Pleased to announce 

1 September 2001 tbs.pm/1674

Robin Carmody on Authority Announcements

For 30 years, the Authority announcement was a fixed, settled and constant feature of the British broadcasting environment.

Always fairly formal even in its death throes in the mid-1980s, its tone nevertheless changed and evolved with the times. Compare the stern and imposing announcements of the 1950s with the friendly and inviting introductions to the day’s programmes in the early 80s, and you get a pretty good representation of wider British social and cultural changes in that time.

The following grid gives you an account of what was said in each regional Authority announcement over that period, when each company had a certain amount of choices within the range acceptable to the ITA (later the IBA), and of which turns of phrase were most frequently used in air.

Phrase Companies
On Associated Rediffusion
Broadcasting From

Tyne Tees

Westward

Grampian

STV

LWT

Yorkshire

Granada (B&W)

Broadcasting On

Rediffusion London

Channel (B&W)

WWN

LWT

UTV

Harlech

Broadcasting to Anglia
Provides Your Programmes On… Broadcasting From Tyne Tees (Colour)
Brings You Programmes By Associated Rediffusion
Provides Your Programmes On

ATV (Colour)

Central

Provides Your Programmes… Broadcasting On ATV (B&W)
Provides Your Programme… Broadcasting On ATV (B&W)
From Transmitters Of

Granada (colour)

TVS

Transmitting From

Granada (B&W)

UTV

Transmitting On Southern
You’re Tuned To … Programmes … Brought To You By ABC
This is the … Programmes … Brought To You By ABC
These Are The … Programmes … Brought To You By ABC
Coming To You From Border
Serving … From TWW
Operating On Thames
Announcement Placed
Before Music

Associated Rediffusion

WWN

Tyne Tees (B&W)

Grampian

ATV (B&W)

TWW

Granada (colour)

HTV

LWT

After Music

ATV (B&W)

Granada (B&W)

STV

Anglia

Westward

UTV

Tyne Tees (Colour)

Over Music

TWW

TVS

Southern

Yorkshire

Granada (B&W)

ATV (Colour)

Central

Westward

Rediffusion London

Between 2 Pieces

Associated Rediffusion

ABC

Thames

Transmitters
…transmitter(s) of…

TVS

TWW

Granada (Colour)

Grampian

HTV

…(region name) station(s)…

Associated Rediffusion

Rediffusion London

ABC

…(region name) transmitter(s)…

ATV (B&W)

LWT

Thames

Central

…(transmitter Name) Station(s)…

TWW

Southern

…(transmitter name) transmitter(s)…

Yorkshire

WWN

Granada (B&W)

UTV

Border

Scottish

Channel number and region

ABC

ATV (B&W)

Tyne Tees (B&W)

channel number and transmitters

Anglia

Westward

channel number and VHF band

Associated Rediffusion

region only

TWW

…(slogan) (region) transmitter(s)…

Granada (B&W)

Companies used different styles of announcement at different times, hence duplicate appearances above

The bland “on/from (the) transmitters of” phrase, while uncommon in the 1960s, became the standard announcement in later years. This is not because the companies or the IBA suddenly became less proud of their transmitters, as the transfer to UHF increased the number of transmitters to such a point that it was impractical to list them all – it would have made the announcements too long, awkward and cumbersome.

Only in the VHF era, with one or two transmitters covering a wide area, was transmitter-naming realistically practical – Yorkshire seem to have been unique in continuing to name their two main transmitters into the early 80s.

Even in the VHF era, many companies chose other options. ABC listed the VHF channels (a practice which, for obvious reasons, died out after 1969). Granada optimised their identity by using the phrases “Northern stations” and “From the North” in their 5-day pan-North era. Tyne Tees referred merely to “Channel 8” and “the north-eastern transmitter” rather than naming their transmitter at Burnhope.

It is interesting that the shortest and most dramatic announcements were those of Associated-Rediffusion and Rediffusion, London, while companies that made virtues of their non-metropolitan identity – Anglia and Westward – had outstandingly long announcements, naming both the VHF channels and the transmitter names.

The similarly non-metropolitan Border not only named all their transmitters, but later went through a phase of naming the areas they broadcast to (of which there were several, making for a very awkward-sounding announcement). Perhaps A-R, Rediffusion and ATV wanted to make themselves sound as metropolitan as possible – and “Croydon”, the location of the transmitter, sounds rather boringly suburban read out on air compared to the excitement of “London”, perhaps the reason why it was never identified.

The non-metropolitan “community stations” (to use a phrase coined more recently) may have wanted to make themselves as much part of the area as possible, hence their longer, more detailed “local” announcements.

Other curiosities include the fact that ABC uniquely used the word “station” in their opening announcements to refer to themselves as a TV station, rather than to refer to the transmitter (they identified “the Northern stations” almost immediately afterwards). Also uniquely, ATV Midland in the 60s used the word “programme” to refer to itself as a channel, rather than ATV London and ABC referring to “programmes” to mean programmes. It is a memorable incongruity that the ATV ident in vision said “Midlands” in the plural, while the announcer was identifying “Midland” in the singular.

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