Gary Ziepe

 Interview by Roland Beaney.


Where were you born? – Stepney, London


Where do you live now? - Angmering, West Sussex


What is your favourite part of the Country? - West Sussex. I also love Greenwich. It’s steeped in history, has a really nice vibe and there’s a great view of the London skyline.


How did you get into Radio? - I used to answer the phones on a voluntary basis at Capital Radio for a programme called 'London Link' in the early hours of a Saturday morning. This led to working in the record library. Euston Tower had a really nice feel to it back in the 70's. I also did 'The Young DJ’ feature on several occasions on a youth magazine Sunday afternoon programme called 'Hullabaloo'. It was like having your own mini show on Capital Radio! I remember making a witty remark about one of my teachers who heard it and wasn't impressed.


When and why did you first join Caroline? - I joined in April this year because I wanted to be on a station that plays quality music with soul and passion written by musicians who can play their own instruments. What other Radio stations have you been involved with? - Hospital radio stations include Whitechapel AM. Then there was Radio Basildon and Radio Thamesmead. A number of RSL's, Radio Luxembourg, Chiltern FM, Breeze AM, Essex FM, KFM, European Klassic Rock, Country 1035, Invicta FM, Capital Gold and Gold.


What are your earliest memories of Caroline? - I remember listening to Tony Allan back in the 70's and thinking 'this guy has a great voice and this station is doing what the others are not'. What's your favourite station other than Caroline? - BBC Five Live, KFOG in San Francisco and WDRV The Drive in Chicago.


Met any famous people? - Lots. The ones that come to mind though are Bob Hoskins and Michael Caine during my days as a film extra. I once also met that guy that used to present the weather on Anglia television. He said it was going to rain.


What is the best and worst thing about radio today? - Don't get me started! Where's the soapbox? The worst? Repetition which leads to burnout. Airplay which is bias toward the R&B genre. The fact that most stations won't take risks in breaking new artists. Plastic voice on a stick presenters on McDonalds FM stations. The Best? New technology and the mighty power of the net which liberates people to listen to stations like us from anywhere on the planet. There's no doubt that the radio landscape is changing and Caroline is beautifully evolving into it. We are gratifying a market that isn't being catered for in so called 'mainstream radio'. That's the genius of Radio Caroline. It was doing this back in the 1960's and it's still doing it today.!


How much music freedom do you have on Caroline compared with other stations? - Lots, comparatively. We use a playlist but it's more of a template. It's great being on a station where I can think about the music I'm going to play rather than being handed a list and told to get on with it.


What's the most embarrassing or funny thing that's happened to you?- In the 80's I worked on a cable station in Essex called Radio Basildon. On one occasion a friend came down to the studio to watch me behind the controls. It was his first ever visit. During the course of the programme one of the telephonists turned up on her day off. She was as high as the Shard and proceeded to 'pleasure herself' in the corner of the studio in front of the pair of us. My friend never had to ask why I wanted to work in radio!


Who would you like to get stuck with on a desert Island? - A comfy mattress, some whipped cream and Penelope Cruz.


What's the most important thing that you have learnt about Radio? - Not to take it too seriously. If something goes wrong just carry on.


What was the first record you bought? - To be honest I can't remember. However, one of them is The New Seekers 'I'd Like To Teach The World To Sing'.


What are your favourite bands? - The Pretenders, The Stones, Eagles, Floyd, some band called The Beatles and all the other usual suspects. There are way too many to list.


What are your favourite tunes? - That's a tough call! Ask me to explain quantum theory. That's easier!


What are your plans for the future? - I don't make plans. It's a good philosophy. That way you can't be disappointed.


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