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Thameside Radio 90.2

Thameside Radio
The early days

Thameside Radio
Years of success

Thameside 90.2


Where are the
Thameside Radio crew now?

Thameside 90.2
Technical info

Thameside Radio

Thameside Radio

Thameside 90.2
Special events

Thameside Radio
Information sheets

Links to Thameside
and other
pirate radio sites


The Thameside Radio 90.2 Story


The early days

A Thameside Radio Bob Edwards stickerAfter a number of daytime test transmissions Thameside Radio began full time broadcasting in the Winter of 1977. Initially these shows were just one hour long. They were presented by Bob Edwards who had a dry, matter-of-Bob Edwards in the Thameside Radio studiofact style. He played MOR pop with a Beatles record in every show. He also had Thameside listener competitions (typical prizes - a Thameside Radio pen, Thameside badge or a packet of Spangles) and letters. Bob's shows were tightly formatted - the competition at 10 past the hour, the Tony Lloyd Beatles at 35 past the hour etc. Occasionally the broadcast was extended to include a second show presented by Tony Lloyd. Tony had more laid back rocky tastes. In contrast to Bob's rigid singles based format Tony would think nothing of playing a complete side of a Pink Floyd album.

One of the early hints that there was more to Thameside Radio than just the music was their first outside broadcast. To celebrate their birthday they invited listeners to a "birthday party" in Hyde Park. Alarge group of listeners turned up at Lancaster Gate tube station. This was exciting enough - generally priates were fiercly anonymous. But instead of the just the chance to simply meet fellow listeners and perhaps a DJ they were surprised to discover that Bob had a microphone with him and was presenting live, on-air, with the records being mixed in back in Thameside Radio - Tony Lloyd blows my mind stickerthe studio.

This was no mean feat from the logistical, technical and risk viewpoint. The few other pirate stations were still using valve technology with each transmitter built by using whatever components were to hand and often constructed inside old biscuit tins. Thameside in contrast had its own high power solid state transmitters designed by Richard Courtenay using printed circuit boards for reliability in purpose built cases. Careful choice of the transmission sites also helped reception. The use of radio links for live broadcasts was also a first. Most other stations relied on pre-recording their shows and running the transmitters from a time switch.

Thameside - The purpose built radio studioEven when not running outside broadcasts Thameside Radio's technical facilities were excellent. Their early information sheets describe the purpose built studio with three record decks, integrated telephone facilities to take listeners calls, jingle machines and reel to reel facilities. (see photo right) They were also early users of the Dolby FM standard to reduce background noise and improve reception. Sadly Thameside didn't keep their information sheets up to date - so many of their technical advances went unrecognised. More technical information is available on the technology page.

During this year the London pirate radio movement had started to grow. However most of the stations had poorly constructed transmitters which caused interference. They would often goad the authorities on air. The people running the stations sometimes caused damage to the locations they transmitted from. As a result most London radio pirates were raided on a regular basis. All this time the regulatory authorities left Thameside Radio alone. By not acting like pirate Thameside weren't treated like one. In addition by involving the listeners they developed a specific station personality and kept their fingers on the pulse of what the audience actually wanted to listen to. For the first time the a radio station was broadcasting for us rather then just "at" us.

Next: Years of success>




The Thameside Radio Story is an achive of material about Thameside Radio 90.2, a London pirate station. It broadcast between 1977 and 1982. Tony Lloyd, Bob Edwards, The Intrepid Birdman, Alex Wright, Paul James, Ian Stewart, Terry Anderson and The Curly Man all presented shows, as did many others. More important were the listeners. This is a live site so if you would just like a namecheck, want to get in touch, have a Thameside Radio 90.2 related photo, Thameside Radio recording or a memory please email me.

Special thanks for mp3s, writing in or sending pictures to (amongst others) , Carol H, Olaf Star, Jessica D, Pyers E, Warren S, Stephen Sykes, John G, Mike E, itrilby for Radio Eric, Alex Wright, Aidan S, Dave "The Birdman", Alan Dolby, Rachel McIntyre (for Terry Anderson), Al at for the Thameside Radio Revisited podcasts, Terry/Decibel90 and Steve Scribbler.

I know that a lot of Thameside listeners and friends would like to get in touch with each other again. If you are happy to have e-mail forwarded do write in. Even if you don't have any new information it would be great to hear from you.

CC BY SAThe content of this site is avalilable under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Martin Wood