Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Roberts Radio is 80 life review 2012

The iconic Roberts Radio is 80 years old, Life review 2012.
One of its first employees (who still works there) tells Emma Barnett about radio’s early days – and its digital future.
In December 1942, Stan Vandenberghe was 14 and embarking on his first job – his only job, as it turned out – at a small, family-run company with just nine employees, in East Molesey, Surrey.
Harry Roberts, the co-founder of what would become a British institution, had spied Stan outside the factory gates one day waiting for his brother to come out. He offered him a job when he was old enough to leave school. And Stan, as he is known to everyone in the business, is still working for Roberts Radio nearly 70 years later.
Roberts’s leather-bound sets – now the height of retro chic – turn 80 in October; and in its anniversary year, it seems the British public has embraced radio once more.
Despite the lure of television, the internet, Xboxes and the Wii, the latest statistics show that a record 91.7 per cent (47.6 million) of the British adult population listen to the radio every week; and the total weekly amount of time we tune in has swelled to 1,076 million hours.
It is a far cry from Stan’s pessimistic prediction to his boss, Harry Roberts, in the Fifties, when TV was taking off. “I turned to him and said: 'Well that’s that then. Radio’s had it,’ he explains. “Harry said: 'Stan, radio is like bread and butter to people; they will never do without it’. ”

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