Me & My Radio

It's Simon's turn to talk about the radio soundtrack to his life!

Breakfast Show Presenter eating breakfast at a Music Festival RSL Radio Station

What are your earliest radio memories?

I remember sitting in the back of my dad's cream VW Beetle listening to the Archers on Radio 4. That was part of growing up. I don't remember listening to much music radio as a child except for Sunday evenings travelling home from my Grandma's house, listening to "Sing Something Simple". Growing up I listened to reruns (I'm not THAT old) of the Goon Show and a series called Radioactive. I loved radio comedy and I still do! At age 11 I created a radio comedy-drama for a school project on the eruption of Mount Vesuvius


Vox Award winner for “Best Use of Music” and later a judge for the UK Vox Awards

What do you like about radio today?

There are so many things to love! Dramas and Sci-Fi don't date on the radio as quickly as it does for TV. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a great example of this. The TV now looks a bit old, the radio reinvents itself in your mind. There are some really great new comedy and comedy game shows. Music radio I like any station where the music surprises and the presenters enrich my life in some way. I'm not so keen on evenings on commercial radio... something happens to the music that disturbs me.

How did you end up working in radio?

My Dad did a little work for BBC Radio Newcastle, doing interviews for the Sunday Morning Religious show. Through that, he made a contact with Metro Radio who let me do some interviews for their Sunday Morning show with Rev Joe Poulter. I borrowed a Uher and interviewed a couple of people... Dana and Martyn Joseph... and made all the mistakes but I was hooked. I went into Metro and watched a show going out. That was Alan Robson's Nightowls. After school, I took a year out and applied to do Radio Film and Television at what is now Christ Church University College in Canterbury.


Driving the desk and presenting at Radio Greenbelt in about 1995


 How did you end up writing radio commercials?

At the end of my second year, I got some work experience working at Metro Radio in their Commercial Production department. It was a big department of 9 people with some of the best radio creative minds at the time. I worked in the studio, but frankly wasn't great at it. At the end of my college course they gave me a job, but after a few months there just wasn't enough work, so they gave me 6 months’ notice and trained me up as a writer. I had the best fun there learning the theory... then my next job as a station writer put me through the flames! Writing scripts for 8-10 clients per day! But it was great writing radio drama every day and a real "in at the deep end" experience.


Where is radio heading?

Radio has a long life ahead of it. The delivery and the consumption is undergoing a revolution... but as long as there are presenters to surprise and enrich people with content there will be radio. As long as the owners and programmers don’t see radio as just a limited playlist jukebox, there's a future. Kindle revolutionised book reading, but people went back to books because they like the experience. As long as radio stations provide an experience that people enjoy, radio has a future.

What do you listen to now?

In the office, we listen to lots of stations to hear what’s going on. I like lots of different music but of course I turn it up when ads come on. Outside of work, I listen to a lot of Radio 4 for news, comedy and drama. I'll always be the student listening to techniques and clever writing.

Simon Rushton