208 history  this is how it's been done
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© words and pictures: 
taken from the magazine 'Radio Luxembourg 208 - 50 pop years' published in 1979 by IPC Magazines Ltd., London
As faithfull followers of Radio Luxembourg will know, tuning in to 208 each evening means guaranteed, up-to-date sounds throughout the night. But what a lot of listeners don't  realise, is how much each programme relies on precision planning and behind-the-scenes work that goes on before each programme can be 'aired'. 
Lyndon Holloway joined the English Service, based in the Grand Dutchy as director of administration. He is also responsible for co-ordinating advertising, programming and promotions between the two headquarters and it is largely his responsibility to make sure that the DJs have the right material with which to work.
The weekly 'playlist' provides the basic music content from which the DJs make up their programmes. It is essential that this 'list' reflects the current popular sounds as well as the 'hits' of tomorrow. Its correct compilation is absolutely vital.
It is programme director Tony Prince, who has applied his years of experience as a DJ to selecting the weekly playlist. Tony is visited daily by a constant stream of 'pluggers' all anxious to get their records 'on air'. 
Together with the latest singles and albums (including chart bound sounds), the playlist itself is sent from Hertford Street in London to arrive at the Villa Louvigny in Luxembourg no later than Thursday. This is the most important package that the English Service receives as it determines each show's format.
As records are opened, they given a library number and are carefully filed away so that they are available at a moment's notice. Singles that are currently on the playlist and in use (in fact most of the stations output) are kept on a designated shelf in the office for all the DJs to use.
The new weekly playlist comes into effect each sunday night after Tony's show. The records are put into a box which the DJs then take into the studio to select their choice from the three different categories, A, B, and C.
It is these list that enable Radio Luxembourg to play a wide range of sounds, but also allows the DJs a certain amount of personal freedom, and this is very much reflected in the final programme that is heard 'on air'.
Taking a show from the beginning, the first record played after the top-of-the-hour news is the Power-Play. This is a new record selected for extra air time throughout the week and is considered a definite chart bound sound.
From the playlist each individual DJ then selects a record from the A category, which is tipped to be a Top Ten number. Next will be a 'Star' sound from the B category followed by a C category record which is probably a new release, and the whole cycle is then repeated during the programme.
Other shows rely entirely on the week's charts. They are telexed from London as they are compiled and are made up from the Top Thirty. The range is vast and includes disco, rock and popular chart toppers, each with a different set of records and all these have to be instantly available.
Of course a national radio station also relies heavily on up to the minute news and this is supplied by telex from the London office. Sometimes the DJs have only a few minutes to read through the items, but this 'rehearsal', no matter how short, is vital so that all goes smoothly.
There is one outstanding difference between the English Service and the RTL-Community Service (see history: 'the eginning'). 
Not only do the DJs use two completely different studios - it also means that on Community Radio they have to rely very much on their engineers who are 'cued' for the records, whereas at night the DJs are left very much on their own, and are responsible for all the jingles, commercials and records being broadcast.
Although six DJs from the English Service are resident in the Grand Dutchy, there are weekly recorded programmes sent from Johnnie Walker and Rosko, both in Amerca, and Tony Prince in London. These shows have to include timed 'blanks' to enable the engineers to drop in the right commercials.
It is essential that these shows not sound recorded and these 'natural' breaks for commercials are timed to a two seconds allowance, which accommodates the varying length of jingles.
The Sales Department in Dean Street, also plays an important part in the day to day running of the English Service. Most of the commercials are sent over to the DJs on tapes, and they are then transferred onto cartridge, cross referenced in alphabetical order and allocated a slot in the studio, ready for transmission.
The programme is now complete, and machinery takes over. From the soundproofed studio, the programme is relayed to the master control room, which is housed in the same building, one floor up. Engineers are on duty 24 hours a day to make surethat there are no technical hitches - they also make sure that all programmes are recorded on tape and filed away for future reference.
The programme is then relayed to the transmitter in the north of the country and then onto Britain.
It's amazing to think that after travelling so many hundreds of miles across land and sea, that the English Service is still the only fully national commercial pop radio station with a powerful enough signal to reach even the most northern parts of Scotland.
© words and pictures: 
taken from the magazine 'Radio Luxembourg 208 - 50 pop years' published in 1979 by IPC Magazines Ltd., London
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© Stephan Konrad 1996 - 2012