Capital Radio “pioneers” celebrate 50 years at special party

Paul McKenna writes about Capital’s 50th birthday party yesterday, which was attended by many who were there in the very early days of the station.

Yesterday was a momentous day in the history of broadcasting. It was 50 years ago that Sir Richard uttered those immortal words ‘This, for the very first time is Capital Radio’.

However, the early days of this unprecedented venture were to prove to be an extraordinary conglomeration of creative brilliance and massive financial challenges – the miners’ strike and the three-day week were just some of the factors that saw the founder Sir Richard Attenborough having to sell some of his prized paintings to keep Capital afloat.

These extraordinary, dedicated professionals managed to get across the bridge over those early troubled waters and many of the original team gathered to celebrate, organised by the wonderful Gail Smith former head of commercial production.

It is a shame that there were some great names who are no longer with us, but I’d like to think that Kenny, Roger, Peter Young, Duncan Johnson, Dave Cash amongst others were looking down last night and celebrating with us.

It’s fair to say that Capital Radio has had several incarnations. It adapted to the times and in essence has been 5 different stations to date. Yesterday’s gathering was made up of those mostly from the early days, Nicky Horne, David Symonds, Greg Edwards, Richard Allinson, Chris Tarrant, Declan Meehan, Angie Greaves, Nigel Walmsley, plus producers, technical staff and office workers, amongst the many others that made Capital possible.

An amazing night of anecdotes, happy memories, a little drinking and much laughing – the top topic of conversation was David Symonds’ excellent recent documentary about Capital, meticulously researched and beautifully presented.

When I think back to what seems like only yesterday, what I remember most about working at Capital Radio was that I was so proud to be part of one of the greatest radio stations of all time… Happy 50th Birthday, Capital!

Nicky Horne, Paul McKenna & Declan Meehan
Paul with Greg Edwards and Chris Tarrant
Paul with Nigel Walmsley
David Symonds with Paul
David Symonds cuts the cake!