Thursday, April 22, 2010

Playin' all the hits for you, wherever you may be


I went for a meeting a radio station in Manchester yesterday. While I was waiting in reception you could see what was going on in the studio. It was a local radio station, but a big one, on in every shop, bar and taxi wherever you went. So the people behind the glass were rather well-known. Needless to say, I never heard of them, but I only listen to Radio 2.

Anyhoo, I was fascinated by seeing into the studio. The last time I was in a radio station was when I was on Radio 1's Newsbeat with the booming Richard Evans in 1996 to talk about Sarah Lancashire's exit from Coronation Street. I didn't get a glimpse of whoever the DJs were.

At yesterday's radio station, there were for all to see. Standing up in the studio, checking emails as they arrived, chatting with the others in the studio - four of them! - scribbling down notes as Sky News broke on the TV in the corner, and queueing records up at the touch of a button. No one was popping the needle onto Flowers In The Rain here. It looked like enormous fun.

When I was 12 we went to see a friend of dad's who worked at Southampton hospital radio. I was allowed to read out a dedication to a woman from Guernsey and pick the record. I picked Float On by the Floaters, because it was No.1. I thought then how nice it would be to play your records on the radio all day long. Still do. My friend Matt is a DJ. I know work can be hard to come by at times, but when it does it really must be the best job in the world.

Sadly, playing what you want is not an option anymore, but I still have my fantasy of being Clint Eastwood in Play Misty For Me, without the attentions of a crazed psychopath in lounging pyjamas. Then again, that's showbiz.

15 comments:

Chris Hughes said...

When I read that first sentence, I wondered if you were abandoning the high-powered world of boat-building (or whatever it is you do) to embark on a career as a DJ. Shame. I would have liked to have heard Five-Centres In The Afternoon. Or Five At Drive, you could have called it.

Five-Centres said...

I'd open the show with Afternoon Delight every day.

Simon said...

A friend and I did some time on a local community radio station which was great fun, as there you HAD to play your own records as they didn't have a library, never mind a play list.

Unfortunately we had to leave through musical differences - we had a quiz spot and management didn't want us to use any chart music in it. Bit tough asking the geenral public to identify old B-sides and album tracks they've never been exposed to!

Five-Centres said...

That sounds like the best job in the world, Simon. But doing it with a friend would eventually grate, like you say.

Ishouldbeworking said...

I used to hang round a local radio station when I was a student (these days it would be called 'being an intern') where I learned to splice tape with a scalpel and all those lost arts...they let me do the odd review on an arts programme too, but I upset the producer when I was a bit too scathing about a Shakatak album they'd given me. It was the best fun, though.

John Medd said...

Did you see a Partridge clone announcing: Ladies and Gentlemen, pray silence for The Electric Light Orchestra?

Chris Hughes said...

I'm fairly certain there was a DJ on Red Rose Radio who was opening every show with Afternoon Delight as late as 1987.

Five-Centres said...

They used to do that on Radio Bahrain, Chris, my favourite radio station of all time.

And sadly John, all the DJs were trendy young things in their twenties. Not an Alan Partridge character to be seen.

Chris Hughes said...

And you could have a speeded-up chipmunk voice saying "what's the recipe of the day, Five-Centres?" before telling us how to make Butterfly Cakes.

I have a feeling that same DJ also used to close his show with Music Box Dancer. I forget his name, alas.

Anyway, you never told us why you were at the big 103.

Five-Centres said...

Well it was nothing to do with radio pe se, just a convenient place for a meeting because we were in Manchester anyway.

TimT said...

I was a DJ on our university radio station, and it was great fun. We had few/no listeners (for reasons too boring to explain), but I loved sorting out my playlist in the afternoon, then loading my records (this was the 1980s) into a box and carrying them over to the studio.

For a couple of terms I did the 10-midnight slot on a Sunday evening, which was very Clint in PMFM. Happy days...

BPP said...

BALLS!

Best job in the world, my arse! I'll tell you what the best job in the world is, shall I? Being Roger Moore in the 1970s, that's what!

Just look at the bastard!

Bright Ambassador said...

Mark Radcliffe always says that you can't complain when your purpose in life is getting paid to talk inbetween you favourite records.

Now, here's China Crisis...

Five-Centres said...

You're right BPP, what a job. But look at him now. I wouldn't want THAT job.

So we're all agreed. Let's start our own radio station.

Matthew Rudd said...

You have, of course, been a radio producer in the recent past...

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