Ron Onions at Capital Radio with Dickie Attenborough March 1973

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March 9, 2015 by dontbringlulubook

Ron Onions left the BBC in 1973 after working for the corporation for 13 years – including four years as the first news organiser based in Manhattan. The BBC wanted him to stay in the U.S. post, as did he. But his wife, Doris Onions, co-author of ‘Don’t Bring Lulu, a Family Tale of Trial and Triumph’ was homesick.

He returned to work as duty news editor at TV Centre in Shepherd’s Bush in London and his profile could be glimpsed on screen behind the newsreader of the then main 9 o’clock evening news. But he was unhappy back on the newsdesk. When he was approached by Richard Attenborough, film director and then chairman of the board of Capital Radio to run Capital’s first newsroom, Ron moved away from the corporation.

Starting at Capital Radio or LBCCapital Dove

He spent a year working at London’s first legal commercial music station establishing an opposition to BBC news in London for the first time. Capital’s early months were fraught with programming problems broadcasting on the wavelength 539.  But Attenborough noted that the news was beyond reproach in a letter to Ron Onions.

Capital - Attenborough - news beyond reproach

Ron became firm friends with Capital’s first programme controller Michael Bukht shown in the centre of the pic below, Ron to his right, in white shirt.

Capital 001The head of news employed reporters like Trisha Ingrams, Greg Grainger and Tony Travers.

Ron was critical of the output of LBC Radio News Radio which also went on the air later in 1973. Eventually he was asked to join the London Broadcasting Company, building a respected news organisation with the development of Independent Radio News, serving more than 200 radio stations in Britain (or Independent Local Radio as it became known).

But he maintained the friendship with Dickie Attenborough at Capital Radio, who addressed him in letters as ‘My Dear Ron’.

Attenborough letterAtten b sig

Later, in restless retirement, Ron kept those letters in a box marked ‘Good Things’ and he got fed up or worried about the health of his daughter Lulu, he would cheer himself up by looking at those letters.

All pictures are owned by the author.


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