Radio was as important to my musical upbringing as it was to many other people. Here I take you on a brief history of how I got to where I am today and describe the importance of radio.
I have early childhood memories of gathering around the radio on a Sunday evening with my dad and two elder sisters. We would to listen to and record the Top 40 chart show on BBC Radio 1. My sisters and I would take it in turns to operate the Pause button attempting to edit out the talking. We would argue over whether we had already recorded a song; having duplicates was a waste of tape! The recordings were made on my Dad’s “ghetto blaster” which had VU meters (cool!).
In my early teens I had my own Hi-Fi separates system comprising a Goodmans tape deck, amplifier, tuner and speakers (all from Argos). I loved my first hi-fi; actually it sounded really bad compared with what I have owned since.
With my first system I discovered the magic of pirate radio and could satisfy my thirst for all things electronic. I fashioned an extra long aerial from bits of wire that my Dad had lying around and was able to tune into the weak signals of pirate radio stations from Birmingham. My weekends were spent recording onto tape after tape.
I found pirate radio to be such a thrill. Here I could listen to and record music that just wasn’t available anywhere else, unless you went to the right record shop or nightclub. Unfortunately I was too young to do either. The pirate DJs were all very young, enthusiastic, authentic with real black country accents; something you didn’t get on any other radio station! Break time at school would be spent swapping mix tapes and boasting about tracks you had which no one else had a copy of.
Things turned full circle in my early 30s when my DJing hobby lead me to secure a show on a London pirate station. Here I was still fulfilling my childhood dreams!
Now I am middle aged with a seven-year-old son who has a healthy appetite for music. He loves creating playlists on Spotify and even owns a couple of vinyl records. He listens to pop music and his favourites are Daft Punk and Ed Sheeran.
I think the thrill of scanning the FM waveband for new stations has gone. It has been replaced by finding obscure stations on TuneIn or new artists on Spotify. Despite the change in technology I hope to pass on the gift of music to my son. I can’t guarantee he will develop good taste in music, but I hope for the best. Music for me was (and still is) a source of inspiration, motivation, relaxation and contemplation.
More recently my focus has become more on hi-fi technology and how to improve sound quality. I always try to remind myself that it really is all about the music itself rather than how it sounds on a hi-fi.
Without radio I’m not sure I would have made this journey at all.