Back in the day

September 27, 2021

The way it was in the past, A long, long time ago, Before staff levels dropped, They used to listen to the radio, And listen to the DJ’s talk, About the songs they didn’t know, As if it really mattered. Hit-pick or phone-in show, I don’t want you to go tonight, Ten thousand watts of power, News headlines on the hour tonight, Our music beats the best, You just don’t need the rest tonight, Once I couldn’t care at all, But I can feel the ratings fall tonight. And 20 years ago, No-one seemed to care, The people must have known, The DJ’s role was only there, To fill in space between the songs, That talk of love and other things, As if they didn’t matter. Automatic stations came, And sent them all away, And now I’m left alone. I haven’t got a word to say, And you’re the one who makes the choice, To turn me on or turn me off, But now it really matters.

“WXJL Tonight” – The Human League 1980

My Christmas stocking in 1974 included a handheld transistor radio which had 2 bands – “medium wave” and “long wave”. My only recollection of radio up to this point was “The Jimmy Young Show” playing as background not exactly booming out of my mother’s radiogram.

The thinking of my transistorised Christmas gift was the availability of the first Welsh independent radio station, “Swansea Sound”. Throughout my childhood and on into my teens, this station along with Radio 4, would leave a permanent mark upon me. Why Radio 4? As a sickly child, I enjoyed the dramas and stories which allowed me to imagine the scene. Our house had 1 TV – as did most in the 1970s & 80s.

Listening to Steve Dewitt with Mr IechedDa, “Hot Bob” McCord supplying with the Top 30 from John Menzies (totally different to TOTP), hearing local news, and of course visiting my housebound grandmother on a Sunday evening when everything stopped for the “Church service” – those were the radio days.

Fast forward to 1990 and came the opportunity to work with one of my heroes, Rev Dr Phillip Stephens. Though our work was PR in my then day job, Phillip soon asked if I was willing to front an episode of “People & Places”. A travelogue of peoples interests mixed with music choices.

It soon became apparent I had a knack for this, and next I became a regular contributor to the morning “Just A Thought” & leading my own studio based services. Eventually I was asked to assist in the production side. For the next 7 years I went, saw, learned, advised, wrote and made, with Phillip, culminating in me succeeding him as “head of Religious Programming” in 1997.

Along the way, radio had a deeper impact upon me. Diverting my career from pure computing into the creative media world & gaining educational awards (HND & Degree).

In 1999 as often happens a change of management saw fit to scale back the talk radio which actually attracted the bigger audience and I was let go. In time the person in question found out how it felt to be ‘let go’. I for my part, I began a family and focussed upon that with no regrets. The hours I eagerly worked were for a single young me, someone with drive.

Fast forward 22 years, together with writing, I realised I still enjoyed producing radio content. If ABBA after 40 years could make an album, surely I could make a show?

Within the space of a couple days, a format (treatment) was written, guests lining up at the door, ideas and features firming up. The dish was nearly ready.

Claire said “You have your mojo back”, I was doubly pleased; her recognition & she actually used the Spanish pronunciation.

The 25 September 18:00 hrs BST episode 1 “Pilot” was published to Podbeam and in turn Spotify.

Filled with a mix of trepidation & excitement I shared the links.

“So guess who’s back, it’s happy Jack, and that’s no lie”

“That’s No Lie” Heaven 17


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