Covid-19 has enabled me to return to my favourite medium - radio, something I have long enjoyed and listening to radio on my little 'tranny', transistor radio in the 1970s, helped me get through lonely nights when ill due to Sickle Cell Disease, listening to Radio Luxembourg. I then pursued working in music radio by joining Essex Radio in Southend as a Technical Operator, working on the Saturday sports show with its host the lovely Roger Buxton. It was great training.
In addition I began co-presenting on BBC GLR (Greater London Radio) on Black Londoners, alongside Alex Pascal, where I met an array of interesting people and attending a number of events. But I was really passionate about radio and so, in 1984 I met another lovely man, Tony Monson who owns SolarRadio.com. Tony would guest present when the soul music presenter, the late Dave Gregory was away. Tony and I really got on well and so through him, I began my foray in to the 1980s world of pirate radio, presenting first for Horizon Radio with studios in various residences in the East End of London such as Dalston. It was an exciting time.
By the mid '80s I was on Black Londoners on a Thursday evening, Horizon Radio on Friday nights, Essex Radio on a Saturday and sometimes Sunday and working at BBC Appointments during the day.
As a BBC employee, having served 12 months in one job, I applied for a three month attachment at BBC Radio 1 and got it. Those days the formidable Doreen Davis and Johnny Beerling were there and it really was fun. I was the equivalent of a Broadcast Assistant, helping producers with shows: Simon Bates, Bruno Brooks, Gary Davis, Andy Peebles and Steve Wright. I even spent a short stint in the Transmission Suite where one of my main jobs was to time the music played between 9 am and 5 pm. Let me just say, maths isn't my strong point.
Thirty years later, Tony Monson calls me to invite me to guest present The Quiet Storm on SolarRadio and I jumped at the opportunity. After all work had slowed down and I needed something to get my teeth into. I'm not one for being idle. My debut show was on the 14 October 2020 and that drug, presenting, needed another outlet so I was invited to present the same show in February of this year.
In addition to accessing my vinyl collection not seen since before children, I wanted more. I knew there was no opportunity for me at Solar; after all, I'll be starting all over again after a 32 year lapse. I needed to brush up my skills, but who would take me on?
A US station I approached was concerned that I would use a potential show to showcase my clients, but station policy is station policy and I'm not one for rocking the boat. I wanted back in in radio.
Chocolate-Radio.com took a chance on me and it was a rocky start for sure, but they persevered and gave me enough rope to hang myself, and that freedom seems to be working.
I present three shows for the station. "Late Night with Diane Hinds" which goes out every Friday, 10 pm to midnight and "Wednesday Afternoon with Diane Hinds", 3 pm to 6 pm. In this show I have contributors and guests and we discuss book releases, albums, arts and more and the feature interview series "The Music: My Life" which explores guests' emotional engagement with certain music. My highlight I hear you ask? Interviewing the amazing Patrice Rushen, which took some two and a half months to set up and I was convinced she would cancel; she is an 'artist' after all. My fears were allayed and she is one of the nicest people who agreed to be interviewed by a fledgling interviewer/presenter.
My impact on the station has garnered comments by people like music producer David A Tobin who said on Mark North's show 'Diane is exactly what the station needs' and I have also been referred to as "The Queen of the Station". The station manager said my Wednesday show is 'excellent'. I am delighted to say that other presenters have extended invitations for me to present shows with them.
All I know is I love radio. A lot of work and effort goes into my shows. Some of the feature interviews I do can take more than four hours to edit. One took me 16 hours and I had to ask a dear friend to check it for me. I am presenter, producer, guest booker, director, Broadcast Assistant, runner and more. But I love it! I also keep learning which is more important.
Join me on Chocolate-Radio.com.
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