Why I Podcast 1/2

So why do I podcast? Why the medium of sound? Now, I am a very auditory guy. I am very sensitive to sounds. Sounds, typically, motivate me and they can send me into a crazy rage at times as well. If you ask the nearest and dearest to me in my life about how I got into sound and talk radio, if you will, was growing up in England, we did not have a lot of talk radio stations. In fact, in the '90s, we only had one for the first half of the '90s. It was called LBC. I believe it was London Broadcasting Company. I believe that's what it standed for. And it was just talk radio. And I remember staying with my nan, old grandmother to my North American friends, and she would listen to LBC talk radio. It always be playing on in the background, and she would go to sleep to it every night. And I always remembered that as a 10 or 11-year-old hearing that, and at the time just thinking, "Now this is boring. It's just people talking nonsense." But I realized as she got some type of, I guess, real deep, intimate connection with those sounds with hearing people at night.

And probably about 1993, I kind of adopted this unconsciously at the time and would find myself listening to these late night shows, because I was a very fucked up kid. An while other kids would be listening to music, I'd be listening to talk radio. And being very isolated and being very agoraphobic, it gave me a kind of window into the world. It gave me some kind of connection. I'd hear the radio host and feel that connection because I'd be literally hearing them going into the head through my headphones as you may be when you're listening to this podcast, and it built this very, very intimate bond of something that I guess I've now carried around for about 28 years, and it was really, really I'm impressionable by me.

And one of the first shock jocks, if you will, in England was a guy called Nick Abbot. And he was on a radio station called Virgin that got launched in 1993. And everyone was doing their usual rock and roll, pop music shows. And he would have a little bit of that, but he would have a nightly phone-in show, and it was the kind of shows I'd imagine that would have had in America but I didn't have access to. And he would hang up on people and seemingly be rude. And although he wouldn't swear, he would have colorful metaphors and would be very, very edgy. I just thought this guy was the coolest guy, Nick Abbot. And as a crazy fan boy at the time, as a complete maniac, I would write in letters, probably at least once a month. And I'd have question after question about getting into radio to a point where I gave my sister literally tons of letters to send out every month to different radio DJs out there to find out how to break into the business and to get pictures of them and stuff. And Nick would always respond to me.

He had no reason to do that but he did. And that was quite impressionable for me. And then I would call into LBC Radio and I became friends with one of the late night producers of the show. And again, I'm a 13, 14-year-old kid. It could sound a bit weird. But this guy was on the up and up. And I actually got to go as a teenager to LBC Radio and look around all the studios and stuff. And this chap called Adam Moore showed me around, and my dad was with me. And it was just really, really cool. He had no reason to do that but he gave me a glimpse of what that world looked like. And I would call in from time to time on shows that he was producing and speak on the air.

And being this really lonely boy growing up with not a lot of social skills, not a lot of friends, not really being able to communicate, this world of talk radio fused with professional wrestling, if you will, it gave a glimpse of something, you know, because wrestling was about..for me it was about becoming a superhero. But talk radio is about connecting with people, connecting with myself that even though at 4:00 a.m. in the morning I may be in this pit of anxiety or despair, that there was someone else, there was something else that was going on out there. There was another voice, there were other people that were communicating. There was a world, there were people that were awake at that time that were witnessing one another. And I was witnessing these people when I was listening to them on air, and I don't know, it just built this really huge fascination with the medium of talk radio, growing up.

I remember, saving up some money and as a 15, 16-year-old doing a one day course at LBC Radio with one of the hosts, and learning sort of ins and outs and the insider kind of things. And I remember that another station opened up in England in about '95 and it was called "Talk Radio U.K.," and it was the second talk radio station, and it only lasted about a year. Everyone had this personality. Everyone had this certain edginess to them. I mean, listening to this and now LBC having competition, it was just really, really exciting to listen to. And unfortunately, the format changed after about a year into a radio sports talk radio station, and it was very, very different. But it just built up these edgy characters out there with different personalities in the world wild west communicating. It was just this special world that I felt that I had a privilege to be a part of in some form or fashion and it, again, fostered this bond into me. And then I would ask these guys how did they get into radio. And they would always recommend, you know, college radio...we didn't have a lot of those in England back in the early '90s...or hospital radio.

So I like a 14, 15-year-old I got a hospital radio volunteer job on Moorfields Eye Hospital. Moorfields Eye Hospital is supposedly the most famous eye hospital in the whole world, certainly in Europe. And I went there and they had all these vinyl records and it wasn't particularly a talk station. It wants playing music all the time but really music from the '60s, '70s, which was before my time, should we say. And all I wanted to do, I wanted to do that talk radio where it was edgy, where you didn't know what was going to happen next, it was exciting, people were outlaws. And I was the youngest guy on this station, and I had to go around from different wards to collect...what do you they call them? Requests from patients that were staying in there. The person that was running this station was about 75, and the manager of my night was about 55, and he was a really miserable old bastard. And everybody who worked for him, even as a volunteering job, ended up leaving after a couple of months because he just had really no social skills and he was very, very unpleasant.

And so I'd go down and I'd get my requests from some of these clients or some of these patients, and then I would just tear it up and I would make up what songs I could play. So I could play my own songs. Now, we were not allowed to play songs that mentioned anything about eyes or sight or anything like that because it was an eye hospital. So, of course, the first song I played was Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, just to rub people up the wrong way in some form or fashion. And I would fuse music in there and I would do some phonings, and I would do some bits where I was on the air.

And it really kind of got me in front of that microphone and got me to do something that I was very, very passionate about. I did that for a couple of years, and I used to record every show even back then because I desperately wanted to see how much I'd improved and how I could change this word or that word or add this bit in here. I was the only person who would record, I believe, every show that I ever did because I was obsessed with getting better. I was obsessed with making these tapes and sending them off to different radio stations because you know it was my goal as a kid. So I wanted to be a talk radio show host in England like we did in America.

Stay tuned for part 2 next week. Same Luke Time, Same Luke Place, Same Luke Channel!

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