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September/Oktober 1972

Het blad Deejay publiceerde elke maand nieuws en feiten rond Radio Luxembourg en de DJs. Dit zijn de highlights uit het blad van Oktober 1972

 

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208 Tamla nights go down a bomb !

The recently started Radio Luxembourg/Top Rank Tamla Disco nights got off to a fantastic start with the first two sessions at Doncaster and Reading. In each case the attendance at these locations was almost trebled. "It's fantastic", said 208 Press Officer Jimmy Parsons, "it's almost reaching the heights of Beatlemania with screaming young ladies mobbing the DJs". These shows will be continuing right through to the New Year (see Pull page advertisement in this issue of DJ & RM) and at each location records, pictures, etc of the various Tamla artists will be given away.

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Fourth grand prix for radio Luxembourg

The fourth annual Grand Prix for record producers will be held by Radio Luxembourg on October 19 in Luxembourg. The competition is open to record producers from Great Britain, Germany, France, Holland and Luxembourg. Each country submits three record productions as their entries, and all the European services of Radio Luxembourg International will promote the event, which will also receive television coverage throughout Europe. At the same time the British Service of Radio Luxembourg will announce its Artists Of The Year.

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Dave Christian to leave 208

Radio Luxembourg have announced that DJ Dave Christian is no longer broadcasting with the station, and that he has now returned to London. Plans were recently announced by Radio Luxembourg for the formation of a radio production unit available to commercial radio advertisers. It is intended that Dave Christian shall be part of this new venture.

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"I probably have the honour of being the only DJ to throw up halfway through a commercial..."

Paul Burnett talking to dee jay's editor Ben Tree about life on Radios 270 and 208

Popular 208 DJ Paul Burnett joined Radio Luxembourg in October 1967, making him the longest serving member of the current team. He still remembers the date ... October 26 ... when on "the most fantastic day of my life" he drove from Ostend through to the Grand Duchy. But Paul's involvement in the radio scene goes back much further, and with show business even further than that. Let Paul take up the story ...

"My parents at one time were a theatrical double act - my father was a pianist and my mother a singer, and during my early years we lived in a caravan. I went to about 12 different schools because my father worked summer seasons, and even when my mother retired he still carried on as a band pianist - so about every six months or so I would change schools.

"Then for a few years, after my parents were divorced, I had nothing really to do with show business, until I took up radio as a hobby when I was in the RAF.

"I was stationed out in Aden where there was a fully fledged radio station, with commercials and everything but regarded as a recreation facility for the lads, and after I'd finished my duties as an equipment clerk I'd go down to the station in the evening. We'd work all the hours God sends, but we really enjoyed it.

How did you make the change from forces radio to, I believe, one of the pirate stations?

"When I came back from Aden I was stationed in the North of England. I really wanted to keep up what I'd started so I immediately approached Radio Caroline. They were encouraging but had no vacancies, so for a time I worked in the Top Rank Discotheque in Darlington, which was just down the road from where I was stationed. While I was working there one evening somebody came up to me and asked if I would be interested in working on a new pirate ship which was to start off the Yorkshire coast. Of course I said yes, and that was Radio 270 - which I auditioned for and was offered the job. So to get out of the Forces, because I had signed on for five years and still had some six months to serve, I borrowed 125 from my mother, and that's the best Paul%20Burnett%201%20kmoney I've ever spent!

 

Tell us a little about Radio 270.

"I don't think there was ever another ship like 270. She was definitely the most piratical. You see we had a sail at the back of the boat - I don't think it ever served any real purpose but it looked good. We always figured on painting a skull and crossbones on it, but we were told that if we did the Royal Navy would shoot us out of the water - so we scrapped the idea.

"I remember we were due to go on the air at midday on 1 April. They had a big reception at one of Scarborough's top hotels, with all the directors of the company with radio sets around the room together with the press. Unfortunately, someone had forgotten to put in the crystal, the heart of any transmitter, and, of course, we had no way of telling them on shore. So there they all were desperately searching round the dial for 270 metres ... and getting nothing! Everybody thought it was a very bad taste April Fool's Day joke - wasting their time.

"In fact it was June before we finally got on the air - because we had so many setbacks. Even the mast blew down - it was higher (154ft) than the boat was long (139ft) and two thirds of it snapped off in a very heavy gale.

Did you have any problems such as sea sickness out there in the North Sea?

"I was the worst seaman in the world, I was ill every day - in fact I probably have the honour of being the only DJ to throw up halfway through a commercial. It was for a supermarket who had a special offer on, for Danish Bacon or something very similar, and I had to describe how beautifully juicy and lean this bacon was. I didn't have time to reach for the cough button, and I threw up right in the middle of the commercial. I don't know how the supermarket people felt, but I bet it got lots of attention!

"Mark Wesley was out there with me for a time, only about a month or so and then I left to join Manx Radio. That came about because my agent knew I was very anxious to make a move - one could see the writing on the wall

as far as the pirate stations were concerned. I know that this sounds like a rat leaving a sinking ship, and I know that a lot of pirate radio fans thought of it that way when DJs did this - but I didn't want to be around in September when there would be so many DJs chasing only a few jobs. I wanted desperately to stay in the business, and I didn't want to end up like a lot of them did with great experience and everything thrown away. It doesn't take long once you're out of the business to be forgotten and lose what ever it is you've gained. So I took about a 10 cut in pay and joined Manx Radio.

Was it very different working for Manx Radio?

"This period really gave me a lot of experience, because this was real local commercial radio ... where you do everything. I really feel that a lot of guys who are sitting around waiting for the new local commercial stations don't really have an inkling of what real local radio is all about. Here on 208 we handle thousands of pounds of commercials, usually part of huge campaigns - but on a local station you are dealing actually with the customer himself, the butcher who has paid his pound for his commercial and will listen in and if he doesn't like the way you do it he'll phone up immediately and tell you. If you were ever a few minutes late they'd be on the phone straightaway - it's good because it keeps you on your toes, but it wasn't really fair because in the early days Manx Radio didn't have too many facilities. Oh yes they had Gates turntables, which as you know are fantastic - but no cassette machine! Now I was doing the breakfast show, and because of the very low rates everybody, but everybody, wanted to advertise during the breakfast show! All the commercials were on little separate reels of tape, and with only two tape recorders you were kept pretty busy! Anyway around August they got the Spotmasters, which made all the difference.

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So how did you come to make the move to Radio Luxembourg?

"Well one Sunday Pete Murray came out to the Isle of Man to compere one of the Sunday concerts - lots of the top DJs came out, and I always used to go and watch them. Well, I got into conversation with Pete Murray who turned out to be a really charming guy, one of the nicest people I've ever met, and he asked me if I was interested in working for Radio Luxembourg. I tried to look all nonchalant and said yes - so Pete suggested that as they were looking for a DJ that I should send a tape in, and following a diabolical audition in London ... there I was on my way to Luxembourg.

Is it right that you joined the station when they were still using the old format?

"Working with Luxembourg in those early days was something in itself - I mean the other guys just don't know what it was like tinder the old system where we were just link men between tapes ... and you'd sit there and watch the tapes go round and just give time checks between each one.

"Of course there were the odd programmes early in the evening and late at night and that was your big chance. I suppose I got about an hour a day on the air and then in 1968 they changed it and went live. That's when new guys like Tony Prince, he was one of the early fellas, Kid Jensen, Dave Christian and I think Noel Edmonds came in. Oh and there was Roger 'Twiggy' Day - but he didn't stay with us long as he didn't like living in Luxembourg. A lot of people forget that it's not just a case of being a reasonable DJ - you have to settle down and live just about all of your time in a foreign country ... which is not as easy as some people think. Sometimes you'd really love to be able to sit Paul%20Burnett%2022%20kand watch a TV show and live a normal life that way. So you have to be able to adapt.

"As I say Twiggy left, and Noel Edmonds left and has gone on to great things at the Beeb, Tony Murphy was with us for a while and now he's one of America's top DJs in New York. Various people have been and gone and we now have our present team which with the exception of Mark Wesley has been together now for almost four years, which I think is pretty good.

Paul, what are your thoughts on the forthcoming UK commercial radio scene?

"Well now commercial radio in Britain is just around the corner, and I'm very excited about it. I always read the papers for every item of information. Of course there are lots of details still to be sorted out, but it's certainly long overdue and it's what all that pirate radio scene was all about.

"I'm a little bit worried about the DJs. When I'm talking to DJs who are working in discos and places, I think a lot of them have the wrong idea - you get the impression that they think because they are great personalities, and I'm not knocking this - I mean I was resident DJ in a Top Rank Ballroom and I know that you have to know how to

work an audience and know the people and what they are like - but that's not radio! Obviously it's a step in the right direction, you have microphone technique, etc - but a disco DJ has a lot of time to be visual and as much as anything they must realise this and think in terms of purely lust sound - and know what local commercial radio is all about. What sort of music do you like to listen to "off duty" so to speak?

"At home now I like to listen to the music of Crosby Stills Nash and Young and Don McLean. I also admire greatly the Rolling Stones for the very fact that they are still entertaining. The business went through an awful time during the last couple of years, entertainment became a dirty word. You know a group would go on stage and tune up for about half an hour between each number. I think the very thing that

killed jazz, when I was a good deal younger I got very hung up on jazz, was that it got very introspective and pseud. But now the scene is getting back to T. Rex and the like, and I'm glad to see that the screamers are coming back ... because then you know that the excitement and the glamour which is show business is still there."

But surely this is where we came in ...

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