Many people ask, "Who's behind the Oldies Project?" This is the OP story.

The 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 peak hours.

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.

Following 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.

Congratulations to the hard-working Oldies Project team on an amazingly successful enterprise.

In collaboration with Radio London, the Oldies Project team brings you a very special feature. Every Sunday from 1100 UK time, (repeated on Wednesdays at 1800 UK time), you'll be able to enjoy the records from the Big L Fab 40 first broadcast from the mv Galaxy during the same week, 58 years ago.

Listen to Oldies Project via

If you are not in the UK, you can find the time difference for your part of the world, here.

Introduction to the Radio London Fab Forties, and the story of how the full set was acquired
Index of the many features connected to the Radio London Fab Forties
Check 'What's Happening' for recent amendments

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