In February this year the community radio station on which I was broadcasting Where The Action Is decided it was going to re-brand itself. The reason given by the Chairman was that the station “has built up a bad reputation amongst the people & businesses of Edinburgh”. Presenters were all asked to re-apply for their own show on the “new” station.
Two presenters, including yours truly, were told that their services would no longer be required. To this day, despite repeated correspondence, I haven’t been told why. The decision upset me greatly, partly because I put so much work into my show and partly because I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my listeners. I’m not ashamed to say I spiralled into a depression and had a go at the station publicly on a radio forum. This would never had happened had I been given an explanation but I was angry and I felt justified in that anger.
I was most perturbed because I had put together a special show as I was originally to be the last show on the station and I had lined up tracks like Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” to finish with. But the station decided to close early to get the studio ready for their big launch the next day and my preparation had been wasted. (Why they hadn’t got everything ready in the run-up over the previous weeks is beyond me but organisation was never their strong point). Then I was ‘unofficially’ given the news that I needn’t turn up the next week and thereafter. I suspect no reason has been given is because they can’t really justify it. Or maybe its a personal one. Maybe the Chairman felt threatened. Why would a station get rid of one of it’s most popular shows, especially one with a worldwide audience? A number of my listeners wrote to the Chairman too but their questions were ignored, which, sadly, says it all about him. Is that really how to treat listeners and prospective sponsors? They should be trying to attract listeners not losing them through a lack of common courtesy.
My colleague who was also relieved of his show had donated a not inconsiderable sum of money to the station a couple of years ago when the station was in trouble. This is how they thank him. They even expected him to stay on to help out behind the scenes! Throughout this situation I found out who my friends were. There are some good, good people at the station who I miss but there are also some who I wouldn’t cross the road to talk to. Not that talking was their great strength, which is ironic for a radio station. Some of them thought that threatening emails was the way to the best out of presenters. It had the opposite effect and a number of members left over a period of time as a result.
When I finally got a reply from a senior figure at the station I was effectively threatened with being blackballed from other stations for my outbursts against them. Yeah, good luck with that.
Anyway, I’m now over that station and the personal politics and bullshit contained therein – I shall NEVER mention them again – and I’ve started building my audience again on Mixcloud until I find a suitable radio home for the show. Hence the original reason for this post.
Where The Action Is can now be found on Mixcloud at www.mixcloud.com/jocknroll. The Facebook page is still HERE.
The shows are made using a H2 Zoom recorder (for the links) and put together using Abode Audition. So it might sound a bit rough and ready but that’s part of its charm. But it’s not about me, it’s about the music. It’s about hearing music from the most revolutionary period of popular culture; music that is very rarely aired, except perhaps on shows like Radio 2′s Sound of the Sixties. In the recent RAJAR ratings Brian Matthew’s excellent show had listener figures of 3.7 millions and yet radio stations seem reluctant to try to get some of that market. Those stations who do play 60s music seem content with the same old 60s-by-numbers stuff and others, even AM versions of commercial stations, think that “oldies” doesn’t go further back than 1980! One Programme Director, who shall remain nameless, recently said to me that the demographic for 60s music was 70-year olds! While I respect the man’s deep knowledge of the industry he works in, I think his comment is, to be frank, nonsense.
There are any number of 60s clubs on the go at one time and who does he think is putting these clubs on? Is it pensioners? No, it’s young people. Young people with a passion for, arguably, the greatest era of rock ‘n’ roll in this or any other country. I think he needs to step away from his spreadsheets filled with Reach, Share and Audience and see what’s ‘out there’. There is an audience for the 60s, including the more alternative side, but they don’t want to go and get it because they see it as a risk. If they don’t take a risk they’re going to continue to sound like every other radio station, which, for me and many others, is a turn off. Thank god for Radio Six International, the ad-free Amazing Radio, BBC 6Music and all the community/college/hospital stations who are doing something different or risky or niche, like Paul Brown on Radio Cabin in Herne Bay.
I may not be the best presenter in the world but I make up for it with my passion for what I play and in the preparation for my show. I hope this comes through in my show.
There are currently six issues of Where The Action Is now up on Mixcloud at www.mixcloud.com/jocknroll. The Facebook page is HERE and you can leave your comments, requests, marriage proposals etc on either page. The playlists for all the shows are up on Mixcloud too, except the six tracks featured in the Connect 3 games, for obvious reasons. The typos on the playlists are generally Mixcloud’s fault due to some sort of glitch. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Don’t forget that while my show used to be live on a Thursday night between 9 and 11pm, you can now listen to the new Mixcloud version whenever you want. The show tends to go up on at some point on a Thursday although circumstances may change from time to time, for holidays, illness etc.
Read Full Post »