Many remember Doug Wood from his time on the
Voice of Peace, a station that broadcast from a ship in
the Mediterranean off the coast of Israel. I asked him why
he went out there and this was his reply-
"To be on the radio,
get experience for a UK. radio job and to LIVE the offshore
radio dream. I was out there from November 1981 until April
1983 and we have now re-launched the VOP on Saturday 7/11/09
as an internet station. We operate from the UK. through
an Israeli website. This is very definitely another story."
Where were you born? –
Faversham Kent. 16/01/54
Where do you live now?
– Stoke On Trent, Staffs
What is your favourite
part of the Country? - Devon
How did you get into Radio?
– With the VOP I guess, Caroline had me well and truly
hooked at the age of 10, I heard her in her very first week.
When did you first join
Caroline? – 2003 about 30 years later then I would have
What other radio stations
have you been involved with? – The VOP, Signal (26 years)
Great Yorkshire Gold, Radio Nova Italy/France, today’s RNI,
Bob Le-Roi’s Red Sands Radio, I’m on there again this summer,
Radio England on the internet in recent years, and there
are many others.
What are your earliest
memories of Caroline? – I was 10 and Caroline was about
5 days old. A TV aerial guy came to put us a new BBC H shaped
aerial up when ours was damaged by a storm. After the job
was finished he came in for a cup of tea and began telling
my father about this new pop station on a ship! On a ship!
why is it on a ship I asked? I was soon well and truly hooked.
I instantly loved the rebel factor, getting one over on
the BBC, that was magic.
What's your favourite
station other than Caroline? – Of the Pirates of the
60’s, it had to be Big L, but I really loved them all, for
different reasons. RNI was the 70’s pioneer for sure, she
brought the 60’s magic back.
Famous people that you
have met? – How long is a piece of string? being in
radio for over 30 years now, that list is endless but the
one that meant the most was Tony Blackburn. My stepson Andy
has worked at Capital in London for about 12 years now,
and he fixed up the meeting with Tony, who only had five
minutes to spare, 2 hours later!!
What is the best and worst
thing about radio today? – In most, but not all cases,
its all about the bottom line, money! Of course commercial
radio has to make money, but that is it now, most of the
big groups really couldn’t care less about the stations
or their audiences, they could be selling baked beans, chocolate
bars, anything, as long as it makes money.
Most big groups have watered
their stations down so much with networking and automation
that a large part of their audiences have gone elsewhere
and found some real radio on the internet, run by people
that really care about radio and their listeners. The internet
is where the new radio revelation is taking place. Just
wait until those internet car radios get going, I think
it will be like the old days again, stacks of choice, you
will have to filter through the rubbish, but the great stations
like Caroline will reign supreme. If the big groups don’t
soon wake up, it will be too late for them.
Signal where, I have worked
for 26 years now is one of the very last real local AM stations
left in the UK., all our shows come from our studios, just
as it should be, and it pays off.
How much music freedom
do you have on Caroline? – It is wonderful, I pick the
music for the whole show, and no one bats an eyelid. Of
course if I started playing a load of sloppy pop, I would
expect someone to shout, but the freedom to choose is there,
and it would be foolish to abuse it. It’s just one of the
things that makes Caroline special.
What's the most embarrassing
or funny thing that's happened to you? – After nearly
30 years in the game I have never sworn on the air, until
recently. It’s a long story, so I’ll keep it short. A news
reader started reading the news early and I took the headphones
off and sat back while blaspheming and I suddenly realised
that I hadn’t closed the Mic as the Mic fader was still
up. I just wanted to die at that moment. But I got away
with it, simply because a computer monitor was completely
blocking my view of the Mic light, which has since been
moved. That was a really horrible moment though.
What do you do for your
day job and relaxation? – Well the day job is Signal
2. Six shows a week. Relaxation I don’t really do, I’m a
fidget, I always have to be doing something, and it is normally
something in radio. Right now I’m doing six 3 hour shows
a week on the VOP, six 4 hour shows on Signal 2, one 3 hour
show for Caroline, one hour for RNI, and currently recording
a 2 hour show a week for Red Sands Radio for their summer
RSL, I have 20 of them to do, I have done 14 at this time.
What's your favourite
food? – Chinese I would say.
What do you dislike doing
the most? - Gardening
Who would you like to
get stuck with on a desert Island?- If not my wife then
What's the most important
thing that you have learnt about radio?- Respect the
listener, if you make it with them, you make it.
What was the first record
you bought?- Oh No! Do I really have to? OK If I must.
The Tremeloes – Helua Helua and Des O Conner – I Pretend,
but the latter was for my Mum, nobody ever believes that,
but it’s true.
What are your favourite
bands and who is your hero? – Hero: Johnnie Walker,
for sticking two fingers up to the British Government on
August 14th 1967and then he joins the Beeb and he's still
there, I've never been able to figure that one out.
Bands: AC DC, Led Zeppelin,
Eric Clapton, they would all be a the top of a very long
What are your favourite
tunes? – Zeppelins – Whole Lotta Love. Again would be
at the top of a very long list
When did you last go on
board the Ross Revenge? – As long ago as Easter 2004,
I had to be there for the 40th birthday. It was so cold
that night I spent on board, I didn’t sleep a wink, but
I think most of that was down to excitement
What are your plans for
the future?- To stay in radio for as long as I can I
guess, and I would include Caroline. To expand The VOP.
Some of my friends have said I should give up Caroline to
give more time to the VOP, I just can’t do that, Caroline
is, and will always be the first lady. Without radio, well,
I would rather be dead! Sounds a bit strong I know, but
I live and breathe it, at least 16 hours a day, just about
Thank you Doug for answering
my questions. I look forward to reading your story about
life on the Peace ship.