Your letters, comments and questions. From August 1987.
Write to Talkback, Radio Today, BCM Box 225, London, WC1N 3XX.
Or dictate your letter by calling 01-400 8282 (24 Hours).
We pay £10 for the star letter.
Welcome along to another Talkback. As there hasn't been an issue for some time, we've got quite a few letters to get through. Don't forget, we pay £10 for the most original or interesting letter in each issue. So get writing!
The Quiet Life
Dear Radio Today,
Firstly, let me congratulate you on producing such an excellent magazine. Issue 13 was a brilliant and extremely interesting read, and I can't wait to get my hands on the next issue.
Here in Leicester at the moment we sadly have no pirate stations on the air. The last pirate, Radio Nova, was raided twice in 1983 and forced off the air because of the heavy fines with much regret to the radio listener. Radio King was another Leicester pirate but they went off the air in 1982. The only pirates that could be received in Leicester after that were Robin Hood Radio and the excellent Sunshine Radio from Leominster. Sadly though, they've all disappeared from our radio dials as well. But as long as Laser and Caroline are still on the air, things aren't too bad.
Douglas Sharrard, Leicester.
Big town without a pirate station? Obviously the ideal place or old DTI members to retire to... Still, it is surprising that there hasn't been more activity in the area. Often one station starting up will spawn several more and the numbers then keep on growing. That's probably one of the main reasons why Manchester has practically no pirates and Liverpool loads.
Taping Time Off
Dear Radio Today,
I was sorry to read that you're giving up your tapes after just one issue. I'd have thought that thee would be a bi demand for them, especially the tapes of vintage pirate broadcasts.
Richard Townsend, Islington.
The decision to drop Radio Today Tapes was made because we weren't able to clear orders fast enough. Due to the extra workload involved, a backlog of orders built up which obviously wasn't acceptable. We're considering producing tapes again in the future if we can get the sales operation together in such a way that we can promise rapid delivery. In the meantime, why not check out Anoraks UK's weekly tape offers covering everything from American Radio, Offshore Radio and the London pirates.
Pirate Or Not Pirate
Dear Radio Today,
Hi. I like the new format. I've read the magazine on and off for a while now, but now it's a must.
I must say that I agree with Neal West in #14. The free radio operators are not pirates; they are attempting to expand the narrow world of British Radio, and breaking through the 'closed club' attitude of the established radio world. The fact that few of the people involved see it that way doesn't matter because most people who get caught up in a cause have different reasons or getting involved. But I think they all deserve a better title than pirate.
Onto Brian Marshall – who is quite right. The amount o soul / disco on the airwaves is completely over the top. It rather knocks a whole in the choice argument that we all use when discussing the community radio proposals.
I can never get RFM -despite being just over the London border. I have hopes for London Town FM, although they'll probably be blotted out b a soul station. There are times when it wasn't for Caroline I'd go mad.
Simon Martin, Surrey.
Dear Radio Today,
Full marks to Brian Marshall or his brilliant 'Pirate Eye'; what he says about the black music stations is so right and I am glad at long last someone has said it.
As Brian says, most o the stations are the same: having 375 stations (or is 380 – I lost count years ago) playing the same type of music is pure daft. It's rather like starting up a station and doing a top forty rundown between 5 and 7pm on a Sunday or a pirate TV station putting out sports programmes on a Saturday afternoon.
There seems to be a trend at present for a good 80% of the DJs to talk all over records which is just crazy. In my deejaying days you never 'crashed a record'. Today it seems to be the norm. Not only does this happen right at the beginning of records, but right in the middle of them as well. I think the whole thing boils down to the fact we want quality not quantity. One good old JFM / Horizon / Solar was better than 20 odd crappy distorting rigs which seems to be the norm in 1987. If a station, whoever they are, cannot put out a decent quality signal then they should not bother.
Once again, congratulations Brian on a first rate article.
Richard Norris, South Harrow.
This subject looks like it could run and run. For the next issue we'd like to hear from you soul fans. Do you listen only to the big stations like Kiss FM, LWR, Solar and TKO or do you listen to the smaller stations too? Also, what stations would you choose if there could only be two Londonwide soul stations? The best letter gets £10 – like Richard Norris who we've chosen for this month's star letter.
Satisfied With Soul
Dear Radio Today,
Thank you for producing such a good magazine about the good work the pirates do in London. When in the City I would never contemplate listening to the main legal stations as their format is far too boring. For a start, I think their normal way of presentation and the continuous adverts ruin their popularity.
Take CJ Carlos from Solar or example. Here we have a real joker and an excellent presenter. He is able to bring a relaxed presentation that produces such a good atmosphere. I am mainly into the funk and black music stations and have been listening since the days of Horizon and JFM.
Charlie Davey, Wiltshire.
Aha, someone who's happy at last. Mind you, still listening to the major stations.
Dear Radio Today
I'd like to shed some light on the station IDs a lot of the legal stations are using now. Radio London started out with 'Power 94.9' and now Capital use the ID 'Music Power'.
When I was in New York last October I came across WPLJ, 'Power 95', and one of the competitions they had was something called The Birthday Contest, where they gave away fairly large amounts of money. I notice Capital are doing this now with their Birthday Bonus.
What I was left wondering, was are there any original ideas left in British radio? Why can't we do something different for a change, instead of having to copy what other stations are doing all the time.
Quite right. You sometimes get to feeling that the last original idea in British radio was Marconi's first transmissions. Coming back to the Birthday Bonus game, there seems to be a major flaw in the game: how does the station check up on people's birthdays to make sure they aren't lying? A few DJs tried to quiz winners to make sure they were telling the truth, but there wasn't much they could do anyway. In New York's brash radio system they'd probably take the cash away again if they couldn't produce a birth certificate with the correct date. But in London on Capital Radio? They're too soft!
There's also of course the version of the game going out on Chiltern as the 'Free Flight Music Monitor' (nice short name) – they had the sense to leave out the birthday bit mind you. Then there's always the highly original Network Chart...
Well, that's about it for this time. Don't forget to keep your letters coming. We want to know what soul stations you could do without. Or anything else you want to tell us. Get writing!
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