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29 Years of On The Air!

On The Air was first established in 1990 with a unit in Melody's antique centre in City Road, Chester. It was a stepping stone to the start of the Broadcasting Museum, which was my ambition to create after leaving ITV.

We operated from there until taking on the lease of the Museum in 1994, so this year marks 29 years of full time buying, restoring, selling and research into vintage technology. (Of course, this was after many years of collecting, and a lifelong interest in old technology.)

At first it seemed that nobody actually wanted to buy the radios and just came in for nostalgia and to try and sell their own bits and pieces. However, I pretty soon learned what to buy and what to leave alone, and that the best way to stay in business was to be straight with people and to describe things as accurately as possible. I must have been right because we are still here, but a lot bigger and better nearly thirty years later!

When the Museum closed after six years we formed the present Limited Company. The website was started around the same time but it is little used these days as we are busy enough with sales coming from Airwaves. Sorry- many pages have not been updated since 2010.

However, it still provides a useful resource for collectors, enthusiasts and anyone who needs to source vintage technological equipment. If we don't have it, we probably know someone who does.

We hope to eventually change the site to more emphasise our projects which take an increasing amount of time, notably the restoration of our television OB vehicles. (Eventually?- I use this word a lot, it means 'not any time yet, but it could happen one day').

There are sections of historical information, one being a history of television, the other being a virtual museum, based on the former Broadcasting Museum which closed in 2000. The original site has been redesigned and incorporates pictures of other related artefacts relevant to the periods.

We still want to give subscribers to Airwaves the first crack at new stock where possible, and as most items now sell to subscribers the 'For sale' section of this site has largely become redundant, apart from for reference- and some of the prices are now out of date, unfortunately many items are now worth less than they were when the sales were made. This has been a trend throughout the whole area of collecting- it tends to be an older person's hobby, and each 'silent key' collection that comes onto the market increases available items- with one less buyer.

I hope you enjoy using the site and find something of interest.

Steve Harris


1938 Cossor 54 Television

one of our 'vintage' TV cameras in use providing authentic tube camera pictures for a high-profile TV commercial in a london film studio

Marconi Scientific unit receiver