Andrew Nigel Davis
MAR 1979 to Now
Ok, before telling you how I got the urge for radio way back in 1979, (when I was a mere off spring), here are a few non-self explanatory photos, for Mr Andy Davis dob October 1964. The first three, me and my sister in Southport, by this age I had already messed about with my dads valve radio and run extension speakers around the house - he freaked on me!
Photo 2 was my first home built Stereo Encoder with compressor expander and below a 25Watt FM TX (without the power amp), and in the background a TANDY CB (portable 4 watts) used for shady phone ins on Thurseston Hill!
(I ended up, would you believe, not losing these to the DTI but giving the damn things away.)
The 3rd photo was my studio for MAR 1979-1981 (ish) and me as a kid!, everything was on cassette, home made mixer, Phillips reel to reel (as the shows went out initially off reels) and on top of that a world wide short wave receiver (10khz to 49.999 Mhz) which I stupidly sold on ebay for pennys. The rest of the gear got taken in a raid. (Now don't be silly, the number plate isnt real!)
So How Did It All Start?
Well I used to work for my mum and dad in a shop similar to Dixons, and used to do the audio tv electrical repairs, and I would have my radio on all day on Piccadilly or Radio One, what a great job that was, and one day (and believe me I would never have discovered Pirate Radio otherwise), but I had just fixed a radio, and would you believe the DIAL was on 266AM, and there was this guy on, fighting with a dog and talking about his experiences with life, he had a gangster style voice, and it turns out it was good old Bert Williams. Of course I did not know what it was, but just had to listen. He was going on about transmitters, scallys, people cutting aerials, some fella called "Dwyer" who he was going to set his dog onto (ha ha), and it was just amazing. I could not turn away. Driving home in the car, I tuned my Red Ford Capri to 266 to hear someone called Mike Stand (this name could not be real) - I was compulsed!
That night I did a demo tape, they did not ask for any, but I did one, as I had disco gear, sent it off to 22 Beech Grove, which I realise now was a house and not a studio, and in the March of 1980 (4 months later) a fella called Paul Jaye rung me, sounded very posh and experienced, and asked to come round to see me. Well I was like a father in a hospital baby ward. He turned up, with clipboard, interviewed me, and then arranged for me the next day to meet Bert. Yeah, I could not wait. Bert asked me to do a 2 hour program on reel-to-reel and post it through Paul Jayes house for early Saturday. Next thing, and I remember this only too well, as I mentioned to Steve Martin, my son was born March 1980, and on the Saturday I had bought him out of hospital back home, and in the car, was playing my program, 2-4pm, with the most amazing quality I had ever heard. It boomed all over the Wirral, it 'lisped' at the sidebands due to the power, so you could not miss it. Bert was my hero! . Eventually Bert started a new station called Merseyside Music Radio on 254 I think. Superb quality again.
Eventually I got moved to Radio Jackie North in Liverpool with Rick Dane, that was a different life there. Rick seemed to have keys for every flat in Cantril Farm, and could broadcast from anywhere. He was not scared of heights, he was not even scared of climbing from one balcony to another, scary stuff. Whereas Bert would use reel to reels in those days, with a record deck playing the MAR (Atlantis - Shadows) theme tune, while Jimbo changed the reels, Rick on the other hand used ONE cassette deck, and within a second was able to take the old C120 out and put in a new one. I gave him 2 Grundig Cassette decks instead with pause controls, and a 9volt mixer, so that he could do it even better, and do live shows if need be.
I got the sack one day from RJN for playing Fleetwood Mac and 10cc etc, Rick went ape, sacked on the spot. But he forgave me eventually, and I went back, but did not enjoy the limited heavy rock style. You see I enjoyed reading the letters from listeners over the air, but Rick said there was more time spent reading letters than music - and he was right (after all this was ALTERNATIVE radio to appeal to the heavy rock fans).
So I left Rick, and along came a host of stations too numerous to mention, Elenore, J1000, MFR, ADFM, Veronica, C104, Station X, Wombat, NCR, SCR, TCR, Station M, Atlantis AM, it just goes on and on, I can't even think of all the names, but what a great time in the 80s, it just seemed, with respect to the officials, a free for all. Then of course around 1991 it became a criminal offence rather tham a civil offence to run a radio station, and I was on a very successful station which got raided, all the gear taken, and that left me in shock. I hid away from radio for a few years, messing with pcs, motorbikes, cars and dating women instead
I got back into radio about 18 months ago thanks to MAR and all the new technology associated with it. Programs only go out every few months perhaps on special occasions, not like of course the way stations used to be in the 80s, 24 hours a day literally, like SCR, Alpine.
I want to thank all the staff at MAR for the great time we currently having, not from the station point of view but the good time associated with just talking to them and associating with them and talking old times. Well, we might be all getting on now, but we still got to keep in practice. After all, my hero Alan Freeman was still on Radio 1 up to 99 years old.
Sadly Andy has left MAR for pastures new