Clive Derek

 Interview by Roland Beaney.


Where and when were you born?- Surrey, England, early 60’s – but I grew up near High Wycombe in Bucks.


What was your first interest in Radio? –I remember buying an old valve radio at a Jumble sale (I was about 12 and I think I paid 50 pence for it). I wish I still had it – fantastic 10 inch speaker and brilliant sound on Medium Wave stations. I got a few metres of wire and strung that along the window sill and that opened up much better reception of the likes of Caroline, Atlantis, RNI as well as the London pirates which came through fairly well even though I was about 35 miles west of London. I particularly loved Radio Kaleidoscope and Radio Jackie each Sunday (and cursed when my Mum put on the washing machine which interfered with the radio!).


I listened to Capital and Radio 210, and any of the new commercial stations that opened up, but I hardly ever listened to BBC Radio One (apart from Johnnie Walker!). My family used to holiday a lot in West Wales and we always listened to Swansea Sound – I visited their studios and met Chrispian St.John. Later I was to work with him on the Voice of Peace (for those who don’t know CSJ was Jay Jackson on Caroline in the 1980’s).


Tell us what it feels like to be doing programmes on Caroline? -I am enjoying the experience of presenting after having been recording bits for Caroline commercials and promos for a number of years! The feedback has been amazing and I really appreciate the time people have taken to send in such nice messages.In my experience listeners to other stations don’t get so involved, or react so enthusiastically.


What other Radio stations have you been involved with?-At about 14 I got involved in Wycombe Hospital Radio and was a presenter and later involved in the management committee whilst studying business at College. Later, through that station, I met James Ross who recommended I send a demo to the Voice of Peace. That led to meeting Abie Nathan in London and giving up my job with AEG Telefunken to go and work on the offshore station. I was there in 1981 and it was a great experience.


On the Peace Ship three of us got the idea of starting our own station! It was that conversation, a World atlas in the ship’s mess room, and bags of enthusiasm that led us to Tramore on the coast near Waterford City in Ireland where we started ABC Radio early in 1982. From small beginnings it grew into quite a station with a network of transmitters around the region and city centre studios. The Caroline comeback in 1983 featured Robin Ross and Tony Garreth who were 2 of ABC’s regular jocks. Johnny Lewis, Dave Windsor, Richard Staines, Kevin Turner and Stuart Clarke were all ABC presenters on Radio Caroline at various stages. When the Communicator (home of Lazer 558) arrived across from America it berthed down the road in New Ross for a couple of weeks – it was fun being “in” on some offshore radio “secrets”! ABC "The Hot FM" (as it became known later) was a great local radio service and extremely popular. We had a great license application and should have won the local franchise but had to close when the "pirates" were outlawed at the end of 1988.


What are your earliest memories of Caroline? -I have recollections of various bits but I can quite vividly remember the excitement of the Mi Amigo moving back to the English coast and Tony Allan broadcasting what was going on as they left the Dutch coast. My greatest memories or course are of Caroline’s late 70’s period when they put out so many great programmes from the Mi Amigo and it has been interesting meeting some of my heroes from that time in recent years!


What's your favourite station other than Caroline?-I listen to various stations and it’s hard to pin down a particular favourite.

Who is the most famous person that you have met? -I once chaired a committee which established a national broadcast training course in Ireland and I had to make a speech to introduce Bertie Ahearne who, at the time, was An Taoiseach (head of the Government)– that was pretty nerve racking! I probably enjoyed more meeting the likes of Dean Friedman, Phil Lynott, Al Stewart and Tom Robinson over the years.


What is the best and worst thing about radio today? -It’s a great business to work in but times are very challenging right now. The economic situation led to me losing my senior management role in a local station recently. I am currently working as a freelance Consultant and Trainer in broadcasting and I.T

How much music freedom do you have on Caroline? - More than on most stations anyway! We have a playlist framework which gives a fair bit of freedom. I am trying to incorporate a fair few “Caroline Classics” alongside a few “anorak tracks” and the Caroline featured new tracks. I am trying to balance a reasonable selection of familiar, recognisable material with a few tracks that people might say “Wow! I haven’t heard that for ages!” It’s hard though and I welcome feedback so email in and let me know what you want to hear more/less of please! Email me


What's the most embarrassing or funny thing that's happened to you? - I once left the mic on (every presenter does that once) but luckily I did not say anything libellous in my conversation with Stuart Clark who was with me in the studio at the time!

What's your favourite food? - I love all sorts of food but our current favourite restaurant is an Oriental Thai type – yum!


Who would you like to get stuck with on a desert Island?- My wife says her! If my son and daughter were there as well, and there was some broadcasting gear around, I could maybe get them to present some shows in between sunbathing and searching for coconuts (or whatever it is you do when stuck on a desert island!)


What's the most important thing that you learnt about Radio?- A few things here: don’t leave the mic on for starters! Audio production and audio editing are key to making things sound good after lots of meticulous preparation. You can’t “wing it” – great things on radio that sound spontaneous have (usually) been well planned and thought about in advance! And the final bit of ‘Clive Derek radio wisdom’ for now: I teach students that the key to good interviewing technique is actually about ‘listening’ to what the interviewee is saying, and reacting to what they say rather than lots of talking!


What was the first record you bought?- I think it may have been a single by Chairman of the Board – I remember it had a navy blue label and it cost 7 shillings and sixpence. It was probably 1967 or 68 (Mark Stafford would surely know!) The first album was “Sladest” by Slade – brilliant!


What are your favourite bands and who is your hero? -I like all sorts of music but I suppose I have quite a few albums by Steely Dan, Kayak, Beatles, Supertramp, Doobie Brothers and so on. But I like new stuff too – I thought the Noel Gallagher and Coldplay albums were great last year and there are some great new Irish bands I’ve been playing like The Coronas and The Kanyu Tree.

When did you last go on board the Ross Revenge? - Last August Bank Holiday – I did my first show for Caroline that weekend and I earned my keep by helping Graham Coull remove half a ton of waste rusty metal from the lower front hold where the boys had replaced a whole section of the ship’s supporting structure. I really admire the work the restoration crew are doing but they have mammoth task that I am sure needs more regular helpers.


Thank you Clive for your interview. You can listen to Clive playing the best Album tracks from 7am till 9pm on Radio Caroline.

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