Sunday, 28 August 2011

A history of Neil in 100 objects - Object 9 - DAB Radio

DAB Radio

If you cut me in half I would bleed to death within seconds. But If I were a stick of rock and you cut me in half you may find the word 'Radio" running through it, although it may be a case of pareidolia (Google it!).

My parents, stuck for a birthday gift for me in the late 80's, bought me a small Sony FM/AM radio.

It was about the size of a small paperback book and took two AA batteries. I immediately started to explore everything it could do. I mostly enjoyed the local radio stations Devonair, and BBC Radio Devon, but also liked radio 1 (then on AM), occasional police and aircraft broadcasts, the early Radio 5, but mostly Radio Luxembourg.

Once darkness fell Radio Luxembourg would be audible on 1440khz AM, to be honest it was a station whose future was pretty much non existent by the early 90's, but the sounds of Emperor Rosko, Mike Hollis and Mark Page kept me awake through the night. The station seemed exotic, and very few people I knew listened to it, so it was unique!

My listening changed, stations came and went, for many years I loved Atlantic 252 (the college common room station of choice), I adored Mark and Lard on Radio 1, a BBC Radio Devon show called 'We Will Rock You' with Nicky Schiller, and many other stations and shows.

I dreamt one day of working in Radio, it seemed such fun and a great way of earning a living.

When I moved out of home I didn't bother buying a TV, and lived without one for 7 years. Who needs TV when you have radio and books?

I got involved in radio myself, helping with Exeter Hospital Radio, also working at weekends for the now defunct Apple FM (£10 a weekend), and also the Exmouth station Bay FM. Much as I am fascinated by the internal working of the radio world I actually found it full of annoying people with big egos (with a few notable exceptions) and decided not to do radio as a hobby, or pursue it as a career anymore!

My first digital radio was the best thing I had ever owned up to that point, I loved the clarity of sound, and the huge variety of stations. BBC6Music gripped me instantly, and I loved listening to Andrew Collins and Tom Robinson playing an amazing eclectic mix of music. 5live sports extra gave me a whole load of new Formula One coverage, and Virgin Radio (now Absolute) provided good quality commercial radio with good mainstream rock and indie music.

Everything has changed now of course, I mostly listen to podcasts, I listen to radio through the TV (due to the bad DAB signal in Aylesbury) and I certainly don't want to work in radio these days.

But I would still choose radio over TV, given the choice. The smart, witty and intelligent content of Radio 4 is far better than anything on the TV, people such as Danny Baker, Mark Radcliffe and Geoff Lloyd will always be more talented than a hundred TV chat show hosts put together.

The Buggles were SO wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Ahh you have reminded me of all the old stations I used to listen to. Also loved Radio Luxembourg when I was a kid, Atlantic 252, DevonAir. My DAB radio is one of the best presents I have ever been given. And if I start harping on about BBC6 I'll never stop. Bravo sir!