Following my childhood dream, resolution 25
Follow my childhood dream to be a local radio DJ, to see whether I would've actually enjoyed it as a career.
When you were a kid what was your dream job? Was it to be an astronaut or to drive a train? Become a ballet dancer or a fashion photographer?
Mine was to be a local radio DJ on ‘Radio two, one, oh’. I’ve typed that out deliberately because that’s how they used to say it on Radio 210, ironic really as I only ever listened on 97.0 FM. They later changed their name to Two Ten FM, still not the frequency, but sounded more 90s I guess. And now, god forbid it is called Heart Berkshire *my heart sinks*. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heart_Berkshire.
Anyways, me and my mate Olly used to record ourselves on his tape cassette player reading out news snippets which almost always featured a man hitting his own thumb with a hammer. I think our inspiration was the Beano, which Olly used to get each week in a goody bag from his Gran in Tilehurst. He seldom shared the sweets.
We would then introduce a music track, hilariously if possible with a rude word in the title like James Brown’s ‘Sex Machine’, then I’d sing the jingle: “Radio two one oh, radio two one oh. Der, der, de, de, de, de, der, derrr. Sounds of your life....”. Brilliant.
So what happened? I remember having a couple of days work experience at BBC Radio Berkshire when I was doing my A levels. I think my dad had somehow wangled it through a contact at his work. But by then I had already grown out of the idea of presenting the local breakfast show. Deep down I still loved the idea, but there just wasn’t an easy career path to follow, and my spare time had always been dedicated to playing football, not hanging around hospital radio stations like some sado, waiting for my big break.
So like many childhood dreams it got forgotten, or at least put firmly to one side.
A few years later when I was at Uni in Leeds I did go and check out LSR (Leeds Student Radio). Each year the student run station was awarded an FM licence for one month. They were based out of offices in the Student Union at Leeds University (the real one, not Leeds Met that I was at – the former Poly).
I presented my great idea to them. Actually I didn't so much present it as 'float it by them' in an aloof kinda way. The great idea was for me and my mate Rich Blacker to commentate over live Premier League games giving a true fan’s perspective. Unfortunately, for whatever reason (probably my aloof presentation) nothing came of it.
Turned out my idea was a good one though as Sky Sports later went on to introduce just that – Fan Zone, live matches with an alternative amateur commentary from real footie fans. If only I’d had the courage of my convictions eh?
Come to think of it, I’m sure I also had the idea that year of hosting a silent rave – everyone wearing headphones but listening to the same DJ set. I loved the idea of people going mental to really loud music in a field, but not disturbing anyone (bearing in mind the Government was trying to ban repetitive beats at the time and mass illegal raves were all the rage).
Technology was pretty basic in the mid 90s compared to now, so no cheap wireless devices existed that would have made it easy, so I forgot about it (if you don’t believe me btw ask Matt French. Stoned or not for most of 1995, we definitely had that idea years before the first silent disco popped up in the Dance Tent at Glastonbury, so there).
My other childhood ambition was to be a TV cameraman, until my dad told me I’d need to have A levels in maths and physics, which put an abrupt end to that. I must ask him one day whether he was bullshitting me.
So the two directions I could have gone in were blocked off. And instead, by luck more than judgement I fell into PR. Following four years at Uni, and thirteen years doing various PR jobs I find myself here at this cross roads in life - mid career break.
Until now, I have always allowed my seemingly bright ideas to be sidetracked, forgotten or hijacked by others through a combination of laziness, lack of ambition, or simply because I am not entrepreneurial enough to do something about them. I never really knew 'a man that can'.
However, on Monday I go some way towards realising one of my childhood dreams. I am going down to Bradford Community Radio to meet with Mary Dowson the station’s director. OK, granted, Chris Moyles won’t be quaking in his boots at the news. But, I am going to get a chance to host my very own live radio programme if I want to. That's right people, DJ Dom is in the house, or in da bungalow if you prefer http://www.dabungalowonline.com/.
I only met Mary a few weeks ago when I was helping man the Bradford People Centre stand at the Positive Bradford event in town. She roped me into doing a roundtable paper review the following Friday on BCB, which was a good laugh, even though I managed to arrive late following an episode with a shed (another story).
Then last night I met her again at Jean Walker’s MBE celebration party and told her about my resolution. All of which btw wouldn’t have come about had I not asked Susan Hinchcliffe, a local councillor who I follow on Twitter, if she had any contacts I could volunteer my services with during my career break.
Who knows, maybe I’d have ended up at Bradford Community Radio anyway, just via a different route, but it’s funny how opportunities just start presenting themselves to you once you’ve made the first move.
Don’t forget to tune in btw – 106.6 FM. Anyone got any thoughts on a good DJ name and catchphrase?