I was absolutely
thrilled to bits on July 24th, the 40th anniversary of my
first day at Manx Radio,
my lovely wife Lindsay presented me
with this fabulous knitted doll, she had made for me.
September 2007, my
old friend Chris Crookall flew in from Canada, we got together
at the home of former chief engineer Ewan Leeming. Click
on Chris (left)
and hear how he was way back in 1967
This area will be regularly updated but will begin with my return to
Manx Radio's airwaves in December 1989.
The Late Show on Manx Radio, in its present format, started at the end
of 1989. Chris Price had presented the programme for a number of years
until United Christian Broadcasting took over the slot.
Listening figures had declined dramatically, not just for the Late
Show, but it affected other day parts as well. If listeners had
switched stations late at night, the radio would probably stay tuned
to whoever for the breakfast show. The powers that be decided it
was time for a change.
A chance meeting with George Ferguson in the supermarket resulted in
me being offered the programme as a freelancer. I'm delighted to
say that I was allowed to format the programme and play the music I
thought right for the audience. From the beginning, I played requests
which helped enormously when it came to selecting three hours worth of
music from quite a vast library - the only problem was the way the
music was classified. Albums
were filed in groups,
such as Jazz, Rock, Easy Listening etc. This was at the
discretion of the librarian who could quite easily have
classed James Last as Jazz or whatever.
started the Late Show In 1989, I'd
been driving an A1 taxi for a living. The fee I received from Manx
Radio wasn't enough for me to quit that job so I persuaded the
station to let me assume the role of record librarian.
At the time,
there were more than 100,00 singles and almost as many vinyl albums on
file. My first task was to
remove all the albums and then re-file them alphabetically, this took
months of tedious work. With the
library now sorted, I was able to find requested songs a lot
quicker, but it didn't half make for a busy programme. All the
albums had a paper sleeve, then the cardboard cover which was
then inside a plastic sleeve. I'd run down the corridor
from the studio, grab the album removing it from the 3
different sleeves and get it on the turntable before the last
song finished. There was no time during the programme to put records back in
all the sleeves, that meant a lot of tidying up at the end of
the show. Compact discs were only just filtering through to
the library, and what a blessing they were. Late at night with
no engineers on duty, trying to find a new stylus for the
pickup was a nightmare and so many of the popular 45s
were so worn, they sounded awful on the air.
The first survey, about one year after the return
of the Late Show, showed that we had recovered a lot of the
lost audience. But MD Stewart Watterson pointed out that
the figures dropped sharply after the 11pm news. He asked if I
could come up with something to hold on to the audience for
longer and that's when Bernie's Brain Teasers were born.
The graph below shows
four different peaks during 24
hours. The bulk of the audience was tuning in
primarily for the news. This survey was done
were still doing the midday
Mannin Line programme. The interesting feature of this
graph is that, in general UK listening habits, the
audience tapers off following the 8 am news. Manx Radio
certainly bucks the trend.