Horizon Radio
End Game 85/86

Horizon Radio End Game Walk In My Shoes 1986

 Horizon Radio End Game Walk In My Shoes For The Last Time Before I said Goodbye to My Dreams in Radio & Moved On

The End Game

Before going into those final days of my dreams in radio, lets go back to January 1985 and the National Broadcasting School. The Idea of going on that course came from ET. Ian told me all about it and at the time I wanted nothing to do with the Pirates that took over in October 1984. I did still want to spin disc’s on radio. So Ian’s Idea was for me to go on this course and then put out demo tapes to legal radio stations showing I was on that last course which many in the radio industry were talking about, because the NBS was closing down in April 1985.

The National Broadcasting School 1985To me it sounded good, so I could re-set my own history in radio. I booked onto the course by telephone and as I was away for a lot of the time used the Horizon Radio telephone number 01 701 0031. That line had a answerphone connected to it. I did not think anything of it at the time. First day at the NBS and if memory serves me right there were 22 people on that course from all over the UK. The room is laid out with a desk (Large Table) for each to use with our names on. We all sat down at the table allocated to us and mine was at the back on the right as you look at the tutor.

The tutor starts the class and from the right, on my left he gets each student to stand up and give a bit of information on themselves. Everyone on the first row stood up and did their thing, then he starts with my row and the Lady at the front of my row. He gets to the Lady in front of me, she does her thing, at the end, the tutor takes over and starts to tell us the aims of the course and what we we would learn that day. I am quite happy he forgot to get me to stand up as I all along the others were doing it was telling myself not to mention Horizon Radio. Then a few minutes later and I did see him glance at me before he made the announcement.

“Oh Ladies and Gentleman, I am sorry, I forgot to introduce you to a fellow member of the class, Sat at the back on my left is Mr Horizon Radio, who I am sure you all know is Chris Stewart”. Embarrassing yes and I was flabbergasted, how on earth did he know? It turns out the lady I spoke too on the phone to book in to the NBS was an Horizon Radio listener, she knew the phone number and my voice. but there where more shocks like this to come. After a few days of getting to know one another, the students on that course were making radio commercials for Horizon. Nick Moss would pop up with the new adds in the late afternoon and at the end of the days session we would make those commercials in the NBS studio’s. The NBS were fine about it and Horizon got a lot of praise on that course.

At the end of the course all the students where given a week to use the NBS studio’s to make demo tapes to send to radio stations. I at this time really wanted to distance myself from Horizon and get on a legal station. To make sure those who got my audition tape saw it came via the NBS,  I had cassette labels printed (500) in all, (Some I still have now) with the NBS Logo and Recorded At The National Broadcasting School, other students also used those labels I then sent out my demo to most radio stations in the UK. In all I get 11 reply’s and invites to visit the station. One of those stations was Radio Forth in Scotland, today part of Bauer’s Hits Radio network. I also got one reply from County Sound Guildford. I did mention this on the Horizon Radio close down show. County Sound sent me a reply in a very short obnoxious letter starting with ” We do not deal with Pirates, do not send us anymore demo tapes ETC”. County Sound was within reach of Horizons transmitter and we had many listeners in that area. If it had not been for Caroline and Big L and others, the station would never have existed. Whoever ran that station was scared stiff of someone who knew radio better that they did and was worried someone would cost them there jobs. How do I know that?

I went to 11 other interviews and within minutes I was asked very nearly the same question “How On Earth Did You Make Horizon Radio Bigger Than Capital Radio In London” Questions similar to that were asked at every interview. None of the cassette tapes or letters sent, mentioned Horizon Radio and at those interviews I did not say anything about the station until after I was asked about Horizon Radio.

The Day Radio Broke My Heart

A friend I made on that NBS course had a position on I think, Southern Sound, it was the Brighton station as that is where I went for my last interview. I sat there for close to 3 hours talking to the program controller. I thought I had hit the jackpot as I got on so well. I left on a high and drove back to London. Minutes after I arrived back at Comber House the telephone rang. It was my friend who had got that interview for me. She said “sorry Chris I saw you leave, so went and spoke to the PC to see how you got on and he said “I like the guy, I wish I could give him a job, but look at what he has achieved with Horizon Radio, he would not be satisfied with just being a presenter, he would want my job or even the stations managers job“. That told me everything, it was time to call it a day if Horizon Radio did not get one of the new licenses, time to move on. Utter crap as all I ever wanted to do was play records.  Jealousy for you by people who have low standards and cannot move up to the bar set by others, so are in fear of their jobs. The Radio and TV world even today is full of them.

If the legal stations thought like this, you should by now understand why those unlicensed stations were always running Horizon Radio and myself down. We will return to some of those comments you can even read today on certain websites and highlight the envy, most of which originated via one station.

1985 into 1986 into 2009 and today

With most the Training Studio at 62 Westow Hill stolen, Nick Moss and myself started to look overseas as both of us thought it was a waste of money doing anything in the UK until we knew the outcome of those radio licenses. in late April or May of 86 we got an unofficial tip from the right place that the licenses would be cancelled and that became true in June 86 I think. The Tony Monson release of the forged Jicrar radio figures, read about that here. That was the final nail in the coffin for the radio licenses. That along with what was going on behind the scenes was some of the reasons given by that tip off. The lady said “how on earth do they expect to be issued with radio licenses with so much trouble going on, its like clubland of the 50s and 60s, but this time it’s Radio Gangland“. Time for me to move on as I wanted nothing more to do with the toxic unlicensed radio. Nick had connections in Spain so Tenerife came to mind. We tested out there as you can hear on the DJ Shows page. My feeling was the Island was not big enough and how many visitors took radio’s with them on holiday. The Costa De Sol was very different story with it’s large Expat community. Via one of Nicks contacts we got through the doors at SER, Spain’s national broadcaster in Madrid. Marbella came up and a hardly used transmitter in Ceuta, Spanish territory in Africa just opposite Gibraltar. Turn that antenna and it would cover most of the Costa’s.

SER had an unused part radio studio location in a Marbella shopping center, right on the coast, it looked good. We also got shown a possible transmitter site up in Mijas which would have been great also, but no road up that mountainside. 2 years of backwards and forwards to Madrid and even being invited to the 1987 SER conference in Alicante where they had laid on a temporary studio for me to show the conference what we wanted to do. Where by the way I got a standing ovation after the 40 minute show. But mañana, mañana, mañana. Money for me was getting tight after 2 years as I had borrowed £10k off my mother, I had to call it a day. Nick stayed with it and 2 or 3 years later managed to get a station going on the Costa, where he lives today.

Horizon Radio Jingle 1983 often imitated but never equalledI was still working in the clubs around London like Nightmoves, Dougies, Crystals and for Limited Edition Entertainments as a DJ. Then one Sunday night two gentlemen from LWR turn up at Dougies and inform me that being a white guy I could no longer work in Black clubs. That was witnessed by Len and Glen and also the CCTV. Those CCTV tapes are still with me today. A few weeks later my car gets smashed up badly £4000 worth of damage. I heard later Tony Blackburn and David Rodigan plus others received similar treatment.

Close friends had been worried about my health, one even suggested moving home before some idiot put a knife in my back, the verbal abuse and lies by then had been going on since the 12th of October 1984. That I soon did and never looked back. Envy consumes people and with Horizon Radio “No One Did It Better”, bearing in mind the catch phrase of Horizon Radio from 1981 was No One Does It Better.

For those who want to know and I have been asked too many times. Where did you go after Horizon. I went into corporate Club land working for Mecca, Rank and others as a DJ. Then moved upstairs and became a General Manager of 6 nightclubs across the UK. I then got offered a mega deal to return to Jersey to get clubs up to UK standards, boy that was fun and a magical time. It was also where I found computers really interested me and ended up designing all promotional material, by then I had also had contacts to get items printed in the UK and shipped to Jersey for under half the cost of Jersey printing and gloss finish, something Jersey had never seen. 1999 I bought my first Apple Mac and by then into webdesign and that is what I really enjoyed. My mother got Alzheimers so I came back to the UK to help her still doing the Jersey work and also picked up design work here for a chain of ten pubs, Flyers, Menus ETC. The owners friend ran a nightclub and that was in trouble, so with years of experience in clubs I went in to sort it. The staff were robbing him right, left and center. This was the first week of December 2003. I was off on Holiday with two of my Jersey friends on the 6th of January 2004, so had little time, but turned the club when staff knew I had manged London Nightclubs. I went on holiday in Jan and on that holiday I met up again by accident with that nurse (by then a Head Nurse in A&E) who back in 1995 helped look after my friends daughter who had got ill on that visit. We were checking into a hotel in Bangkok as she was checking out as she had been on a nursing seminar there. 5 minutes later, we would have missed each other. Hence 6 years later she became my wife. Destiny Perhaps.

Emails were coming in from that club I had helped and the owner was being ripped off again. I get back and have a meeting with the owner and agree to go in again and kick ass. I knew who the problems were, so brought in my own door team from days gone by and borrowed staff from the pub chain. I went in one Saturday morning and ran the new crew through the building, then on Saturday night read the riot act. The door staff including the girl on the door were doing 50/50 on admissions, 50% for them 50% for the owner and also taking their wages. Bar Staff were putting £20 notes in their bras and lads in their socks and giving drinks away like tomorrow. The DJ’s were just playing what they liked, sod the customers. A right mess. What they did not know, was sat in the office upstairs was a new very experience door crew and bar staff. All hell broke loose, the old door team got angry and like Horizon Radio in the old days threats to kill flowed (This Time I was waiting for it?).  Some left voluntary, some left for the nick in police vans, two doormen of old thought they were bigger that Kev (Ex SAS) and left in ambulances accompanied by police and then like others spent a couple of days in the local nick before their court appearances. I had by that night spoken to the local Police Licensing Officer and police were waiting outside the club. Two weeks later the owner said he had had enough and was off to the sunshine to live, would I take it on. All I had to do was sign the lease of the building.

That lease would tie me up for 9 years, which I was not happy with as clubs where on the way out, we talked to the landlord and got it down to 5 years renewable. I was the new club owner.(Corporate Style). We got the club up and running and doing well, too well it seems as the club (dance) in the other part of the building went bust in 2005. No one wanted it, so the landlord asked me to take it, but noway on his lease conditions. So he said you take it and I will give you 12 months free rental and no signed lease, just pay the business rates. I took it and sort of got it working using known dance/mix DJ’s, two nights a week and making a bit of a profit. The other club 5/6 nights a week with private hire and doing well. Late 2006 things changed as the recession was upon us, it was hell for 18 months, but with help from the Web Design, Hosting and Print business I still had, we held on, just about. Mid 2008 both clubs were back in profit, that was a big relief. March 2009 the landlord introduce a guy to me who wanted the dance club, I said you take both clubs or none and gave him a price. A couple of days later he came back with a briefcase full of cash. 7 days later I did my last night at the corporate style club and was the DJ for the last 3 hours hours. The last time I would DJ in a nightclub ever and it was a night to remember. When I go shopping today and bump into some of those who were there they still talk about it. April the 9th 2009, very much like those last Days of Horizon Radio, I was more than happy to be away from life on the front line. Both clubs later went bust within the year and I was asked to take them on again. Not A Chance.

My then girlfriend later to become my wife was over visiting again and was due to go back home in early May 2009. I had no real commitments, web design can be done from anywhere, print was on the way out by then as the web was taking over. I decided to go back with her. At Heathrow airport that day of the flight, I hear Chris, Chris, Chris Stewart. It was Tony Monson of Solar Radio of old.

Tony Monson Heathrow chat

 

The only way to celebrate the good times is for those who created the bad times to man up grow a pair stop being selfish and tell the truth for once in their lives.

I did not know who he was for a minute or so, as 25 years had past and too be honest I had forgot Horizon Radio, time does that you know. It was a brief encounter as going back is not the way to go forward, well not in my mind. For the next two years I was in Thailand, sat in a beach side bungalow in Hau Hin on the computers as a digital nomad and enjoying the sunshine. 1 problem is the Visa you get 90 days max then have to do a border run (not allowed these days) to Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar (Burma), pay for a visa to go there then pay for another visa to come back for another 90 days. So I used to come home every 6 months and then go back. When I married my wife I could have got a yearly visa as long as there was £10k in a Thai bank. Then do a TM 30 every 90 days which meant you had to go to immigration every 90 days, pay for a new 90 day check which includes showing your local bank statement, all your Social Media accounts, watch what you have in there as they really do a big check and tell them, what you have been up to and where you have been. Even if you have gone to visit a friend and stayed the night you have to tell them the day you go and again the day you go home or you get fined. You can’t even buy a house or land.  But then everywhere you go its one price for a local and another for a farang (White Person). To go into a national park it was 30 Baht for a local and 300 Baht for Farang. By 2011 I had had enough as it was Pay To Stay so came home and the wife came too. Glad I did as it got 10 times worse than that in May 2014 when another coup d‘état took place, that must be the 20th in 80 years. Nice Place with nice people but run by seriously corrupt army people. Just writing that could get me chucked in jail if ever I went back under their stupid no free speech law. Be careful what you say if you ever visit, NEVER talk about the royal family as that is 10 years in the nick under the Thai lèse-majesté law if you say 1 wrong word.

Back home in 2011 and all was well until 2017, then Mr Monson”s Pirate Radio Special on Solar Radio on October 23rd.

 

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