Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Friday Night Out....

A few weeks ago I was given the opportunity to do a new show - and it made me think about another type of show.

With three shows already, I wanted to do something a little different to what I was already doing, but something that fitted the mould of the types of show I like to do.

The show was going to be going out at 9pm on a Friday, an ideal party time and I'd had this idea for a show buzzing about in my head for a while. And so James Murphy's Friday Night Out was born.

It's not aimed at the afficionado - it's aimed at people who just want some great feel good music that helps them get into a party mood.

Unlike my Pure Grooves show, it's not the type of show that's going to delve deep to play songs that only dedicated followers will like, it's more along the lines of a show that's got songs most people will know and love, and it won't be aimed at just the soul lover, it has songs from a variety of genres. They only thing is that it has to be a song that's going to leave you wanting to have a boogie.

I wanted this show to be for the widest range of people who just want to have a good time. And from the results of the first three week's listen again and download links, it's struck a chord, as the numbers are in front of my three other shows.

But then again, what's not to like? 2 hours of songs that will get you in the mood to have a good time. Songs you can sing out loud to and have a shuffle around the room to.

I have the feeling that this show could become my most popular one over the long run.

Although I'm only playing songs from the 70s and 80s in the show, there's so much to choose from.

It also made me think about today's music. I know some people will say it's because I'm getting old that I think today's music is not great, but that isn't the truth.

I just don't think that the amount of quality music is about anymore. When I look back to the disco era for example, I can remember that each week there was a whole heap of great records coming out. I know this because even back then I was spending over £30 a week on records.

The proof is that today, over 30 years on, people are still requesting those great songs. I did a wedding last weekend and there was a young lad, 21 years old who came up to me and said he loved the music I was playing. He basically said he's not heard anything new that compared with the songs from the disco era.

And he's right. I've been buying all the chart entries each week for years, and I've noticed that after six months, I can look at the recent songs, and can't remember over half of them, and after a year, can only remember around 10%.

I think it's because music today has become so disposable. Once upon a time we had to go to a shop and spend good money on records, so we were more discerning in our tastes.

Nowadays,  it's easy to nip on limewire or one of hundreds of other sites and download anything and everything for free, and so people do . And because of that, people don't value it so much. I constantly get people come to me at discos and tell me they've got 100,000 tracks + on a hard drive that they've downloaded - most likely they don't even know 80% of what they've downloaded.

I can't imagine too many of today's songs will stand the test of time and still be getting people on a dancefloor in 20 years. It's such a shame. But I think it's definitely the case that music doesn't have the influence it used to have.

And so I'm glad to have the opportunity to play great songs week in, week out, from what were two of the best decades of music...

Monday, 25 July 2011

Another Rock 'n' Roll Tragedy

I have to say it came as no surprise to hear about the death of Amy Winehouse. I remember a few years ago, seeing  a website on which people were guessing the date she would die on, and there had always been a sense of inevitability that she would be one of those rock 'n' roll victims.

Two albums were her legacy, but I expect we'll see a new album with material that she'd recorded but not yet released. I remember hearing her for the first time back in 2004. "Help Yourself" was the first song I heard and thought it was brilliant. Listening the album "Frank" confirmed that she was indeed a great talent, and although people will say that "Back To Black" was the defining album, for me "Frank" was the album that will show the best of her talent.

Her personal life appears to have been a well reported mess, and I can only think that she was a flawed person, talented as an artist, but unfortunately, someone who made the wrong choices along the way and ultimately paid for it.

My favourite Amy Winehouse song? Me & Mr Jones. I would have played it to death on the radio had she not done what so many do these days and used the "f" word in the song. It's a song that's evocative of a bygone era and only went to show that she had a wealth of knowledge about music.

I have no doubt "Valerie" will continue to be a floorfiller at discos for a long time to come and will ensure that she'll hold a place in the history of popular music.

Amy Winehouse R.I.P.

You can't help think that it was such a waste though...

Monday, 18 July 2011

Catching up

Well it's been a busy week or so since I blogged last. Life seems to be running away from me at the moment as I've been a bit bogged down with so much to do - In the past fortnight, I've done 8 radio shows, 2 parties, 2 weddings and a requestfest as well as getting the Pure Grooves web magazine ready for publication.

I have to say though, it's been a fun fortnight. I've played in front of over 500 people, and added a brand new show to my list - and from the first results on my listen again/download site, it looks as though the show could be a winner. The first set of results for that week showed that the new show had 10% more listeners than any of my other shows, which is heartening.

The fact is, I wasn't looking to do another show, and it just came from an opportunity, which makes it all the more worthwhile. The fact is that now I'm doing three, two hour shows and an hour show a week. It's meant that I'm now having to be more organised in the way I do things. I've now set aside Sunday to put together the playlists for all the shows. I takes around the same amount of time to prepare for a show as it does to actually do it. It just means that I'll have to forego doing other stuff on a Sunday - but I believe that for everything you want to achieve, there is a price to pay, and losing a Sunday is the price I have to play to get to where I want to be.

I'm not going to give you the playlist for all the shows I've done since last time as you'll be here all night. However, here are the links for last week's shows:

Pure Grooves:
James Murphy's Friday Night Out:
Sunday Shake Up:

Don't forget that you can listen to the shows from the player at my web site as well

Speaking of which, I've added a guestbook to the web site so that you can get in touch with me - it may be that you want a request, dedication or to contribute something to the show. It may be that you just want to say 'hi!'.

We have a competition running on the site to win a copy of the Soul Unsigned 2011 (Summer) Session album. We've got five to give away and you just need to answer one simple question to enter the competition. It closes on 31st July, so you have still got time to enter.

This week's Pure Grooves magazine has just been published and the featured artist is Aretha Franklin. As always, it's free to read so be sure to check it out -

One final thing, if you're a friend of mine on facebook and are a member of any of my groups, I'm going to ask you to like my newest page - On The Radio with James Murphy - this is replacing the group that managed to get archived by facebook, which lost me in excess of 1600 members. I'm hoping to convert all the friends from all of my groups to this one so that I can streamline my social networking news - I realise some people are members of all my groups, and are receiving up to three emails from me each week and more postings if they in all three. Hopefully by doing this I can cut down on the amount of info I'm bombarding people with, making it less intrusive.

In an ideal world, I'd have everyone's email address and be able to send one email with all the information on it, but the way facebook works, it's unlikely I'm ever going to achieve that. As someone who really wants to achieve more in radio, it's important to me to have email addresses of people in the groups - I'm sure that when I lost the old OTR page, I also lost a lot of members who weren't personally friends on my profile page. That will mean they no longer will be able to follow what I'm doing.

That's also one of the reasons that I'm now trying to utilise my web site more. The more people coming through the website the easier it will be to keep they fed with information.

And finally what's in it for you? Well, I'm a great believer in the fact that you never stop learning, and I'm always looking at ways to do things better. Nowhere more so than in my radio shows. I'm looking to improve them and make them into the kind of shows that more and more people will want to hear. I'm doing ongoing research into what people want to hear from my shows, and I'm always going to try and improve them as bring you a better show.

In the couple of years I've been doing them, I'd like to think I've seen continual improvement, not only in my presentational style, but also the quality of the music I've been playing. My four shows are all different in their make up, and I'd like to think each show has it's own personality. My hope is that there is something of interest to people in the 30-65 year old age groups, who can't find what they want in mainstream radio. Time will tell how much I achieve.

Till next time...

Friday, 8 July 2011

I'm beginning to think I'm a trendsetter

I'm a great believer in trying to promote myself and get my name out into the arena. I don't see a problem with that. I think myself and Debz work very hard at it.

I mean, a free web magazine that takes around 30 hours to produce each issue. We maintain groups on facebook and are forever promoting my various Radio shows (now 4 a week) and other activities.

What annoys me somewhat are people who feel that they can hitch a ride. I've had a couple of people want me to put their radio shows in my magazine, but don't want to pay for the privilege of me advertising them. If they want to be in a magazine that much, they're more than welcome to start one as I did.

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me to give their first event a shout out on air and possibly in the magazine. There was no clash of interests for me so I did as it was their first event. Well blow me down - they asked again this week! I don't mind doing a favour now and again, but I'm not too happy about being taken advantage of.

I've managed to get some CDs to give away in a competition which is on my web site and will be going in the next issue of the magazine. I posted the competition and what do you know some people have started making a comment about the CD and then plugging their own shows and events. If it's someone I know personally I don't mind so much, and if it's someone who's plugged anything of mine I don't mind, but I get annoyed when it's done by people I don't even know personally. They usually get deleted - although I think I'm going to have to start plugging my stuff on their pages and see how they like it.

And the newest one I've seen was this afternoon - I've been doing a Requestfest in Cambridge for around a year now and did them before I moved here from Weymouth, so it really winds me up when I see an event in Cambridge that's a Requestfest under a different name (and it's in a venue I used to play in).

I'm not upset at the fact it's a blatant copy of what I do, it's the lack of imagination - why can't people try to do something different?

I should be chuffed that so many people want to be associated with what I try and do - it's just a shame they're not willing to put in the amount of work to do what I'm trying to do.

People eh?

Till next time.....

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

So... how did I get on?

I think that just about covers it! I did my presentation yesterday it it seemed to go over well, and hopefully I answered their questions with enough information.

It only took around 10 minutes to cover what I felt needed to be said - they should have enough information to make a decision on how Social media can work for them. Was nice to see one or two even taking notes.

I've not mentioned it before, but my eldest son has been here to stay since last Wednesday. Today is his last full day before he goes back to Dorset tomorrow, so I'm going to take the rest of today off and we're off out, once he's ready.

So a short blog today, but I promise I'll do better next time.....

Sunday, 3 July 2011

OMG... I've got to do a presentation!

I've been in Cambridge for almost 18 months, and am still trying to build my reputation and network of people that know me in the city.

With that in mind, around a month ago I joined an executive networking group of business professionals to help in the process.

At the last meeting, we were discussing social media and how it can help with networking and in particular looking for work.

As many of my facebook friends will vouch, I am something of a self promoter, after all, like my Mum used to say, if you don't promote yourself, who's going to do it for you?

Well it was suggested that someone gives a presentation on Social Media and how it can aid you in work or business use, and they asked for a volunteer to do it. Guess who said they would?

Yes, you got it - gobby here!

''I'll do it'' I said. You could almost see the relief on other people's faces when they realised it wouldn't have to be them.

And so it gets to this morning, and, although I've thought about it through the week, I've only scribbled the odd thought down during the course of the last 10 days or so.

Well... I've got to do it tomorrow afternoon, and with nothing of note to talk about, I had to get up this morning and come up with a fairly brief presentation. How was I gonna do that? Luckily I had a flash of inspiration.

I've built my presentation around the following words:
What, Where, Who, How, Why and When

That gave me a framework to go on. And with the help of google, I've managed to come up with a 10 minute presentation that will cover the basics, and hopefully motivate some people to have a go.

How will it go? Lord only knows! I've read it back a few times and I think it should be OK.

I'll find out tomorrow!

Till next time...

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Life's peculiarities

It’s funny what can happen on a day to day basis.

Over the last few week’s myself and Debz Promo have been talking about what we could do to move my radio shows on.

We started talking about various things and ended up putting together the first stage of a gameplan to move onward with the radio shows, and to that end we started to put in place stage one.

Without going into too much detail, I want to create radio shows that people want to listen to and look forward to hearing. And with this all in mind, I have proceeded to do what I do whilst trying to improve on each show (not that I don’t try and do that already).

Also I have been spending time on the web site as well, trying to make that more user friendly and to add new features to that as well as putting a new player on the site to listen to the shows.

Then on Monday last week, having completed the recording of the ‘Flashback’ show, and having not too much to do that evening, I decided to do another of the live one-off theme shows I’ve done of late.

I mentioned on facebook that I was going to do a show and that I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do, and one of my listeners, Keith Doxey came up with the theme of ‘Summer Breeze’, aimed at getting the feel of those summers gone by and the songs that remind us of summer and summer holidays as well.

That seemed like a great idea to me, so I quickly found a few songs that would fit the theme and proceeded to start the show. I got some requests in as well which helped to fill in the playlist as the show progressed.

Another listener, who happens to be a presenter as well, said that he thought my show should be going out on FM in-stead of on the net. I told him that would be great if anyone wanted to take it.

He then told me he’d email the owner of an FM station he has a show on and try and get him to check the show out. And he came up trumps. Within 15 minutes the owner of the station messaged me to say he was listening to the show.

He listened to the show for a while and then asked if I’d be interested in doing a show on his station ACE FM in Spain. Absolutely! We chatted about a time slot and what sort of show he’d like me to do. I gave him an idea for a show I’d like to do, and he agreed to let me run with it.

And so, from Friday 8th July, I’ll be presenting James Murphy’s Friday Night Out.

I have to thank Lee Vincent (the other presenter) for taking the time and effort to email the station owner on my behalf.

Sometimes, when you decide it’s time to move on, things start to fall into place.

Consider what happened - I didn't have much to do that evening, so decided to do a show. A listener came up with a theme which I liked. Another listener thought the show was good and put me in touch with someone who runs a station. That person, tuned in, and because of those few things, I now have a new show on an FM station in Spain.

But it’s so true what people have told me in the past. You can’t do it all yourself and you need help along the way. But you have to help yourself.

I helped myself by deciding to do a live show when I could have done something else. Keith helped by coming up with a theme. Lee helped by emailing somebody for me, and because I played some great requests (chosen by others), I now have a new opportunity opening up.

I’m not sure I believe in fate, but had not one of those little steps along the way happened, then I wouldn’t be looking forward to a new show.

Like I said at the beginning, it’s funny what can happen on a day to day basis.

Till next time...