Absolute Radio 40s to mark VE Day 75

  • The Audio Content Fund will support this 24-hour pop-up radio station, to broadcast nationally on 1215AM and Online
  • Featuring interviews and archive, plus the best of 1940s jazz, swing and big-band
  • Content produced by TBI Media, hosted by Dave Berry, Jason Manford and more

The Audio Content Fund has today announced it will be supporting pop-up radio station Absolute Radio 40s to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day on 8th May.  With the day of national celebrations largely postponed, the ACF has awarded the funds as part of its special funding round to support audiences during Coronavirus restrictions.

The fund, which is financed by the UK Government, launched a special rolling round last month following discussions with Radiocentre, AudioUK, and DCMS. With up to £400,000 allocated to support independent production of public service content for commercial and community radio, the round has so far supported 18 different projects around the country.

For one day only, Absolute Radio 40s will join the family of Absolute Radio decade stations as a fully-fledged radio service dedicated to 1940s music and content. It will broadcast on 1215AM across the country, DAB+ in London, and be available via the Absolute Radio website. Content will include archive interviews, news bulletins, and first-hand accounts of VE Day from veterans and their families.  In addition, the main Absolute Radio station (available nationally on DAB, and on FM in London) will play re-imagined news bulletins every hour.

Music on the station will include Vera Lynn, Billie Holliday, The Andrews Sisters, Judy Garland, Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, Doris Day, Gracie Fields, Benny Goodman, and Tommy Dorsey. Features on the pop-up station will be presented by Absolute Radio presenters Dave Berry, Jason Manford, Leona Graham, Claire Sturgess, with more to be announced.

The pop-up station will be produced by TBI Media, who have a long history of producing wartime anniversary celebrations with partners Snappin’ Turtle, including D-Day 70 at The Royal Albert Hall, VE-Day 70 for Classic FM, and The Battle of Britain from Biggin Hill for BBC Radio 2.

Paul Sylvester, Content Controller of Absolute Radio, said:

“The 75th anniversary of VE Day is a momentous event in our history and it’s tragic that celebrations have had to be rightly curtailed because of the Coronavirus. The incredible music and compelling stories you’ll hear on Absolute Radio 40s will bring comfort and entertainment to those older listeners in self-isolation and remind the rest of us of the importance of this day. Taking the Absolute Radio decade strategy and creating this unique pop-up station for 24 hours is the simplest way that we can pay our own very small tribute.”

Phil Critchlow, CEO and Founding Director of TBI Media, said:

“This is clearly an incredibly important day in our history and, where the world has temporarily had to stand still and wait for a collective celebration, it’s important that we still acknowledge on that date, as well as we possibly can those who gave so much. In simple terms, without the Audio Content Fund and Absolute Radio’s support this would not be happening. “

Sam Bailey, Managing Director of the ACF, said:

“This brilliant idea is just the latest of 18 projects that we’ve funded this month. I’m so proud of the wide range of companies and stations that we’ve been able to support with this round, and there is still money left in the pot. I and our funding panel are looking forward to continuing our work supporting radio audiences during the coronavirus restrictions.”

As with other projects in this round, Absolute Radio 40s will be produced safely and in-line with government guidelines.  The coronavirus support funding round remains open, operating on a rolling basis.  Ideas will be reviewed by the funding panel within two weeks, with funding for selected ideas made available promptly and upfront.