The story of Radio Kaleidoscope can be split into two phases. Phase one was between 1967 and 1972 when the station broadcast from South Essex. They had become very popular, but by 1972 had become short of members. At around the same time a number of presenters were about to leave Radio Jackie, so, “The Big K”, moved to South London to join its new team and start phase two of the story.
The first real Sunday broadcast was on 3rd March 1973, with the shows recorded at the home of presenter Pat Edison. Kaleidoscope followed a strict format which was popular on American Top 40 stations of the time and the station soon became a force to be reckoned with, quickly leaving the well established Radio Jackie behind.
Transmissions took place every Sunday from 10am on 1133 kHz, announced as 266 metres. The station broadcast mobile from various sites around South London with programmes being recorded earlier in the week. The station suffered almost weekly raids by the then GPO, but on many occasions staff were able to flee the sight with all the equipment. An FM service was also broadcast on 94.4 MHz on Thursday nights as part of the London transmitter of Independent Radio.
In 1975 LBC began tests on 1151 kHz, which were to cause a great deal of interference to the Big K. In March 1975 Kaleidoscope tried moving a channel further away to 1124 KHz, but it was not enough, and at the end of December they moved to 1358 KHz, announced as 226m.
In the end, Kaleidoscope’s professionalism was also their downfall. By 1976 a number of their staff were leaving to work on the new legal local stations around the country and they struggled to find enough staff to put out the Sunday broadcasts. The operators felt that they didn’t want The Big K to become unreliable and die slowly, so they decided to close the station permanently. On 22nd February 1976 Radio Kaleidoscope made its final broadcast, which included an hour long look back at the history of the station.
More on Radio Kaleidoscope can be found on these sites:
To download, right click and ‘Save As’