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My earliest memories of radio are all rather warm, nostalgic and I suppose you could say, somewhat comforting. The first radio program I experienced was undoubtedly 'Listen With Mother', which ironically I used to listen to with my nanny, because we were rather a posh household where nannies were the norm. I was probably around four years old at the time.

I can recall summer holidays by the seaside, listening to classical Proms concerts in the evening with the family. A couple of years on, I'd be huddled round the radio in the common room at school listening to Radio Luxembourg, the vast power of its huge medium wave transmitter doing its best to deliver us a glimpse of Elvis and other such artists that we'd never get a chance to hear on good old Auntie BBC!

Another channel we used to strain our ears to hear was Hilversum, a name which always looked so exotic on the radio dial. Hilversum's faint broadcasts from the province of North Holland were subject to an awful lot of 'flanging'...a familiar sound effect we would later work so hard to create on rock records a few years on, it sounded more like we were listening to a broadcast from Mars rather than from over the North Sea!

I guess I truly fell in love with radio was when Radio London started up, it was known as 'Wonderful Big L' and broadcast on its famous frequency of 226 meters from the MV Galaxy, a pirate radio ship bobbing around in the midst of the North Sea, well, about 3 miles offshore from Frinton on Sea to be exact. I recall that Big L's commercial sales department and HQ was in the much more salubrious and drier location of Curzon Street, just off Park Lane in London's Mayfair, far less chance of getting sea sick there! I used to keep a radio by my bed and the first thing I'd do each day was to flip open its lid and tune in to 'Big L'...for it was, indeed, truly 'wonderful'!

Radio Caroline was also very important. I think the first time I heard Bob Dylan was probably in 1964 on Caroline, I was working at Decca Studios and someone came in with Dylan's Freewheelin' album and said words to the effect of, "check this out this is the new big thing..' but I had probably heard Radio Caroline play the entire album front to back ahead of that, I remember thinking how cool it was to experience a complete album, on the radio, with all the tracks played as the writer intended them to be heard, all togther, in a certain order with nothing omitted - amazing.

As a record producer and engineer, which I became in around 1967 I guess, it was always so wonderfully exciting to hear my work on the radio, in fact it still is! It was around this time that the pirate stations started to get closed down, and we had to rely on the BBC to feed us scraps of rock and pop and the days of hearing entire albums on the radio in the UK were seemingly over...and that felt like a huge loss.

I recall working in the 'States in 1975 and tuning in to FM radio stations over there. It was so cool to hear them play an album from beginning to end in sparkling stereo FM quality - it was like they were holding on to and perpetuating the romance and magic of radio that I remembered from earlier days in Britain. Their approach was adventurous and really mind broadening for those tuning in.

For me its a big deal to be involved with MWPR and I see a real opportunity to bring some of the magic back, along with maybe some nostalgia and the fondness that radio can evoke too. Even though we aren't riding the waves of the wild North Sea, it's exciting to introduce maybe just a little of the pioneering spirit demonstrated by the pirates.

The team at MWPR look forward to giving listeners of all ages the chance to experience things like hearing a whole album again on the radio, with perhaps an introduction to explain why it might be important for the work to be heard in its entirety, and why shouldn't a Grime track follow a piece of classical music, with hopefully listeners who favour one of those types of music taking a bit of time to appreciate something in the other, therefore eroding prejudice as a result, and encouraging wide reaching musical acceptance and interest...that would be a wonderful thing to do.

Tom Allom

Tom Allom

Music producer, radio lover and co-founder of MWPR

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