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The Light Programme was a BBC radio station which broadcast mainstream light entertainment and music from 1945 until 1967. It opened on 29 July 1945, taking over the longwave frequency used before 1939 by the BBC National Programme.

The service was intended as the domestic replacement for the wartime BBC Forces Programme (later, the General Forces Programme) which had proved popular with civilian audiences in Britain as well as members of the forces.

The longwave signal was transmitted from Droitwich in the English Midlandsmarker (as it still is, though nowadays for Radio 4) and gave fairly good coverage of most of the UK, but some medium-wave frequencies were added later, using low-power transmitters to fill in local blank spots. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Light Programme (along with the BBC's two other national programmes, the Home Service and the Third Programme) gradually became available also on what was known at the time as VHF, as the BBC developed a network of local FM transmitters.

The Light Programme closed at 02:02 on 30 September 1967. At 05:30 on the same day it was replaced by Radio 1 on its mediumwave frequencies, and by Radio 2 (the renamed Light Programme) on its longwave frequency. The FM frequencies were mainly used by Radio 2 but sometimes leased to Radio 1 until that station acquired its own FM frequencies in the late 1980s.

The long-running soap opera The Archers was first heard nationally on the Light Programme, on 1 January 1951, although it had previously been broadcast in the Midlands Home Service in 1950.


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