Walk In My Shoes 1984
Horizon Radio Walk In My Shoes 1984. just a few memories of events that took place in 1984
Horizon Radio Walk In My Shoes 1984. just a few memories of events that took place in 1984
Walk In My Shoes 1984 Horizon Radio, the station had started the year off on a megga high and things would only get better before going extinct. Horizon Radio was still broadcasting 2 days a week, Wednesday and Sunday Evening. At this time the station was using two transmitter locations on every broadcast. From 11pm Nunhead Peckham was switched on auto by the DJ in the studio, just two switches. Horizon did not need to visit the Nunhead site as set up so well. Other sites were being used like Stockwell, where the DJ’s on the station were also manning the block (all but 1 that is, I bet you can’t guess who). Anne was in the flat and took all telephone requests which she also passed to the DJ’s in the studio via a mains intercom. She also had a 2m transceiver which she could talk direct to the early evening transmitter site. This meant, if we got warnings of RID activity from other stations by telephone (which we did often), she could inform us on the block and we could shutdown grab the transmitter and disappear.
Also in the flat sat on the window ledge were two transceivers on 24/7 that listened to Eric and the RID, same channels they used, we could have even talked to them if we wanted to. Some of the DJ’s on the tower block were at ground level watching out for Eric and they also had a transceiver to tip us off up the block if Eric was about. As one DJ was finishing his show another would be on the way to the studio from the block to take over. The DJ then in the studio would go to the tower block (except the one with the fat ass) to help out. It was not as effective as it sounds as Eric and co got through one night, and caught Barry Jameson red handed and took the transceiver off him, then got all the way up to the door to the lift room before we knew they were there. Horizon Engineering came into play again, we got the transmitter out, but in the process of hiding it on the roof of the flat balcony I slipped and fell, but just manged to backflip back over the wall or I would have been a goner. Read about that and the flat door being kicked in that night on Tower Block Tales.
Happy days! Not quite as all I ever wanted to do was play records, the only time I did was on the breakfast show the next morning if we managed to have stayed on through the night, but by then I was knackered as no sleep.
Another station non soul music was on 24/7 and Horizon Radio and others did not know how they were getting away with it. We had a chat with them and it was not very pleasant as they wanted MONEY. But you can read about that on Broadcasting Loophole. Bob Dunne or was it Steve Fox? or as many in the unlicensed radio world back then called him Bob The Knob. (Just giving it back Steve as you where a right ? as your comments on websites later have shown). Dear old Steve during that conversation was on about his Brief (solicitor) in East Dulwich and how Horizon would have to go and see him and sign over all income to him (Bob). Idiot as he was, no solicitor in his right mind would write that kind of an agreement, as he would be aiding and abetting. Bob/Steve also as Horizon Radio, was unlicensed so therefor technically illegal. This just goes to show what brains or lack of brains were being used in those days by a few. I wanted nothing to do with Bob The Knob, but did get yellow pages out and saw one solicitor in East Dulwich. I called him, went to see him, had a chat and found out a few things that enabled Horizon Radio and others to go 24/7. I then told the others and did not try to extort money out of them.
By this time new DJ’s had joined the station including Tony Monson who I will return to later. I thought we had found that loophole, but still untested. The station needed 1 thing to go 24/7 and that was a private building overlooking London for a transmitter site, this was February 1984. I went around everywhere on Crystal Palace and saw 70 Westow Hill on the corner with St Aubyn’s Road and to me the best site of all as it had a flat roof. At that time a Fish & Chip Shop, today a Pizza Place. I went in and asked to speak to the manager, who informed me the owner was at a restaurant in Camberwell. I went to see him (Greek Restaurant) and after a chat we struck a deal at £40 a week rental. That gentleman was also interested in radio and wanted a Greek Radio Station on Medium Wave. Horizon had a MW transmitter and to be honest it was a pain in the rear to me. So the deal became £40 a week rent for 70 Westow Hill the transmitter site and an install in North London for a Greek Radio Station. That I could live with.
Early March 1984, work commences on 70 Westow Hill and in no time Horizon Radio was broadcasting 24/7. Then on the 3rd week of March 84, we get a phone call at Comber House, it’s Eric Gotts of the RID who gives us 30 minutes to get to the transmitter site or the transmitter would go. I knew then, that loophole in the 1949 wireless telegraphy act had been found, because Eric in the past had just taken the equipment. Read about what happened that day here.
After a chat with Eric who did try to take the transmitter, but had to give it back. We were informed of an interference problem with the Gas Board and told to talk to them. The transmitter did not go on that night again and I called the Gas Board the next day. Read All About That Here
That weekend for the first time in 2 years, Horizon did not broadcast because the Gas Board asked me to stay off until we fixed the issue. That is when I first saw just how selfish some Dj’s are. Moan, Moan, Moan. Try and get a DJ to help out the following Wednesday when working with the Gas Board to fix the issue was impossible, as all too busy. Thankfully Ann took a day off work to man the telephone to the Gas Board and 2 meter transceiver to myself at the transmitter site and Junior King ran the Mod (music) from the studio. The Gas Board and myself fixed the interference problem with a move to 102.5Vhf and the station was good to go 24/7. One thing I can say with hindsight, moving up to the top end of band 2 was not a great idea as I found out later and I will tell you why in the 1985 section. I don’t expect to this day some of the DJ’s knew or cared about the hours I and others worked to get Horizon on 24/7, all they wanted was to be on air with their ego trips . Not all the DJ’s as some did keep their feet on the ground while reaching for the stars, others simple did not know where the ground was?
With the station on 24/7, we were still short of a few DJ’s to cover the 24 hour cycle and I was going to be away setting up the Greek Radio Station on MW. Tony Monson said he could get a few DJ’s and to give him is due he did, but some were real concrete mixers. While I was away and I thought for a week or so Tony sort of run things DJ wise. That week or so turned into 6 weeks as it was hell trying to get that medium wave set up for the Greek Station because of the location. I asked for help from the DJ’s, Not a chance, none would give any help. Putting in ground planes on that site was hell on earth, just like knocking steel rods through concrete. I came home shattered every day. I was still getting the Gas Board calling and leaving messages for me to contact them, so had to react. They were putting pressure on me to talk to Brian Anthony of JFM who by this time 2 weeks after Horizon was also on 24/7 and causing interference as on 102.8Vhf. I did call him 5 times as the Gas Board requested me to do, but for the first 4 got verbal abuse, the 5th time, he got it from me as I told him I would go down to his record shop and boot him up his rear. That calmed him down and we agreed to meet up on CP at a cafe. We did and surprise surprise, Brian was a bit arrogant at first but after a while I understood where he was coming from. Some idiots had convince him that Horizon Radio was lying about the interference and had moved to 102.5Vhf to steal the JFM listeners. I explained to him the problem and sort of thought he would call the Gas Board for a chat, he paid for the coffee’s and left. We had another coffee and Brian came back, I think he had phoned someone and we had a further chat about radio, the music we both loved. It was a very different Brian Anthony, I even got to like him. The person I was with even said to us both, Just think what radio would be like today if you two guys had worked together. Brian and myself agreed. Sadly it was the last time I ever spoke to Brian who even today I consider to be someone very special which radio really needed (R.I.E.P. Brian Anthony).
Before Brian left he did give me a warning about one of my DJ’s who once was one of his DJ’s. I wondered if he was a bit upset that person had left JFM, until he told me and I do so remember those words “watch your backside Chris, (this DJ’s name) was always at the center of problems on JFM but when the $hit hit the fan he would distance himself and blame it on other JFM DJ’s, that’s why I took him off days and put him on at midnight to keep him away from the other DJ’s, he did not like that and joined you”. I found out later Brian had told the truth. Who was that DJ? you’re find out, keep reading. I do not know if Brian did liaise with the Gas Board, but I do know that problem ended up in the High Court with £2000 a day penalties levied upon Brian and JFM along with law changes that saw Horizon Radio being raided in October 1984. But then and now I know ET (Ian) and Brian and were right in one sense. The GB equipment was not up to standard, it was early days of Band 2 being opened up. No other broadcaster was up above 97/98Vhf, as time was needed to make adjustments. The Gas Board was one of the biggest company’s in the UK, fully legal on their communications network across the UK, so the answer was don’t fight with them as you will only loose. That is what happened in the end.
The workload and worry was through the roof. The Greek radio site was not going well and try as I did, I could not get any help there. One morning at 8.30am a knock at the door and I was still in bed as shattered. Junior King was there as he had heard a conversation between Tony Monson and Andy Jackson the night before at the studio. From what Junior said they where discussing Horizon Radio’s music format which they said was too commercial and some of the DJ’s like Barry T and Nick Lawrence who they felt were not up to standard. Monson had asked Jackson if he thought we should have a reggae show on the station as did we need listeners like that. JK whose flat the studio was then in was worried the reggae show was to be axed and it was JK who had got the shows presenters in the past. I asked Monson about it and he said it was the first he had heard about it. The same comment I have heard so many times over the years from him. He was told the Reggae Show (Steve Bernard) stays and nothing happens from now on without my say so.
Still struggling with the Greek Radio station on MW as I simple could not persuade others too help as air time for some was more important. I wrapped it up best I could, but not a success, so got them to go over to VHF and gave them a spare Horizon Radio VHF Transmitter. Sadly that did not last too long as they got a visit weeks later. It was on private property but they did not stand up to Eric and the RID.
Finally I get back to Horizon, by this time a few more DJ’s had joined and I at last get to do a lunch time show. Just remember all I ever wanted to do was play records on radio. Roger Howe had tried to get involved in March, but was shown the door. Paul Buick had put a tape in and managed to get a overnight show, little did I know he was a mate of Howe’s. The station was really on the move listener wise and by then no DJ was paying to have a show, the last one DJ Careless stopped paying in April 1984, but he was the one making the money as he told us £500 for Sunday night at the Oasis.
Advertising money is coming in, I am also getting Gigs 2/3 nights a week so finally earning an income off the gigs, first time since 1982 I earned any money, but pushed to do them as still tired from 2.5 years non stop work on the station. Then I found out about Buick and Howe being mates. He knew I disliked Howe and why I disliked him so much. I make a new antenna to give us more power. Then get a small team ready to change the antenna, Buick turns up with Howe, just when we did not want anyone to see that new antenna close up. The team including Tony Scales had a go at Buick and he and a few more left to go hunting burgers in the burger bar across the road. Buick was warned about Howe again, he must be deaf as he turns up again with Howe in July at Soul On A Summers Day. That was it for me with Buick, he could not be trusted, but hard to get rid of in those days. Not long after that Buick who by then was on the 10am-midday slot goes into one about Tony Monson stinking the studio out with his BO. A couple of weeks later Buick wants Monson fired as Monson was staying in the studio after his show and compiling that Imaginary Chart for a well know music mag. Buick really let go on that call. Costing him a fortune in air freshener and putting him off the show. Get rid of Monson and I will do the Breakfast show he proclaims. (Its on the telephone recording but contains certain words that would get this website a Parents listing at least. We may find a bleeper later and let you hear it.
That summer was really great weather wise and Horizon Radio was booming out everywhere. Go to the shops and Horizon Radio was playing, in the parks the ghetto blasters were doing their thing, pull up at a set of traffic lights and the car alongside you had Horizon on. The station was everywhere. It was also great to see many of the DJ’s working in wine-bars, pubs and events across London and beyond. Advertising money was coming in thus helping small to medium businesses. Advertising rates were between £35 and £50 per week at this time and the advertising slots were full.
As the advertising money came in, so did the updates to the studio. At the start of the 24hr cycle, the studio was downstairs at Junior Kings flat at 258 Bellenden Road Peckham in a section we had cut out of his kitchen. It was just big enough for a Dj and someone else stood behind him and that was it. In July/August the flat above JK became available and the option to take that on or move somewhere else and make adjustments to personnel came up. I choose the flat in the end as I did not want the station off air on a long move. New equipment arrived from cassette decks we moved over to cart machines to fire the jingles and adverts. Just hit the button, they would play and re-Que. The ITC triple stack cart machine was just like the legal stations used, but dam expensive at £2.5k. The record machine version was secondhand but again at £1.7k not cheap. New AKG D202 mics came to replace the second hand one we had been using and the old cassette decks we had used for over a year were replaced with 3 x Nakamichi and 2 Technics machines. A 3rd Technics SL1200 turntable went in for a while. Most of the studio was created while the old studio downstairs was in operation. We went off air around midnight for a couple of hours while we moved that ET designed broadcast desk and stereo encoder up to the new studio. That studio was something very special and on par with the legal stations.
The station was massive in London and the Home Counties, Showstopper Promotions asked us to get involved with the Soul On A Summers Day gig under the Big Top Tent in St Georges Part Wandsworth. What a line up Change and Ingram headlining and just about every Soul Artist/Artists from the UK, See Line Up Here. Horizon Radio DJ’s to do the warm up. I wanted to get as many of our DJ’s on that stage, so at least they could say they had worked with those artists on their resume. Ingram were up and coming. Many DJ’s had been on and Sammy J and Barry Jameson were playing a couple of records. The atmosphere was electric, so I thought put on a certain DJ to give him a go and he blows it as he goes into one of his famous rambles. At a live gigs you do not stop the music and start giving an education about the artist you just played. I was stood on the back of the DJ stage getting instructions from the Ingram manager and sound guy, we just could not believe what he had just done, almost killed it. The Ingram manager pushed me forward and said get him off. The sound guy pushed a Mic into my hand, I took over and beckoned to DJ Careless who had already been on to come up and together we got the place pumping again. That DJ must have been listening to too much Steely Dan.
From Then On It Goes Down Hill
Listening to a few of the DJ’s and it was just a few, every time they opened the mic it was all about their next money making gig (Just Like Today). I stopped that and told them they could only mention 1 gig per hour, that peed a few DJ’s off. 3 DJ’s still wanted to change the music. Come on you 3, Horizon Radio was the most successful station going and you knew it. Gilles Peterson (Gilles Jérôme Moehrle) later called me a megalomaniac as he did not get his own way. So for Gilles sake, Horizon Radio was very successful as you know as you made your name on the station. The music you love appeals to a minority of listeners, so was programmed for off peak hours, after 7pm and at weekends. But I guess you being an 18 year old kid in a mummy washed pullover, you did not understand that. Touchea Gilles? The same 3 all the time moaning behind my back but never to my face.
At last I was earning some good money from my gigs, some weeks 5 nights a week. I linked up with Len and Glen of Limited Edition for the Soul Train To Great Yarmouth and used my own station to promote it. Still never being able to go out to restaurants and pubs or even buying new cloths as I lived in Horizon Radio T/shirts and Sweat Shirts. At the end of August 84, we got a tip from one of my contacts to be careful, ref the new law and forthcoming action. A CCTV system went into the studio complex and all DJ’s were trained in what to do if Eric from the RID arrived. September you could feel things were being stirred up by a few, not just on the station but also in my personal life? I got an offer to buy a secondhand 924 Porsche at a great price as the seller had to let it go. The 924 was the baby of the range and I can say this now “I have never even to this day seen so much envy on the faces of a few in my life” I had worked my nuts off for 3 years, 2 years without earning a salary, 20 hours a day most days. I grew Horizon Radio to possibly the most listened to station in London (with the help of the backroom team), made those DJ’s household names and they act like spoiled little brats frothing with jealousy. You can tell what some simpleton DJ’s are like, as in a few short months, that defenseless Porsche was attacked, they smashed the screens, kicked in the drivers door and front wing then pored brake fluid or battery acid over it. Thankfully it was fully insured and I never even lost my no claims bonus. Who paid, well you did if you paid insurance in 1985/6 as the insurance company’s put it on everybody’s insurance renewal every year. The cost just £4000. Those simpletons mothers really did give birth to animals.
Thankfully October the 11th was just around the corner and I could say goodbye to those mama boys. Bye the way you could count all those selfish little brats on one hand, all the other DJ’s were brilliant and never caused any problems, they were a class act.
This continues on Horizon Radio Walk In My Shoes 1985, just hit the button below.
To All of the Original Horizon Radio Soul family, It was a Pleasure to be with you during those Ground Breaking Days of the 80’s, Live Long On Your Memories. Thank You For Making It Happen, It Could Never have Been Done Without You.
Horizon Radio Walk In My Shoes Part 1 Share With Friends
If you have a story to tell about Horizon Radio London or want to share photo’s to include on this website, please email us from here with your content or suggestions. If you send content to us for this website, we will assume you give authority to publish. Please do not send content that is not to be published.