194 Radio City – new for ’82! 

1 December 2014 tbs.pm/5714

In 1982 Liverpool was dying. The docks, once one of the busiest on the entire planet and employing thousands, had dramatically dwindled as freight switched from being shipped loose to being containerised. The “Merseybeat” sound of the 1960s had gone out of fashion (if not away) and the city no longer seemed “cool”. Unemployment hit 17% in 1982 and poverty became obvious on the streets. The very poor suburb of Toxteth had been hit by rioting the year before and unrest continued for years. The deeply unpopular Conservative government was content to sit back and let the city die, even considering abandoning it and evacuating the (middle class) residents to Cheshire. The local Labour party, with a permanent majority and riven by splits, seemed incapable of action.

But there’s one thing Merseysiders are recognised for having: indomitable spirit. While the city decayed around them, they made the best of it with good humour and determination. They clung to the things that were firmly “theirs” – from British Rail’s Merseyrail system to their local media, a morning and an evening newspaper, a BBC local radio station and Radio City.

This Radio City brochure from 1982 brims with confidence. The people may be poor, but they love their Independent Local Radio station and it loves them back. The station is made by Merseysiders for Merseysiders. Outsiders are wryly noted but welcomed. There’s something for everybody on Radio City.

Liverpool and Merseyside has since recovered. There are still alarming pockets of poverty, as there are in all British cities. But the city is “cool” again, a famous destination for a good night out, a place full of culture and sights, peaceful, happy and bright. And Radio City is still here.

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1 response to this article

Glenn Aylett 10 January 2015 at 8:19 pm

Actually unemployment peaked at an even worse figure of 24 per cent in the early and mid eighties in Liverpool and the city lost 250,000 residents in the seventies and eighties. However, those that remained in the city developed some kind of siege attitude and pride in things like the two football clubs and local media remained strong. I could imagine Radio City developing a strong local following as unlike Radio 1, it was based in the city and cared about it.

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