This blog is about my short career as a presenter on TotalFM 91.8 (formally 96.5) based in Javea on the Costa Blanca.
Back in 2014 my first novel, Lock-Down Blues, had just been published and I was doing book signings and radio interviews. A friend mentioned a newish radio station operating out of Javea so I contacted them and asked if they would be interested in an interview. They said yes.
The interview went well and, afterwards, Margaret and I went for coffee with Wendy Williams, who owned the station with husband Chris. We were discussing music and books and I offered the opinion that a radio show which played blues, R&B and rock would go down well with the listeners on the Costa Blanca. Wendy thought about it and asked if I would be interested in presenting such a show. I laughed and said that I had absolutely no experience as a radio presenter. She smiled and said that the technical aspects could be easily learned, was I up for it? I answered with a nervous laugh and said yes. I spent time with some of the presenters and they were great.
The first Lock Down Blues Show was on Sunday 8 February 2015. I arrived early and watched/listened to Chris Williams present his show. My three hour show was due to begin at 1pm. I sat in the chair and readied myself. As my signature tune, The Rides ´ Talk To Me Baby` started, Chris casually informed me that he was off to meet Wendy for lunch and was sure that everything would be OK.
OK!! I´d imagined that he would be babysitting me. Wrong...
Apart from losing the 3 o´clock news, which is still out there somewhere, all went well. Chris and Wendy came back as I was ending the show. Chris said that they had listened and it was a fair debut. High praise.
Margaret said that, apart from too many ´ums` and ´sniffs`, it was a good start. I soon realized that I loved doing it and that there were no restrictions on the types of music I played. Over the years I described my music as an eclectic mix of blues, R&B, rock, jazz and folk. Of course, it gave me the opportunity to promote the music of my favorite American band, The Grateful Dead.
Apart from a break when we had to deal with my diagnosis of prostate cancer and the subsequent surgery, I presented a total of 40 shows.
Four weeks into my first series of shows I arrived at the studio and listened to Chris present his show from a hotel room in South Africa. I was amazed at his ability to be able to make it happen.
Some annoying windows started to appear on the screen where the music was listed to I diligently clicked on the x in the top right hand corner to make them disappear. After my second click, Wendy rang to tell me that my clicks were cutting Chris off, ruining his show. I immediately stopped and sheepishly waited for my show to start. The following week Chris was great but his mum, who was visiting from the UK, took great delight in reminding me of my mistakes. Chris has taken great delight in reminding me about it over the years.
I was lucky to be able to interview great guests, which included a rock band, a yoga teacher and a doctor. They were all so interesting, making the interviewers job easy.
My shows included regular features, the best being Steve´s Grateful Dead Storybook. Steve and Marsha Glance are great friends who live in California. Steve is a massive Grateful Dead fan and knows so much about them. We decided that it would be great if he could provide stories about the Dead tracks which I loved playing. He agreed and it was a highlight of each show when I got to read out a story before introducing the track. Superb.
My last show, number 40, was a five-hour extravaganza on Sunday 15 October. After a dodgy start, technical hiccups, everything went well. The highlight for me was when, thanks to Chris Williams expertise, Steve was able to present two Grateful Dead tracks live from California.
The last track I played was the first track I´d played three years before, The Rides ´Talk To Me baby`.