Greater London Radio FM 94.9
35c Marylebone High Street
London W1A 4LG
0171 224 2424
I started at GLR in the summer of 1994, initially doing three hours on a Saturday night 10pm to 1am, then additionally broadcasting Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings 8 til midnight.
The programmes were fantastically enjoyable to do. I was building them entirely on my own (a heavy work schedule but a labour of love) and was able to play entirely what I liked.
The station has a reputation for playing new music and I found my taste sharpening up while I was there. Gary Crowley was playing cutting edge Indie, Charlie Gillett was playing World Music, Mark Lamaar had his rockabilly record collection...all the DJ's had a lot of choice. So I was listening to a lot of new stuff that I wouldn't be hearing anywhere else. The influence was feeding into my show.
We had a live session/interview almost every night. The list included Richard Thompson, John Hiatt, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Jackson Browne, Midnight Oil, Lou Reed, Christy Moore, Lynn Miles, Dar Williams, Eric Bibb, Martin Carthy, James Reyne, Jimmy Barnes, Bert Jansch, Norma Waterson, Christine Collister, Never The Bride, Toto, Little Feat, Stephen Bruton, Chris Smither, Ernest Ranglin, Mick Fleetwood, Peter Frampton, Super 8, Blue Nile, King L, Boo Hewerdine, Marcus Miller, Ian McNabb, Hamsters, Otis Grand, Rankin Family, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Fairport Convention, Levellers, Hellecasters, Paul Rodgers, Dave Matthews, Robben Ford, Phish, Little Axe, Jack Bruce, Terry Gonda, Jann Arden, Andy Summers, Steve Howe, Blue Nile, Baka Beyond, David Gray and many many more.
I can't tell you what a thrill it is to sit in the studio while your favourite artists perform their songs live. Absolutely brilliant feeling. As the progamme developed and became gradually more busy, it became clear I needed additional help, particularly on the phones to take listener calls. GLR, like many of the BBC local stations, relys on volunteer production help. It would take the entire web site to tell the story of how everyone came to work on the show, but within six months of starting an entire programme team had come together.
Motorcycle Alan, the first to arrive, drove up to London from Portsmouth to collect a competition prize, then made the journey every subsequent Tuesday night to work on the show. Backstage Patrick booked all the session guests and was the programmes eyes and ears at gigs. Clued-in Kirsti was our resident genius. Huw, the man with the tie, would come in after a day at the bank, fitting in programmes between his theatre rehearsals. Windmill Bob is an aspiring DJ, Vinyl Mick is a chef, Bryony is a student, Stock Car Graham is a writer, Rod does sterling community work in Islington, web site Mike has a Music Directory web-site , Boston John is now in the States. Between them, (see photo gallery) they created a unique atmosphere in the studio. We were all having a really fantastic time. All there for the same reason...that we just love the music, love radio and the whole experience of it all.
BRITISH FORCES BROADCASTING SERVICE
Address: BFPO 786, England.
THE BOB HARRIS COUNTRY: Friday night BFBS 2 7pm-8pm. Broadcasting to Germany, Falklands, Cyprus, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Brunei, Belize, Bosnia. You can tune in as follows: Rheindahlen 104.3 / Osnabruck 106.3 / Bergen-Hohne 104.7 / Bielefeld 101.6 / Munster 102.2 / Sennelager / Paderborn 105.0 / Fallingbostel 95.2
I first began broadcasting for BFBS in 1985, doing a programme called 'Black And Blues'. Every broadcaster wanted to work at the station. BFBS was able to choose the very best, and did. So it felt like a big honour.
Since then, I've done many different styles of programmes for BFBS, including two three-month stints on the daily magazine show 'BFBS UK', to a series of live political phone-ins (if you can believe it) during the last election, with Douglas Hurd, Neil Kinnock etc.
I recorded the shows in Chalfont Grove on Friday afternoon. They were then loaded into various tape banks and whizzed around the globe via satellite. The music mix was very similar to that on Radio 2.
Covering my time at Radio 1
In the past, but unforgettable!
Check out the gallery for photos.
California Jeff phoned me out of the blue one day to ask me if I was watching the Eurovision Song Contest because one of the singers looked just like me. (Thanks, Jeff!). We arranged to meet up and I gave him a tape of the recording of that weeks BFBS Show. He phoned me a couple of weeks later to ask me if I'd like him to submit it to Radio 1. It was ages before I heard. 'They're worried you're going to come back and say 'Wow man, listen to the colours' and things like that' he told me! Eventually I was offered two weeks sitting in for Richard Skinner midnight til 2am. Shortly after, Roger Scott died and the BBC offered me his Sunday evening 10 til 1 show, produced by Phil Swern, beginning January 1990. Then, three months later, I took over permanently on the midnight to 2am slot. I was on air when the Gulf War was declared. It was that (nearly) six hour show that demonstrated the advantages of a permanent overnight service and my new Midnight to Morning (12 til 4am) show launched Radio 1's 24 hour schedule on 1st May 1991. It was absolutely great. There is something very special about broadcasting at that time of day. There is an intimacy that just doesn't happen elsewhere. The people who listened to the show were absolutely brilliant. It was estimated we had an audience of nearly 1.5 million through the week. We heard of people taping the show in a rota system, exchanging tapes at the weekend so they could play programmes they missed!
I worked throughout with Phil Swern. We had an 'unplugged' session on most of the shows, with such as Bob Seger, Paul Brady, Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Jimmy Barnes, Marc Cohn, Cry Of Love, Walter Trout, Pops Staples, Shawn Colvin and Marillion coming in to play live.
Although I could see it coming, I was still desperately sad when it all came to an end. I arrived in Broadcasting House reception at around 4.30 in the morning at the end of the final show on 27th October 1993, to discover scores of people who had travelled to London from all parts of the country to take part in a kind of overnight 'vigil' in the street outside. It was so cold, the commisionairs had invited them in. (Somewhere we've got the photos!).
But it was a wonderful time at Radio 1, made possible, in truth, by the direct support of the station controller, Johnny Beerling, who really believed in our show.
There were two fantastic live experiences, too. Broadcasting from Knebworth '91 (interviewing Elton John, Paul McCartney, Dave Gilmour) and introducing Del Amitri to 125,000 people from the stage of the Radio 1 25th Birthday Party at Aston Park, Birmingham in 1992.
And, I've done odd stuff for network since. I sat in for Johnnie Walker a few times on Saturday afternoons and helped make and voice the 'Curves Contours And Bodyhorns' documentary, a three-part history of the Fender Stratocaster Guitar, which went out in January 1994.
For nearly a quarter of a century, Radio 1 represented the focus of my broadcasting ambitions.
Time has now moved on. But thanks for the memories...
FIRST RUNNING ORDER
Radio 1 – 19th August 1970
1. NEIL YOUNG Cinnamon Girl
LP: ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere’.
2. TYRANNOSAURUS REX: Pavilions of the Sun
3. VAN MORRISON Into The Mystic
4. WISHBONE ASH Errors of My Ways
5. COUNTRY JOE & the FISH Silver and Gold
LP: ‘CJ Fish’.
6. LOS CALCHAKIS Pescadores
LP: ‘La Flute Indienne’. Barclay 820 054 Serie-Panache
7. LOVE Alone Again Or
LP: ‘Forever Changes’.
BBC THAMES VALLEY FM
Phone: 0645 311111
Fax: 0645 311555
Post: PO Box 952, Oxford.
THE BOB HARRIS SHOW Sunday 2pm to 5pm.
Oxfordshire: 95.2FM Berkshire: 104.1FM Reading: 104.4FM
I live in Oxfordshire and it was a really nice feeling doing programmes for my local station. I first broadcast on Radio Oxford in the early eighties. I did the Mon-Fri afternoon show from the spring of 1981 (I took over from Timmy Mallet) to the end of 1984. I used to do a lot of interviews, one or two sessions, I played loads of new music and did a monthly 'Singles Cavalcade', taking the whole week to play through every record that topped the British and American charts from 1955 to then (occasionally re-writing history by not playing an absolute duffer).
So, thirteen years on and I was back in the studio just across the Banbury Road, and broadcasting live every Sunday afternoon from 2 til 5. The mix was the usual 1997 Bob Harris cocktail: Roots, Blues, R&B, Modern Rock, World Music, Country, anniversary tracks from the 'Rockdate' Diary. You could listen to the programmes on one or other of the frequencies listed above across a huge part of Southern England, east to west from Outer London to the Cotswolds, north to south from the Midlands to I.O.W and Southampton.
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©1998-2013 Bob Harris