BBC Radio 5 Live set to mark 30 years of broadcasting

BBC Radio 5 Live has announced plans to celebrate its 30th birthday on Thursday 28 March 2024 with a day of special programming.

The station launched at 5am on Monday 28 March 1994, taking over from BBC Radio 5 which ran from 1990 to 1994.

To mark the birthday milestone, 5 Live is planning a day of celebratory programming and conversations.

On 5 Live Breakfast, Rick Edwards and Rachel Burden will be joined by former presenter and the first voice to be broadcast on the station in 1994, Jane Garvey. From 10am, listeners can hear a special birthday hour of Nicky Campbell’s phone-in programme, where he will be asking listeners to share the big moments that 5 Live has been there for them, when it’s really mattered – ‘30 years of 5 Live and you?’

As one of the first voices on air, Adrian Chiles will be joined by fellow long-term 5 Live presenter Eleanor Oldroyd to reflect back on some of the biggest news and sport stories over the past 30 years.

On 5 Live Drive, former Drive show presenter Peter Allen is joining Tony Livesey and Clare McDonnell to reminisce about his time on the show. And throughout the programme, they will continue to hear stories from across the UK about how 5 Live has had an impact on listeners lives.

Into the evening, 5 Live Sport will present The 30 Defining Sporting Moments of 5 Live’s 30 years. From Euro 96 and London 2012’s Super Saturday, to Andy Murray’s historic Wimbledon win and the Lionesses’ Euros triumph, Eleanor Oldroyd will be joined by special guests to re-live some of the most ear-catching sporting moments from the past three decades, as well as revealing the top 10 moments voted for by listeners via the BBC Sport website.

Online and on 5 Live’s social channels, the station will also bring to life its history through a digital audio archive with ‘5 Live’s Yearbook’. Featuring a selection of the station’s most memorable news and sporting moments from 5 Live over three decades, the biggest highlights from the archive will be played throughout the official birthday on Thursday 28 March.

BBC Radio 5 Live Controller, Heidi Dawson said: “We are excited to celebrate this milestone with our listeners. Radio 5 Live has been bringing people together for 30 years, through the biggest news and sports events to the stories listeners have shared that have changed lives. Our presenters have been a constant companion, taking you along with them to the greatest events, making you think and making you laugh.”

She continues: “After 30 years, the station continues to evolve with our audience. More of 5 Live’s audience listens digitally than any other BBC station, and alongside gripping live radio on BBC Sounds we also offer outstanding podcasts, from sport, to investigations, to entertaining conversation.”

5 Live at 30 – Thursday 28th March schedule highlights:

  • 5 Live Yearbook – On air throughout the day, online and via 5 Live’s social media channels Memorable news and sporting moments from 5 Live over 30 years with curated audio clips played throughout the day. The 30 highlights will also be compiled into a digital 5 Live webpage.
  • Wake Up To Money 5am – 6am  – Presenter Adrian Chiles joins Will Bain to talk about the first ever show 30 years ago and will listen back and discuss the stories that were covered.
  • 5 Live Breakfast 6-9am: Rachel Burden and Rick Edwards are joined by journalist and former 5 Live presenter Jane Garvey, as they celebrate 5 Live’s 30th birthday and discuss the first ever 5 Live broadcast in 1994.
  • Nicky Campbell – Voice of the UK – 10-11am 30th birthday special phone-in hour, asking listeners ‘30 years of 5 Live and you?’
  • Adrian Chiles – 11am – 1pm Adrian Chiles will be reflecting on some of the biggest news and sports stories over the past 30 years
  • 5 Live Drive – 4pm – 6pm Guest appearance by former drive show presenter Peter Allen and stories about how 5 Live has had an impact on listeners lives.
  • 5 Live Sport – The 30 Defining Sporting Moments of 5 Live’s 30 years – 7:30pm -10pm From Euro 96 and London 2012’s Super Saturday to Andy Murray Murray’s historic Wimbledon win and the Lionesses’ Euros triumph, Eleanor Oldroyd will be joined by special guests to relive some of the most ear-catching sporting moments over the last 30 years.

5 Live Breakfast presenter, Rachel Burden said: “5 Live has been my work home and my work family for over 20 years. It’s taken me to places and events I never thought I would witness, from the magic of the London 2012 Olympics to interviewing our Prime Ministers. It makes me smile and it challenges me every day, and what I have learnt from working at the station is that our audience is what makes 5 Live so special. They have a wonderful hive mind of knowledge and experience and we should never underestimate it or take it for granted.”

5 Live Drive Time presenter, Clare McDonnell, said: “5 Live brings you your daily conversations. That’s what it’s all about, and it’s been doing it brilliantly for 30 years. I think what we do at 5 Live, as informed curators of the nation’s conversation, is an incredible privilege and none of us wear that lightly. Every time I have found myself standing in Downing Street as another Prime Minister resigns or is sworn in – I have a front row seat in historic moments in our nation’s history, and that is something to be truly grateful for.”

5 Live Sport and weekend breakfast presenter, Eleanor Oldroyd, who has worked for the station since the start, said: “5 Live has been my radio home for nearly all of my career, so I am delighted to be a part of the 30th birthday celebrations. The station has grown and evolved so much over the years but has kept the same principle at its core, to be somewhere people turn to for company, as well as in times of celebration, such as great sporting and national events, and in uncertain times like during the Covid pandemic.”

“I have had so many amazing experiences whilst working at 5 Live but working on the London and Sydney Olympics were some of the greatest privileges of my career because of the way fans and listeners embraced every single sport. Paris 2024 will be my 13th Olympics and I think it’ll have the same sense of joy.”

Overnight presenter, Dotun Adebayo, who has been at 5 Live for over 25 years said: “5 live is the sound of great British radio to me. Being one of the station’s longest standing presenters and regular night watchman for over two and half decades has been a privilege beyond my wildest dreams and I am delighted to be celebrating this milestone with them. One of the many things I have learnt at 5 live is that we’re all in this together, and I love the fact that night-to-night I get to talk to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in the wee wee hours and keep them company.”

Mid-morning presenter, Naga Munchetty, said: “5 Live is a listening experience which is never predictable, which is why it’s so successful. The station is thought-provoking, lively and  has a deep connection with its audience.

It’s a privilege to work with a bunch of presenters and journalists who I like and trust. What I love about my job most is you never know what to expect, we can latch on to a talking point of the day and run with it and it’s always a joy to see our audience engage with us with such enthusiasm.. Happy Birthday, 5 Live!”

Long-term 5 Live presenter, Colin Murray, said: “The first and last thing in radio is, quite simply, the listeners. That’s what it’s about – conversation, connection and community.

On Weeknights and Fighting Talk previously, and now on Sunday mornings, 5 Live gives me the chance to do just that… to connect with and bring together people from all over the nation and beyond, live and direct. That’s the privilege, the value and the magic of radio.”

Late-night show presenter, Gordon Smart, said: “Radio 5 Live is the metronome in my life. I used to sleep with it on when I was at university and somehow my brain absorbed the information. This station has been my companion for a long time – especially when I’m travelling.

“After a horrible few years with my health and career, I’m grateful every single day I walk in the door and have the honour of engaging with the listeners. It always feels special, but particularly when there is a big story we have to distil and decode together.”