Broadcast Brothers: On The Radio by Steve and Paul Jenner
Steve and Paul Jenner
Like BritLit? Like the British sense of humor? Like a real, autobiographical story with added rock ‘n’ roll? Well, this is for you. On Amazon.co.uk this has at the time of writing 17 x 5 star reviews; now we’d like to get that on Amazon.com because if there’s one thing an American reader likes, it’s a story about the little guys taking on the big guys….and winning, against ALL the odds. This is a feel good read which charges along at a great pace and you’re never far away from a guaranteed LOL moment. Not only that but the Kindle has just been reduced to under $5. Yes, it’s a story about rock ‘n’ roll radio……but it’s also about family loyalties, brotherhood, business, and huge, huge risks……as two of the UK’s most experienced broadcasters tell the story of how they took on the British establishment……and won. If you can read English, like a laugh, and are engaged by real – life stories by entertaining raconteurs with a real story to tell….this is for you. Already got to number 1 on Amazon UK popular culture sales chart, it has been downloaded on Kindle in 6 countries world wide including the US. An ‘indy’ hit in the UK….now heading for an inbox near you?
Targeted Age Group:: All audiences except young children but predominantly adult, 25+
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 2 – PG
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
Looking back down the track at ‘the journey and realizing that the craziness which bought this about just could not happen today. And also coming to the realization that this is a universal story that has to be told…one of passionate struggle to achieve a distant goal…..and one day, some smart film producer is going to realize this as well.
I sit down. I adjust the seat, take out the few tunes I intend to supplement the playlist boxes with and prepare to get some kind of focus on the task ahead, which is 10 till midnight on a playlisted show, Wednesday night, just to show what I can do and so the station ‘management’ knows I can actually do this and that I’m not just here because I happen to be Paul’s brother. Cue CD; cue first jingle. Cue second CD; one minute to go on the vinyl. No news at the top of the hour, we aren’t here to play the news. We’re all about the bass, us. Three, two, don’t screw this up, you’re chancing a lot here, one…..’And a very good evening to you… many thanks due there to Graham Kennedy for getting this Wednesday evening underway….it’s Horizon Radio, 97.3 on the FM serving the big and beautiful City of Nottingham – I’m Jake Burnside and here’s the KLF…..’ shit, I’ve hit pause…ohh, thank God for that, it’s running….breathe deeply and relax…’Josh, where’s the ‘clunk’ FX jingle?’….’we’re off and running on this Wednesday evening; Barry Jarvis at midnight for you unless you behave and he’ll take you through till two….Deee-Lite features now on Nottingham’s number one upfront hit music station with the C and C Music factory on the way….’
By now I’m getting into it; I can find my way around the kit without feeling like I need a torch and three more hands; I slowly seem to have time to think before opening my mouth and I’m balancing back anno with forward promote, spoken links with idents, the commercials are more or less going out at the right time. I get ‘cornered’ a couple of times; I haven’t wound back quickly enough and short tracks have got me blethering inanely whilst I ‘do the octopus’ all over the kit, trying to get something apart from me to make a noise. I realise this is the worst feeling for the on – air jock and that I don’t want to end up like that very often and I start to plot my way across the second hour with a little more forward planning and this makes life so much easier. By the time I get to the end I’m that chuffed I slightly overcook the goodbyes and come over a bit too ‘showbiz’ which is never an attractive look but hey; didn’t seem too bad to me for a first trot out.
Back to the car skipping all the way, throw bag in car, home we go and wake up in the morning with a serious spring in my step. Hey, this is definitely for me…Paul rings me that night to say he thought I did well and some of the lads had rung him to say ‘your kid done good’ which is a very pleasant surprise. And the feelgood factor hangs around for a full week. I’ve enjoyed this far too much to turn my back on this. I can’t wait for the next Wednesday and I’m awash with plans for the show, features and stuff.
Now, if I’d stuck at that and cheerfully jocked away I’d have probably been OK. But no, when you think for a living, it’s difficult to stop the thinking thing. And already the cogs are turning for how we can develop this, how we can maximise on our undoubted public support and how, eventually, we can become legitimate. It doesn’t take much brain to work out that sooner or later, the Authorities will come for you. No doubt at this point the management of the incumbent commercial broadcast licence, not to mention the Beeb, would be ripping their hair out and howling for our enforced closure, definitely accompanied by seizure of equipment and possibly with custodial sentences.
And then at a staff meeting at Andy’s place, the announcement of our most outrageous stunt yet….we’re apparently going to take over the downstairs floor of Nottingham’s biggest and most venerable dance venue, the Palais De Dance, a Mecca Ballroom, no less, and promote our own show in there with our own presenters doing the full free T shirts, CDs and competitions bit, whilst continuing to broadcast illicitly from our cosy tower block in Clifton… call me old – fashioned but I can’t get my head around this. Here we are, operating an illegal and totally clandestine broadcast operation and we’re going to run a promotional night where we shout about our existence from the city’s most high – profile venue….and nobody will try and stop us….?! ARE YOU ALL MAD???
Some of us express some misgivings. Some because they feel the risks are, shall we say, a tad on the high side, and some because they think three men and a dog will turn up and it’ll be a humiliating experience. These points are calmly explained away for us. Andy explains that much though pirate broadcasting is illegal, there’s nothing which says you can’t promote a dance night, give out various bits and bobs and talk about more or less whatever you like. Nothing ‘they’ can do. And secondly, Mike Ashley, who is sort of and nominally in charge of playlisting and is resident DJ ‘upstairs’ in the massive main hall of the venue is totally confident that if we keep plugging the night on – air, we won’t be lonely.
One of the problems, though, is it’s a busy night in a big city and many of our best presenters are working on their own gigs around town; otherwise known as earning a living. Consequently our line – up for the night is built around Barry Jarvis, who presents a ‘dance classics’ set; my brother, who arrives later from a school gig he’s been performing at, one or two of the other lads, Ashley and Kit when they are off stage upstairs, and, well, me. Gulp. And so, loaded with pens, beer mats, key rings and promotional tee shirts all grandly promoting our totally illegal use of a precious FM frequency, we head for The Palais.
From minute one, we knew the fears we had that no–one would turn up were groundless. Collars might still be felt, but they’d have to get through hundreds of punters first. The evening passed in a frantic flash of colour and sound, full dance floors, cheers for all the presenters who were received like folk heroes, the air thick with flying examples of promotional merchandise.
To understand this, you have to remember this is Nottingham; the city of Robin Hood. We had very much been cast into the corner of the little guy who stands up to The Sheriff. But I also believe some of the warmth and acceptance – lurv, even – which we felt that night was due to the fact that we did present another voice, an alternative, the music of the city, the speech and conversation and attitudes of the people who live there.
But in my heart I knew we were doomed, and the clock was ticking on us. Even at that point, when we’re staring huge and almost farcical levels of success in the face, I’m thinking ‘what’s next’? Because I realise we can’t go on like this. It would be naive to believe otherwise. ‘They’ won’t let us.
Many years later whilst researching material for another book I was shown a list of items which had been seized by the authorities. It was headed with this warning.
THE ITEMS LISTED OVERLEAF HAVE BEEN SEIZED AND DETAINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 79 OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS 1984 AND THEY MAY BE HELD FOR UP TO SIX MONTHS FORM THIS DATE OR, SHOULD LEGAL PROCEEDING BE INSTITUTED, UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THOSE PROCEEDINGS ARE COMPLETED’.
‘They’ also upped the ante by banning anyone convicted of pirate broadcasting from any form of legal broadcasting for years. Make no mistake; we all now knew that if we were caught and convicted, that was ‘it’ for the broadcasting career.
We were dangerous; ‘they’ knew it.
And ‘they’ made their plans.
Then ‘they’ made their move.
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