Peter Antony

Peter Antony

 Interview by Roland Beaney in January 2009

Peter Antony is one of Radio Caroline's newest presenters and well remembered from his days on Radio Luxembourg. He was on board the Ross Revenge on Saturday 12th July 2008 and presented a show as part of the summer of memories.

Where and when were you born? 

I was born in Ipswich, Suffolk on 29th October 1955. I then lived in London for 20 years.

Where do you live now? 

I moved out of London to the Tunbridge Wells area of Kent.

What is your favourite part of the Country? 

I was very proud and happy to be living in East Anglia but then I discovered Kent and Sussex. I really love History, I think its the cornerstone of this country and I am delighted to be surrounded by it here. Within a six mile drive from my home there are six castles.

How did you get into Radio? 

I had been a club DJ since 1973. I Started in Ipswich at the First Floor Club, and then Tracy's. Then I moved to London in 1978, and by 1981 I was working as DJ at Stringfellows. During 1983 I started work for a land based pirate known as Skyline Radio. I used to do the breakfast show after a night at Stringfellows. Then I was headhunted by London Weekend Radio LWR. This is the only time I have been headhunted!? I was known as Oscar J Jennings at both of these stations. In 1984 I was interviewed by Johnny Beerling; the then controller at Radio One. Afterwards when I came down to reception, paparazzi were waiting; obviously they knew that Radio One were interviewing for jocks. They asked me if I had the job as cameras flashed. I didn't get it. The job was given to Ian Brass, who had been on Radio Luxembourg 208. Then my manager got me some holiday cover at Radio Luxembourg 208. This was March 1985. Shortly after this Benny Brown and Dave Eastwood resigned, and I was given a regular contract. While I was there I had the pleasure of working with some very talented people like Stuart Henry, Bob Stewart, Tony Blewitt, Mike Hollis, etc. During my time I made some good friends, most of whom I am still in touch with today, such as Neil Fox. I loved working for the station, but I didn't like living in Luxembourg, and I used to get back to London as much as possible. I had a Monday through Friday show but I also had a weekend show which really messed up my life. I remember sometimes recording my programme and asking another DJ to play it for me; as if I was on air, but actually I was back in the UK monopolizing on my position i.e. earning money for VO's etc. The boss thought I was still in Luxembourg the level of deceit went well beyond the norm, it was a bit naughty. I remember listening to my show as I drove through Knightsbridge on my way to some night club.

When did you first join Caroline?  I think it was in April 2008.

What other Radio stations have you been involved with?  I did the breakfast show on Pirate station Skyline Radio and the Drive Time show on LWR known as Oscar J Jennings. I then became a DJ on Radio Luxembourg. After leaving Radio Luxembourg in 1991, I moved to Los Angeles, California, where I worked as a DJ at Stringfellows in Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills. I also worked for a cable radio station in Hollywood called KZLA and concentrated on my writing and ended up completing a screenplay. I returned to London in 1993. Since then I have worked at WISH FM in Wigan and Mercury FM in Crawley.

What are your earliest memories of Caroline? 

I remember tuning my little transistor radio in to 199. It must have been 1964... then later I used to listen to the station a lot when it went over to an album track based format and the Loving Awareness era. I remember listening late at night after finishing at the night clubs. I distinctly remember hearing Gary Wright Dreamweaver a lot around that time.

What's your favourite station other than Caroline? 

Both Radio Luxembourg and Radio Caroline were so similar in what they did in spearheading a pop revolution. Caroline carried on what Luxembourg started. Both stations didn't need a licence. Radio Luxembourg had a huge transmitter and loads of power, but suffered from a fading signal, whereas Caroline's was as clear as that famous bell!

What is the best and worst thing about radio today? 

The best thing is that it is still going. The worst thing is that they have taken all the fun out of Radio. Business and commerce have taken over the musical programming of all the commercial stations. They don't like star jocks because of a. cost b. they pull their own audience and c. they don't like it when their star jock goes on holiday. They would rather get rid of their star jocks and keep it bland.

How much music freedom do you have on Caroline? 

I have more music freedom on Caroline than anywhere else that I have worked.

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

I was driving home along Cromwell road with a girl in the front passenger seat of my car. I stopped at a red traffic light opposite Cromwell hospital having been up all night. A Rover 3.5 litre V8 Coupe car pulled up alongside me at the lights and noticing it was chauffer driven I decided to see who was in the back and as I turned round I saw Queen Elizabeth 2nd staring at me. It was the look that she gave me that made me feel very embarrassed. I didn't know what to do, should I smile or should I stand up?

I used to live in a rented house just outside Luxembourg. I had some great parties there. One Christmas I had a party and like Gatsby after awhile I just went to bed and let everyone else carry on. When I woke I found that my ducks were missing from the pond, and somebody had left a Ferrari parked on my front lawn! I mean it was Christmas so I thought well I know where the goose went. But the Ferrari was a nice touch, although sadly the guy came back for it a couple of days later. Because I lived out of town, I was often in danger of being late. I remember once listening to the jock before me hitting the news jingle reading the news saying goodbye and saying I was next, as he fired the powerplay, while in reality I was across town waiting at a red light. This naturally made me a little tense. As soon as the lights turned yellow I punched my car, (at that time I had a Pontiac Trans Am) away from the lights with a bit too much enthusiasm and the 6.6 litre car's rear wheels broke loose, and continued to spin away across the intersection. The next thing I saw were sirens and flashing lights in my rear view mirror. The Gendarmerie, (the cops!) Anyway as soon as I explained the situation they gave me an escort through to the radio station and I arrived like the president or something in the car park surrounded by flashing lights. They probably still talk about it..."crazzzzeee Engleesshh!" Mind you they were used to us. Neil Fox was almost late one night after being stopped by the cops coming to work. He was due to take over from me and he came bursting through the studio door, moaning about being stopped speeding doing 40 in a 30 and then he said they wanted to bust him for having no lights and ineffective steering and brakes. So I said what were you driving? He replied (as if there was nothing wrong with it at all) "a skateboard!" Luxy was a great experience which I am very glad to have been a part of.

What do you do for your day job and relaxation? 

I can afford working for Caroline and playing great music because I am a director of a Media company called Black Book Media, we also have our own radio station.

What's your favourite food?  I am a man of simple tastes. I see the true value of a really good burger, I also like venison.

What do you dislike doing the most? 

I hate paying community tax. I think its far too much and its obviously hated because of the way it has to be policed. Its not popular with the people. The first guy that says "if you vote for me, I will cancel it" will get into number 10.

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

Obviously it would be nice to have an attractive woman there.

What's the most important thing that you learnt about radio?  To understand fully that you are providing a service which is going to determine whether you are going to stay there or not. Its all about who's there listening.

What was the first record you bought? 

I inherited my Beatles collection. I really can't recall what the first record was that I bought. But it could have been something from '68 or '69 Music was really good then. It was either The Beatles Get Back, Crazy Elephant Gimme Good Lovin' or it could have been CCR or even Norman Greenbaum Spirit in the Sky? I remember being really envious of a friend who had a copy of Honky Tonk Women by the Rolling Stones... But most of the time I listened to the Beatles albums like Revolver which still is my favourite from them.

What is your favourite era? 

I realised in the 60's that I was living in a special time especially in London and I thought it could only get better, but unfortunately it didn't.

What are your favourite bands? 

Musically, 1 The Beatles, 2. The Stones 3. Bob Dylan. and Lyrically, 1. Bob Dylan, 2.The Stones, 3. The Beatles In reverse order.

Who are your heroís? 

Sir Walter Raleigh: Hugh Heffner: Richard Noble: James Hunt: Bob Dylan: Elvis Presley: Carol Shelby: Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood and Nick Roeg: (there are many more)

What famous people have you met? 

Well due to a career in radio I have met quite a few, but these made an impression! Some are friends like Billy Duffy and some are lost friends like Phil Lynott. I have met Stevie Wonder. Stephen Stills. Richard Butler. Iggy Pop. Rod Stewart. Ronnie Wood. Bill Wyman. Julian Lennon. Robert Plant. Stevie Marriot. Johnny Rotten.... And many more some were through work and some I spent and shared good times with.

What are your top 5 favourite tunes? 

1. Bob Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone, 2. Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter and 3. The Beatles, Tomorrow never knows

When did you last go on board the Ross Revenge? 

The summer of 2008

What plans have you for the future?

I am very happy to remain with Caroline as itís like being part of a famous legend. I also like being part of a station where the presenters are really musically knowledgeable, part of a team and really love what they do and it does come over.

Thank you Peter for your interview, I hope to hear your shows on Caroline for a long time. Peter can now be heard on Caroline Saturday mornings from 9am till noon.