Radio Heroes

I had a number of radio heroes growing up. Noel Edmonds, Adrian Juste, Jeremy Beadle and Kenny Everett were the stand out broadcasters of the day.

All of them had a certain mastery of the radio medium, unique ideas and compelling shows. Their presenting styles were wildly different but each had tonnes of imagination and personality, an all engrossing theatricality and engaged the listener in wonderfully brilliant conceits.

Noel Edmonds has become a bit of a laughing stock in the 21st century. Back in the day, he was a clever and innovative broadcaster. I loved listening to him on the breakfast show. 

This clip from the seventies offers a fab look of Noel at work and a glimpse into the BBC Radio 1 studios and broadcasting gear of old. It's part of a longer programme which you can view here, if you're interested.

Adrian Juste's schtick was creating sketches that reused clips and soundbites from comedy records and radio shows. He got to host the new year's eve / new year's day show for a few years and they were a great listen. I can still remember the skits and sketches even now. 

Jeremy Beadle was another natural broadcaster. Long before his game show antics on tv, he hosted Night Trek, an overnight show on London's LBC. A feature I recall fondly was when he took you on an imaginary journey around London where you had to identify the location from cryptic clues and sound effects. 

And then there's Kenny Everett.

Kenny was a superhero. A former pirate on watery wireless, Kenny first came to fame on Radio London, a pirate ship bobbing about in the North Sea off the coast of Frinton in Essex. He came ashore at the end of the sixties and had been hired and fired by a multitude of stations, including Radio 1. In the mid 70’s, he’d landed at the newly launched independent local radio station for London, Capital Radio. 

Kenny’s shows were a carnival of sounds, effects, funny voices, clever tape tricks and an unpredictable mix of music and features. I’ve always loved the medium of radio in particular and produced audio in general. Kenny revelled in sound. As a kid, hearing the antics of Kenny Everett and trying to figure out how he achieved the effects and illusions of his radio shows, was a passion that few of my friends and family understood, nevermind shared. Without a doubt, if I’d never stumbled upon Ev, I’m sure I’d never have become so passionate about radio and the creative possibilities it offered.

Kenny had a show on Capital Radio every Saturday from 12 to 3pm. The first two hours consisted of mostly classic hits interspersed with live chat and his taped inserts on cartridge, often produced only hours before in his studio at home. There were contests where you’d have to identify a song from the first inch of it played over and over. Or a tune played backwards. Or spell out the contest answer by taking the first letter of a bunch of songs played out in rapid sequence. 

Captain Kremmen, his silly space serial, came on just after 1pm. The second hour would also feature “The Memory Module”, a montage of classic tracks from the 60s and 70s, spliced together with a bit of echo or other tape effects “to remove the boring bits”. 

The last hour could generally be ignored. He called it the soft spot. Sixty minutes of laid back, easy listening music; not the mainstream playlist but hand picked, lesser known album tracks. Whilst the tunes were undoubtedly good, there was little banter or fun between the songs. Kenny himself said in his autobiography that by the third hour, he was often pissed and barely able to stay awake. It was a bunch of songs both he and the listener could enjoy in peace, without the need for whacky chat in between. So, if Kenny could “drop out” of the third hour, then so could I.

Kenny’s show was essential listening every Saturday. If I had to leave home for some reason or another before midday, I’d have pangs of guilt about missing this weekly event. The show was an absolute  inspiration. A showcase in how to present a mix of music, sketches, contests and features with fun chat and mesmerising production.

Kenny was actually a superhero. A former pirate on watery wireless, Kenny first came to fame on Radio London, a pirate ship bobbing about in the North Sea off the coast of Frinton in Essex. He came ashore at the end of the sixties and had been hired and fired by a multitude of stations, including Radio 1. In the mid 70’s, he’d landed at the newly launched independent local radio station for London, Capital Radio. 

Kenny’s shows were a carnival of sounds, effects, funny voices, clever tape tricks and an unpredictable mix of music and features. I’ve always loved the medium of radio in particular and produced audio in general. Kenny revelled in sound. As a kid, hearing the antics of Kenny Everett and trying to figure out how he achieved the effects and illusions of his radio shows, was a passion that few of my friends and family understood, nevermind shared. Without a doubt, if I’d never stumbled upon Ev, I’m sure I’d never have become so passionate about radio and the creative possibilities it offered.

Kenny had a show on Capital Radio every Saturday from 12 to 3pm. The first two hours consisted of mostly classic hits interspersed with live chat and his taped inserts on cartridge, often produced only hours before in his studio at home. There were contests where you’d have to identify a song from the first inch of it played over and over. Or a tune played backwards. Or spell out the contest answer by taking the first letter of a bunch of songs played out in rapid sequence. 

Captain Kremmen, his silly space serial, came on just after 1pm. The second hour would also feature “The Memory Module”, a montage of classic tracks from the 60s and 70s, spliced together with a bit of echo or other tape effects “to remove the boring bits”. 

The last hour could generally be ignored. He called it the soft spot. Sixty minutes of laid back, easy listening music; not the mainstream playlist but hand picked, lesser known album tracks. Whilst the tunes were undoubtedly good, there was little banter or fun between the songs. Kenny himself said in his autobiography that by the third hour, he was often pissed and barely able to stay awake. It was a bunch of songs both he and the listener could enjoy in peace, without the need for whacky chat in between. So, if Kenny could “drop out” of the third hour, then so could I.

Kenny’s show was essential listening every Saturday. If I had to leave home for some reason or another before midday, I’d have pangs of guilt about missing this weekly event. The show was an absolute  inspiration. A showcase in how to present a mix of music, sketches, contests and features with fun chat and mesmerising production.


Posted by Tim on Sun 16 Jan at 11:28 and viewed 614 times.

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