Jerry Wright

Jerry Wright

 Interview by Roland Beaney November 2008

Where were you born? 

West Kent Hospital, Maidstone, Kent UK

Where do you live now? 

Near Maidstone, Kent UK

What is your favourite part of the Country? 

The Coastline, Devon , Cornwall, Norfolk , Yorkshire Dales, Scottish Isles, Rural Kent ( What’s left of it),

How did you get into Radio? 

My first ever experience of radio was when I was a baby, being plonked in front of an old Ever Ready Valve portable radio listening to “ Listen with Mother” whilst sitting on my potty in the living room, thinking to myself, that lady sounds nice where is she? oh she’s inside a little blue box on the dinning table. I was totally mesmerised as a kid by it. As I grew up I listened to other stuff like The Clitheroe Kid on Sunday Afternoon and the Navy Lark. Then it was Caroline , Atlanta, Radio City, Big L , Radio Luxembourg with Bob Stewart and Tony Prince then 70’s Caroline 319, RNI and Atlantis

All I ever wanted to do as a spotty teen was to escape and be a Pirate Radio DJ, of course I didn’t know how it all worked then and to me then the ships were miles away in the North Sea maybe even off the coast of Norway it was a magical feeling listening to great music and zany DJ’s and thinking that my mum will go crazy if I ever had the chance to go….

In the 70’s I had the chance to go to BBC Radio Medway based in Chatham, Kent. I was a friend of The Deputy Station Manager ( Dennis Lewell’s ) Son Simon who arranged a visit in 1975.

I loved it and asked if I could hang about and help out at the station. It was like a drug that I couldn’t get enough of and that’s where I met Mike Brill, Rod Lucas, The Legendary (Jimmy Mack Ex Radio Scotland) Dan Damon, I even met Chris Rea who was promoting his New Album at the Time “What ever Happened to Benny Santini” and I sat in the Gram. library talking to him and drinking coffee and not realising that he was going to be a Mega Star.

Whilst I was helping Mike Brill with his Rock Show doing Log sheets, making up competitions and answering the phones, another DJ Rod Lucas had a visit from a Budding Caroline DJ Stuart Russell and a couple of Cloggie Jocks from Radio Mi Amigo and I missed it. If I had met Stuart ( Nigel Harris) then I just might have got on the Mi Amigo in the 70’s. I still kick myself now when I think of it. There were loads of Caroline people living in Kent and the south east and I didn’t know how to make contact (Nigel only lived about 8 miles away)

At the same time I dabbled with Hospital Radio, which was a great training ground, as it allows you to make all your mistakes in a closed environment, Good fun but not Radio Caroline

So it was still just a dream that didn’t come true until my late 20’s when I went on an anorak trip to the Ross on 19th August 1984 after Leaving Olau Ferries just 9 days earlier where I had worked as a DJ on the Olau Britannia.

I met Simon Barrett, Peter Phillips, Johnny Lewis, Stewart Vincent and I seem to remember Ad Roberts and Ferry Eden were there too, Caroline was missing a Cook and I was so blown away by being on the Ross with that 90 metre mast so I begged them to let me stay but it was not to be as I was only in the clothes I stood up in and in reality I had to go back home.

When did you first join Caroline?

It wasn’t until January 1986 whenI joined Caroline 558. It was a very cold winter and the sea was very rough and I was very nervous and excited to be working with my heroes Peter Phillips, Andy Johnson and David Andrews. It was very eventful The Anchor Chain broke and we were adrift for ages, It was also at the same time The Space Shuttle blew up … To sum it up Scary at first but I loved it and didn’t want to come home. When I got home and went back to my ordinary job it all seemed like a dream.. I just wanted to go back to sleep and dream again……..

What other Radio stations have you been involved with? 

BBC Radio Medway, Invicta Sound, HRM and Radio North Kent, Medway’s Radio Atlantis (Pirate), Caroline 558, Mellow1557, Invicta Supergold /Invicta Fm, MFR CTR KFM, TLR, The Sound, Coastline, Medway FM, CTfm, EKR, 107.8 Radio Jackie

What are your earliest memories of Caroline? 

Tony Blackburn, DLT, Johnny Walker and that bell Ding Ding

What's your favourite station other than Caroline? 

Arrow Classic Rock, Rock 101, EKR, BBC Radio 2, Chill and a speech station LBC 97.3 and Radio Nederland

Famous people that you have met? 

Princess Margaret, Ronan O'Rahilly, Chris Rea, Jeff Beck, Gordon Giltrap, Paul Carrack, Paul Mc Kenna, Johnny Walker,Tom Baker, Peter Davidson, Frankie Vaughan, The Christians, Jakki Graham, Cutting Crew, Five Star, Frank Bough, Jimmy Mack, Patrick Macnee, Linda Thorsen, Anne Widecombe , William Roache, Pat Phoenix (Elsie Tanner) Richard Hearne ( Mr Pastry) and Kelly Holmes

What is the best and worst thing about radio today? 

The best  Internet Radio. for the Choice and you can listen Worldwide to whatever. The worst is accountants and men in suits. All they want to do is to make money and they have no interest in the services they put out as long as it is “Radio Safe” that doesn’t upset the Advertisers and PC’s that have lost touch with the audience and forget their roots.. Also where has all the proper music gone? Why do we have to put up with a diet of Plastic pop where they care more about their dance routines and pop videos than the actual music..

How much music freedom do you have on Caroline?

Caroline, has its guidelines and to be fair a play list which can be used as a guide to keep a station sound but as presenters we are allowed to change stuff around and add stuff to make the shows flow nicely.

What's the most embarrassing or funny thing that's happened to you? 

Too many things to mention ;o)

What do you do for your day job and relaxation? 

I work nights at 107.8 Radio Jackie in SW London as a Radio Presenter. Watch Movies, Gardening, and Socialize with friends and family

What's your favourite food? 

Chilli Con Carne, Curries, Chocolate

What do you dislike doing the most?

Filling in Long Forms and Working with Idiots and Bad Drivers

Who would you like to get stuck with on a desert Island?

Dr Who so I could borrow his Tardis ;o)

What's the most important thing that you have learnt about Radio?

Never take anyone at face value and never believe the bull and try to enjoy it for what it is, these days. there are too many talent less spotty faced geeks waiting to stab you in the back to crawl up the ladder. I got into Radio because I love the music, now it’s not always possible to work for a station and enjoy everything that’s forced on you to play

What was the first record you bought?

Single: Help  The Beatles LP: Sgt Pepper The Beatles

What are your favourite bands and who is your hero? 

Too many to mention, Clapton, Santana, Hendrix, David Gilmour, …

Other Radio Heroes:  Ronan O’Rahilly, Kenny Everett, Johnny Walker, John Peel, Andy Archer, Tony Alan, Roger Scott, Alan Freeman, Tommy Vance, Nicky Horne, Dave Owen, Steve Allen, Bob Stewart, Charlie Wolf, Jessie Brandon, Johnny Lewis, Peter Phillips and Mark Mathews

What are your favourite tunes? 

Too many to mention

When did you last go on board the Ross Revenge? 

Tilbury Essex 2004

What plans have you for the future?

Hopefully be happy with what I’m doing, and try and make some dosh

Thank you Jerry for answering my questions and I look forward to hearing more shows from you on Caroline. I hope Dr Who doesn't mind you borrowing his Tardis. The next time I'm driving on the M25 around SW London after midnight I will listen out for your show.

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