Swinging Radio England


Following an RSL broadcast in Harlow of Radio London run by a radio enthusiast with the permission due to a financial deal with Ray Anderson, which I believe meant that the said Ray Anderson would receive a percentage of any profit from all or any advertising plus 70% of all profits made from any Big L merchandise that was sold throughout the broadcast.

It was decided collectively between a chap called John who had acted advertising manager for Big L and Les Plock aka. Roger Davis to start another RSL covering Hertfordshire. In November 1998 I received a phone call from Roger Davis informing me of their plans to put Big L back on and that it would be run by him and John. He asked me if I would be interested in doing programmes for the station, I immediately said "No". My reason being that I found the 60’s only format to be very dull and mundane. Further to which the frequency chosen was to be 1503KHz which of course is adjacent to Capital Radio, playing music from 1950 to 1990 and still managing to sound boring, so what hope did this one month licence with 100 records to rotate have in gaining an audience. Roger was not happy with my comments, however I had only stated the facts, which were later to be proved. However being a long-standing friend of Roger, I wished him good luck with the broadcast, as I knew he would need it.

Some two weeks later Roger Davis phoned me again telling me that they were going ahead with the all 60’s format and that they had found around 5-600 tracks to rotate, tongue in cheek, I wished him good luck. He then told me that they had hit a problem with the name Big L in as much as Ray Anderson wanted the same deal for the use of the name that he had had with the Harlow RSL. Strangely my next words to Roger were taken on board, because I said to him if he must insist in this dreadful 60's format why not call the station Swinging Radio England, as it had a package of jingles that would suit the format which were not owned or controlled by any Ray Andersons. Amazingly he accepted my suggestion as an excellent solution and went ahead with the planning (it’s a shame he didn’t listen to me about the format). The station finally took to the air in February 1999, putting out a good signal across Hertfordshire and parts of North London. True to form the 60’s format did not prove to be a winner. In spite of me stating I would not do any programmes under this format, myself and Chris Williams constantly received phone calls from John asking us both to do programmes. So together we decided that we would follow each other on a one off broadcast and that we would go to the station armed with music from 1950 to 1990 including Dutch and Europop. My programme began at 12 midday and ended at 4pm when Chris Williams took over through until 8pm. Between us with our fast paced format and music diversity achieved the largest response the station had since it came on air, as this was later admitted by John the advertising manager, who had secured two commercials during the eight hours that Chris and myself had been on air.

However we had gone outside of the format and were told that we had to play 60’s only, to which we both said "No thanks" because we had proved our point and we were very proud to resign. The station continued with its unpopular format until it closed down at the end of its 28-day licence. To this very day Roger Davis has never admitted that I was correct but lets just say that all the ventures he has been involved with since this, he has avoided the 60’s format like the plague.


15_thumb.jpg (6137 bytes) Swinging Radio England studio
5_thumb.jpg (5656 bytes) Maplin mixer used for EQ from computer audio
9_thumb.jpg (5832 bytes) Cd players and MP3 computer
8_thumb.jpg (4752 bytes) Close up of CD players
4_thumb.jpg (5486 bytes) Roger Davis operating the mixer during a link
14_thumb.jpg (5782 bytes) SRE poster
1_thumb.jpg (6059 bytes) Roger Davis chatting to the listeners
12_thumb.jpg (5846 bytes) Roger Davis presented the last programme on SRE
13_thumb.jpg (5131 bytes) A handwritten listener dedication
16_thumb.jpg (5953 bytes) Roger again
3_thumb.jpg (6073 bytes) Roger having a phone conversation with a SRE DJ stuck in the traffic
7_thumb.jpg (5467 bytes) A SRE DJ says farewell to the listeners
6_thumb.jpg (5181 bytes) Steve James also says goodbye
11_thumb.jpg (5632 bytes) Garry Stevens emphasises what the SRE music policy should have been
2_thumb.jpg (5831 bytes) Roger Davis finally gets the last word
10_thumb.jpg (5122 bytes) The transmitter is turned off, as SRE closes down

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Watch Garry Stevens and others on  SRE at closedown