Where and when were you born? - . Like Johnny
Lewis, I'm a Suffolk boy, living in Hadleigh and going to
school and college in Ipswich, leaving school in 76. Ipswich
was of course full of Caroline listeners, and they had the
Caroline Roadshows in the Corn Exchange.
Where do you live now? - Dartford, Kent.
What is your favourite part of the World? - .
I love the USA. Las Vegas is the ultimate in tackiess, but
in the most fabulous way. Everything is there, but nothing
real! My wife Sue and I have had great driving holidays
in the USA on the West Coast, New England in Autumn, and
North Carolina, again in the Autumn. Whilst there, I often
ring up local radio stations and go and have alook around.
USA radio isn't what it was though. In the mid 80's I heard
some of the free-form rock stations that pretty much don't
exist anymore. One brilliant example of this was KMET Los
Angeles. I actually visited that one too.
How did you get into radio? - I started at Hospital
Radio Ipswich, probably around 75. Then ran an occasional
(when ever my parents were away!) FM pirate in Hadleigh
called Brett Valley Radio. I had been an RNI listener on
a lovely big old valve radio that I had in my bedroom in
the early 70's and actually heard the mayday fire broadcast
as it happened. Even though I shouldn't have been listening
and been asleep, I went downstairs and told my parents.
I think I remember the next night, they called me down to
watch the tv news report on it. In the mid 70's Caroline
advertised the Jumbo Records' 10 Years Of Offshore Radio
record, and it included that RNI broadcast and I really
wanted to hear it again, so I got it for my birthday. The
record made me realise how many pirates there had been and
I think around that time assumed full Anorak status!
How and when did you get involved with Caroline?
- I knew people connected with Caroline in 83 and had hoped
to go out to the Ross in September. I had been trained at
the GPO Martlesham Research centre, and whilst I'm not an
electronics expert, I could wire jackfields and had reasonable
audio knowledge, and am also not too bad at woodwork, and
I think the second studio was being built and I'd hoped
to help with that. My master plan was to weedle my way on-air,
but weather was bad during my two weeks' leave, and by the
time I could go out, I was worried that I'd get stranded.
By then I'd been working at LWT for over three years and
loved my job, which was still in its good old days when
the pay and expenses was extremely good. Anyway, I went
out on the tender for the day basically. We had dinner aboard
the ship, -curry served by Andy Archer. I remember him saying, "I
feel like a waiter, -but where would I find one!".
The weather turned very nasty on the way home. Wind against
the tide. Saw the curry again. Probably never felt more
ill, ever. The engine nearly died on the way back to Queenborough
and as we throttled down to tie up, it died, never to start
again. Could have been horrendous. Whizz forward to around
the Southend RSL and I'd got in touch with Peter Moore earlier
in the year as I'd got a load of cart machines from LWT
and put them in both studios on the Ross. I'd also got know
Dave Foster from DART Radio (hospital radio in Dartford)
and with the Maidstone Studio and the ship to run, they
were running out of people. I mentioned that I'd done some
radio to Peter and was on the air that Saturday, and going
out on AM from the Ross in Southend! Done bits and bobs
ever since as my schedule allows, along with some techy
What other Radio stations have you been involved with?
- In order, Euronet with the Laserock programme, which was
all pre-recorded on VHS. In around 97 I got involved with
the last Kingston FM RSL when a TV director collegue turned
out to be an anorak. He had been school friends with Phillip
Birch's son and actually visited Radio London on the Galaxy,
but sadly can't remember as much as he'd like s he was very
young at the time. Kingston FM won it's licence and became
Thames FM, and I did the Thames FM Rocks programme on Saturday
nights. I got a nice call of encouragement from Richard
Skinner on the first night. Prince Edward opened the station
so I met him too, along with David Jacobs who was a director.
Another fascinating thing to be involved with was Bob Leroi's
Radio 390 project. One year, Dave Foster and I supplied
most of the studio gear. I'd seen those eerrie towers on
that 10 Years Of Offshore Radio record and never dreamed
that I'd stay a few nights out there. I also got to meet
Peter Chicago and Robin Adcroft and had a lengthy and rather
anoraky conversation with them over technical stuff. They're
both engineering legends but both have been very good presenters
in the past, albeit fairly rarely for Peter, but Robin's
shows on RNI (I've heard bits on the web) were excellent.
As some of you may know, my other passion is my 75 Chevrolet
Corvette, along with the motor sport, drag racing, so more
recently I've zipped up my anoraks and do a bit on Santa
Pod Raceway's own radio station, Nitro FM. This carries
the race commentary, but we chip in when they have to clean
up oil from the track, or if it rains (these cars develep
8000 horsepower. Yes, that's three noughts! Eight thousand.
0-100mph in less than a second, so no oil or water on the
track), so the radio station takes over at that point. We're
on the PA system to the 10,000 or so crowd, and the internet
too. The station is also on before the racing and after,
so you can listen on your way in and out, and of course
in your tent if you're camping. I always try to give Caroline
a plug, particularly on the Easter event. Lastly, and an
extension of that really, has been to do one to three day
RSL's for custom car shows. This biggest is in Ipswich over
the Bank holiday weekend. The great thing is that we used
Caroline as a sustaining service overnight, and with a 15
Watt FM licence it covered most of Ipswich. It was great
to drive along the A14 on the Sunday morning listening to
Johnny Lewis on the Ross. Sounded great. What are
your earliest memories of Caroline? - Early to mid 70's.
Not quite sure when to be honest. I always remember a guy
called Michael Benjamin who sounded a little spaced out,
but he fell into that so-bad-he-was-good category. I also
remember Nigel in his Stuart Russell days, Buzby, Tom Hardy,
Mark Lawrence, Brian Martin, Roger Mathews, and Mike Stevens.
Great times and great radio. Good to hear many of those
voices again. And of course, there was Tony Allen. A brilliant
broadcaster, complex character but utterly fascinating.
Foster and I happened to visit him the day before he died.
What's your favourite station other than Caroline?
- Do you know, I pretty much only tolerate other radio stations.
I increasingly listen to Radio 4. I had listened on-line
to KLOS, a great rock station in Los Angeles, but the CBS
owned station now limits the listeners to the states due
to copyright reasons. Someone always spoils the party don't
they! Now listen to Caroline in the car via the iPhone app.
Who is the most famous person that you have met?
- Due to my job in TV sound, I've met a few, but having
said that, not as many as most would think. I'm tucked away
in a control room while the stars are in the studio. More
recently, Phillip Schofield, and when I'm in the jungle
in Oz, Ant and Dec. All lovely people, by the way.
Who influenced you the most? - Radio-wise, Tony
Allen and Johnny Walker, who I also think is superb. Such
a shame he doesn't have that afternoon Radio 2 slot any
more. I like a laid back presentation style. I hate the
over-happy idiots that can be heard on some stations.
What is the best and worst thing about radio today?
- Caroline's the best obviously. The worst is the networking
resulting in the loss of local radio stations and the blandness
that permeates them.
How much music freedom do you have on Caroline?
- Loads! What's the most embarrassing or funny
thing that's happened to you? - A funny thing relevant to
this is that whilst working in on I'm A Celebrity in Australia,
I e-mailed the presenter on the Ross whilst listening at
2am just before we started work. He said something about
me sipping cocktails on the my balcony, and Alan Beech,
also in the studio said, "Oh no, he'll be in a portacabin
with a big mixer in the jungle now". Alan was right.
What do you do for your day job? - I'm a TV Sound Supervisor,
so I'm responsible for mixing the sound as it's transmitted
live or recorded. I organise the crew and the equipment
we need. I've been a supervisor since about 1997, but started
in TV sound in 1980. We're now just nearing the end of Dancing
On Ice. I also do the Graham Norton show, and as I just
mentioned, I'm a Celeb in Australia. I've done a lot of
stand up comdy dvd's too.
What's your favourite food? - Thai.
What do you dislike doing the most? - Housework
What's the most important thing that you learnt about
radio?- Talk to the audience, not at them.
What was the first record you bought?- This is embarrassing.
Never Ending Song Of Love by the New Seekers. I liked the
harmonies! The second, which must have been a couple of
years later, was God Gave Rock And Roll To You by Argent.
Have I got my credibilty back?
What are your favourite bands and who is your hero?
- Pink Floyd Supertramp Don't really have a hero.
What are your 5 most iconic tunes? - Pink Floyd
- Wish You Were Here Supertramp - The Meaning Marianne Faithful
- Blue Millionaire Alan Parsons - Eye In The Sky Gino Vanelli
- Santa Rosa. Honary mentions to:- The Carpenters - Goodbye
to Love Men At Work - Down By The Sea Peter Frampton - Do
You Feel Like we Do Ian Dury - Clever Trevor Suzanne Vega
- Marlene On The Wall
What are your plans for the future? - Work enough
to allow me to do the things I want to do, with my wife,
step daughters and grandchildren, -along with Caroline and