My time in radio, through music

On my commute to work one day this week, I chose to listen to a playlist on Apple Music, instead of the usual breakfast show I’d listen too on the radio.

Whilst trundling towards the park and ride to pick up a handful of passengers, I was listening to Prefab Sprout – The King of Rock and Roll which reminded me of a time I was pressing the buttons for a presenter who absolutely loved this song. That in turn got me thinking about my time in radio and how I can relate certain songs to some ‘big’ moments in my radio career.

I put ‘big’ in quotation marks, because whilst they may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things, to me, they’re pretty big.

So let’s have a whistle stop tour on my time in radio, through music.

Charlotte Church – Crazy Chick, 2005.

Before I hit the airwaves of ‘proper’ radio, I spent sometime in my youth broadcasting on internet radio stations associated with the virtual chat room, Habbo Hotel. The concept at the time was simple, you play your avatar in the virtual hotel, meet new people, chat to them via keyboard – and then play the hits on the radio.

DJ Ox was the name, and Charlotte Church’s Crazy Chick was all the rave. At one stage, I remember having over 100+ listeners from around the world. But this wasn’t traditional radio, this is radio where you’d purposefully stop, or talk all over the songs so someone could win some ‘furni’ from your room.

Habbo still exists, as do some of the fansite radio stations, but I can safely say I’m too old to play now.

James Morrison – You Give Me Something, 2006.

In 2006, I answered an ad in the local paper calling for volunteers to join the local hospital radio station, Radio Cherwell. I answered the call, based on my above experience and the fact I was starting a course at college all about eMedia.

I vividly remember working with a Welsh chap called Matthew. We collected requests from patients at the Radcliffe Infirmary one rainy evening in the centre of Oxford, before heading back to the studio to put the playlist together. At the time, obtaining music wasn’t as quick as it was today, but a patient had requested James Morrison’s new one.

This was the first ever song I played on ‘proper’ radio, from an actual radio studio, broadcasting to listeners that mattered. But it wasn’t played in the conventional way. In fact, I played You Give Me Something up to and including the first chorus via my LG Cookie phone, with the microphone from the phone, pointing towards the microphone in the studio.

Needless to say, the audio quality wasn’t great, but I’m sure the patient who requested it, enjoyed the small snippet we were able to play. The radio station now has the proper digital copy of the song.

N-Dubz – Strong Again, 2008

Na Na Naii! Let’s be honest, N-Dubz aren’t everyones cup of tea, but back in 2008, this was a regular at my student station, Tone Radio.

Though, at that time, Tone Radio’s output was predominantly indie based, so it was quite difficult to find people with a similar taste in music, let alone fit in somewhere who would play pop and songs like this. That’s where Let’s Have Lunch with Ian Pinnell and Deena Munn came in. Tuesday lunchtimes were pop and R&B times. With similar tastes in music between us, N-Dubz earned their royalties from us.

Then a couple of years later, I hosted Ian and Kris at Breakfast and would continually try and sneak one pop track in a week and DJ’d all things pop in the Student Union Bar, which didn’t go down too well.

Fond memories.

Bruno Mars – Treasure, 2012.

In 2012, I joined the team at OX105, Oxford’s Community Radio station based at the time in Blackbird Leys (later moving to Cowley Road).

I joined Matthew and Harry on the breakfast show and this was the first time I ever heard Treasure by Bruno Mars. If I recall, we all even made a little dance routine to it in the studio, but I’m sure if you ask them now, they’ll have forgotten.

I hosted evenings (Monday to Thursday) on the station with a show called ‘Campus’. It was aimed at the student community, but if I’m being honest, I doubt any of the students listened. Though, it was a fun show to host and I put my own stamp on it.

The station closed in 2013 under a shroud of now deleted tweets on the official account. It’s now back as First FM.

Eddy Grant – I Don’t Wanna Dance, 2013 (Released 1982)

Eddy Grant’s I Don’t Wanna Dance released in 1982 was one of the first songs I played when I joined the lineup at Amber Sound FM in Derbyshire. I hosted The Saturday Night In for many months and covered various areas of the schedule, including early mornings, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

I loved my time on this station but left due to not having the equipment to do the job and sadly, lack of time. I’d happily go back to cover though!

Rozalla – Everybody’s Free, 2020 (Released 1991)

In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic hit and plans to produce and syndicate Party with Pinnell fell short. However, the programme was picked up by Hospital Radio Lynn and aired every Saturday Night between 9pm – midnight. After a couple of months as Party with Pinnell, we decided to change the name to Party Anthems.

Needless to say, we were giving Rozalla lots in royalties, she made an almost weekly appearance with her 1991 hit Everybody’s Free.

I still host Party Anthems on Hospital Radio Lynn, and this is where my current radio journey continues. I’m glad to have been given the opportunity during lockdown to continue with the programme and bring some light entertainment to listeners and even more thrilled they’ve kept me on!