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Posted By: Jim on: 07/12/2007 11:32:27 EDT
Subject: For John's Eyes Only - Nobody Else Will Be Remotely Interested!

Message Detail:
John wrote

I didn't know you were a PD and DJ! Cool! Tell me more, if you wish!

Jim relies;

Not much to tell, but you asked for it!

Ireland (like most European countries) only had State-owned radio until te 1980's - and in the case of Ireland, just the one national channel which was predominantly speech.

My interests growing up were music, (I played badly with a number of local bands), and songwriting.

As a singer, I had absololutely no star quality - I was simply technically proficient - and by the time I went to University, I realised I would never be more than another jobbing musician (if even that).

I was also fascinated by radio - but as Irish radio was mainly speech, my interest had grown through listening to Radio Luxembourg (one of the only English lanuage music srations in Europe), and American Forces Network, which broadcast for American forces throughout Europe, and had weekly shows by people like Alan Freed, Dick Clark etc.

In my final year in University, a number of us who were majoring in either English or Hirstory, were approached to apply for jobs as producers with Radio Eireann (the state broadcaster).

At the interview, I outlined my magnificent plans for revamping their music policy and in response, they made it clear that they were quite happy with their music policy and did not need me to help them.

(In fact, it turned out that they were really looking for people who could be trained as producers for their new television service, an area I knew nothing about, and cared less).

In any event,they declined my offer to tell them how to run things in radio, which was one of the few things they got right!

In 1967, a friend and myself started a label, Menlo Records, and a music publishing company, Menlo Music, and two years later. I joined the International Songwriters Association as CEO - a post I still hold.

That work is very varied, and little to do with radio, but I did get to meet and interview lots of famous songwriters, including a number of performing writers - people like Gene Pitney, Roy Orbison etc.

There are a few of these early interviews on our site

In 1979, totally out of the blue, but apparently because I had done one of the few interviews ever given by Norman Petty, I was asked by a new local radio station who were planning a short radio series on Buddy Holly's 20th Anniversary, to join their DJ on-air and deal with queries on Buddy Holly from listeners.

This series ran for 13 weeks (30 minutes per show), and after that, I was asked to do a series on famous songwriters, which went on for another 13 weeks.

By now, I had caught the radio bug, and when they owners asked me to do my own weekly slot, and told me I could
program it as I wished, I jumped at the chance.

For the next few years, I did one weekly show called "American Oldies", which covered only oldies from 1957 to 1963 (I cannot remember why I picked those dates - possibly because that was my own favourite era).

This led to a second show, called "Solid Gold Sunday" which ran on a number of stations between 1983 and 1995.

This was a four-hour show which played music from 1955 to 1969 (the tagline was "From Elvis To Elton", a phrase I stole from some American station).

In 1987, I joined a new station as PD, while contining to do my shows, and I to celebrate this, I purchased "The Programming Operations Manual" by Steve Warren from an ad in Billboard. It cost $100 in 1987, and was worth every penny, even if all it did was to give me enough buzz phrases to persuade the staff that I had to know what I was talking about.

In 1989, when the Irish government finally relented and handed out regional licences, I was part of a group which applied for and won the Limerick franchise.

We opened up in October 1989, and I acted as PD, and also as a director of the station. Only two of the corporation's directors were radio people - the others were local businessmen.

I programmed the new station on a 50s - 60s - 70s - 80s and currents playlist basis and I also presented my own "Solid Gold Sunday" show, adding a second show called "Nashville Country" which basically played the US Country Top 40 interspersed with oldies, plus a third, "Nashville Gold", which played country oldies.

Although my interest was mainly music, our licence stipulated a minimum 25% speech, so technically, I was supposed to be over-seeing late-night programmes on farming, religion, politics, literature etc., but in fact, in most cases, the presenters of those shows luckily were happy to produce their own programmes.

The station did OK - at one stage, we were the Number 1 station in Ireland (a big fish in a small pond - the population of the entire country of Ireland could fit twice into New Jesey!), but I was also still acting as CEO of International Songwriters Association and in addition, doing some teaching.

So in 1995. I sold out my radio interest, and nowadays, I simply involve myself in the business of songwriting, which makes me a slightly more relaxed man (if not as happy).

And that is why on the forum, I always preface everything I say by pointing out that I am no expert - I am still learning.

And that is why I love the forum.

I mean, if this forum existed back when I did radio, I might have been a star!

(OK, let's admit it - that is not not likely either, but then where are we without our dreams?)

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