Doug Wood

 Interview by Roland Beaney.

 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 liked

What other radio stations have you been involved with? The VOP, Signal (26 years) Great Yorkshire Gold, Radio Nova Italy/France, todays RNI, Bob Le-Rois Red Sands Radio, Im 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 60s, it had to be Big L, but I really loved them all, for different reasons. RNI was the 70s pioneer for sure, she brought the 60s 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 couldnt 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 dont 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. Its 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. Its a long story, so Ill 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 hadnt 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 dont really do, Im a fidget, I always have to be doing something, and it is normally something in radio. Right now Im 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 Emma Bunton.

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 its 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 list.

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 didnt 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 cant 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 every day.

Thank you Doug for answering my questions. I look forward to reading your story about life on the Peace ship.

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