Retro: Kings of the airwaves

Tara Jeffries, DJ, Radio Hallam - 1978
Tara Jeffries, DJ, Radio Hallam - 1978
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Today’s Retro A to Z of jobs looks at radio presenters, those stalwarts of the 
airwaves who either entertain or annoy you. Or maybe both.

Sheffield’s two main radio stations are BBC Radio Sheffield and Hallam FM.

Howard John (left) pictured with Keith Skues at Radio Hallam - 18th May 1978

Howard John (left) pictured with Keith Skues at Radio Hallam - 18th May 1978

Radio Sheffield came into being as the result of a 1966 Government White Paper which created nine BBC local radio stations.

Radio Leicester came first in November 1967, followed by Radio Sheffield a few days later.

A team of 15 launched the station on a trial basis for two years at first, broadcasting for just four hours a day.

By 1974 the team had grown to 35, who broadcast programmes for 12 hours.

Tony Capstick of Radio Sheffield and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr Peter Horton, pictured with the Radio Sheffield 20th Anniversary cake in the Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall, Sheffield - 13th November 1987

Tony Capstick of Radio Sheffield and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Cllr Peter Horton, pictured with the Radio Sheffield 20th Anniversary cake in the Mayor's Parlour at the Town Hall, Sheffield - 13th November 1987

Radio Sheffield now has a city centre base on Shoreham Street but prior to that it was based in a Victorian house, Ashdell Grove on Westbourne Road, now part of the independent Westbourne School.

One of the best-known and most popular Radio Sheffield presenters was also one who had a tragic end.

Rotherham-born Tony Capstick, described in The Star at the time as “the haunted media maverick who never recovered from his sacking by Radio Sheffield”, was found dead at home in Wentworth in October 2003.

The big-drinking musician and actor was known to have been suffering from ill health, which friends said worsened since his controversial sacking in January 2003, after more than 30 years at the station.

Three of the people helping to put Radio Sheffield on the air on November 15th 1967, are (left to right) Pam Wait, station assistant, Margaret Massingale, education secretary and education producer, David Sheasby

Three of the people helping to put Radio Sheffield on the air on November 15th 1967, are (left to right) Pam Wait, station assistant, Margaret Massingale, education secretary and education producer, David Sheasby

At the time, comedian Billy Connolly described Tony as one of the funniest men he had ever met, while others criticised his behaviour.

He was convicted of a number of drink-driving offences.

A regular guest on his show, Chris Mann, remembered in 2003: “The guy you heard on the radio was not the same as the one you met in public.

“He was a genuine guy and a lot of fun.”

Sheffield’s biggest commercial station, now called Hallam FM, began life as Radio Hallam.

The station started broadcasting from its studios in Hartshead in Sheffield city centre in October 1974.

The first presenter heard on air was ex-BBC Radio 1 DJ Johnny Moran and the first record he played was I’ve Got the Music in Me by Kiki Dee, which apparently stuck after a minute and a half.

In 1987, Radio Hallam merged with neighbouring Yorkshire stations Pennine Radio in Bradford and Viking Radio in Hull to form the now-defunct Yorkshire Radio Network.