Former BBC broadcaster Richard Spendlove, MBE, makes a surprise return to local radio - at Zack FM

New host at Zack FM is ex Radio Cambridgeshire broadcaster Richard Spendlove. The station is moving

New host at Zack FM is ex Radio Cambridgeshire broadcaster Richard Spendlove. The station is moving to DAB transmission. - Credit: Archant

He ruled the airwaves – on local radio at least – for 26 years and his acrimonious departure last year shocked and dismayed his loyal listeners.

But at the age of 79 and with the less than ringing endorsement of his former BBC bosses in his ears, broadcaster Richard Spendlove is back and in the most unlikely of berths.

He’s been signed by Mildenhall based Zack FM -broadcasting on 105.3 FM – where classic sounds of the 70s, 80s 90s and the noughties are interspersed with what bosses say is the “freshest new music from the UK and the USA”.

Richard joined the station before Christmas and from January 21 begins a 9pm-midnight Sunday slot replicating the identical show that attracted thousands of listeners across East Anglia.

With Zack FM expanding to DAB those listeners are expected to rejoin the legendary broadcaster.

“Here at Zack Fm we are expanding after the phenomenal success we’ve had over the last three years after taking over the radio station,” said a station spokesman.

“Our format of solid gold Sunday suits perfectly with Richard Spendlove where we play the greatest hits of all time and to have the legendary broadcaster is an honour to us at Zack Fm.”

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He added: “We hope this will make a big hit in the market place of radio.”

His early broadcasts on Zack FM, says the spokesman, have seen a “massive response. Every show he does the phone lines light up and there’s a shoal of emails for him.

“Some of the people tuning in tell us they have been listening to him for the past quarter of a century. He’s the king of radio – but still in a way very ‘BBCish’ in that he comes into work in a suit and tie.”

Richard wrote recently of his departure from the BBC and followed a complaint that he had breached guidelines when he discussed the jailing of the Royal Marine for killing a wounded Taliban soldier.

The BBC put him under editorial supervision – an arrangement he found embarrassing and he “limped along” for two more years before leaving.

“In respect of the so-called offence, I will only say that the whole issue hinged on the fact that the complainant suggested that I had used the programme to rally support for someone whose actions I deplored and any one of a thousand people would have confirmed that – they knowing my views,” he said.

“Thus, I was condemned, not for commenting on something, but for NOT commenting … It is a strange and sad world”.

But his prediction that “I can’t imagine there will be many invitations to present again” has been proved wrong as too has his apology to listeners that “I am truly sorry to have let you all down” been proven wrong.

Richard Spendlove, MBE, is back where he belongs.