Tony Currie

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Anne-Marie catches up with Tony Currie.

Tony Currie has worked in radio, television and the music industry. To describe him as merely a writer and broadcaster would, I feel, be inaccurate, as I prefer to think of him as a person whose mere presence infuses an air of infectious delight into any room.† Our set of questions only scratch at the surface of what he has done.

A-M: After reading up about you in various interviews on the web, I feel my first question should be, as far as broadcasting in concerned, is there anything you havenít done? Or better still, is there something youíd like to do that you havenít done already? (Nothing like starting with a nice easy one is there?)

TC: Anything I havenít done?† Iím not terribly sure, so the answer is probably “very little”.† But Iíd probably like to do a few things that Iíve already had a go at again Ė Iíd quite like to run another TV station, and Iíd like to produce more records.

A-M: You wanted to be an announcer at an early age, how did you set about achieving your goal?

TC: Well, I suppose I started it by setting up a radio station in my attic at the age of eleven. Like-minded friends joined me to run this station (which Ďbroadcastí down a wire to the living room!) and eventually the experience led to my producing a weekly programme for station KPFK in Los Angeles.† After that, landbased commercial radio started in the UK and I was lucky enough to land the job of presenting the very first show on Radio Clyde, the first station to open outside London in 1973.† Two years later I was “poached” by Scottish Television where I stayed for twelve years as a newsreader and announcer.

A-M: To date, what has been your favourite job and why?

TC: Paid for: setting up and briefly running Tara television in Dublin.† I love Ireland, and the Irish, and it was a great place to work.† And I was proud of the channel Ė I was given an office in Dublin, a blank sheet of paper and some money, and told not to come back until I had a TV station on the air.† Two fantastic years.

Not paid for: being a DJ/news editor/cook on board the recent re-creations of Radio Northsea International on the Light Vessel 18 anchored off Harwich.

A-M: Youíve written books about the History of British Television and The Radio Times, how did these come about?

TC: Actually the first book I wrote was a truthful account of the early days of Radio Clyde, but I was worried that if that was published as my first book Iíd be branded as a sensationalist.† So itís still waiting on the shelf to come out some day.† I really wanted to write the RADIO TIMES book (I started collecting the magazine as a hobby when I was 4) but my publisher wanted me to establish myself first before publishing the RT book.† Iíd been commissioned by Peter Fiddick to write a history of British TV as a part work for the Royal Television Society magazine, so after that was published I drew the parts together, added a good bit more and it became the “Concise History” which is now into its second edition.† Apparently itís used as a textbook for a number of media university courses.

A-M: Do you have more books coming out for us to look forward to?

TC: Iím supposed to be writing one on the early days of ITV, but itís slightly stuck in the middle of chapter one.† Not because I canít be bothered writing it, but because Iím so busy that I keep being distracted by other things happening.† But it will happen sooner or later, as will my Radio Clyde book and one Iím writing on the history of Alexandra Palace.

A-M: You were involved in the early days of cable TV in the UK. Do you feel the proliferation of channels on current satellite and cable services offers more choice to the viewer or is it bringing about a watering down of good entertainment and informative programming?

TC: At first it stimulated competition and added new and valuable material to the mix available.† Now I fear that the excessive proliferation of channels has diluted the material until it has no flavour at all.

A-M: Youíve appeared at, and contributed to, various events. What has been your favourite moment at any of these?

TC: Iíve always enjoyed doing my double-act with my pal Tony Hatch, but I think my favourite moment was hosting the Cult TV Awards in 2004 at Sand Bay.† What fun!!

A-M: Can you tell us more about Radio Six and your record label?

TC: Radio Six started in 1963 in the attic.† Through various incarnations (as a hospital radio stationÖthen a production companyÖthen a training facilityÖ.then Europeís first commercial cable radio networkÖ.then a licence bidder for a regional station) it became an internet station in 2000.† Playing mostly unsigned bands and performers from around the world, and run as a hobby rather than a business, it now has listeners in 98 countries and broadcasts for several hours a day on high power shortwave transmitters to the USA, Canada and Western Europe.† And there are more transmitters to come!

Radio Six Records produces CDs for the College of Piping in Glasgow, but Iím also partner in Recur Records which releases albums of pop orchestral music from the 60s and 70s as well as a few new recordings of our own.† Much of it is music that appeared on the BBC test card, or was used in TV soundtracks.

A-M: Iíve seen in a previous interview that you have always considered work as a hobby, which begs the question Ė how do you spent your spare time?

TC: Working!!† As well as working fulltime for the BBC and running Radio Six International and Recur, Iím also doing consultancy work for a rail operator to teach drivers how to give information on the PA systemÖ. and I sit on the Council of the Royal Philosophical Society of GlasgowÖ.and the committee of the Radio Academy in ScotlandÖ.

A-M: What does the future hold for you?

TC: I have no idea.† Now thatís fun.

Page Last Updated Thursday, August 04, 2005 at 23:41:53