Invicta FM: 1984 – 2009

Well, the day has come – Invicta FM (by name at least) ceases to be. I thought I would come out of hiding in my blog to share my memories of what was once Kent’s best ILR station.


Now, I’m not going to discuss the reasons why I disagree with the name change, there’s already a 68 page thread on Digital Spy that contains plenty of my opinions, I want this to be more centred on the good times I had with Invicta!

Background

I first moved to the county in 1990 with my mum and step dad. Being 4 years old I don’t actually remember much of the first few years. Although I do remember my hearing Invicta Supergold coming from my parent’s bedroom on a few occasions!

My Early Days

My first vivid memory was laying in bed listening to the launch of the Morning Zoo with Neil Francis and Simon Beale (Nealy and Bealy!). I remember Neil Francis running late for the first ever show and Simon ringing him up periodically to ask how he was getting on!

Update (2015): I have found the audio clip, amazingly:

Thank you to aircheckdownloads.com

After that, I listened more and more to Invicta, and I do remember at one point when I was making my own ‘fake’ radio shows, I used to cross to Invicta the top of the hour for their news! Hence why I have these Invicta news bulletins from a while back:

School Days

The Fridge

Invicta also got me through my school homework, I remember listening to The Fridge with Stephen Sullivan (and Taz!) religiously every night. The ‘Raid the Fridge’ feature comes to mind there too 🙂
Update (2017): Here’s a clip from the man himself!

Steve Penk

Towards the end of my listening history with Invicta (people are going to see this one a bit more controversial methinks) was the networked Steve Penk show. Although it was networked, they made no effort hiding this fact, unlike most networking these days! Regardless of what people say about him, his ability to make me laugh with his windups and general on-air presence is one of the things I’m going to remember most fondly.

Sixth Form

My friend just reminded me of an amusing thing we did in Sixth Form when we had a few free periods. We were listening to the 10am-1pm show (I think it was with Neil Faraday) and decided on a whim to drive to Radio House in Whitstable to try and get on the air. We texted him to let him know, and got a mention jokingly. Then texted him again when we were outside the studios, he spoke about us on-air again saying his stalkers were outside the building! Then said for us to come into reception. When we got in, we asked to see him, the receptionists said unfortunately we couldn’t as he didn’t have time, but they’d said we could have some goodies, so we got a few Invicta FM T shirts, a couple of Morning Zoo Kellogg’s breakfast packs (complete with Kellogg’s mug) and umpteen stickers!

Late Night Grooves

Another show I enjoyed thoroughly was Jonathan Miles’ show (maybe this was just because they’d got rid of the bloody Wind-down Zone – something as a kid I never really enjoyed). He was always up for a laugh, and his ‘bitch of a day’ feature always made you realise your day probably hadn’t been as hard as you first thought! Jonathan now presents mid-mornings on BBC Newcastle.

After Penky left, I must admit I didn’t listen as often at night as I used to.

The Morning Zoo

I still listened religiously to the Morning Zoo until I moved to Surrey in 2005. I still have some old stickers on the window at my parent’s house (anyone remember the short-lived 7-day Morning Zoo?).

James Heming did a wonderful job taking the reigns for the Morning Zoo, and I think the show’s highest point was when he was at the helm. I still vividly remember the “James Heming and the Morning Zoo, Invicta FMMMMM” jingle.

Update (12th July 2012): I managed to find the jingle. Made by Wise Buddah and © to them:

My memory has a slight blank spot between Neil and Simon and James Heming so maybe someone can fill the blanks in this Morning Zoo timeline:

Updated for 2015 with Twitter / website links for your nostalgic enjoyment

If you want some Morning Zoo related nostalgia, get yourself over to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.themorningzoo.biz

Where Are They Now?

I can’t answer this definitively, but I’ll give it a shot. If anyone wants to update me on my factual accuracy, please let me know!

  • Neil Francis
    Presents Wednesdays on Solar Radio and freelancing for BBC Radio Kent
  • Simon Beale
    Presents overnights on the Heart network
  • Sam Hughes
    Assuming I got the right one, she now presents weekend breakfasts on Planet Rock
  • James Heming
    Still working for Heart Kent on the breakfast show
  • Ant Payne
    Whereabouts unknown
  • Craig Rance
    Whereabouts unknown
  • Andy Walker
    Still broadcasting in Kent, presents mid-mornings on kmfm
  • Vikki
    Whereabouts unknown
  • Tony Shepherd
    Appears on kmfm from time to time, I assume he’s freelance now

…to conclude

If anyone has any jingles from my heyday of listening to Invicta (~1994-2005), I would gladly pay for a CD of as many jingles as you can fit on there! Comment to this blog post (or PM me on Digital Spy) if by some strange co-incidence someone who does finds this!

I’ll close this post, with a wonderful montage of jingles over the years of Invicta, compiled by ‘mbessex‘ on Digital Spy. I hope he doesn’t mind me posting it on here…


“Across the South East… 24 hours a day… this (was) Invicta FM”


Rest in Peace, Invicta Sound / Invicta Radio / Invicta FM. Missed, but not forgotten. 🙁

In my day, Invicta FM was a local radio station – A Facebook group sharing Invicta memories.

Robin Blairmes’ blog post regarding ‘South East England’s Heart Attack’ with plenty more audio clips

Update: 1995 Jingles

I have decided (maybe against my better judgement) to attach all 95 jingles from Invicta’s 1995 jingle package. Enjoy!


Update: If you came here via Google, welcome along. Don’t be shy, share your Invicta memories!


16 comments on “Invicta FM: 1984 – 2009”

  1. I just bought my first radio in 1984 of the age of Nine. The next day my parents took me to reculver on the train. Whilst at Reculver I found Invicta Sound very clearly on my radio.

    At the end of the day I prayed sitting on the seat at Herne Bay station.

    When I got home to London I was over the moon It was still there on the dial.

    Everything comes to an end.

    This is Matthew Roe Signining Off

  2. Hi mate, I have the Invicta Radio jingles, as well as Coast and the Invicta FM Jingle CD here if you are interested, hope to hear from you sometime, ALL the best,Lance in Herne Bay 😛

  3. This is the relevant page on my web site, dealing with how I first got into broadcasting via the creation of a huge catalogue of jingles for Caesar the Boogieman back in 1989/90. For quite a while I was the anonymous voice and instrumental arranger behind the show’s characteristic music. The jingles were produced at Studio 22 in Orpington by Alan Hyde and myself.

  4. Invicta Supergold radio in the 80’s and 90’s (East Kent) had a couple of presenters Dawn and Dave Asher
    Always wanted a picture of Dawn! Listened to them on my way to and from work every day and was gutted when the station stopped transmitting.
    Question is: Where are they now?

  5. Hey this brings back memories… When I was 16 in 1986, I worked as a runner on the Rod Lucas show when Invicta had their Maidstone studios at 37 Earl Street which is now a fantastic restaurant. I had to make Rod his tea, answer the phones, sort out the magnetic tape cartridge jingles and sort out the records as CD’s weren’t being used then! Rod liked the studio doors open especially if it was warm and you could actually hear the traffic noise from outside on the radio!

    Caesar the Boogieman/Geezer also worked on the show as he was finding his feet before taking over Rod’s show when he left the station. These were great days in the 80’s with great jingles and Invicta also had their other studio in Canterbury opposite the railway station which was part of a nightclub before they moved to the purpose built one in Whitstable. Rod and Caesar both continued to broadcast on the radio since with varying degrees of success and both regularly appear on internet stations even now. I grew up left school and never stepped foot in a studio since, but always wondered what if…

    A real shame when they got bought out and lost their local identity and now they are just a small part of a national radio franchise and with all the jingles sounding the same across the country you would never know you which Heart station you are listening to. There was an Invicta Radio jingle CD kicking around a long time ago and can still probably be found online somewhere which I used to have a copy of and it brings back so many memories when I listen to it.

    Teenagers now have no idea of what Invicta Radio was and laugh when you tell them you had to have a large room to store all the stations records and jingles in as now you could fit all of them onto a smart phone, but those were the best days of my life and will never be forgotten! Maybe one day, someone will resurrect the Invicta Radio/FM name?

    Until then, happy reminiscing and happy memories…

  6. Thanks for that detailed reply, I had no idea that Invicta were based on Earl Street (incidentally the restaurant is called Wildwood; been there a few times)

    I have also been to the club situated opposite Canterbury station a few times, again blissfully unaware that it was home to Invicta one point in its life!

    James.

  7. hi there does anyone remember somone called robert atkins aka the dude in th 80s on that station? im trying to find out info about him.a photo sound clips ?

  8. Remember Ceasar and also there was a beautiful lady presenter who used to do the ‘Eye in the Sky’ traffic feature fro a light aircraft ( with a driver !!!) and also wizzing around in a sponsored Seat Ibiza — think she was called Julie

  9. Good morning. I have stumbled across this post and smile when I recall the roadshows I used to perform at for Invicta Radio. I am a singer. At the time in the early 90’s I used to be the lead singer in a band called Touch and we used to perform in Kent on an opensided lorry or stage. I have some pictures that I can send you which have the Invicta logo on the truck and stage etc if you are interested. All the best Jason

  10. Hi James, back in the mid to late eighties I did a lot of radio ads on invicta Radio for Rochester Motor Compay, Waterside Driveline Maidstone and Sutton Park Honda Maidstone. I wrote and performed the ads myself with the help of a very talented studio technician, who I cannot for the life of me remember the name of, I would dearly like to know if he is still working in radio as he used to I think broadcast as well, although I don’t recall his name I do have his voice on a number of tapes as I have copies of all the ads I made, so if you think you would recognise him I would be happy to send you an mp3 with his voice introducing the commercial.
    I also have a cd somewhere of all their jingle from about that time.
    Best Regards
    Alan

  11. Hi,
    I stumbled across this site and read your comments, interesting stuff! I was involved with Invicta and went on to present regular shows on Invicta Supergold and Invicta FM in the period from 1988 to 1993.
    Your comments about Neil Francis being late for his show made me laugh as at one time I did the Friday night into Saturday mornings slot for quite a long time and Neil was on breakfast. He loved his late nights at the weekends and hated mornings, I must have filled in when he was really late 6 times or more (I remember doing 2 hours of his breakfast show for him once!)!
    Anyway, I really just wanted to point out that you have got it wrong about the old Coast AM studios in Maidstone.
    You are close, but you are on the wrong side of that corner! The studios were in what is now the solicitors offices across the road on the same junction as the Wildwood restaurant.
    I only went there a few times in my early days but the building is exactly the same now as it was then.
    Pretty drab and boring from the outside. It was not used for very long by Invicta or Coast AM as it was for that building.
    Mark Stafford

  12. Hi,

    I was in Maidstone the other day and you know what, I might be wrong the old Invicta Studios for Coast AM might be on the other side of the road where the Wildwood restuarant is. It looks a lot different now! I only went there a couple of times, this would have been in 1989. I spent my main time on Invicta in the Thanet Way, Whitstable studios!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *