Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Radio - the train is leaving the 'platform' ~ an anniversary blog

You know you LOVE radio ....... when you hang on to 'Selector Music Logs' from your station for 28 years! 

Of all the ILR stations I worked on it is the most fondly remembered one. I ran it from 1988 to 1994, great years for UK radio, finally free of many IBA/Radio Authority rules about 'meaningful speech', and 'needle time'. And we could finally have jingles from JAM Creative Productions of Dallas, so 15 years after ILR began we were at last on an equal footing with BBC Radio's 1 and 2 as regards our on-air identification (read 'imaging' or 'sonic logos' if you are under 35)

I was Head of Music & Programmes for GEM-AM right from the start - I had a SUPERB on-air team, did the (annoyingly catchy) jingles, and even named the station - a great privilege.

We re-invented the philosophy of the original station with our internet station Solid Gold GEM AM launched 5 December 2012. And by 'we' I mean a team with over 300 years total experience in radio!

One of the KEY people who makes our internet station 'tick' (digitally speaking) is Andy Marriott ('Marrow' to his listeners) and it is HIS music log above from 1988.

We launched the original GEM-AM on 4 October 1988 and the team we had then are now renowned as stalwarts of UK radio - the launch OB involved an Olympic runner and was commentated on by David (Radio Moments) Lloyd, the legendary (even then) John Peters was on breakfast, in the daytime we had Tony Lyman (now with nearly 40 years in UK radio under his belt), the late, much-missed Brian Tansley, and Anne Marie (Minhall), now a key part of the sound of Classic FM.

Anne Marie in 1988

Other 'young' names on GEM-AM in the early years were Graham Wright and Paul Robey (now on BBC Local Radio), indeed Graham is STILL with us on Solid Gold GEM AM along with other GEM 'originals' Paul Burbank, Jenni Costello, and Tim Rogers.  And of course, Andy Marriott - he was on afternoons and the Saturday early show which he STILL does now for us weekdays 6-8am and Sundays 6-9am ! 

'Marrow' - Andy Marriott in 1988

The concept of the original GEM-AM lives on now on www.solidgoldgem.amWe have a total of 18 DJ's which is about 15 more than the so-called UK 'Gold' station which now just churns out endless songs, unannounced for most of the day, in the dreariest radio format I've ever heard. 

So I'm delighted we are still able to bring you a 'Gold' station with 6 of the original GEM team + 12 other talented DJ's who ALL 'Love the Oldies', of which we have a library of EIGHT THOUSAND!

We are only a small station, (all our DJ's volunteer their services), finances make it impossible for us to 'grow'. But as well as being there for our listeners we hope we make some more open-minded young DJ's, radio consultants, and 'radio gurus' realise there IS more to radio than microscopic playlists, jaded TV 'personalities' trying to DJ, and 'sonic logos'

Most importantly, they need reminding that RADIO is primarily about people with 'radio voices'** ! 

Today's radio is awash with 'yoof' orientated stations, dj's who drop their 'n's', accents so thick they are hard to understand, (remember communication?)

There is a HUGE hole in the UK radio market: commercial radio is drowning in 'suits', research, overseas owners and consultants. And the multi-layered BBC management with its over PC, gender-balance philosophy is light years away from the radio Sir Terry Wogan** created ~ which was adored by his fervent listeners. 

Despite endless cross-promotion and getting its breakfast DJ on TV shows, and dwindling listeners, the 'suits' at BBC Radio 1 persist after each ratings survey with the 'we are popular on other platforms" excuse. 

I have news for you .. the train has left the station.

And FIFTY MILLION pounds a year to run BBC Radio 2 ? !

How much longer will (now) better-informed licence-payers put up with all this? And 'yes' those 'TV detector vans' never worked - they lied !

Judging by Twitter (a 'yoof platform' that all the BBC Locals seem to use endlessly as their much older audience shrinks) that BBC licence fee 'gravy train'.... is also leaving the station....

As we look forward to celebrating Solid Gold GEM AM's 4th anniversary on 5 November, I may be dismissed as a 'radio dinosaur' by those early-retired 'suits' with their millions of pounds worth of radio station shares, or on huge BBC pensions ~ taken early of course!  But read what is below, which I wish I'd said. 

If you don't know who said it you should not be in radio ~ if YOU need to gulp as you read it, YOU are one of the guilty ones....

"The proliferation of radio stations has led to a tremendous lowering of standards. The people are beginning to sound like blancmange. If what you are being paid for is to introduce a record programme you must give it something more than the hip phraseology ...a request....banality. If you are being paid to produce a record programme you must give it: yourself."

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