Ray Copeland

 Interview by Roland Beaney.

Where and when were you born? - On Christmas Day 1963 at the hospital halfway down Shooters Hill near Welling, Kent

Where do you live now? - In a village called Frant, East Sussex (nr T Wells)

What is your favourite part of the Country? - That's tough because I still see parts of the county that I have never been to before for example I recently stayed in Littleborough nr Rochdale near a canal and walking along there was fantastic. So ask me this question in another 45 years and I will give you an answer!

How did you get into Radio? - Following my 'pretend' test broadcasts from my parents house when I was 6 or 7 ... I started helping a friend with his disco. He also did a lo-tech AM pirate from his house in Lower Rainham called Radio Atlantis. I got hold of an FM transmitter so Radio Atlantis became a weekend station for north Kent & South Essex. I appeared on there as Ray Magnum!!

When did you first join Caroline? - It was over 10 years ago after meeting with Mark Stafford on EKR. I lived near the Vinters Park Maidstone studios so they wanted somebody trained to cover programs if the weather got bad or there was holiday cover needed. I then covered for Mark and many other DJ's until Martin Turner decided to go part-time and so I took the shared Monday eve slot which is now full-time.

What other Radio stations have you been involved with? - Most of the Kent RSLs... TLR, CTR, Medway FM, Maidstone FM, Coastline FM, EKR, Red Sands Radio plus an internet radio station called Gravity Digital Radio.

What are your earliest memories of Caroline? - My parents live in Rainham, Kent so Caroline used to come in 'as clear as a bell' along with the other radio stations off the coast. As I was born in 1963, I must have been 6-7 when I heard Caroline. Our radio stayed on Caroline and when I got my 1st recorder - we would record the programs (and still have the tapes)

What's your favourite station other than Caroline? - I like bits of many radio stations playing music so dip into Radio 2 (especially when JW is on) and like some of what XFM are doing.

Who is the most famous person that you have met? - Well Robbie Williams I guess.. when I was doing some CD duplication following an event at the Radio Academy. Second place I think goes to Rod Hull who I met when he was getting in his mini (without EMU) in Sittingbourne.

Who do you particularly remember in your offshore days?- Well my offshore days were limited to a visit to the Ross in the 80's and a detour to the Mi Amigo to try and dive there but all that happened in the end was that two of our party climbed part way up the mast !!

Who influenced you the most? - Kenny Everett is still my radio idol and always will be.

What is the best and worst thing about radio today? - The best is that technology has meant that we can receive more radio stations, sounding clearer than ever, wherever we go which has to be a good thing. It means that Caroline is now in stereo and that you can hear it around the world.

The bad thing is the networking of all the so called local stations. In this area we have Heart and kmfm. The Tunbridge Wells breakfast show coming from an industrial estate in Medway is not how it should be. I think that we will return to good old fashioned 'local radio' at some stage.

I do however think that Caroline should be granted a low power full time MW licence as the tests proved that the old girl still sounds wonderful on crackly AM!

How much music freedom do you have on Caroline? - We have a 60/40 rule - 60% play-listed and 40% own choice. This works well and the good ting is that I often play an 'own choice' track then to find that it or one from the same artist appears down the list later in the program. I play what I think my listener would like to hear and always will.

What's the most embarrassing or funny thing that's happened to you? - I set up my mobile disco in the wrong venue and it was on a Saturday afternoon whilst waiting for the wedding party to arrive from the church that I realised the cards and presents had different names to my couple to be wed. After a brief panic and a dozen people moving gear to the hall next door.. we managed to get going in the right place!!

What do you do for your day job? - I work from an American company as an Engineering Manager. I manage a team of engineers that support the London design contractors with their projects.. i.e. designing a new oil refinery, power station or offshore facility.

What's your favourite food? - Anything!

What do you dislike doing the most? - Usually anything slightly technical but also spending time with my 2 boys wins the day

Who would you like to get stuck on a desert Island with ?- Without me presumably! - Well it would be Jonathan Ross

What's the most important thing that you learnt about Radio?- To respect it and your audience but above all -enjoy it

What was the first record you bought?- Good question - 1973 Slade - My Friend Stan

What are your favourite bands and who is your hero? - These change somewhat but currently: The Cribs, ELO, The Killers, Pendulam and The Pet Shop Boys! I really can't declare a hero... sorry

What are your 5 most iconic tunes? - Toto - Africa Lou Reed - Satellite of Love Christopher Cross - Sailing John Lennon - Imagine Hazel O' Conner - Will You

What plans have you for the future? Not an easy question - try to stay healthy, happy, to love and enjoy my family.. plus my love of radio and Caroline!

Thank you Ray for your interesting interview, You were lucky that Rod Hull didn't have his famous Emu with him when you met.

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