JM

John Myers has been a big part of my life for a while now, even though I never knew him that well.

I woke up this morning to the sad news that John had died. He was in charge of Century Radio when I worked there in the North East in 1998 and 1999. The strange thing is, it was only yesterday that I put together some of my favourite bits from my time there and tweeted a link to the audio on Youtube…

As John was the big boss and busy launching the Century station in the North West at the time, I didn’t have much to do with him. I didn’t get to know him till 2011 when Deb Hackett, a workmate at BBC Wiltshire “introduced” me to him at the end of an event he was speaking at in Bristol. He couldn’t have been nicer.

A few weeks later, I won a Sony Award for my Breakfast Show and he sent me an email. What he said touched me so much that I printed it out and have kept it folded up in my wallet ever since.

IMG_7538

A radio career has highs and lows, winning a Sony Award was a big high but it was followed by a huge low the next year when I was let go by the BBC in a cost-saving thing called DQF, Delivering Quality First. It was during that period that I took that note out of my wallet and read John’s words, it kept me going.

Thankfully, I’ve only needed to read the note a handful of times since. Just knowing it’s there has helped me through the dark days of self doubt and insecurity caused by the sleep deprivation and chaos that programing a radio station and presenting a daily Breakfast Show can bring.

Rest in peace John and thanks for bringing me comfort, hope and inspiration when I needed it most.

Craic on!

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Mack Nuggets

01Jun19

I’ve had a great time presenting the Manchester Breakfast Show on Fix Radio with Gaz Drinkwater. This is what the last days of the show sounded like. Including: The truth about the Spice Girls gig; The worst thing about the doctors; A tribute to Doris Day; Why the hygienist is worse than the dentist; The 10K; Raheem Sterling; The pornographic World Cup stadium; Royal Baby news; The Shark finally gets revenge; The last show.

Craic on!

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Howzat

27May19

I don’t know who to support in the Cricket World Cup. I was born in England and have lived in New Zealand and Australia, I have passports for each country.

I’m leaning towards Australia because I didn’t get to pick where I was born and moved with my parents to New Zealand when they emigrated. Australia is the only country I actually chose to live in.

It’s also where I decided to get into radio. Here’s what I sounded like on the last station I was on there, 2GO, just north of Sydney on the New South Wales Central Coast…

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1cT8zLTPirNRkyQxLkZG5bj4r_aG__uEu

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Hr8FhmqDWfLc7TfkVIn4vRTUiSNWBiu3/view?usp=sharing

Craic on!

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Phonies

25May19

Why don’t you hear wind-up calls on the radio anymore?

It could be because they got played out, overdone. The best way to devalue something is to do lots of it, scarcity adds value. Then again, wind-ups may have stopped because things can go horribly wrong.

When I worked on the air in Australia, I was told of a wind-up call that cost a station a lot of money. A one man band, roofing contractor wanted to wind up his wife so he asked the station to call her up while he was at work. The presenter pretended to be a customer and asked the wife why her husband was taking so long on his roof. While he was talking, the wife heard sound effects and a scream that made it sound like the husband had fallen off the house. As you can imagine the wife was very upset thinking her husband and breadwinner had just had a terrible accident. The radio station had to pay compensation even though the call was never broadcast.

The most famous wind-up call gone wrong was also Australian. On 7 December 2012 Jacintha Saldanha, an Indian nurse who worked at King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, was found dead by suicide, three days after she got a prank phone call from 2Day FM in Sydney. The hosts had called Saldanha’s hospital and impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles asking about the health of the Duchess of Cambridge, who was pregnant and a patient there at the time. Saldanha believed she was actually talking to senior members of the royal family and transferred the call to the nurse looking after the Duchess. Although it was clearly the fault of the hospital and the royal family’s security, who’s lack of safeguards let the call get through, it was the radio station and it’s presenters who became scapegoats and were blamed for the death.

Those are two extreme examples of what I think the problem with wind-ups is. The person who gets called becomes an innocent victim.

For me, it’s much nicer when you can hear the person on the other end of the phone enjoying the experience of being wound up. In 2001, I was lucky enough to get that response from a bloke I called when I was on the air at BRMB in Birmingham…

Craic on!

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BOB Job

19May19

As we get closer to BOBfm in Hertfordshire closing and becoming another Heart station, I thought you might like to hear my favourite April Fools Day prank we pulled at BOB.

The radio station is in the grounds of Knebworth Park, literally yards away from where hundreds of the worlds top artists have played in huge concerts over the years, so we decided to put on our own concert in the morning.

We had a stella line-up including; Status Quo, Robbie Williams, Bruno Mars, Paul McCartney, Oasis, Lady Gaga, Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, George Michael, Duran Duran, Tom Jones and Led Zeppelin.

The thing that made it work was the amazing production and audio imaging from our producer, Mark Williams.

Craic on!

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Jack Off

18May19

In a few weeks time, BOB fm in Hertfordshire will disappear and become Heart. I presented the Breakfast Show there for five years. When I first got there in 2013, the station was called JACKfm. Here’s what I sounded like back then…

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Art Attack

12May19

There’s been a major art theft from London’s Tate Modern and it’s all my fault.

The Tate Modern is just a short walk from where I work at Fix Radio in Southwark. Often at lunchtime I stroll around and look at the art.

One of my favourite pieces is on level 2. It’s an oil on canvas painted by Pablo Picasso in 1937 called The Weeping Woman. 

WW

I went over there on Thursday and was disappointed when I noticed The Weeping Woman had been replaced by something that looks more like a 6th form art project than the work of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

IMG_7204 (1)

I went down to the information desk on the ground floor and reported the Weeping Woman missing. The lady there explained that it might have been loaned out to another gallery. She tapped on the computer keyboard, squinted and told me that ‘The Sick Child’ by Edvard Munch had been loaned out to The British Museum, bit her tongue, scanned the screen but couldn’t find any information about the whereabouts of The Weeping Woman.

I thought, well that’s odd! So this morning I checked the Tate Modern website and found that it just lists the painting as “Not on display”.

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/picasso-weeping-woman-t05010

Not on display? Why would that be? It’s not like they’re short of space. There are plenty of blank walls in the 3,300 square metres available to hang art in the former Bankside Power Station and to be honest, a lot of what’s on the walls is rubbish, so why is one of Picasso’s most famous works “not on display”?

Clearly, what’s happened here is, the painting has been stolen and whoever is in charge at the Tate Modern is hoping it’s recovered before anyone notices.

Here’s where I come in. In November last year, I wrote a blog about how easy it would be to steal The Weeping Woman and detailed exactly what you’d have to do.

https://grahammack.wordpress.com/2018/11/17/art-for-art-sake/

Now someone has actually gone and done it. Does that make me an accessory to the crime?

Craic on!

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London Calling

05May19

I really enjoy working in London every day. Everywhere you look is a photo opportunity. I took this one a few days ago when I got off the train at Blackfriars just after 6am.

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I’ve been at Fix Radio since July last year, it’s not the first time I’ve worked in the capital. In 2012 and 2013, I did some shows on BBC London, here’s what it sounded like;

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Mack Nuggets

04May19

Here’s what I’ve been up to with Gaz Drinkwater on Fix Radio Manchester, including;Show Us Your Tips; Greater Manchester Police using GPS data from speeding drivers; Why democracy doesn’t work; Travis Perkins v the cat; Rednecks in New Zealand; The dispute with Steve Brookstein.

Craic on!

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This month marks 30 years since BBC Wiltshire started. I presented the Breakfast Show on Swindon’s BBC Wiltshire from 2010 to 2012 and was lucky enough to win a Gold Sony Radio Academy Award for “Breakfast Show Of The Year”, the “Program Presenter Award” Gold at the BBC Gillards, “Best Radio Personality” bronze and “Best Talk Show Host” finalist at the New York Radio Awards.

Unfortunately I was let go as part of a BBC cost saving initiative called “Delivering Quality First”. Here’s what the show sounded like;

Craic on!

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Polling

Democracy doesn’t work which is a shame with council elections on right now.

Most people are not Scientists, economists or engineers. Politicians are experts on politics but not much else. When politicians make policy they should really ask experts on each individual topic and go with what they say. The problem is, experts make up a tiny fraction of the electorate and democracy is a numbers game.

Politicians are greedy for power and will stop at nothing to get it so instead, they make policy based on the perceptions of the majority of voters. In other words, politicians care the most about the people who know the least.

Politicians love it when an electorate has an irrational fear because they can stoke that fear then offer solutions. Immigration, the fear of other religions, a loss of national identity and scarcity are the phobias that got Hitler and Trump elected and sent Britain towards Brexit.

On top of that, older people are way more likely turn out on polling day and they make up more than 18% of the British electorate. When I asked for my voting slip at the church hall where I vote, I was surrounded by so many old people, I half expected to be given a bingo card.

We’re told that democracy is best and people have fought and died to protect it but it’s a system where power hungry megalomaniacs are rewarded for getting the largest group of misinformed, ignorant and sometimes prejudice people, who may not even be alive in five years time, to put a tick in a box next to their name.

There must be a better way. The problem is, if someone came up with a new system, who’d vote for them?

Craic on!

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Environuts

20Apr19

Here’s what happened when I had a chat with one of the eco-protesters in London.

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I’m looking forward to Thursday (18th April). The wonderful John Pearman, the editor of the Liverpool Fanzine ‘Red All Over The Land’, has invited me to host a great night at Longcliffe Golf Club in Loughborough.

John was heavily involved with local football teams in the East Midlands, including Thorpe Acre, in the 1960’s and 70’s and also the formation of the Charnwood league in 1966. John found out that two of his former players, Brian Jackson and Frank Blackshaw, are now tragically suffering with Dementia and John wants to highlight the issue and show support.

He’s put a great panel together for the night, including the BBC Radio 5-Live football commentator, Alan Green, former Forest, Liverpool, Manchester City and Sheffield Wednesday player and now manager of Burton Albion, Nigel Clough, Dawn Astle, daughter of the West Brom legend Jeff Astle and a leading campaigner in Dementia and Alzheimer’s in football following the death of her dad. Also Jeff Sewell, the first local referee to make it to the old First Division and Pete Jones, a referee from the local scene who went on to be a Premier League and FIFA referee.

The sporting memorabilia John has put together for the auction is first class and there’s top raffle prizes too.

There are a few tickets left at just £20 per person and that includes a Buffet. If you’d like to go, get in touch with John by email: redallovertheland@gmail.com – It would be great to see you there!

Craic on!

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Pete Jones

Is a referee from the local scene who will be known by a lot of people in this room. He went on to be a Premier League and FIFA referee. He’s refereed League Cup and FA Cup Finals.

 

Jeff Sewell

Jeff is another referee, you’ll know well from the local football scene in the 60s and early 70s. He was the first local referee from that time to make it to the old First Division and became a Fifa International Referee.  

 

Alan Green

Alan has been a BBC Radio sports commentator since 1981, mainly on football but also on golf, rowing and the Olympic Games. He’s one of BBC Radio 5 Live’s most senior football commentators and has won a Sony Radio Academy Award for Sports Broadcaster Of The Year. He’s also worked in the USA as Atlanta United’s play by play lead announcer for Fox Sports. Alan has an opinion on just about everything.

 


Bye Bye BOB

06Apr19

Sad news this week, Bob FM has been bought by Communicorp and will be rebranded as Heart Hertfordshire. I worked there for five years and had a great time, I left in July last year.

It means that every commercial radio station I’ve worked on in the UK has now disappeared. 2CRFM in Dorset and Century North East are now Heart, BRMB in Birmingham is now Free Radio, Century East Midlands is now GEM, TFM has no local programing and Jack on the South Coast is now Sam.

I’d like to think that after I leave a station, they go into such a sharp decline that they’re forced to re-brand, take network programming or are sold.

Could it be that, once you go Mack, you can’t go back?

Craic on!

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Greater Manchester Police are the first force in the UK to use GPS data on mobile phones to catch speeding drivers. Chief Constable Liam Watkins of GMP appeared on Fix Radio Manchester this morning and said, “If you don’t want to get caught, don’t speed”.

Furious motorists called into Fix Radio to complain about the police’s new tactics. Mark from Wythenshawe was one of many angry callers into the Breakfast Show. He called from the A538, Hale Road in Altrincham and said his van had been pulled over, a police officer confiscated his phone, plugged it into a device which scanned GPS data on the phone. When Mark was given his phone back he was also handed a fixed penalty notice with a £100 fine and three points on his licence for doing 37mph in a 30mph limit.  

You need to flick your phone off before you get behind the wheel. Flick it or ticket!

Fix Radio Manchester has set up on e-petition to Parliament to stop the police using data on mobile phones to catch speeding drivers. You can sign the petition here;
https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/253863/sponsors/new?token=gBwboqC3LcEH3SURl6c

Listen to angry motorists and what Greater Manchester Police had to say here;

Craic on!

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Mack Nuggets

30Mar19

Here’s what I’ve been on about with Gaz Drinkwater on Fix Radio Manchester lately, including;

The Indian blues singer.
Why being a radio presenter is like being a stripper.
Clint Eastwood movie or condom?
Show us your tips.
Inappropriate Mother’s Day cards.
The truth about caffeine shampoo.
Why cyclists is a dirty word.
Boob sizes explained.
Graham Mack on BBC Radio 5Live.
The truth about the IRN Awards.

Craic on!

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Wacko Jacko

09Mar19

That’s what it sounded like when I announcement that I’d banned all Michael Jackson songs from Fix Radio in London and Manchester.

I made the decision after watching, “Leaving Neverland”. We were the first radio station in Britain to do this and the only one that has openly admitted that there is a ban in place. The truth is, most UK radio stations have dropped Michael Jackson’s music but are too scared to admit the fact publicly because of the backlash it will cause from Jackson fans.

It’s caused such a fuss that the story has been picked up by The Times, The Daily Express and news site around the world. I was also asked to be a guest on The Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5 Live…

 

As long as I’m the Programme Director, Michael Jackson songs will not be played on Fix Radio.

 

Craic on!

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Mack Nuggets

03Mar19

Here’s what I’ve been up to with Gaz Drinkwater on Fix Radio Manchester, including:

The truth about the Isis bride.
Another car on the tram tracks.
Missing seats at Old Trafford.
The pink chicken.
Lego porn.
Racism from Liam Neeson.
The dangers of drinking tea.
Classic Simpsons.
The lion and the goolies.
Valentines Day stories.
The front thong.
The naked beauty queen.
The real reason schools ban haircuts.

 

Craic on!

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Russ & Jono, the multi award-winning radio show hosts are back!

They appeared as guest stars on Fix Radio last month and the audience response was so big that now they’re back, permanently.

The Russ and Jono Fix Radio Experience will be heard weekdays 12-1pm and Saturdays 8-10am on Fix Radio London and Fix Radio Manchester on DAB, and around the world on the Fix Radio smartphone app and online at http://www.fixradio.co.uk!

The new show will feature classic bits like, ‘Sad But True’, ‘Dumb Crime of the Day’, ‘Probe the Globe’, ‘Lost in Showbiz’, the wayward newsreaders ‘Shanka & Edward’ and their new, film review feature, ‘Jono on the Commode’.

The Russ and Jono Fix Radio Experience, weekdays 12-1pm & a ‘best of’ show on Saturdays 8-10am! Listen live here from March 4th;

https://www.fixradio.co.uk/player/player-selection/

Craic on!

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Hot For Cleaner

17Feb19

Things didn’t go according to plan when one of my single workmates booked a hot cleaner.

He saw the image of a very attractive young girl advertising home cleaning services online. She was a lot more expensive than the other cleaners he’d got quotes from but he decided to book her to clean his flat anyway. He even took the afternoon off work.

In the days leading up to her visit, he got quite excited and showed everyone in the Fix Radio office her picture.

When the big day came, an hour before she was due, he got a phone call. The female voice on the other end of the phone said there was a problem and asked if it would be alright if they sent a different girl. Slightly disappointed, he agreed.

The “girl” who turned up was a large, middle aged woman.

Clearly this lady is a marketing genius. It was my friend who had been taken to the cleaners!

It reminds me of this scam from The Man Show with Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla;

Craic on!

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