The small Luton radio station that spawned radio superstars celebrates 25 years on the air

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Radio LaB 97.1FM, the University of Bedfordshire’s student and community radio station, turns 25 this week. First broadcast as ‘Luton FM’ in May 1997, the station was the first break for presenters like BBC Radio 1’s Rickie Haywood-Williams and Melvin Odoom, Capital FM’s Joe Flemons and Kiss FM’s DJ Tash LC.

The station, which broadcasts from Luton but across Bedfordshire on the FM frequency and online, switched from Luton FM to Radio LaB in 2010 when it was granted a community radio licence.

He’s had a plethora of alumni who have come through the doors of the studio who have moved on to bigger things. The station has won numerous awards over the years, including student radio, community radio, and local awards.

Read more: Luton Town legend Mick Harford shares signs that helped him spot prostate cancer

BBC Three Counties Radio presenter and producer Toby Friedner said of his time there: “Being part of Luton FM – as it was then called – was a brilliant experience and reinforced my passion for the radio. It taught me a lot of different skills and helped me fulfill a dream of being a radio presenter that I had since I was a kid. I was in the first group to run a restricted 28-day service at the University, and I remember hosting a Top 40 show.

“It also gave us the opportunity to broadcast the programs we were doing as part of our degree on a real radio station, which was very exciting. It is no coincidence that many people who participated in Luton FM and Radio LaB went on to successful radio and television careers.

Terry Lee, senior radio and audio tutor at the university and who currently oversees the operation of Radio LaB, said on the station: “Doing radio is a real privilege – it’s amazing to think that radio is so prevalent in University for over 25 years now and I am immensely proud to have been part of this history since joining Bedfordshire in 2014.

“Radio and audio are more important than ever – we are committed to ensuring that Radio LaB’s facilities are representative of professional broadcasters and that our output remains relevant to students and young people in Luton and Bedfordshire.”

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