Links to Peel
Steve Bradshaw began his career with the local radio station BBC Radio London, which commenced broadcasting in October 1970 - and is not to be confused with the pirate ship Radio London, on which Peel worked in 1967. He attracted attention with a programme entitled "Breakthrough", which had a loose, open-ended format based on American FM radio and featured many guests from the hippy underground and the pop/rock scene - including Peel, who responded enthusiastically to the show:
"Last Tuesday I had one of the most encouraging radio experiences I've had since the original Radio London was closed down. The new Radio London has given over several hours of each Tuesday evening to Steve Bradshaw and have called the result "Breakthrough", which is a singularly suitable title. What Steve and Breakthough are doing is almost exactly the kind of thing I wish I were doing for Radio 1.
When I got to the studio no one seemed too sure what was going to happen - which is a good start, as with most programmes you know exactly what's going to happen weeks before the event, which, naturally, makes listening unnecessary. During the broadcast Steve played and reviewed several records, spoke with listeners on the phone and read out from extensive lists of forthcoming rock gigs. The phone calls were often quite lengthy, were broadcast live rather than recorded and edited into neat, predigestible packages, and the conversations were relevant and interesting. After several years of the curious phone calls on the Jimmy Young show I'd almost forgotten that listeners are indeed sentient beings.
Steve permitted me to sit and chatter at great length about all manner of things. I managed to get a lot of stuff off my chest that I've been yearning to pour into a microphone for some time and I'm grateful to "Breakthrough" for that and for reminding me what an exciting medium radio is still capable of being."
Listeners to the show (as quoted on Steve Bradshaw's website) said "Breakthrough" was preferable to anything on Radio 1 and compared it to Peel's Perfumed Garden but Bradshaw left the show after listener complaints about bad language. He later produced Charlie Gillett's show "Honky Tonk" for BBC Radio London, and sat in for the holidaying Peel on Sounds Of The Seventies. While on Radio 1 he worked for Newsbeat, and it was news and current affairs, rather than music radio, which was the main focus of his later career. His work often took a challenging, radical viewpoint on issues of the day and he ascribed this to his background in the hippy-era culture which inspired "Breakthrough". In 1976 Bradshaw wrote an article for the Listener in which he dismissed much of Radio 4's output at the time as unchallenging and riddled with nostalgia, and it was very much his generation finally gaining an influence over that station's programming policy that, 20 years later, pointed the way to Home Truths.