The brain child of Lester Cowling (former business editor of The Evening Telegraph and director of Northants 96) when it was set up KCBC was jointly owned by Hereward Radio, Chiltern Radio and Lester Cowling. KNBC (as it was originally to be called) had legendary pirate DJ Howard Rose (also known as Crispian St.John and Jay Jackson) as Programme Controller and Breakfast Show presenter.

The station launched on 6 April 1990 on 1530khz from it’s studios in Robinson Way  on the Telford Way Industrial Estate in Kettering built by Richard Robinson from Chiltern Radio. Two transmitters were used, one in Kettering (behind the station building) and one in Corby. Both used the same frequency - but were synchronised to minimise reception problems (at least that was the theory).

It was, on the whole, a "Golden Oldies" station, playing hits from the 1950’s, 1960’s and early 1970’s. Other DJ’s included Tony Harrison (formerly with Mercia Sound) and Irish presenter Terry Doyle. They would soon be joined by local boy Carlo Fiorentino. Other presenters in the early days included Paul Graham, Andy Jackson, Chris Williams, Mark Jeeves and Murray J. A second studio was opened at the CTC in Corby.

Initially the JICRAR audience figures were good but when the method of calculating audiences changed to RAJAR the figures plummeted. One of the reasons for poor listenership, especially at night, was the power of Vatican Radio which also transmitted on 1530khz and would interfere with the reception of KCBC even within Kettering and Corby.

In 1992 after suffering great financial losses Howard left to concentrate on his “Radio Magazine”, Hereward and Chiltern decided they wanted out and chose to sell their shares to Radio Investments (a major shareholders of Capital Radio in London) – as did founder Lester Cowling. Shortly after KCBC switched frequency to 1584khz AM. Although the station continued to lose listeners during 1993, by late 1994 the tide had turned and the audience began to climb. Due to the reach of AM transmitter, the station had a big and dedicated listenership that stretched out further than Northamptonshire.

 

 

 

 

 

In 1994 Radio Investments appointed East Anglia Radio to manage the station who, in turn, appointed Pat Foley and then Jon Shipton as MD and Paul Thompson as Programme Controller. Some dramatic changes were made on-air with the 80’s and a sprinkling of 90’s and chart music added to the format. The two big daily news bulletins were scrapped and hourly local news was introduced, presented by Nick Quaraishi, Jon Meek and then Kevin Pashby.

The inclusion of popular local personalities such as Richard Oliff, Carlo, Darren Harte, Des Barber, Andy Garside and Sean Smith meant KCBC became a "sleeping giant" - extremely successful in its field and very popular in Kettering and Corby. Other presenters to enjoy an on-air presence in the mid 1990’s included Tom Hooper, Ian Sharpe, Darren Jackson, Mike Smith, Tim Haycock, Clare Reynolds, Danny Fisher, Mark Williams, Dave Wilcocks, Roger Tilling and Michael Watson.

In late 1996, Radio Investments merged KCBC and Salisbury’s Spire FM to form The Local Radio Company (TLRC). At the time they were headed by Spire’s Chris Carnegy. By the summer of 1997 KCBC had the biggest RAJAR audience in it’s history. By this time it’s presenter line-up had been consistent for a few years, consisting of Richard Oliff on breakfast, Carlo at lunch, Paul Thompson on drive and Mike Watson and Nick Collier on evenings. The big guns at the weekend included Paul Wright on breakfast followed by Wally Valentine and the Sport’s show.

KCBC was always well respected for its local sport content. The original sports team of Barry Chambers, Mick Dean and Dave Wakefield replaced in 1996 by that of Nick Collier, Sue Morris and Gregg Nunney, and in 1997 by David Percy, Dave Pike and Gregg Nunney.

For some time KCBC and TLRC management had been working on plans to move the station from AM to FM, initially plans for  a single large transmitter had been considered however TLRC decided to split the station using two small transmitters, one in Wellingborough the other in Geddington

Bill Johnston was appointed as station MD and Paul Thompson left the station but not before appointing Corby legend Dougie King as his successor.

 

The move to FM saw a lot of the station's longest standing personalities leave the airwaves and the music format changed to include mainly current hits. The sub-station in Wellingborough was named “Connect FM” with “KCBC-FM” covering Kettering and Corby.

In 1999 it was announced that new owners, HubTransCommunications were to merge the stations, and co-locate both offices to Kettering. KCBC and Connect FM would re-brand as Connect 97.2 and 107.4FM. In 2000 Connect was bought by Southport based Forward Media.

On the evening of July 17th 2002, Howard Rose died in hospital after surgery.

In January 2007 Forward Media announced plans for Connect to leave its home on the Telford Way Industrial Estate in Kettering, the original home of KCBC, to re-locate and broadcast from the HQ of Lite FM in Peterborough, relaying back to the transmitter sites in Northamptonshire. In 2009 the station was sold to Adventure Radio who re-branded Peterbough's Lite FM as Connect FM. In late 2010 Connect moved back to Kettering.

 

AFTER KCBC-AM

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