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
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
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
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.
The KCBC AM Tribute Web site has been produced to inform, educate and entertain and
is in no-way connected with Connect FM nor it's parent company Adventure Radio.
All the audio and images remain the property of their respective owners. It is not
the intention of the KCBC AM tribute web site to break any copyright laws, but should
you own the rights to any of the material within this web site and object to them
being here please contact me HERE and the said material will be removed. The KCBC
AM site is run not-for-profit and is a private web site, the intention of the web
site is fun, so please accept it in the manner offered.