During April 2013, I compiled a series of interviews and collaborations which I’m hoping to re-publish in the next few weeks. My first republished post is local radio legend (and one of my Dad’s good mates) Ronnie McGhie. It’s time to absorb yourself in the world of radio. Take it away, Ronnie!“Radio, Radio”by Ronnie McGhie
When can you honestly say that you actually listened to the radio? Now I’m not talking about driving in the car, humming, “Bohemian Rhapsody” or constantly chatting on your phone, hands free, of course!
I am talking about turning on the radio in the house instead of the television. I do realise that is an unusual concept, but I would encourage you to give it a go!
Then again, I am the Managing Director of a community radio station, so I do have my own self interest at heart.
I am a self confessed ‘radio junkie’, and have been since I was a schoolboy. I remember my dad would always put the Wireless on early at the weekend and I would lie in my bed listening to the “wonderful sound of Radio One”. Now, I did use the word “wireless”, at that time, we owned a large wooden framed wireless which, like televisions at that time consisted of many wires & valves. I will have you know that wireless only passed away six months ago.
As if I did not get enough radio during the day, at night I had my wee trannie with an earpiece and I would try to listen to Radio Luxembourg instead of falling asleep. I was tired at school a lot back in the day.
It’s a wee bit strange now that the words “wireless” and “trannie” mean very different things today!
In 1973, radio changed forever with the advent of commercial radio. In Glasgow, we had Radio Clyde 261 and it sounded fantastic. I was so taken by it, that I actually wrote to them to see If I could come up and visit the studios. They foolishly invited me up! Now, I was met by a nice guy, who’s name totally escapes me now but because I showed more interest in the production side, he palmed me off with Producer John MacCalman. John was a gem, he took time to show me some skills of the job. I was so enamoured with all things Radio Clyde, that I hardly left the place for the next three years.
Next came Hospital Radio. I actually morphed from production to being a DJ. You know what, I loved it! HBSA in Irvine was a total blast. It was run by radio junkies like myself!
Unfortunately, I got a really good job that involved lots of overtime and I had to give up the radio side of my life.
Fast forward to 2009 and I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to escape the rat race and I went to college to study media. From there, guess where I ended up? Back behind the microphone!
I discovered Community Radio in Saltcoats of all places. I started presenting show for them and I still do my food show for 3TFM every week.
In 2011, I was approached to do a rock show for Irvine Beat FM, another community radio station. That show has led me now to be Managing Director of the station.
Anyway, I have severely digressed. For a while radio was most definitely the forgotten media. It was reduced to background music of shops and workplaces. Now, I believe radio is fighting back. Not so much at local radio level, where all the local stations are owned by the same company and at the moment sound very generic.
I very rarely listen to daytime music radio, it’s just not for me! I find so much enjoyment listening to select talk radio programmes, one day BBC Radio 4 and then BBC Radio Scotland, which in my opinion is now the best radio station around. Radio is available to us in so many forms. You can still listen to it on your portable radio, on the world wide web, where you have access to all sorts of radio stations playing every genre of music. We can now listen to any radio station via our smart phones. The Tune-In radio app is an amazing piece of technology which has transformed the way I listen to the radio.
No excuses now! Get away from the dirge of daytime television and indulge in a little bit of radio. There is a wealth of great radio stations out there just waiting for you to discover them. You will find some new favourites!
Great piece, Ronnie. I was a 5 Live/Danny Baker addict before I fled to the sunshine…still listen on line from time to time! Tom Welch
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