The Album Zone, 1997 to the present
The Album Zone is born, following many discussions between presenters, at Radio 6 in Calais.
Johnny Reece and Andy Brooks make their plans, and Brooksy is first on air.
Previously, both Presenters had done many a shift for Radio Caroline over the years, mainly on RSLs from the radioship Ross Revenge. Over the following years, many shows criss-crossed under the Caroline and Album Zone banners.
Previously, Radio Caroline shows were also done abroad from 1993, at Radio 6 Calais (these monthly shows ran from 1993 to 2001, with added shows from Andy Miles, Gil Legine, James Barclay, and Richard Bismarck - all whom later became integral parts of The Album Zone), Wit FM Bordeaux (summer of 1993), and Fugue FM Compiegne, firstly for a five week spell in 1993, with two one-off special return trips to Fugue, in 1994 and 1996. There was also a one-off broadcast in London at Spectrum 558.
Previously, there were also brief spells on Nova (Satellite) in 1991, and on EKR (via the Astra Satellite).
For a time, Caroline Satellite shows were also pre-recorded for Henk de Jong's station RNI (Norway), in Highgate London studios, back in 1992 and 1993, with pre-recorded 2 hour programmes going out 4 nights a week, presented by both Johnny Reece and Nick Saloman.
Following these, many overnight QEFM Satellite shows at weekends, from their studios in Gloucestershire, presented by Colin Ward and Johnny Reece.
Add to these, Satellite shows for both CMR and Merlin Network One, in 1996 and 1997, under the Radio Caroline name, presented by many who later joined The Album Zone.
A great deal changed for us at this time, with Merlin Network One being on air, not only on Satellite, but Shortwave around the world. It was at this time that Rich Phoenix tuned in one evening as a listener, and shortly afterwards, became a presenter. Rich had previously worked at many stations in the USA.
All of these programmes were now under 'The Album Zone' banner.
1999 - 2000 :
At this time, The Album Zone also began presenting weekly shows to shortwave station WBCQ, in Maine, USA. These were pre-recorded, whilst we still travelled over to Radio 6 in Calais for our monthly 'Live' output.
The long standing arrangement with Radio 6 ended in 2001, when their format changed to Club Music at weekends.
The 2000s :
Our good friends at Radio Seagull requested The Album Zone to provide programmes for their new station, which were also broadcast on their sister station, Radio Waddenzee. This began with an opening night Satellite special down in Exeter, hosted by Gil Legine and Johnny Reece.
Later, we also travelled to Harlingen, Netherlands, for 'Live' specials, firstly from their new land-based studios, and then followed one year later with broadcasts from the ship MV Sittard.
In 2005, RTI (Radio Tatras International) was born, and we travelled over to Poprad, Slovakia, for the opening night. The arrangement with RTI is still one of our main broadcast outlets today, courtesy of our good friend Eric Wiltsher.
By this time, our roster of presenters had grown, to include Zoe Street, Barry de Foyle, Lady Samantha, Boo (Mark Burgess), Cupcake, and Katrine (Pixie).
In 2010, following discussions with station owner Paul Bedford, we were happy to add Replay Radio to our outlets, once again an arrangement which continues to this day.
Following this, we also broadcast for 2 years with Radio Heatwave, in conjunction with Radio City (Duisburg).
We then added WCRV (Pennsylvania) and Hesser College Radio (New Hampshire) to our outlets, followed by Radio Scilly (Scilly Isles). A local community station, Crouch End Radio (close to the original London 'AZ Towers' studio) also broadcast The Album Zone.
In 2014, we also connected, once again, with Radio Caroline, providing an overnight 3 hour programme at weekends. At this time, Paul Brown also joined our presenter ranks, followed in more recent times by Steve Leyland.
James Barclay rejoined our team in April, followed by the welcome addition of Keith Lewis in June.
In September 2018 our Presenter ranks increased further with the additions of Lady Sam, and Matt Pugh to The Album Zone team.
In February, we welcomed back Richard Bismarck to The Album Zone team. Then, in March 2019, our pool of Presenters were boosted further by the additions of Fred Raynor, and Dick Heath.
We also added to our outlets at this time, as TWCFM began to air our programming, on Sunday evenings.
In Summer 2019, we once again connected with our friends in Pennsylvania, at WCRV, where we can be heard 7 days a week.
In September 2019, we recommenced 'Live' programming via TWCFM, with special programming on Sunday evenings.
We continue to broadcast weekly via RTI, Radio Caroline, WCRV, and TWCFM.
All of our programming can be heard at : www.mixcloud.com/thealbumzone.