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BBC Radio 5 Live announces 30th birthday celebrations

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

Since launch at 5am on Monday March 28, 1994 (pictured with Jane Garvey and Adrian Chiles), Radio 5 Live has become the BBC’s home of breaking news and live sport, and one of the country’s leading channels for news and current affairs, speech radio and sports broadcasting.

From the very start, 5 Live has set the standard in sports commentary. Since the introduction of its digital sister station, Radio 5 Sports Extra, in 2002, the network’s coverage has increased massively, thanks to its unique obligation to ensure listeners have a front row seat at all major sporting events including the Premier League, World Cups in football, cricket and rugby, The Ashes, Wimbledon and the Ryder Cup, with the Olympic Games and the European Championship to follow again this summer.

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.

Later in 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 unique 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.

“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 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.”

Highlights of 5 Live at 30’s birthday broadcast on Thursday March 28 include:

  • 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

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