Buzz FM began broadcasting to Birmingham on 102.4 FM at 8am on Monday 14th May 1990. It would go on to broadcast for over 4 and a half years, before finally signing off and giving way to Choice FM on January 1, 1995.
During that time, Buzz went through several styles as the management and ownership changed. Perhaps each of these era’s are best compared using the station tag lines that were in use at that time:
Launch: Buzz FM The Spirit Of Birmingham
Late 1990: The Rhythm Of The City
1992: The Best Music Mix
1993: More Music, More Fun
1994: Where The Music Never Stops
This non-profit fan site hopes to capture some of the history of Buzz, the station sound, the music, the DJ’s and the memories. Feel free to contact me with additions, corrections or general chat.
News and site updates:
22 October 2023: It’s been much too long, but finally some updates! Firstly a huge thank you to Rob Tovey for providing some photos from Buzz FM. I’ve added Office and Transmitter photos, and I’ll be adding the studio ones shortly. Also, a big thanks to William Fallows for his photos of the Movin’ Groovin’ Jivin’ Drivin’ Radio advert at Holloway Circus. More updates coming soon!
14 May 2020: Happy Anniversary Buzz FM! Buzz FM was launched 30 years ago today!
30 September 2019: There is an interesting piece from Grant Goddard from 21 March 1992 in which Dave Higgins and Matt Woods comment on the music policy on Buzz. The article can be found here. Also a piece from Metro News later that year – 1 October 1992 – in which the PCRL founder questions whether Buzz should keep the license. Link is here.
14 June 2019: I found a mock-up of a Buzz FM bus advert from the Rhythm Of City era which can be found at Flickr: Buzz Fm 102.4 side advert A link to the original bus which was carrying the advert can be found at Flickr: HY 2787 Seen in Dudley Garage after been sent out as a replacement bus for a faild 120 in city. Also, here’s The Rhythm Of The City advert at Holloway Circus in Birmingham. Here’s the text from the ads:
- Soul-searchin’ foot-tappin’ finger-snappin’ radio – Buzz FM The Rhythm Of The City
- Movin’ groovin’ jivin’ drivin’ radio – Buzz FM The Rhythm Of The City
8 October 2017: Tony Adams got in touch. Tony worked at Buzz circa 1990-1993 just before Chris Carey took over. He’s still in the radio business as freelance journalist broadcaster involved with 5 UK stations and number of overseas stations as content producer and supplier of broadcast equipment. Details added to Buzz FM Presenters And Staff.
29 June 2017: Two interesting interviews with Freakie Dee are available online: Frenchie in The VIP Lounge with Freakie Dee & Kris Kennedy (Freakie is interviewed around 2 hours, 48 minutes into the show) and Frenchie With Guests Diane Charlemagne, Dave VJ & Freakie Dee In The VIP Lounge @ The Kitten Klub (Freakie is interviewed around 2 hours, 49 minutes into this show).
21 October 2015: The Media Preservation Foundation (MPF) at jingles.org have the original cuts from the Rhythm Of The City jingle package for download. As part of the MPF Collection issue #32 (Released August 2015) they feature full-mix cuts (NOT including the alternate mixes) of the jingle package digitally transferred from the original master tapes. All included jingles are delivered via download in .WAV format for optimum quality. I’ve already got mine and was really pleased with the product!
14 May 2013: Happy anniversary! Buzz FM would have been 23 years old today!
5 August 2012: Updated the Buzz FM Presenters And Staff page with links for Bob Lawrence, Chris Rogers, Otis O Soul, John Ryan and Tony Paul.
14 May 2012: Happy anniversary: 22 years have passed since Buzz FM took to the airwaves of Birmingham. Updated the Buzz FM Presenters And Staff page with updated links for Charlie Jordan, Nino Firetto and Graham Torrington. Note that Graham Torrington is back in the radio in Birmingham – he presents the Graham Torrington Evening show from 10pm on week-nights on BBC WM.
25 April 2012: Added Paul Tovey as a former presenter. Moved from a single HTML page into several pages for each section. Added aircheck links to a new Buzz FM Videos, Airchecks and Links section.
19 March 2012: Ported over the content to a new website, will move the content from the single page into individual pages soon.
11 April 2011: Richard Perks posted up a couple of videos on You Tube from Central News concerning Buzz FM and Heart FM. Created a new section Videos and have embedded them. The first is taken from Monday May 14 1990 when Buzz FM launched and features interviews with Mark Williams and Lindsay Reid. They state that Buzz hoped to reach 200,000 listeners especially in the 18-34 age group. The station would be an adult specialist station with a soulful feel to it. Lindsay Reid stated there would be many album tracks by well known, classy artists. The engineering test transmission were heard by 1 in 3 households in Birmingham. The second video clip is from Heart FM’s launch.
23 September 2010: More updates to the DJ’s section. Firstly, Richie Pask got in touch to say “I used to present the weekend breaky show on Buzz FM then went onto present the breaky show with Gary Rice”. Unfortunately, he didn’t leave his e-mail address so no idea what he’s doing nowadays. He also told me that Chad George AKA Dave Clarke went onto Choice and Galaxy B`ham presenting the breakfast show. Now Dave can be found at Heart FM West Midlands.
15 September 2010: I recalled that Nino Firetto used to do the Buzz FM breakfast show (also detailed on his website) so have added him to the DJ’s section. Nino is now presenting at Exeter FM Breakfast and has a couple of websites – (Nino Firetto Website, Nino Firetto Blog and Nino Firetto Booking Agent.
15 July 2010: Received a couple of e-mail’s. Firstly, one from Buzz DJ Les Gunn who enjoyed the good times working on Buzz and reminded me that the Rhythm Of The City Buzz FM advert at Holloway Circus is still standing! Also, received an e-mail from Lee who reminded me that Chad George used to be a presenter – I have now added him to the DJ’s section. As well as Breakfast, Chad also presented a dance show on Buzz. Not sure what happened to Chad after Buzz?
14 May 2010: Happy anniversary Buzz FM! 20 years ago today at 8am Buzz FM launched on 102.4 FM in Birmingham! Thanks for the feedback on this page: I still have lots more planned including uploading some of the car stickers, news articles, promo material and cleaning up the music section. Also, if you sent me an e-mail and didn’t get a reply, please get in touch at the contact page and remember to include YOUR email too! I did have some e-mail issues, so maybe some of my replies were never received (sorry!). Feel free to get in touch with your fave Buzz memories, tracks and any other news you’d like to share!
30 April 2010: Added some more details to the History section of the site.
28 April 2010: Added two track listings from shows broadcast in 1992 – one by Freakie Dee and one by Mikey B. I hope to be able to upload these at some point, but in the meantime the track listings give you an idea of the content.
31 March 2010: Some sad news, Buzz FM DJ Mikey B passed away on 10 January 2010. Whilst on Buzz, Mikey B hosted a number of different shows including the lunchtime show, a specialist soul/dance/reggae evening show and the reggae chart countdown on Sundays. Prior to Buzz he was on pirate radio with Enterprise Radio. A great article on Enterprise Radio can be found on The Pirate Archive – Enterprise FM / Solar-Rock FM which also includes a show by Mikey B which you can download. More of tracks that Mikey played whilst on Buzz will appear on this website later, but some are already listed towards the bottom of this page. (See also PCRL which includes more about Mikey’s work at Radio Sheffield, PCRL and nightclub LaMystiques).
31 March 2010: Filled in some more track listings and documented the playlists of some of Freakie Dee’s shows from 1992. Listening to those shows brings back good memories and it still sounds surprisingly fresh.
21 January 2010: In the last month, populated details of tracks played on Buzz in 1990 – 1992. Still lots more to fill in. Read an interesting post on Digital Spy by Andy Carlton in which he remembers hearing:
‘Mariah Carey’ – ‘Someday’.
‘Seal’ – ‘The Beginning’
’49ers’ – Girl To Girl’
‘Al Jarreau’ – ‘Mornin’ (Andy comments that this was a great late night/early morning track). Personally, I remember a fair amount of their “Buzz Trax” overnight material, so this was probably in there. Will add to the music tables below.
‘Ronni Simon’ – Take You There (Andy comments that this was played frequently through the autumn and Christmas period up until they closed down on the 31/12/94.)
10 March 2008: Former Buzz FM owner Chris Cary has died whilst on holiday in Tenerife. He was 61 years old. Chris is best known for launching pirate station Radio Nova in Dublin in 1981. He later worked on Radio Caroline and Radio Luxembourg. He famously purchased Buzz FM for a nominal sum of £1 (plus the takeover of it’s debts) in late 1992. He attempted to broaden Buzz FM’s appeal by playing more pop orientated hits to compete with Radio 1 and BRMB (of which many big-name DJ’s were poached). Part of what made Buzz great was the different music and the soul and dance sound, so it was sad to see that music vanish from the airwaves. However, despite the broader appeal Buzz FM’s debts continued to mount and in November 1993 Chris arrived at the Jewellery Quarter studios unannounced with large removal trucks and shutdown the station that very afternoon. The station was later sold to Muff Murfin. For more on Chris see Chris Cary Homepage.