The Album Zone : Presenter Profiles
Johnny Reece has been broadcasting Radio programmes for various stations over the past couple of decades, to the UK, USA, Netherlands, France, Germany, and Slovakia.
Reece was born in March 1958. However, when very drunk, he has attempted to claim he was born in 1973. Perhaps he doesn't know. I say this, because I asked him, and he said "I don't know". This is, of course, a lie. What isn't a lie is the fact that he has been buying records since he was 7, boasts of a personal collection of over 20,000 albums (having run his own Record Shop in the past did rather help that) and the rest, as they say, is hysterical.
His programmes will feature Album tracks covering at least 50 years, anything from new and forthcoming releases, or the occasional hit if the mood takes. If he thinks it's good, it goes in. That's the rule.
He has also just completed rebuilding the main 'AZ Towers' Studio (version 3) after having recently relocated to Sussex.
Johnny also currently provides separate programmes for TWCFM International, based in the Vale of Belvoir.
May contain nuts.
Fred Raynor was first interested in Radio Presentation at the age of 12 when he was inspired by a guy called "Soul Man Sam".
In the 1980s he broadcast with Radio Trent at Derby for a while and then his "day job" took him away from radio.
In the late 1990's he joined Nottingham Hospital Radio, which led him to join the RSL Station TWCfm, and then BBC Radio Nottingham.
The Wireless Company (TWCfm) was where his passions lay, and the Station went from strength to strength, eventually getting a full time licence as '103 The Eye'.
Fred still broadcasts for TWCfm three times a week which goes out over the Internet worldwide. Fred's passion is to broadcast radio the way it was always meant to be, and with roots firmly in the Pirate era he is always on, or just beyond the line - and is totally free form radio..... No playlists! Fred's really chuffed to be here at the Album Zone broadcasting alongside like minded folk who are passionate about radio and like a drinkypooze or three!
Robbo has been creating and presenting radio programmes, since he was just 8 years old.
Way back then, his shows featured the likes of The Kids From Fame and Toni Basil, but sadly those C90 cassettes are long, long gone.
Nowadays he loves to play the best in new Indie music together with a selection of classic tracks from the last 60 years of music.
Robbo's 'Great Album Adventure' can be heard right here on The Album Zone, and to check out his separate individual shows on Mixcloud, just head to our 'Links' page for listening details.
Thanks for listening!
Duncan Barkes has been knocking around radio studios for quite a few years. Starting off ‘playing the hits’ in the 90s he developed a taste for talk radio and has been heard on many UK speech & talk stations plying his trade.
But he’s not just a talker, he’s a music fan who has joined the Album Zone team to present the occasional show. Dunc says he discovered the Album Zone through its podcasts which he listened to during long car journeys and became hooked. So much so, he wanted to play a little part in the proceedings. As corporate commercial music radio insists on dealing in ‘product’, Duncan believes that services like the Album Zone offer more choice for music lovers starved of decent output.
Expect to hear album tracks and singles as well as a distinct bias towards 80s/90s indie, rock, 60s gems, new wave, some mild folky stuff, the odd jazz tinged track and plenty of Steely Dan, The Cure, Deacon Blue and Prefab Sprout.
Away from music Duncan makes his own sausages, enjoys Indian cuisine and vast amounts of seafood. He drinks ale and red wine. His favourite authors include Hemingway and Hunter S Thompson. He presents his Album Zone shows from his home on the Sussex Riviera.
Steve Brown has had a love for radio & music since he obtained a transistor radio and a clapped-out guitar as a kid in the 1960s. Inspired by his rock heroes: Lennon, Bowie, Bolan, Ferry, Pete Townsend and Keith Richards, he was a late entrant to Art School; but graduated in 2017, and started a podcast about Exeter’s lost rock venues. This developed into an exhibition, and then a monthly radio show on Phonic FM called ‘Exeter’s Vanished Rock Venues’. The last couple of years have spawned a couple of new monthly shows: ‘Between the Buttons’ on Phonic FM and ‘Strange Days’ on Totnes’s Soundart Radio, both of which have a bias towards psych, folk and freakbeat.
Unfortunately, during lockdown there’s been little live broadcasting and no interviews, so the separate identities of these programmes have become blurred. However, there are no real rules, apart from keeping the tracks short and maximising the music.
Steve also spends time working as a volunteer/trustee at the TAAG Gallery and Arts Centre in Teignmouth, which was bought from the council in 2020 and is now being refurbished by volunteers using donated funds and grant aid.
Many thanks to Johnny Reece for this chance to broadcast on
The Album Zone!
Rich Phoenix wound up receiving a 4-year Bachelor of Arts in Speech-Broadcasting at Kent State University, Ohio, and found his efforts in the fields of radio bringing him back to New Jersey and New York City as an ABC radio network engineer.
He broadcast on 10 different Stations until WRAN, where he met Carla Sullivan who finally became Mrs. Phoenix in that wonderful year of 1980. In the late 1990s, he was an avid shortwave listener and caught Johnny Reece and James Barclay presenting a Merlin Network One show on the BBC transmitters.
His immediate reaction was that the Beeb had finally found its way into real 20th century radio in spite of themselves, and he phoned JR from his front porch to tell him so. It was a meeting of kindred radio spirits, and Rich became part of The Album Zone crew where he remains to this day.
One of his earliest encounters was backstage at Kent State with Louis Armstrong and Ray Charles. The business also permitted him to meet and interview Paul and Linda McCartney as well as Denny Laine on their first British 'Wings' tour at Oxford in 1973.
Rich firmly believes that terrestrial radio has run off the rails and needs a little prompting.
That’s why he presents on The Album Zone for you, and of course just to show ‘em all how it should be done !
Lady Sam : the baby of the bunch.
But don't let that fool you.
Behind that smiley exterior there lurks someone who is turning into a music obsessive. Not a day goes by where she hasn't found something else to rave about, and be inspired by. Sam grew up in Camden Town (via Tipperary) and has picked up many musical and literary influences along the way, including the Bronte Sisters, Jane Austen, Shakespeare, Gary Numan, Patsy Cline, Winston Churchill, The Rolling Stones, and The Bee Gees. We imagine that was the only sentence in history where all of those people were mentioned together. But what about obsessions ?
These include cooking at home, Star Trek - The Next Generation, Cheers, and her biggest obsession of them all, is undoubtedly The Carpenters. You will discover much more about all of the above, and more, by listening to her programmes for The Album Zone.
Sam has a Churchill quote to live by :
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."
Richard Bismarck's interest in radio began as a lad when he started tuning around on his parents' old valve set when they weren't looking. The thought that someone could be broadcasting from a radio studio in Australia, their voice being sent up to the ionosphere and then bouncing down to England fascinated him. Then one Christmas he received a Waddington's Future Scientist set. One of his projects was to construct his own broadcasting station! He didn't know why it worked but it did. Sticking a microphone next to the family record player's loudspeaker his broadcasting career had begun. These transmissions could be heard in the hall and the living room and outside the house next to the telegraph pole! As youth turned to adulthood (although some would dispute this) he broadcast to the local university students through Loughborough Campus Radio (LCR). Now he was using professional studio equipment and working with the likes of James Barclay, Steve Satan and Dick Heath (amongst others). Some LCR's presenters of that era got themselves work on Radio Caroline as it rode the waves of the North Sea. But Caroline's time as a pirate came to an end and Mr Bismarck had the chance of joining them for their licensed month long broadcasts. This lead to a meeting with Johnny Reece and the rest is history!
Dick Heath has been in radio more on than off, since 1973, first presenting a rockmentary: Fillmore Nomore, for URL (University Radio Loughborough, as it was called back then). Then followed 3 years of hosting a weekly electric jazz show, Jazz Ffollies.
The real world beckoned in 1976, and for the ensuing period he reverted to being a radio listener, eventually getting back to Loughborough employed as a lecturer in 1983, which led to presenting a jazz show on the revamped URL, (now called Loughborough Campus Radio).
On his Album Zone shows, expect to hear string quartets, jazz, blues, folk, heavy rock, soft rock, progressive rock, punk rock, serious music and any other things that take his fancy. He freely admits he borrowed that format mix from the late Peter Clayton of the Beeb. It goes without saying, Dick tries to select music that he thinks listeners might enjoy - expect anything, including music hidden in the archives, long forgotten by other radio stations! Such mixes appear to have given Dick a good audience via the Internet, especially in the USA. So that is the concept he intends bringing to The Album Zone with the Alternative Alternative Show, (aka the ALT2 Show).
Gil Legine :
Once a contender for the ‘tallest man ever’, though having re-located to Denmark happily relishing his ‘about average’ altitude status, Gil Legine left his intoxicating musician, sound engineer, hurtling London life style for Copenhagen in 2004. Having twice propagated, Gil has now seemingly settled for a quieter life attempting to teach Danes the merits of good manners and the more healthy non rye bread victual option. In his spare time he successfully constructed a small yet pert studio known for yards around as The Doghouse within the grounds of his house, where he corrupts all comers with olde English notions of fine music, vintage drum beats and to shape and fashion radio programs in the time honoured tradition. In the past Gil was a regular with among others Johnny Reece, presenting Album Zone programmes from Radio 6 in Northern France, RSL broadcasts via Radio Stad Harlingen in The Netherlands and on Radio Caroline from the MV Ross Revenge, playing the best in album music. Gil's first solo album 'The Noiige' is out now - see our Links page !
Matt “dr doolittle” Pugh - big Matt or just Matt to his friends. He is no stranger to radio having previously worked for college radios in the West Midlands where he grew up and inherited his outrageous yam-yam accent - it means he ay a brummie). Although born in the SW he now calls Bristol home and can be found DJing a successful Britpop night there regularly. He can also be heard on many festival radio stations including Worth FM and Radio Womad. Alas, he feels he has a face for radio and a voice for TV and if you look closely you may find his name popping up in the credits for popular television dramas and indie films as a technician. This also means a lot of his shows won’t be recorded in the same place more than once. The eagle-eyed may also spot his name in some album liner notes with thankyou credits. Dr Doolittle is his on air and club DJ alter-ego when he’s not spinning Britpop tunes into the small hours. He was blessed by a couple of Rastafarians on his travels with the name because it was said that after a few rums he floated off and talked to the animals. He’s 6’5.5”, as size 14 feet, loves dogs and is pescatarian. He’d like to thank James Barclay for bringing him into the Zone team, Steve Satan mentoring, his family for the incredibly patient support, friends who’ve offered patient support, hospitals for patient support over his lifetime and you for patient support if you’ve read all the way to the end of his tedious bio. x
James Barclay, the man of many, many voices !
We are delighted that Mr Barclay has rejoined The Album Zone after a 16 year absence. He originally served several stints on Radio Caroline in the 1990s where he met up with Mr Reece, to then join The Album Zone team on many trips both home and abroad.
A fabulous mixture of Album Tracks and Folk-tinged specials were his forte back then, not to mention special features and reports from John, Graham Biscuit, Dave The Mouth, and Theolandor Moon, and even a 1930s special featuring his Grandad, George Barclay. Expect more of the same, now he has returned.
Previously, Mr Barclay has broadcast with Loughborough Campus Radio, Spirit FM in Chichester, and on WOMAD at Glastonbury.
In more recent times, he has been involved in the professional voiceover field, working on training videos and advertising campaigns for national and international organisations.
James also broadcasts via TWCFM International, based near to where he lives, in the Vale of Belvoir.
He now lives on a farm with his wife, Noosha Fox (allegedly).