Radiowaves Special Feature: The Radio 4U Story


Chapter Fourteen

One evening the phone rang and four lads enquired if they could do a programme. So we fixed an appointment and I sat them down and went through the rules. They made it quite clear that they intended to have their own go on Sunday afternoons with an Indie / Punk Rock programme.
Not quite my cup of tea, or should I say, my pint of Guinness, but ok, I was open to new suggestions, within reason.

All went quite well until I changed the station format in January 1988. I will come back to those changes shortly. Let me just say this much, that all programmes had to be prerecorded forthwith and every programme was to be recorded according to a certain format. All the programmes recorded on a Sunday afternoon were to be played throughout the week and this meant that Indie was out.

The programme was fine, only the introduction “Happy Christmas” was a bit unsuitable for February; not quite unusual for Radio 4U but very suspicious for this dj.

This decision was not appreciated by those Punks. On their third weekend they left as usual but, unbeknownst to me, in their bags were not only their own records. but also some great T.Rex rarities of mine and even their personnel file. Fortunately Frances was in the studio where they produced their programme at the same time. She was scheduled to do the evening news programme this particular Sunday and was preparing her show. The programme which was produced while she sat in went on the air the next day. By then we’d already noticed the missing records. The programme was fine, only the introduction “Happy Christmas” was a bit unsuitable for February; not quite unusual for Radio 4U but very suspicious for this dj. So we checked the other three tapes which were recorded when nobody else was with them. Two tapes were so, so.

Because we’d gathered what the name of the game was, we ignored the bits of unsuitable language on the recording for Tuesday and Wednesday. The fourth programme, which was scheduled for Thursday, was full of bad language used by the presenter and bits and pieces which were taken from rather filthy punk movies. The music was diabolical. If this would have gone live it would have led to the station’s funeral. They obviously must have told all their friends to listen in to this programme to hear how they were taking the mickey out of Radio 4U. Hence, on Tuesday and Wednesday, we left them with the illusion that we would not have noticed any of their dirty tricks.

John, Frances and I sat down on Wednesday and reedited this tape which was due on air the next day. The jock said on one occasion: “As I said before, I don’t know what the fuck I am talking about.” We edited out the f-word but kept the clip. Another part was taken from a film: “It has something to do with cheese, I think.” We used that in conjunction with the first bit. The only other usable bits of the programme were “Live radio and America” and “That’s enough of that”. Those great words were spoken by the presenter too. We mixed those clips with music by James Last, Brendan Shine, Abba and the Bay City Rollers to produce a new 45 minute long programme.

It still makes me laugh when I imagine those punks sitting in front of the radio with their mates. I know how other listeners reacted to this programme: They enjoyed the music but thought that the presenter was a funny idiot.

This too is community Radio.