Glasgow Univeristy Magazine Article from May 2000

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Glasgow Univeristy Magazine Article from May 2000

Image by Subcity Radio
Glasgow University Magazine, Feburary 2000, p.10-11 by Lynne Hamilton

The New Wave

It was 10.30 am, I was standing in the windswept wastelands of Pacific Quay, soon to be super-tech development under the shadow of the SECC’s great shell. In the corner of this semi-landscaped field stands Four Winds Pavilion; spot on as the location for Beat 106 FM HQ. A freshly converted tram-shed that emits “bright, young and trendy”, its brand new inhabitants hope that Beat 106 FM, the radio station will do the same.

It burst live onto the airwaves at 1.06 pm, Friday November 19, 1999. Station’s Head of Music, here in the the eye of the storm, still recovering after a tempestuous weekend; the station;s first on air. Since he moved back up north from London and Radio One 10 weeks previous, life has been pretty much non-stop; now that his baby’s up and running, he already seeing what can be done to make it better. born of an idea that formed in the minds of, among others, Ewan McLeod, Stuart Clumpas (head honcho at DF Concerts and King Tuts) and Wilkinson himself, over two years ago, that weekend’s long-overdue launch must be making each and every one of them a proud father.

It may have been a turbulent birth here at Four Winds Pavilion, but to the public there was no more than a warm welcoming gust of good music, intelligent presenters and a sense that something better was coming to Scotland’s airwaves.

“We wanted to prepare the ground”, said Richard. They didn’t want to blow all their funding on a big gimmicky bang only to fade away a month or so later. “We couldn’t compete with the sort of things Radio so, we just let things tick over.: The exclusive Beat 106 gigs and club nights at the end of January, consolidating the station as the best new contender for Scottish Radio’s crown since… well, a long time.

Wilkinson himself himself rolled off the Glasgow University production line with an ordinary degree in Electronics and Music, a course that didn’t excite him much; apart from one occasion sin first year. He met an art school girl in one of his classes – “this is a really sad confession” – and followed her to a Guardian meeting. He stuck with the journalism (the relationship must not have happened then, eh?), and “started writing really crap record reviews”. One thing led to another and in 1995, following the lead of Sweet FM and Ton and a Half (the Art School station, named after its 150-year anniversary), he set up SubCity radio with a £20,000 grant from the SRC. Some may know the rest as history but here’s a brief summary. SubCity, operating on the 28-day Restricted Service Licence, won the Radio One award for best student radio station in November 1996, and in Febuary 1997 Steve Lamacq and John Peer broadcast Radio One from SubCity, alongside Richard and his pals; a formative experience for them all. :Steve had had a few ciders, and we were in their hotel. I was being my “I’m so against playlists’ self… I just want people to come in, play whatever records they want, and try to develop their on-air style. One thing Lamacq said to me was that, doing student radio, I was in such a fortunate position, to not be restrained, and that what I was doing was one of the biggest luxuries”.

From this luxurious position, he headed southwards after a stint at T in the Park, to spend a year and a half braving the perils of early breakfast shows, and the hell that is mainstream drivetime radio, all at Radio One itself. He doesn’t rule out ever heading back down that way, but for now Beat 106 is what he was made for, its seems. “It;s been fantastic.”

And so to the future; the aim is not to create a “tartan Radio One” but something that can fill the gap in the Scottish – and for that matter British – market. Wilkinson breaks out the music industry weekly’s singles chart, scoring off at least five of the top ten that would not receive airplay at 106; that would not receive airplay at 106; “Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Five, Shania Twain,…Westlife” 9this last uttered with pure contempt). The key idea here is “heavy rotation but no “pop” element…It’s a national radio station, we don’t have the luxury of being too out there.” The specialist side of things is, nevertheless, well catered for, with the weekends being practically devoted to dance (including Slam on Friday nights and the Jengaheads on a Sunday), and Jim Gellatly heralding a “more upbeat and accessible evening session” from 7pm until 10pm. Monday to Thursday. Gellatly is the man for you young band hopefuls out there – his “personal interest” according to Wilkinson, being Scottish acts. But like the bedroom DJs Beat 106 hope to uncover, you’ll have to make the effort to get hear; “obviously, we’d rather the talent came to us,” says Richard. I asked if SubCity would be involved in this grassroots side of things: “co-existence-wise, there has to be a recognised filtration system, a way of giving budding DJ talent the opportunity to make it.”

As Richard says: “…it’s a complete evolution process, and a case of being aware of what is not being played and what is not being represented. It’s about being inclusive rather than exclusive, it’s about making people feel welcome,” judging by the storm on the airwaves which the station has already whipped up, all this talk may be more than just hot air.

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Image by U.S. Pacific Fleet
KUPANG, Indonesia (May 30, 2014) Lt. Brian Chaplow, assigned to the U.S. Seventh Fleet Band, conducts a live radio interview at the RRI Kupang radio station to promote awareness and upcoming events in Pacific Partnership 2014. Pacific Partnership is in its ninth iteration and is the largest annual multilateral humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Asia-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Stephen Oleksiak/Released)

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