Tuesday, 27 September 2011

As one era ends, a new one begins

So it’s goodbye ‘Flashback’, hello ‘Random Records’.

Just a few weeks ago, we were celebrating ‘Flashback’s’ first birthday, and I didn’t envision ended the series of shows.

However, as you know, I’m always lookiing to improve my radio shows and to bring you a better product.

In fact, I suppose my tagline could be ‘Striving to do better, daring to be different’.

And the truth is, I’ve been looking to do a show that is different to most of what’s out there.

And a couple of week’s ago, I was going to have a night just playing random records. It’s always been something that I do.

This time however, I decided to go on air and do it as a show to see what others thought.

From the minute I decided to do it, I went online, let people know what I was going to do, and starting the show, it was around 10 minutes.

And so ‘Random Records’ went on air for the first time, with no format, no preparation and no playlist. I made it up as I went along, and people made requests as well.

The only proviso, was that if they wanted a request, they had to give me a memory to go with the song they wanted to play.

Apart from that I just played different songs from different genres and years.

The result was a 3 hour, one-off show.

The next day I posted it on my listen again site and the results were astounding. The numbers paralysed every other show!

So I thought I’d try it again. Last Tuesday I did show 2, this time for just two hours.

The result was again excellent. It was then I decided to make it part of my regular scheduling.

However, because of the time constraints I have, one show has to go in order to make way for it.

As it's like an oldies show, ‘Flashback’ would be the one to fall by the wayside.

Whilst ‘Flashback’ has decent listening figures, ‘Random Records’ was beating it by 5/1.

And so, the situation is that I shall do two more ‘Flashback’ shows, so that the stations that take it have time to rearrange their schedules.

I’m going to carry on doing the ‘Random Records’ show and that will then replace ‘Flashback’.

In regard to ‘Random Records’, we’re also going to include a novel feature to the show as well, which will go hand in hand with the randomness of the show.

We’re going to give listeners the opportunity to pick a song from the ‘Pot-Luck Jukebox’.

I’ve assigned 20,000 songs to it and each song has an identify-ing code number.

What the listener will need to do is choose tow numbers.

The first number will need to be between 1 and 20.

The second number will need to be between 1-1000.

Once I have the chosen numbers, I’ll look them up and the song that corresponds with the numbers will be played.

I’ve a feeling we’re going to get some songs played that otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance.

Also, to make sure people don’t keep requesting the same song when they find one they like, and to keep it more random, each week, I’m gonna shuffle the juke box and so the same number may bring up a completely different song.

I’m hoping that this will make the show more interactive, and also a lot of fun.

Like I say in my tagline, ‘Striving to do better, daring to be different’.

Till next time...

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Random Records Novelty or not?

So, did you hear the show? If not, let me tell you about it.

Last Tuesday, I'd finished recording my Pure Grooves show and was at a bit of a loss for something to do. I'm not a great TV watcher - in fact, I've not even got a freeview box plugged into it, so I only watch DVDs.

As I didn't fancy watching a DVD, I thought I'd just have a play of some records. What generally happens when I do this is that I start off with one song and just go on from there picking and playing whatever I see that takes my fancy.

Anyway, for some reason I decided to do this on air, so I quickly went on mixlr and did a facebook invitation to let people know I was just going to go on air and to let them know what I was going to do.

10 minutes later, I was on-air, with a few people listening. Over the next three hours, I had more listeners join in and it became an enjoyable night, not only for me, but for those listening.

People listening joined me on my facebook page and we were chatting whilst I was doing the show. Then people started making requests. I decided that I would take a request, but only if they requested songs that brought back specific memories to them. For me that was the fun part.

In picking the songs, there were no rules other than I just fancied hearing the song. This meant that I was skipping from genre to genre, era to era and with an anything goes spirit.

I think it resulted in a pretty interesting playlist. And what's more, I'm pleased to say that many of the listeners did as well, it was nice to receive emails and messages from people saying how they enjoyed the concept of it.

This has led me to think more about this show. On checking my downloads for the week, this show has beat all of my other shows for listens. It makes me wonder whether this is the type of show that could just be different enough to make it something people would like to hear on a regular basis.

Too many shows these days (mine included) are too 'samey'. People know what they're gonna get before they tune in. To be fair that's great as people listen to what they like to hear.

However, I believe the Random Records show was a success for exactly the opposite reason. People didn't have a clue what I was going to play - come to think of it, neither did I.

It was a refreshing change to not spend time thinking about putting a show together, and I think this gave the show a freshness that Is missing from my other shows. A big plus of course is that it was done 'live' and I could have audience participation which is something I love.

Therefore, I'm going to be doing it again next week to see if it will hold up or whether it was a 'flash in the pan'. If it holds up, there's a good chance that I'd make it a regular show.

In order to do that though, something would have to give. I would have to drop one of my regular shows to make way for it. I would imagine the show that would have to go would be 'Flashback'.

Firstly, as the name of the new show implies, the songs I'm playing come from the era of records, so it's an oldies show of sorts. As Flashback is an oldies show, it makes sense that would be the one to go.

The other reason is that 'Flashback' is only an hour. If I made the new show a 2 hour show, it would be more enticing for stations to take.

But that's all in the future, we'll have to see what happens next time. I can't help but think that this show is going to be a success. Mainly because of the mix of music I'll be playing. It'll appeal to those who don't want to hear just one type of music. And it'll be great for those who like a bit of nostalgia, but don't mind hearing the odd album track, or one that slipped by the charts.

We'll have to see. In the meantime, if you haven't heard the show:

Here's the link to the show:

Here's the playlist:
1 Rupert Holmes - Escape (Pina Colada)
2 Michel Legrand - Come Ray & Come Charles
3 Kim Weston - Just Loving You
4 Annie Lennox - Walking On Broken Glass
5 Andrew Gold - Never Let Her Slip Away
6 Beatles - Kansas City
7 James Taylor - Little More Time With You
8 George Benson - What's On Your Mind
9 Drifters (The) - On Broadway
10 Lou Reed - Walk On The Wild Side
11 Art Blakey - Moanin'
12 Jigsaw - Sky High
13 Joe Brown - Jellied Eels
14 Robert John - Sad Eyes
15 Baccara - Yes Sir I Can Boogie
16 Mamas & The Papas - Creeque Alley
17 Sheb Wooley - Purple People Eater
11 Bobby 'Boris' Pickett & The Crypt Kicker 5 - Monster Mash
12 10cc - Rubber Bullets
13 Heatwave - Posin' Til' Closin'
14 TV Theme - I Dream Of Jeannie
15 Patsy Cline - Just Out Of Reach
16 Brenda Lee - Wee Wee Willie
17 Jennifer Paige - Crush
18 Ella Fitzgerald - Desafinado
19 Pointer Sisters (The) - Yes We Can Can
20 Lisa Stansfield - All Around The World
21 Georgie Fame - Yeh Yeh
22 Donnie Elbert - Without You
23 Toni Basil - Mickey
24 Elton John - Writing
25 Sam Cooke - That's It - I Quit - I'm Movin' On
26 Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass - Spanish Flea
27 Diana Ross - Last Time I Saw Him
28 Mar-Keys (The) - Last Night
29 M - Pop Musik
30 LaVerne Baker - Jim Dandy
31 Carole Bayer Sager - You're Moving Out Today
32 Louis Prima - My Cucuzza
33 Cab Calloway - Minnie The Moocher
34 Dean Martin - That's Amore
35 Ray Charles & Blues Brothers - Shake Your Tailfeather
36 George Formby - When I'm Cleaning Windows
37 Bobby Helms - Jacqueline
38 Animals - House Of The Rising Sun
39 Elvis Presley - GI Blues
40 Chicory Tip - Son Of My Father
41 Jimmy Young - Man From Laramie
42 Stevie Wonder - Yester-me Yester-you Yesterday
43 Patsy Cline - Crazy
44 Zu Zu Blues Band (The) - Zu Zu Man
45 Carole King - It Might As Well Rain Until September
46 Gilbert O'Sullivan - No Matter How I Try
47 Cockney Rebel - Here Comes The Sun
48 Al Green - Let's Stay Together
49 Paul Davidson - Midnight Rider
50 Don McLean - American Pie
51 Steely Dan - Rikki Don't Lose That Number
52 Dickie Valentine - King Of Dixieland

Let me know what you think of the show.

By the way, if you want to know when the next one is going out, 'like' my facebook page, because that's where I'll be posting the time and day the shows happening again.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

An open letter to one and all

Do your remember where you were 10 years ago today? I know I can remember where I was - and today is a poignant day for many people. I know for the past week or so I've thought about those poor people who went to work that morning, not knowing it would be their last day. And wondered that if they'd known their lives would end that day, would they have done anything different leading up to it.

Henry David Thoreau wrote 'The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation' and I think I have to count myself in that number. I've said to my self many times over my adult life 'There has to be more to life than this', but I've never resigned myself for putting up with what life chucks at me.

And so I've decided that today, on the anniversary of 9/11, I want to make a state of intent, and each of you that read this are more than welcome to watch and make sure that I do it.

But before I do, I just want to preface it with a little background.

I've loved music for as long as I can remember, and I've been told I've been drawn to it from the minute I first opened my eyes. I've collected music from the year dot, and I've got more memories because of my music than anything else.

The memory that doesn't go away is the one that as maybe an 11 year old deciding I wanted to do radio as a career. I like many listened to Tony Blackburn, Dave Lee Travis, Noel Edmonds, Johnny Walker and loads of other DJs, and all I wanted to do was play music as a way of earning a living.

But like many of us, life got in the way and we ended up drifting off to different careers, and the dreams we had as children got packed away and left to gather dust.

I've always had music in whatever I've done from my beginnings in a fairground family, through to when I sold records as a market trader, my DJing and so on.

By the 1990s, I was rarely listening to radio anymore, because it all sounded the same to me and so I drifted further from my dream.

Then one night in 2008, I was surfing the web and came across a podcast radio show done by a guy called Don Roberts in Canada, and in the space of 65 minutes, I was hooked all over again. Over a period of months, I got into an ongoing conversation with Don via email  and he sparked my desire to a radio show. With the birth of the internet, it was now possible to do my own show. And so on January 12th 2009, I sat down to record my first podcast.

It was to be a radio show to send out to clients of my disco and to replace a newsletter. Within a couple of months it had developed into a radio show online and now it's just over 2 and a half years later, and I've done around 800 shows.

For months I've been banging on about how I want to make a living from radio and I've been sending off demos to stations and getting the same old reply that I don't fit their format as the style of DJ they require.

At the same time I've had people telling me that terrestrial radio is dying and there's no money to be made from it.

So here's my statement of intent - I am going to make a living out of radio. And make good, enjoyable shows as well. I'm not totally sure how yet, but the decision has been made - now I just have to devise and work a plan.

Many of you will know I don't praise myself up too much, but after thinking long and hard about it this week, I've come to the decision that because I may not fit format radio, it doesn't mean I'm no good.

Here's a fact  - I've got listeners to my 4 radio shows on the net in 59 countries. I've got groups on facebook and had  groups that had around 3000 people in them. And do you know what? Whilst I listen to my shows and pull them to pieces critically, I've just listened to this week's shows and come to the decision that I believe they're very good.

I'm still a baby in radio terms, and I know I still have loads to learn, but that's OK, I'm like a sponge and I'll soak up what I need to learn.

I was 48 before I had this opportunity, and I'm going to grab onto it with both hands and I'm not going to let go till I achieve my dream. I was 11 when I packed it away, and I've now got that dream back out, and I'm not going to let anyone steal it from me again.

If you're on facebook, you'll know that I am no longer going to be posting my shows on my personal group. The 'On The Radio with James Murphy' page is now my main point for my radio shows. There is a web page to support that.  I will no longer be using the 'Very Old, Very Bald, James Murphy page to promote shows'.

So here's what I'd love you to do. If you listen to my shows, haven't listened for a while, or never listened, go along to the  'On The Radio with James Murphy' page and 'like' it. On my web site there is a mailing list form - please go and join it.

Then take a listen to the shows. Don't worry if you're not a soul fan, part of my ongoing growth is that I'm going to be producing and presenting different types of shows. I believe my strength is in the fact that I'm an all-rounder and I want to have some fun along the way.

If you like the shows, please tell your friends, post links on facebook and twitter, and become part of my thinktank and support team. If you've got any comments, constructive criticism and thoughts, let me know.

If you don't like my shows, don't like me, think that I'm a mouthy git, and generally couldn't care less, that's fine. If you don't think I can do this, more power to you.

But you know what - you can watch and tell me I can't do it - but you can't affect me.

To those of you that support me, you know how much I appreciate it. Anything you can do to help will never be forgotten. All I'll promise you is that I'll be giving it my best shot - I want to produce shows that people love and can't wait to hear.

A line in the sand has been drawn, and I won't be going back over it.  This is my dream, I'm going to achieve it, and I would love to have you along for the ride. It's going to be exciting, frustrating, heartbreaking at times, but ultimately what I want to do with my life.

Anyone coming on the ride with me?

All the best


Friday, 9 September 2011

Boredom.....what do you do?

It's just been one of those days - all my shows for this week are sorted, the magazine is awaiting one page and that will be ready for publication this week, I've wriiten off applications for radio jobs, sorted the new music I've bought and got it ready to go on my disco computer.

I just feel like there's something I could be doing, but for the life of me, I don't know what it is!

So what do you do? Well, I've spent most of the afternoon, surfing the web looking for stuff to stimulate me - I've listened to various Radio shows, both from the UK and abroad, and at the same time I've been reading some online radio related websites.

I suppose it's what happens, when someone who's as goal oriented as me hasn't got too much to do.

I must say it's quite unusual and perhaps I should do as a facebook friend suggested, chill out and grab a beer. But I find it hard to relax, especially when I'm on a mission of sorts.

I think the problem is that when I find myself at a loose end, I get frustrated with myself, because I feel like I'm wasting time and that I could be doing something to help me on my journey to achieving.

Perhaps my problem is that I actually need to take a break to re-charge my batteries - however, I'm not really good at that either.

It's a bit of a conundrum don't you think?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

The Will He? Won't He? Request Show

As I said last week, I've been feeling it's time to have a bit of fun with my shows. To that end, I've had this idea floating around in my head.

I love doing my shows, and I think they'd be even better with more audience participation. As you know, I've been doing Requestfests for a few years now, and have been thinking to myself it would be great to say 'No' when I got a request I didn't feel like playing.

With that in mind, I thought about doing a request show, but with a difference. Listeners would make the request, but if I didn't want to play it, I wouldn't, and I name them and play that game show bleep that we've all heard on 'Family Fortunes'.

Like most people, on different days, I like to hear different thing, so if I did that, a song could be requested one week and I'd play it, but in another show I may not.

So, in effect, it would be a game of 'see if you can guess what James will  play.' It could end up quite a novel show if listeners got involved.

Obviously, I'd have to do the show live - something I've not had chance to do lately.

So anyway, I thought I'd better give it a trial run and see if it would work. And so this morning I did the show. I have to say I really enjoyed doing it - we had a fair few requests and I refused a few as well.

Hopefully the listeners enjoyed being part of the show.

Here's the link: http://jamesmurphy.podomatic.com/entry/2011-09-07T06_05_23-07_00

Here's the playlist:
1 Beatles - Good Morning Good Morning
2 Perry & The Harmonics - Do The Monkey With James
3 Boz Scaggs - What Can I Say
4 Cheryl Lynn - Encore
5 Jackson 5 (The) - Looking Through The Window
6 Justin Timberlake - Love Stoned (I Think She Knows)
7 Gloria Gaynor - This Love Affair
8 Earth Wind & Fire - Got To Get You Into My Life
9 BB&Q Band - On The Beat
10 Gene Chandler - Let Me Make Love To You
11 Caro Emerald - That Man
12 Odyssey - Native New Yorker
13 Donell Jones - U Know What's Up
14 Kylie Minogue - Word Is Out (Summer Breeze Mix)
15 Jennifer Lopez - Let's Get Loud
16 Elvis Presley - Tonight Is So Right For Love
17 Buddy Holly - Rave On
18 Los Del Rio - Macarena
19 Roy Ayers - Love Will Bring Us Back Together
20 Isaac Hayes - Zeke The Freak
21 Band AKA - Joy
22 Roxy 5000 - Love Like A lady
23 Beginning Of The End - Funky Nassau
24 Junior - Oh Louise
25 Dandy Livingstone - Suzanne Beware Of The Devil
26 Champs - Tequila
27 Paulette Reeves - Jazz Freak
28 Goldie Alexander - Go Back
29 MFSB - K-Jee
30 Cuban Ize - African Message
31 Carly Simon - You're So Vain
32 Barry White - Honey Please Can't You See
33 Fortunes (The) - Storm In A Teacup
34 Dobie Gray - In Crowd
35 Locksmith - Unlock The Funk
36 Fine Young Cannibals - Good Thing
37 Little Eva - Locomotion
38 Mascara - See You In LA-Jet Plane Ride
39 Neo - Smile
40 Don E - Love Makes The World Go Round
41 Soul Bros Inc - Pyramid
42 Raw Silk - Do It To The Music
43 Norah Jones - Don't Know Why
44 Four Seasons (The) - Save It For Me
45 Jackie Wilson - Baby Workout
46 Tavares - Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel
47 Earth Wind & Fire - Brazilian Rhyme

To hear my recent shows, go to http://wwwjamesmurphy.podomatic.com

It would be great to do it again and get a more varied bunch of requests. But that's up to the listeners.

Anyway, have a listen and let me know what you think.

Till next time

Friday, 2 September 2011

Internet stations

So I was thinking about radio stations the other day and wondering if they adequately serve their listenership. And I suppose they do. I think the problem is that I don't fit the demographic.

I've always erred from starting up my own radio station as I've never really wanted the hassle of it, but I have to admit I'm started to get tempted by the idea.

But he truth is I've always been promoting me as a brand - that way, people who like my shows know what to expect. By starting a station it would mean that I then have to look at taking other shows. Being me, I wouldn't want to just be one genre of station as I like to be across the board.

And I've not achieved what I want to yet, and I think I still have so much to learn as a presenter. The other thing is with me that I'm incredibly picky. As with everything I try to do, I want it to be the best that it can be. And running a station would entail me taking in other people's shows. Which would entail me hunting to find the shows I want to put on the station - the trouble is, it'd end up as Saga Radio - music for the over 50s!

My listener demographic is aged between 35 - 55. 35% Female and 65% Male - I do have listeners in the younger age groups - but they amount to only 7% of my total listenership.

I would imagine that for the most part, my listeners enjoy the soul related music the most, however there is so much more that I would like to both play and hear personally.

I make no apologies for promoting myself - after all, if I don't, who will? The problem I could see is that I'd end up on air all the time trying out different shows, and I'm not sure that would help - after all no-one wants to hear me all the time.

The one thing an online radio station that targets a certain demographic would do, is to target it in such a way that I could try to earn an income from it.

Everyone keeps telling me there's no money in radio, but over the last few months, I've been doing extensive research, and I'm not so sure they're right.

There are several niche markets that could be profitable - after all I'm not talking about earning silly amounts of money - I just want to earn a sensible wage from it.

But the other thing that always drives me is that I read somewhere a long time ago a quote that went along the lines of - Observe the masses and do the opposite - and another that said if everyone's agreeing with you then don't do it!

And the other thing is that I really want to be successful in radio - and if there isn't a market available to me at the moment, then I need to create one.

I'm nothing, if not a persistent person, and I feel that there's a place for me in radio - and please don't think I'm a big headed, know all. I'm not. I'm just someone who has a desire to achieve something.

And besides.... I'd rather die trying that give up and regret the decision for the rest of my life.

I'm by no means the finished item where presenting is concerned, but the fact that I have listeners in 58 countries and territories, tells me that I can't be that bad either.

The over-riding thought at the moment though, is that I may just have to create my own path to earning a living from radio - it may be a station, it may be a listening club, I don't know what quite yet.

But you can be sure, one way or another, I will find a way to do it.