Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Early Radio Memories (6) On Air.

The name of the station came as a result of Classics homework one evening - an essay on the structure of the Roman Army.  The transmitter was tuned to 100 Mhz so the title Radio Centurion came to mind.  And a banner was painted with this name to staple to the wall of the new "studio." The need to put together bits of equipment required more space so I moved upstairs to the second floor of the house. (In U.S. parlance that would be the third floor!) What had been a playroom was now to be a broadcast studio.  And the vary fact that the antenna was repositioned some twenty feet higher would surely have some benefit.

Equipment?  It was all rather basic with the exception of the record deck.  I had saved enough money to buy a quality deck and one day my father drove me to a big discount store in Birmingham to pick up a Garrard SP25 Mark IV, not a bad piece of kit for its day.  (See above.) The family reel-to-reel had been commandeered with its microphone, and a birthday present of a PYE cassette recorder completed the list.

For the next few months Radio Centurion would attempt to broadcast twice a week - each recorded show being half an hour in length. The first would go out on a Saturday late afternoon (times did vary!) and the second mid-evening on Sunday.  Now with such simple equipment half an hour of programming took at least an hour and a half to create. Sometimes more. This was done during the week and I have a strong suspicion that my school work suffered a little!

What did we play?  It was a mainly progressive rock music interspersed with jazz, on account that I had found a tall pile of jazz albums in a church sale one weekend.

Who listened?  Apart from the school friends who lived in north Worcester I have absolutely no idea. A few members of the church youth club said that they did from time to time.  And a few parents would nod their approval.  But there was one group of listeners in particular who would really make a difference.

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