Radio 5 Live hailed as ‘friendliest station’ on 30th birthday

The 30th birthday of BBC Radio 5 Live has seen it hailed as the “friendliest radio station on and off air” and unique.

On Thursday, the radio channel has been celebrating the anniversary of the launch in 1994 by hosting a day of special programming.

Birthday messages have come in from famous faces including independent US senator Bernie Sanders, BBC documentarian Louis Theroux, former Love Island host Laura Whitmore and TV chef Gino D’Acampo.

Current presenters Naga Munchetty and Chris Warburton and weather correspondent Simon King praised the station on X, formerly Twitter.

King wrote: “The friendliest radio station on and off air! Honoured to have been here most mornings for the last 13 years to tell you about storms/floods/snow/heat/hurricanes or anything else vaguely science related.”

Munchetty wrote: “It’s a privilege to be part of this fabulous gang. As one of the relative ‘newbies’, I’m always in awe of my brilliant colleagues in front and behind the microphones. Roll on the next 30 years.”

Warburton wrote: “Many happy returns to @bbc5live. It has been an honour & a privilege.

“My dream job with amazing colleagues and the best listeners. I met my wife (assistant editor Hannah) here, I moved across the country for it. 5live is in my bones and I’m so proud to have been just a small part of its incredible history.”

The station also shared a video of Radio 5’s line-up reacting to the first broadcast, which took place at 5am on March 28 1994 as former BBC Radio 5 Live presenters Jane Garvey was the first voice heard on air.

The launch also saw an appearance of a young Adrian Chiles, who fellow Radio 5 Live presenter Nihal Arthanayake jokingly called an instance of “child labour” by the BBC.

“Then was a different time, wasn’t it? Very Dickensian,” Arthanayake added.

Munchetty, also known as a BBC Breakfast presenter, said that the “lovely voice” of Garvey did not appear to have changed.

The station shared an video on social media of former England footballer David Beckham hearing Radio 5 Live commentary about his World Cup goal against Greece in 2001.

Beckham is seen smiling while Alan Green talks in real time about the moment in the archive clip.

The radio channel, which covers breaking news and live sport, will also see Eleanor Oldroyd joined by special guests from 7.30pm to 10pm to relive some of the big sporting moments of the past three decades.

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