Pete Reeves has joined the team at Lymm Radio after an extensive career. Here he introduces himself and looks back at his life

I BLAME Kenny Everett.

It’s like this. It was school holidays. With nothing better to do I started twiddling the knobs of a vast radio set we had in the kitchen. The sort with Athlone and Normandy and other long forgotten radio stations on the dial. Through the wheeze and screech, I bypassed Edmundo Ros’s Rumba Band and the Obernkirchen Children’s Choir ‘a-happy wandering,’ and came to an abrupt halt when Ken and Radio London, burst though the speakers. What I was listening to was like nothing I’d heard before.

It wasn’t as if I was new to radio. The Archers were old friends and Kenneth Horne had always managed to brighten up a Sunday afternoon for me with a raft of cutlery and plates, waiting to be washed up. This was different though. This was inspired lunacy, as Everett ran through his trademark voices and surreal characters. Then there was the music. I didn’t know what a ‘Little Deuce Coupe’ was, but I knew I wanted one. I also had the feeling the Beach Boys, weren’t from Bournemouth.

It was so exciting, that at that moment I went from liking radio to falling in love with radio. I didn’t want to be Kenny Everett, but I wanted to be able to do what Kenny Everett did. The problem was, I didn’t know what he did.

It all sounded so easy, just play music and do mad voices, how hard could that be? Well, much harder than I thought.

Johnny Beerling, one time BBC producer, said of Everett at work: “I saw him doing everything. In the old way of doing things, the DJ sat in one room with a script. Someone else played the records and somebody else controlled the sound. Yet Kenny had control of everything.”

He also had a professional studio to work with, mics, record decks, tape recorder. I had a Dansette record player, an LP of My Fair Lady and a book on public speaking my dad had bought before the war.

Stumped? Of course I was, but it didn’t stop me trying. I wrote to Radio London extolling my various vocal gifts and had a very polite refusal from managing director Philip Birch, who a few years later, was to become my boss.

I borrowed a tape machine and made a voice demo, without music, as the Dansette had given up the ghost. Carefully boxed, I sent them to anyone who had the slightest connection with a radio station. I’m sure they made perfectly good door stops.

My step into radio then wasn’t immediate but I did start DJing. Locally, in dance halls and clubs, then a proper gig in Bristol at the Top Rank. It was while I was there that I saw an ad in the much mourned, Melody Maker.

A station was starting in London. I auditioned with Neil Spence, aka Dave Dennis from Radio London, and the first head of UBN (United Biscuit Network).

I got the job and was the first voice to be heard broadcasting to biscuit factories all over the country. It wasn’t the best paid, but you could get a big bag of wonky cupcakes in the staff shop for 50p! I also got to work with Roger Scott, Grahame Dean, Adrian Love, Tony Emerson and Roger Day among others.

Pete in the Piccadilly Radio days

Pete in the Piccadilly Radio days

While in London, I started a company making radio advertising. The Arab oil crisis of the early 70s put paid to that, but who should come to the rescue? None other than Philip Birch. He was now in charge of setting up a radio station in Manchester, which was to become, Piccadilly Radio.

For the next seven years, I had a wonderful time. Anyone who was anyone, politician or pop star came to Piccadilly for interview, and the music, of course, was brilliant.

Somebody said to me once: ‘It must be great playing records all day?’ Well, yes it was, even if it was for just three hours, and not all day.

It wasn’t to last. Soon, non-radio people started to get the idea that radio made money, and when they moved in, radio people moved out.

I lasted a few more years but my resolve weakened, and eventually I realised the love affair was more or less over.

I was lucky enough to have another route to take though. I’d written a small animated series for children and had shown it to Mark Hall and Brian Cosgrove at Cosgrove Hall films. They thought it was so good, they completely changed the idea, but asked me to write it anyway. We made five series of Creepy Crawlies before I went on to write for Cockleshell Bay and Count Duckula.

Writing took precedence then with Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and Pingu.

I thought my radio days were long gone until I got a call, asking if I’d be happy to work on a small community station in Trafford. I was, and I did. That radio bug had bitten again. So much so, that when I found out that Paul Smith and Ian James were opening a station close to home in Lymm, I started knocking on their door.

So, here I am, working with some wonderfully enthusiastic people on Lymm Radio, and I love it. Once radio gets into your blood, it’s more or less impossible to get rid of it.

You’re stuck with it for life.

Radio for me is a real joy, from both sides of the microphone, as presenter and listener. It’s always been a powerful medium and I’m glad to say, after a few lost decades, local radio is coming back into its own. There’s a new audience waiting to enjoy what radio does best, which is summed up very well by American producer, director, and author, Hallie Flanagan:

“The power of radio is not that it speaks to millions, but that it speaks intimately and privately to each one of those millions.”

Looking forward to speaking to you, soon!

Pete is doing the Friday drive-time (4pm to 6pm) and Saturday lunchtime (12pm to 2pm) shows on Lymm Radio