The Post Office 'Dial-a-Disc' Service
Dial-a-Disc
The 'Dial-a-Disc' service originated in Leeds in July 1966.




Photo: An engineer sets up a record to tape transfer for the Dial-a-Disc service © 1967 BT Heritage.
| EXIT | Early Days | The Equipment |
Early Days

The expensive equipment designed to handle short, high peaks of call traffic for the Test Match service was idle during the months of September to May (when no matches took place) and thus it was the obvious choice for the Dial-a-Disc service to share the same number, 16. The code "UMP" was used in Director areas and "16" ('one-six') in Non-Director areas with access off group rather than final selectors.

Extract from Post Office Circular 6.7.66


DF 282 EXPERIMENTAL "DIAL A DISC" SERVICE DF 282

A "Dial a Disc" Service will be given a trial in Leeds from 6 p.m., 7th July to 6 a.m., 1st August, 1966. Seven records will be selected each week from current popularity ratings and a different record will be played each day during the cheap rate period (6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays and all day on Sunday). Access to the "Dial a Disc " Service will be given only in Leeds. Instructions will be issued to Leeds operators on handling calls to the Service reaching the manual board; elsewhere, calls should be refused with the information "I am sorry, the Service is not available from your exchange." Callers wanting further details may be told that the Service is available, purely on a trial basis, only in Leeds.

Extract from Post Office Circular 7.12.66

DF 282 "DIAL A DISC" SERVICE DF 282

The "Dial a Disc" service will be re-opened in Leeds from 6 p.m. on 8th December. The service will be provided on the same basis as in the earlier trial (see POC 6.7.66, p.329), i.e. seven records will be selected each week from current popularity ratings and a different record will be played each day in the cheap rate period (6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on weekdays and all day on Sunday). Access to the "Dial a Disc" service will be given, as before, only in Leeds. Instructions will be issued to Leeds operators on handling calls to the Service reaching the manual board; elsewhere, calls should be refused with the information "I am sorry, the Service is not available from your exchange." Callers wanting further details may be told that the Service is available only in Leeds.

By 1st May 1970, Dial-a-Disc was extended to Belfast and parts of London with a different pop record being played between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. every weekday, and all day Sunday. [POTJ Summer 1970]

From November 1970 Glasgow telephone area had access, making a total of 42 centres. [POTJ Winter 1970]

During May 1971, Dial-a-Disc was extended to Colchester, Ipswich and Grimsby. [POTJ Summer 1971]

In 1975 London, all top twenty records were played on a separate network as a trial. By 1979, London Director Area subscribers dialled 154 for ten new (pop) releases from the potential list of hits each week. The same number was used in the Summer for Cricket scores, while 160 was available for 'Top Twenty' music throughout the year.

A typical 'Dial-a-Disc' recording was something like this...

"This is the Post Office 'Dial-a-Disc' Service. Here is 'Ring My Bell' by Anita Ward"

[This was played on 29th June 1979]


The Equipment
The Equipment
The Equipment Announcer No. 9A machines were introduced in 1966 for the new Dial-a-Disc service and for Changed Number Announcements.





Photo: An Equipment Announcer 9A © 1966 BT Heritage.
   

Design, images and text compiled by © Light-Straw. Page last updated 25th February 2014.

All logos and trade marks are the property of their respective owners and are used on the Light Straw site(s) for review only. Students and researchers are recommended to make their own independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information contained therein.