A Radio Show? Who Me?

phil alsford

Retro Music Radio

You’re Never To Old………to learn new things.

Well, after hitting the milestone of middle age that’s certainly something I’ve learned these past three years. It all started back in early 2014 when a brief conversation with Mark Lee, a friend I’d got to know through the Zero Radio station owner Ian Reading, led to me sitting in on one of his Saturday afternoon 2pm to 4pm Across The Tracks radio shows purely to do the social media side of things and to see how things were done in a professional studio environment. Now, up until that point I’d never in my life before even been in front of a microphone let alone stepped into a purpose built radio studio so I was as green around the gills as it was possible to be. Microphones and the thought of talking into one scared the begeezus out of me and always had.

phil alsfordThe Saturday afternoon studio visits on to Mark Lee’s show became a regular date for me for the next four months or so until one day, completely out of the blue, he asked me if I fancied doing a quick but regular gig guide sometime during the following weeks show and all being well moving on from there and before I could actually think about what this entailed exactly I’d said ‘yes, I’d love to’. That, or a few minutes after, was when panic set in. That’s when I thought to myself ‘you absolute idiot, what have you done?’

The thought actually terrified me but it’s one of those things that once said and committed to has to be carried through, or at least that’s how I saw it at that time. After all, how hard can it be to say just a few words into a microphone? Fast forward seven days and apparently pretty damn hard if judging by my first ever spoken words into a microphone was anything to go by. I spoke at about 120 words a minute and I don’t think I drew breath for the whole thirty seconds or so but I knew once it was over and despite the pounding heart and the sweaty palms I’d caught the bug and was actually looking forward to the next weeks chance to do it again.

Over the next few weeks and months and with some quality coaching from Mark I learned to overcome my nerves and slowly I started to relax more, speak for longer periods and enjoy it more and more until one day after the show Mark suggested that perhaps I should put my own short show promo together and send it off to the owners of the station and see if they thought it might be worthy of my own show. This I duly did in the November of 2014 but to be honest with having absolutely no previous DJ or radio presenting skills or experience behind me I fully expected a ‘thanks but no thanks’ reply but to my astonishment I was told that yes, with some more coaching and mentoring it could work. The next 5 months was spent sitting in with Mark on his show and doing a regular gig guide and weather report and learning all I could about working the studio equipment and being a radio presenter.

It was in May of 2015 that I got to do my first ever solo radio show. I can remember the drive over to the studio on that day as if it were yesterday. Despite the tutoring, the practice and the time spent behind the microphone I was an absolute nervous wreck behind the wheel and once or twice I very nearly turned the car around and called it a day before i’d even got started. Thankfully I didn’t and that first Selection Box show went out live and on time and despite one or two little mishaps I got through the two hours without any major problems and my very own soul music radio show was born.

Fast forward 24 months and my show The Selection Box has moved on from a Tuesday afternoon 5pm to 7pm slot to a Saturday afternoon 2pm to 4pm slot. Exactly where it all started for me back in early 2014.

Being a radio presenter isn’t something I ever ever thought I’d be doing at my time in life and if someone had said to me four years ago could you ever consider doing something like that I’d have laughed at them and called them a doctor as clearly they were seriously ill.

What this whole and wonderful experience has taught, and continues to teach this old goat, is that no matter how terrifying or scary something may seem and no matter how old and long in the tooth you are it’s never to late to learn something completely new and challenging.

Of course, I couldn’t have done it without the help of Mark Lee, Ian Reading, Merv Griffiths and every other DJ and presenter at Zero Radio and also my girlfriend Kay for encouraging me to see it through. I’ll always be eternally grateful.