Friday, 16 March 2018

Radio Songs #28: Radio Sweetheart

Continued due to popular demand... and because I haven't had time to write anything else for today...

My first date then, was with a traffic girl. Now, immediately, if you've never worked in radio, you've probably got the wrong end of the stick. When you think of the word "traffic" in relation to the wireless, you probably think of traffic and travel reports, which are the bread and butter of local radio in terms of clinging onto listeners. But traffic also has another meaning in radio - "commercial trafficking" - specifically the scheduling of adverts and promotional material throughout the day to meet the needs of advertisers (who, for example, will pay more to have their ads played at peak times such as breakfast and evening drive) and also avoid embarrassing clashes (such as having the ads of two competing double-glazing companies run back-to-back in the same break).

Those (three) of you who are following this series with interest may remember that by this time I was finally getting paid to work in radio, and the money came from sitting in the studio and sorting out split ad breaks for the presenters. It would also involve liaising with the Commercial Traffic department to sort out any problems with those breaks. And occasionally, it would involve popping into the Comprod (Commercial Production) studio to get carts repaired... which involved approaching one of the most grumpiest and surliest men in the building... who would later become one of my best friends in the industry. (A good job, as I ended up working in Comprod myself for many years. Ironically, we were both made redundant at the same time. I'm a teacher now, he's a trolley dolly - his term! - with a large airline. Time may change us, but we can't change time.)

The welcome I received in Traffic was much warmer than the one I received in Comprod though, particularly from one of the two young ladies who worked in there. She was also the one who brought us the new ad log in at the end of the day and I started to make a point of nipping out into the corridor at roughly the time she did this so I could "bump into her" and exchange a pleasant chat with a pretty girl. (I wonder if in this day and age this would be considered "stalking"... and I'm reminded of Alyson's story of how she contrived a similar meeting with the man she ended up marrying... but I do hope not. That kind of behaviour is a minefield though, and I'm glad it's a minefield I don't have to lose limbs to on a regular basis any more.)

As the lady in question seemed more than happy to smile and chat (dare I say 'flirt'?) with me, soon enough the inevitable happened. I was smitten.

There were only two problems:

1) My inexperience in the dating arena and intrinsic low self-esteem (masked, as always, by sarcasm and self-deprecating wit).

2) She had a boyfriend.

2.1) And not just any boyfriend.

2.2) He was a jock at the station.

2.3) He was also (subjective opinion) a bit of a dick.

To be continued...

28. Elvis Costello - Radio Sweetheart

Not the first radio song most people will think of when they consider Mr. Costello, but I'm saving the more obvious one for a very specific story later in the series, the tale of how I almost got fired because of Robbie Williams.

Radio Sweetheart was originally recorded by a pre-Attractions Elvis Costello and released as the b-side of his debut single, Less Than Zero. His backing band at the time was made up of members of the American group Clover - some of whom would go on to join Huey Lewis's News (Huey was also a member of Clover but didn't work with Elvis here). Others went on to join the Doobie Brothers and Tommy Tutone. This song has become a fan favourite and has been included as a bonus track on the many re-issues of Elvis's debut album, My Aim Is True. To me, it has a country vibe which lays the way for his later album, Almost Blue (a live version is also included on my reissue of that album).


  1. I used to regularly witness a Scottish country band The Radio Sweethearts opening for a number of acts

  2. Oh my, I saw my name and the word "stalking" in close proximity and had a panic. But no, as far as I'm concerned there is nothing wrong with contriving to "bump into" someone you are keen on as if left to fate, the meeting might never arise (and we ended up married because of it/George Michael's Different Corner song). But yes, must be hard being male at the moment and I'm going to write about that tomorrow.

    It was just getting to the exciting bit but yet again you tease us with this tale - Part 3 soon please?

  3. Ever thought of writing for a Soap Opera Rol? You certainly know how to keep your audience hanging on. Come's been 3½ hours, where's Part 3?

  4. Love it... and still you tease us!
    But yes, Mr SDS did the same with me; we had a long, long lead-up to our eventual relationship which involved a lot of deliberate bumping into of which I was blissfully unaware (well I was aware of him bumping into me, don't worry - just unaware that it was deliberate) and even being, ahem, 'followed' around town one Saturday afternoon (he was with his friend and I with mine, though, so it wasn't as stalkery as it sounds). What with Alyson's tale too and it's happy ending, I think we can conclude that sometimes it's the only way...


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