Oldies Project audio stream came on line on December 3rd 2004 as the
result of a long-standing frustration amongst a group of diehard 60s
and 70s music collectors, who got tired of having to listen to the same
repetitive (and thus boring) output of so-called 'oldies stations'.
The best way to describe Oldies Project is, "a few 'over-aged teenagers'
who are having a great deal of fun playing music from their favourite
era, for anybody who wants to listen"!
It never was (and still isn't) the main objective of the Oldies Project
to create a proper radio station or to achieve high listener figures,
although the internet feed already has several thousand listeners worldwide,
tuning in regularly. The project has no commercial purpose or ambition
and is completely privately funded. Having said that, the Oldies Project
operation does exceed, to some extent, the limits of what one would normally
expect from a mere hobby project, in as much as that it is set
up as a fully-functional non-profit venture. As such, the audio stream
and website meet all legal requirements. Unlike most other audio-streams,
the project uses its own servers and operates completely self-contained,
in as much as the only thing they do not control, is the provider-access
to the internet.
As to the Radio London angle, it should be noted that the Oldies Project
team is absolutely not trying to recreate Big L. In fact, most of the
people behind the project are too young to ever have had the pleasure
of listening to the offshore station whilst it was on the air in the
Sixties. Contrary to popular belief, they are also most certainly not
so-called 'Anoraks'. Whilst compiling the playlist for the audio stream,
the team happened to come across some old recordings of Big L programmes,
which provided them with a better insight of the Sixties music scene.
This new understanding led to the team embarking on the extensive quest
of researching the 'true' Sixties music. They very quickly concluded
that the Big L output provided them with an excellent starting point
to create the 'Sixties feel' they wanted for the Oldies Project stream.
Their research brought them in contact with Radio London Ltd and Chris
and Mary Payne gave permission for OP to use the Radio London Fab Forties
published on their website, as well as use of Radio London's trade marks. The Big L Fab Forties charts are unique, having been compiled from numerous sources. They were originally posted on the site, one per week, from May 2001. The posting of complete charts was completed in April 2004, but they continue to be updated regularly with new information.
Once permission was granted, the decision was taken to play the Fab 40 of the same week from 40 years ago, starting on Sunday 23rd January 2005. From the response
to the Fab 40 shows, it soon became apparent that there was still a considerable
interest in Big L and Sixties music in general. Enthusiastic listeners' feedback
also prompted the Oldies Project team to schedule a repeat of the Fab
40 on the Wednesday evening following the original broadcast. This serves those who reside in other time zones, cannot tune in on a Sunday, or just want to hear the Fab 40 twice!
The success of the Big L Fab 40 broadcast brought about the idea of introducing a 'London
Sound' feature, which played for the first time on August 13th and
14th 2005. In two days, a total of 667 songs released in Britain between
late 1964 and August 1965 were played non-stop, followed by the Fab
40 of that week 40 years ago presented by former Radio London DJ, John
Edward. The feature's playlist was made available on the Oldies Project website and
in less than five days more than 1000 copies were downloaded with additional
copies being obtained from the Radio London site. Much like the weekly
Fab 40 shows, the 'London Sound' feature also generated an increase
in the stream's listener figures, which were roughly three times higher
than normal, necessitating the backup server to be brought on line at
With this in mind, the Oldies Project team decided to offer a similar
feature at Christmas time, to mark December 23rd, 1964, the day Radio
London came on the air. From 21st to 25th December 2005, over one thousand songs
released in Britain during Big L's first year on the air were played
non-stop. The feature climaxed at 1100 GMT, December 25th, with the Fab 40 from
Christmas 1965, presented by former Radio London DJ, Keith Skues.
Keith, Absolutely Fabulous, a one-hour special by Chris and Mary Payne,
featured music and stories associated with Radio London, offshore DJs,
and bands from the Fab 40. The Christmas Special was rounded off with
six hours of Big L memories compiled by Gert van der Winden, featuring
music (including album tracks, Christmas songs, etc) which were played
by Big L around Christmas 1965.The
five-day spectacular proved immensely popular, with extra Oldies Project
servers being pressed into action to meet listener demand and over 1500
people downloaded the Christmas Special playlist.
In 2006 and 2007, listeners enjoyed similar festives treats, comprising huge playlists of
releases from 1966 and 1967. For the summer of 2007, the 40th anniversary of the close-down of the original station was marked by another Oldies Project special of tracks from 1967.
Listener demand for the Fab Forties to be repeated has been enormous, so they have been repeated several times from the beginning. There are usually new climbers that have been discovered since the previous run and new listeners too.
to the hard-working Oldies Project team on an amazingly successful enterprise.
When not broadcasting the Big L Fab 40s at 1100 UK time on Sundays and at 1800 UK time on Wednesdays, Oldies Project plays a great mix of music, with
a couple of Fab 40 faves each hour, preceded by a great original Big