The Southampton University Radio Glen EMI BTR-3 Stereo "Lost" Tapes Repository

Why is the "Lost" in inverted commas?  That's because, just like those "Lost" Beatles tapes that the BBC keep accidentally finding and dredging out every five years, and like the tape machine itself, they never were lost!

EMI 10.5" Quarter Inch Tape Box Containing
                    a Rare Radio Glen 1602 kHz Bugger Pisshead Show

E.M.I. 10.5" NAB Spool Containing Henry
                    Talking Bollocks on Radio Glen 1602 kHz


As ever in organizations with a constant turnover of membership, many things are lost in the mists of ancient history, and ridiculous myths develop.  I've been as accurate as I can.
  Before my time of 1990 to 1993, Roger Price did much work on the Radio Glen EMI tape machines involving, among other things, gradually turning up the mains voltage on a variac to see which bits smoked first.  I am told that they were literally saved from the skip in 1989/90 when a station manager called Dicky unilaterally decided to get rid of them.  We have at least Ian Turner, Matt Jones, and possibly Duncan Barnes-Ceeney to thank for that.  I inherited them in quite good order, with some surprisingly awkward nit-picky jobs to do.  I say machines in the plural, for there were two.  We disposed of the machine with the separate valve and tape transport section in a desperate bid for space in 1993, keeping the more easily used and fully functional standalone machine.  I did, however, save all the identical plug-in valve modules from the other machine by transferring them into spare slots in the standalone machine.  Was chucking that other machine out a mistake?  Probably, but with minidisc becoming seriously affordable around that time, that's a probably an endless discussion for another page. 

One ancient myth was that both machines came from Abbey Road Studios.  I understood that they had come to Radio Glen from BBC redundant stock, but where they lived before the BBC was up for grabs.  Recent events suggest that indeed, provided that the studios themselves have matched the serial number from records, the standalone machine was indeed originally at Abbey Road.  As it was claimed that The Beatles once used all the machines in the studios for fancy tape loops etc, the myth that this machine once had Beatles tunes running past the heads might seem to be confirmed after all.  I can confirm that without exception, all the tapes were checked for genuine lost gems before recording on them.

So in 1992, when all was working reasonably well on the EMI BTR-3 Stereo tape machine, the question was, "Well, what can we use this for?"  As it turned out, the answer was, "For recording crap radio shows and making jingles on."  7.5 i.p.s. was used for recording shows where you could get about 70 minutes on a full 10.5" N.A.B spool.  Basically, we just liked playing with such a high quality machine and watching the spools go round.  The mighty 15 i.p.s. was used for maximum jingle recording quality, and given that the various bits had to be fed in from various sources that had already suffered, and that it would have to go onto a scabby Aristocart via the Fitch T101 recording cart machine thereafter, this quality level was quite handy.  John's Jingly Bits is the remaining example.  In 1993 I scraped out with a Desmond and the machine only seems to have been used a few times after that, not least for the 1994 Beer Tasting BPHS special.  There was no particular supposition at the time that the tapes wouldn't get re-used.

The Radio Glen "Lost" BTR-3 Stereo Tapes History After That

Without relating the entire subsequent history of Radio Glen from that point onwards, you can't take potentially useful 10.5 inch reels with you when you cease studenting, so there they rested in the record library on the F-block basement stairs, waiting for someone to tape over them with something less crap.  The studio moved to New Terraces around 1995 for exact reasons lost in time, but the record library on the stairs and the technical cupboard below the same stairs remained in the station's use due to the fact that the 1602 kHz. distribution system was all wired in there.  Around 1999, Dave Holroyd and Matt Sacker oversaw the move to a proper 1 Watt ERP AM RSL with equipment provided by the Student Broadcast Network, and the name changed to SURGE.  The under-stairs technical cupboard and record library became redundant and needed clearing out.  I was delivering the new studio switcher that I'd made for the New Terraces studio, and at the same time I took the scabby old Studio 1 desk, the remaining cart machines, some other tat, and the tapes back with me up the M3 to Farnborough in an open-top Mini Scamp comedy vehicle.  There they survived two house moves until 2014. 

In 2013 Dave Oliver. contacted me to say that someone in his department had an old tape machine that they wanted to get rid of. 

Henry: "Is it Free and can it do 15 i.p.s?"
Dave:  "Yes, and yes I think so"
Henry: "Well I'll have it then."

Fixing a clunky British Ferrograph Super 7 with all the new rubber repair parts that it required was something of a trial, but in 2014 it was all ready to go, and dubbing to digits commenced.  Some personal and Facebook amusement was had listening to the tapes.

2010 or thereabouts was when the SURGE 1287kHz 1W transmitter, operated now from studios in the main student's union but still situated at Glen Eyre Halls failed, and rather disgracefully fell into disuse.  I became increasingly concerned that the old TX equipment and the BTR-3 were now in danger of being thrown in a skip once more.  Seven years of gentle badgering of subsequent SURGE committees by myself commenced, by email and later via so-called social media.

Here's a link to the eventual happy ending to that story:

The Rescue of the Radio Glen / Abbey Road EMI BTR-3 Tape Recording Machine 

In early 2017 the above "rediscovery" <cough!> of the BTR/3 Stereo tape machine by Toby Leveson and his SURGE radio chums, and the subsequent article from Abbey Road Studios prompted me to publish the above account to address the technical inaccuracy.  This was also an opportunity to present the old tapes nicely, just so that we were quite sure where the BTR/3 had been in 1992/3/4 and so that we can all listen and enjoy what the old girl had been recording during that time.  That's what this particular page is for.  It's also to make quite sure that there was one person who drove that visit to the old studios and who always knew exactly where the machine was from the very start, and made no secret of it;  Quite the opposite in fact, and got some fair old SURGE facebook and whinge-ey email flak for the pleasure of mentioning it every six months or so, in the face of being repeatedly ignored and dismissed.  That'll be me then.

So Take Me To The Digital Recordings of the Tapes Already.

So there's 1,2,3... gosh, nineteen spools in all, and now I finally have, ermmmm, nineteen mp3 files.  I recently had to dub a couple of the remaining tapes.  What does that make in old money?  Well, a few amusing moments, many old friends remembered, a fine tape machine and a colossal amount of bollocks that's for sure.  All are in full surround-mono except for John's Jingles.  Yes, we only used one track.  Mono station = mono recordings, and I never got round to connecting the AM off-air monitoring to the other input.  More accurately, I never got round to getting the differing levels correct.  The left and right erase and record heads were always active on both channels, so there was no way to rewind and record another mono track.

Non-Standard Disclaimer

The following recordings are of very low entertainment value and should not be played by anyone, Ever!  Unless you were around at the time, or want to learn how not to do a radio show, in which case the entertainment value can occasionally be much higher. 
I have heard worse on ILR and BBC local.  There are occasional instances of fruity language and topics of an adult nature.  Bloody Students!

The titles are based on what was hastily scrawled on the spools, so if it's grossly incorrect don't blame me.  Blame me at Three O'Clock in the morning in 1993.

The "Lost" Radio Glen EMI BTR-3
                    Stereo Tapes

Ferrograph Super 7
                    Being Used for Transfer to Digital

Tape 01:  Henry Talks Bollocks, 24th May 1992

Tape 02:  Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, 8th October 1992

Tape 03:  Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, 30th January 1993

Tape 04:  Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, Unknown Date 1993

Tape 05:  Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, 31st April 1993

Tape 06:  Henry Talks Bollocks, 15:00 9th May 1993

Tape 07:  Henry Talks Bollocks, 9th May 1993

Tape 08:  Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, 14th May 1993 A

Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, 14th May 1993 B

Tape 10: 
Henry Talks Bollocks, 23rd May 1993 A

Tape 11:  Henry Talks Bollocks, 23rd May 1993 B

Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, 1st October 1993

Henry was banging it, no doubt there, and Steve the President was naked in prints. And not George Michael or anything.  Dave Oliver is another winner on the Radio Glen Bar call-in on 226.  Rohan Kallicharian (Kally) appears with a good drop-in for Dominoes.  233633, that's 0703 if you're outside Southampton and want a pizza.  Simon Parker's dead dog from
leukemia is imaginary.  Jenny is sober but has disgusting things on her T-shirt.  I completely ruined that call despite generous hints.  Listen to other people and don't be a twat, idiot! :)  Or possibly don't be that pissed.  Thanks Nicky!

Tape 13:  Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, 9th October 1993 A

Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, 9th October 1993 B

Tape 15:  Henry and John's Bugger Pisshead Show, 9th October 1993 C

Tape 16:  Henry Talks Bollocks, Unknown Date 1993

Tape 17:  John's Jingly Bits, November 1993

Tape 18:  Radio Glen "Beers Around The World" 1994 BPHS Special

Tape 19:  Henry's Radio Marathon Filler Show for Uncle Johnny for 03:00 sometime in 1993

Any corrections, omissions, or additional information are welcomed and can be sent to the email below. 

Any lawsuits relating to the contents of the tapes can be sent to:

British Airways Customer Services,
12 Ingrams Drive,

The Radio Glen EMI BTR/3 General Information Page

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General email address:

general email address