical equipment was in place and working and whatever time of day or night, the week preceding our air date one could see announcers rehearsing for their big moment on October 1st.

The building had still not been completed and there were miles of wires and cables scattered over the floor.

Test transmissions had begun on both the Medium wave and VHF stereo on Friday, September 20th at four o’clock in the afternoon and reaction from listeners was quite amazing. The IBA confirmed we could begin transmitting official programmes at 06.00 on Tuesday, October 1st.

The weekend leading up to “Blast Off” we organised a party for all members of staff as this would be the only opportunity of everyone meeting under the same roof. Once a radio station goes on the air it is impossible for every member of staff to be together at any one given time as someone has to be on duty.

Sheffield’s own Tony Christie, a frequent visitor to the Radio Hallam studios

On air

Few of us went to bed on the night of September 30th and remained in the Studio sipping cups of tea and putting the final touches to our programmes. Johnny Moran launched the station without pomp or ceremony and went down in history by saying: “This is Radio Hallam, the first independent local radio station serving South Yorkshire and the North Midlands. From our Studios in the centre of Sheffield we will have music, entertainment and information throughout the day and we will be providing a service of keeping the community in touch with local events and happenings”

“From now on we aim to do our best to please, and we are hoping you are going to find “It’s Nice to Have a Radio Station as a Friend”.

Television cameras from both Yorkshire Television and Sheffield Cablevision took what available space was left.

Reaction from listeners was immediate and the very first ‘phone call a little after 6.00 in the morning came from Mr Neil Furniss of Townend Street, Crookes who said he was listening on his way home from night shift and he was enjoying the show.

National, local and trade press have been most kind in their coverage of Radio Hallam and for this we are grateful. Any mention of our activities in the papers goes a long way to boosting the morale of the staff. Gentlemen, we thank you!

KEITH SKUES with CLIFF RICHARD one of many stars to be featured in “Chat In”

Outside broadcasts

Most of our programmes come from the Studios in Hartshead although I was keen to get local involvement with the help of Outside Broadcasts. Each night we visited local hostelries to talk with both the landlord and the customers and the programmes were an immediate success. 

From this idea our Outside Broadcasts grew. We had disc nights from clubs in the area including the launch of the Oasis Club in Rotherham and Turn Ups in Sheffield. The Top 40 Show came from a record shop. Our lunchtime OB where we would take the complete works, became a regular feature in our programme schedule. Here we visited car showrooms, shops, offices and even a railway station. One lunch show was spent in an aircraft flying over Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster.

Magnet recording star ALVIN STARDUST with BIG RAY STUART


The applicant group had done much research into marketing in the Sheffield and Rotherham area which cost thousands of pounds. 

I had worked out a music format styled on both Top 40 records and good quality album material and this format was confirmed by the Committee’s research. In other words listeners did not want continuous pop all day and every day. This format has remained constant to this day, although naturally the records do change.

We are grateful to the local record shops who supply us with sales returns so we can compile our weekly top forty selling singles.

A phrase I use regularly on Radio Hallam is “Radio Hallam leads not follows”, and this has been borne out by the fact that our Top 40 record charts are sometimes up to three weeks ahead of the national hit parade.


In June we set about writing and producing our own radio jingles. I had contacted a Ray Martin, well-known Musical Director, to score some 50 jingles which were produced with popular session musicians and singers during the month of July 1974. I still believe that Radio Hallam has the most commercial set of jingles in the entire ILR network.

We had set our target date to begin broadcasting on October 1st which would make us the fastest radio station “on air” from the time we were awarded the franchise to the actual beginning of transmissions. This was achieved. 

On June 10th, 1974 we held a Press Conference to announce the signing of the Disc Jockeys. Within a month our Sales team had been recruited and our broadcasters were visiting local advertisers. Yorkshire businessmen, traditionally canny about claims of a new advertising medium, were delighted to meet the voices of Radio Hallam.

It was our intention to attract the 16-45 years old age group. I was basically against ‘phone-ins and requests all day. It appears that every radio station, both national and local in Great Britain specialises in ‘phone-in programmes. One hears listeners drying up, or stuttering and stammering, quite often expressing banal opinions dressed up with wordy clichés. Quite often the technical equipment is mishandled and telephone calls fail to be connected. How many times do we regularly hear “Hello, can you hear me?” Many is the time an unsuitable question gets through the station’s vetting system of calls. I did not want any of this unprofessionalism.

Similarly with requests one could tune anywhere along the radio dial and hear “name checks” for people all day long. So I decided to introduce one daily request programme in the evening and a two-hour programme at the weekend — otherwise no requests!

Music format

Music from 6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. would centre around a Playlist of 100 records — the Top 40 singles, reflected from local sales, 40 selected albums and 20 New Releases. The Playlist would change each week. Non-format music would be broadcast in the evening and the total number of hours “on air” each day was 18.

It is interesting to note that over 100 singles are released each week by record companies and up to 25 albums. It is from this large number that the Disc Jockeys select new releases.

The week before we went “on air” the BBC kindly arranged a Radio Week in Sheffield, which, said a spokesman, was “just coincidence”. This did not upset us — in fact it indirectly helped us draw attention to the existence of radio in Sheffield. The way we looked at it was the national networks were here in the city for less than a week but Radio Hallam was here to stay.

Most of our broadcasts were disc shows although later we did feature groups and bands and perhaps the highlight of our first year was a two-hour broadcast with Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen from a leading Sheffield hotel. We have also linked up with other radio stations both inside and outside Great Britain.

Throughout the summer months our OB’s have paid surprise visits to shopping precincts, schools, parks and even people’s houses, all live. We would have some 500 people arriving at a location displaying their Hallam badges and car stickers. We have broadcast from hospitals and old people’s homes. Total involvement with the community on an entertainment footing.

We had more serious OB’s like the Royal visit to South Yorkshire of Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Remembrance Sunday, the switching on of the Sheffield Christmas Illuminations, Christmas Children’s Party, an open debate on the Common Market Referendum, local elections, Battle of Britain Day from RAF Finningley, a News Review of the Year and many, many more.

Seen here enjoying the sun and meeting the people of ‘Hallamland’ during one of the popular lunch-time ‘Walkabouts’


A survey conducted by National Opinion Polls in November 1974 gave Radio Hallam a 25% daily listening figure compared with BBC Radio Two, 26%, Radio One, 24%, and Radio Sheffield 19%.

It was around this time certain senior executives with the BBC criticised commercial radio and said it had no impact whatsoever. I believed that Radio Hallam would be a success due to our broadcasters being totally professional. Most of us have worked with either BBC national or local radio and it is due to the Corporation’s rigorous training we learned how to be professional. At the same time we fully understood the meaning of discipline. My colleagues would agree that we are grateful to the BBC for teaching us so many of the tricks of the trade that we are now putting into practice in Sheffield.

Studio guests Alan Price, Johnny Nash, Elton John, Chip Hawkes & Lyn Paul.


Interviews with personalities is a series I particularly wanted to cover — two hours in-depth chat with a particular artist or artistes each week to find out what makes them tick. Names like Dave Berry, Slade, David Essex, Cliff Richard, Alvin Stardust, Lulu, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Des O’Connor, Johnny Nash, Roy Orbison, Gene Pitney, The Four Tops and Neil Sedaka. A more comprehensive list can be found later.

The first six months we experimented by using freelance DJ’s at weekends most of whom were local Yorkshire people. We even invited members of the public to present their own kind of music in an hour long weekly programme.

A local journalist had a go at becoming a disc jockey for an afternoon. Here are edited highlights of what he said in his column. “A Disc Jockey is one of the hero figures of the post war world. He has long since replaced the Fighter Pilot, the Explorer and even the Engine Driver in the pantheon of desirable occupations. To be a DJ is to have made it, man.

“The world seems full of young hopefuls all eager to play with the tinkling toys of the electric village. To try to find out why, I became a DJ for just an hour, then spent a couple of days asking the pros about the cons of the job.

“It seemed so easy — a cinch. It’s basically playing records and making comments. Call that a job?

“My first hard lesson was that the DJ does everything. There is an engineering staff who fiddle with the equipment when something goes wrong, but the running of the transmission is in the hands of the man at the turntable.

“While (Y-Front Up The Nile) is going out on the transmission channel the DJ has to “cue up” the next disc, listening over his headphones for the opening chords so that he can hold the disc still, on a spinning turntable, ready to let it go after a few moments of chat.

“One disc is roaring out over the air, and being reproduced in the Studio on a powerful pair of studio speakers so the DJ can listen for disasters, such as a sticking needle, while at the same time another disc is playing in his headphones.

“This is by no means the only distraction. As soon as the first record has finished, the DJ has to snatch the channel off the air and “fade up” the mike to announce either the record that has just been played, or the next record, or both. All this time he is holding the second record at a standstill.

“Having finished the announcements he uses his free hand to cut the mike and fade up the second turntable letting go the captive record as he does so.

“He then snatches up a miniature tape recorder and notes the details of the first record. The performer, publisher, writer and the exact running time of the record. He then has to tick it off on a checklist.

“I got through my hour but that’s about the size of it. I got through just. I had a lot of help.”

Pictured with a smile on her face at Sheffield’s Club Fiesta with Johnny Moran and Keith Skues (front) and members of NEW FACES.

Longer hours

In June 1975 the IBA readily agreed for Radio Hallam to extend its broadcasting hours therefore opening transmissions at 4.55 a.m. and remaining on the air until 1.00 a.m. the following morning, except on Friday and Saturday when the station stays open till 3.00 a.m.

These were the hours of broadcasting, and the basic structure promised in our application to the IBA early in 1974, and for which we were awarded the franchise.

New programmes to be introduced included a three-hour show of either soul or rock music every weekday evening commencing at 8.00 p.m. which was directed towards young adults with particular emphasis on the pleasure of music in the interference free service area of the VHF transmitters radiating from Sheffield and Rotherham.

By public demand a series entitled “20 Years of Rock and Roll” was broadcast twice weekly and other new programmes included country music, brass bands, northern soul, new release records and a special half hour chat feature at 7.30 p.m. on weekdays which was also a component of the original programme proposals by Radio Hallam to the IBA. Sports programmes were extended and extra new bulletins scheduled with the emphasis on local and regional news.

Public response to Radio Hallam’s extended hours was astounding. I had re-scheduled a number of programmes following the careful analysis of listeners, letters over a period of 8 months and confirming research undertaken by our presentation department.

In the summer of 1975 another audience research survey (this time conducted by RSGB) gave Radio Hallam a weekly listenership of 48% of the population in our service area and was the highest of any local station in England. The survey showed our primary audience was 16-45 year olds and proved therefore we were right on target. We are all aware that music is the magnet to attract listeners. However at the same time I believe that commercial radio should have a very broad appeal and have a highly developed sense of social responsibility.

Executives of radio stations are forever looking at BBC listening figures and comparing whether they are beating us or vice versa. One wants to encourage the greatest diversity and expansion to changes in taste. Therefore I believe there are real advantages in having a strong amount of competition with more than one kind of programme to offer listeners on a local basis.

“If Yorkshire is the entertainment centre of the North, then Radio Hallam is, in the same way, the leader in its field.”

Independent Broadcasting Authority


The IBA's Responsibilities

The Independent Broadcasting Authority Act 1973, which consolidates the Television Act 1964 and the Sound Broadcasting Act 1972, provides the legal

framework for the setting-up of Independent Local Radio stations under the control of the Independent Broadcasting Authority.

The iba is thus responsible for both Independent Television (itv) and Independent Local Radio (ilr). For both it selects and appoints the programme companies; supervises the programme planning; controls the advertising; builds, owns, and operates the transmitters; provides distribution links; and establishes technical standards.

By March 1974 thirteen of these stations were either on the air or contracts had been offered by the Authority. In July 1974 the Home Secretary announced that six more stations would be authorised, bringing the total to nineteen, further developments depending on Lord Annan’s Committee on the Future of Broadcasting.

Each programme will be transmitted simultaneously on medium wave (mf-am) and Band II (vhf-fm). It is hoped that local radio audiences will come to accept vhf as the main listening service as soon as possible, with mf fulfilling a matching role, especially during daylight hours. The vhf-fm transmissions will have a stereo capability; details are given below.

The new radio stations, so far as possible, provide a service specifically aimed at their local communities, and in order to do this the men and women who produce the programmes need to be closely identified with their localities. The programming schedules seek to provide a reflection of life in the area through entertainment, news, information, and education; the specialist news company in London provide a prime source of national and international news, both for its own transmission area and for supply to the other radio companies.

As with Independent Television, the radio companies are self-supporting. Advertisement revenue is the prime means of financing Independent Broadcasting and one of the Authority’s major functions is the control of the amount, presentation and content of advertisements. The iba’s Code of Advertising

Standards and Practice has been revised to encompass sound broadcasting. Under the provisions of the Independent Broadcasting Authority Act 1973, no programme sponsorship or advertising magazines is permitted. The maximum time allowed for radio advertising is nine minutes in any one clock-hour.

The Authority received two applications for the ilr programme contract for the Sheffield and Rotherham area. Both applicants were interviewed by an iba group which visited Sheffield in February 1974. The group also met representatives of the civic, educational and religious life in the area and individual members of the public. Further interviews were held in London; and in March 1974 the Authority announced their selection of Radio Hallam Limited. The programme plans which were submitted as part of Radio Hallam’s successful application to the iba were published on the day the station commenced broadcasting.

Radio Hallam Ltd

P.O. Box 194, Hartshead, Sheffield S1 1GP.
Tel: Sheffield (0742) 71188

G. F. Young, C.B.E., J.P. (Chairman); W.S. MacDonald; Mrs D. DeBartolome; Lord Darling; J.P. Graham; J. J. Jewitt, J.P.; T. P. Watson, J.P.; H. Witham.

G. Blincow (Company Secretary); K. Skues (Programme Director); M. Lindsay (Production Manager); Jean Doyle (Woman’s Editor); D. Turner (Features Editor); I. Rufus (News Editor); S. Linnell (Sports Editor); D. Adams (Sales Promotion Manager); J. Orson (Chief Engineer)


Stereophonic Broadcasting

The conductor taps the podium twice. Sounds begin to swell and fill the auditorium. The movement builds up to a momentous crescendo.

An evening at the concert hall. We hear a collection of sounds all reaching our ears from different directions.

Each performer contributes his own part. Stereophony can create these sensations in the home. All types of music, live or on today’s excellent recordings, and drama productions are brought to life by stereo.

The stereo effect

Our television or portable radio provides us with just one source of sound via the loudspeaker. Even though the quality may be very good, we have no idea of movement or direction of sound — as we have in the theatre or concert hall, or as popular music makers are able to create electronically in their recordings. Stereophony requires at least two sound channels, and consequently the same number of loudspeakers. But by carefully positioning the loudspeakers and listeners, the directions and movements of sound can be simulated. Thus adding realism and greatly increasing our listening enjoyment.

Two channel stereo can be provided by stereo record players or tape recorders. Sound broadcasting in the vhf band is also capable of providing the two channels. Independent Local Radio broadcasts many programmes in stereo (on vhf). By obtaining the necessary stereo receiver, amplifier and loudspeakers you can add a new dimension to your listening enjoyment.

How stereo broadcasting works

The two separate sound channels used for stereophonic broadcasting are often called the ‘A’ and ‘B’ channels. One way to broadcast stereo would be to transmit the A and B channels individually. This has the disadvantage that listeners with single channel (‘monophonic’) receivers would have to tune into one or other of the two channels. In fact, they need a single channel composed of a mixture of the A and B channels. Also, two channels would occupy a large amount of precious vhf spectrum space.

The Pilot Tone System

The ‘pilot tone’ system used by ilr and many other broadcasting organisations overcomes these problems. A composite signal is broadcast, which is arranged to contain two parts. One is the ‘sum’ of the A and B signals, that is A+B. The second is the ‘difference’,

A—B. The arrangement (of the two parts) is such that listeners with mono receivers receive only the A—B signal – which is the mixture they require. And listeners with stereo receivers obtain the individual A and B channels – by adding and subtracting the A+B and A—B signals electronically within their stereo receiver.

The Decoder

The part of the stereo receiver which adds and subtracts the ‘sum’ and ‘difference’ signals is called the decoder. In fact some mono vhf receivers can be converted to stereo by the addition of a suitable stereo decoder. Your dealer will be able to advise you on this.

An advantage of ILR VHF transmissions

Most ilr vhf transmissions are ‘circularly polarized’ This is a term which describes the way in which the radio waves emanate from the transmitting aerial. The iba is the first broadcasting organisation in the uk to use this method. One result of this is better reception for most vhf car radio users. But it’s worth noting that in general stereo reception needs a much larger signal than mono reception, so you may need a more efficient aerial system. It really depends on where you live. Your dealer will be able to advise you on this.

Choosing stereo equipment

There are no hard and fast rules for choosing stereophonic receiving equipment. An extensive choice is available, covering a wide range of styles, quality and prices. The best way to choose is to listen to as many systems as possible within your budget. Then select the system which you think sounds most realistic in comparison with a live performance.


When you have purchased your stereo receiving system, take care in positioning your loudspeakers and listeners. This is very important — otherwise the stereo effect may be partially lost. The loudspeakers should be placed as far apart as possible, up to a

maximum of about twelve feet. Listeners should sit near the centre line between the two loudspeakers. Now you can take your seat….

For stereo reception the need for a good, carefully positioned aerial is well worth emphasising if you are to achieve the best results from your stereo receiver.

If you need any further advice on reception of ilr transmissions, the Engineering Information Service of the iba will be pleased to answer your queries. The addresses are:

Independent Broadcasting Authority,
Engineering Information Service,
Crawley Court, Winchester, Hants SO21 2QA.
Tel: Winchester 822444
and for London subscribers,

Independent Broadcasting Authority,
Engineering Information Service,
70 Brompton Road, London SW3 1 EV.
Tel: 01-584 7011, and ask for Engineering Information.


The Pilot-Tone System


A Hand Audio Channel – After pre-emphasis 
B Right Hand Audio Channel – After pre-emphasis
M Compatible Signal – to which monophonic’ receivers respond
S Modulus of Stereophonic Sub-Channel
𝓌 Pilot Tone Angular Frequency

Technical Description

The Independent Local Radio vhf service employs the Pilot-tone system, as defined by C.C.I.R. Recommendation 450 (Vol V, Part 1, New Delhi, 1970).

The compatible signal, M, equal to one half the sum of A and B, produces a deviation of the main carrier of not more than 90% of the maximum permissible deviation, 75kHz. A separate signal, S, equal to one half the difference between A and B, is used to obtain the sidebands of an amplitude-modulated suppressed sub-carrier, whose frequency is 38kHz. The sum of these sidebands produces a peak deviation of the main carrier of the same amount as the signal S would give if applied in place of the M signal, i.e. not more than 90% of the maximum permissible deviation, 75kHz. A pilot signal, whose frequency is 19kHz, i.e. one half that of the suppressed Sub-Carrier, is arranged to produce a deviation of the main carrier of between 8% and 10% of the maximum, 75kHz.

The instantaneous deviation of the main carrier is given by the following expression

fd = 0.9 (M+S.sin 2𝓌t+0.1 sin 𝓌t) ✕ 75kHz


𝓌∕2π=19kHz, M=½(A+B) and S=½(A–B).

A and B are restricted to the range of ±1 and consequently neither ½(A+B) nor ½(A–B) can fall outside the range ±1. The component ½(A+B), or M, represents the compatible monophonic signal. It is the only component available for monophonic reception.

The component ½(A–B), or S, represents the difference signal. It enables a stereophonic receiver to separate the A and B signals since M+S=A and M–S=B. The phase relationship between the Pilot-tone and the suppressed sub-carrier may be discerned from the above expression for fd. It is such that when modulating the transmitter with a multiplex signal for which A is positive and B=–A, this signal crosses the time axis with a positive slope each time the pilot signal has an instantaneous value of zero. A positive value of the multiplex signal corresponds with a positive deviation of the main carrier. The Pilot-tone is readily filtered out at the receiver and is used to regenerate the 38kHz Sub-Carrier to allow recovery of the S signal.

Since the values of A and B are each restricted to ±1, the expression for fd cannot exceed the range ±75kHz, which is the requirement for maximum deviation of the main carrier.

Pre-Emphasis Time Constant (for each channel): 50µs
Pilot Tone Frequency: 19,000±2Hz
Stereo Sub-Carrier Frequency: 38,000±4Hz
Pilot Tone Phase Stability: ±3°
Residual Sub-Carrier: <1%


IBA Transmitters

VHF Transmitters–FM with stereo capability

MF Transmitter–AM Mono only

Tapton Hill
NGR SK 324 870
95.2 MHz e.r.p. 0.1kW
Horizontal Polarization
Aerial height 950 ft. a.o.d.

NGR SK 432 913
95.9 MHz e.r.p. 0.05kW
Circular Polarization
Aerial height 435 ft. a.o.d.

Skew Hill
NGR SK 327 934
194 m  1546 kHz
Transmitter power 400W

Regional Engineer: H.N. Salisbury
Tel: 0532 33711

Engineer-in-charge: I. C. I. Lamb, MBE

The map shows the area within which most listeners with vhf monophonic receivers should obtain satisfactory reception. Good stereo reception should also be obtainable by the majority of listeners, provided adequate aerials are installed. 

The axes on the map relate to NGR co-ordinates