Ken Dudeney RIP

Ken DudeneyKen Dudeney reverse









(Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission)

Radio WM presenter Ken Dudeney sadly died on 5th January 2015. He used to present Town and Country, a country music show on a Saturday lunchtime. Ken was the presenter who “closed” BBC Radio Birmingham and launched the new Radio WM.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for sharing the photocard.

The following comments were left on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Pete Simpkin: ‘This is sad news indeed. Ken was a talented and terrific colleague. He also had an extraordinary collection of
Radio Birmingham/WM history and memorabilia. We shared several ‘on air’ near disasters and Ken was there to rescue broadcasts and keep the transmissions flowing smoothly. I remember having to get him to overrun his wonderful Country music show one evening because the news team had not turned up in my studio in time for the next programme and he just seamlessly carried us through till things were sorted.’

Richard Uridge: ‘A good bloke. I’d echo Pete Simpkin’s comments about his coolness in a crisis. RIP.’

Lorraine Randell: ‘This is very sad news…I worked in the production office with Ken for many years…he was a lovely man.’

Tim Beech: ‘Very sorry to hear this news. Ken gave many, many years of service to Radio Birmingham/WM and really loved his music. I seem to recall the last track he played on his Sunday show was “Happiness.” RIP Ken.’

Keith Upton: ‘I knew Ken from the very earliest days of his broadcasting when he joined us at the Brighton Tape Recording Club. He grew up in Brighton and because of his parents efforts attended the University of Cambridge. When he joined the club he took part in many activities using his skills as as a confident presenter in many club activities and recording. He presented our Journey into Sound for the Brighton Festival. Eventually he presented our weekly hi-fi programme on BBC Radio Brighton which was produced by the club free of charge by club volunteers. It was the longest running programme on that station. Then Ken left for London and worked for the BBC World Service. He always kept in contact. I went to his wedding in Birmingham and continued to keep in touch with him. he was a great guy very knowledgeable and a confident and professional presenter.’

Trials of Live Radio OBs – Pete Simpkin

PeteI was recalling for somebody else the other day one of my more hysterical broadcasts and thought you might like to hear it too!

I can recall a story involving stereo transmissions, when in the mid ‘80s Radio WM along with several other stations finally ‘went stereo’. To celebrate we broadcast each evening a particular style of music to demonstrate to local musicians the possibilities stereo would bring to their ‘on air’ experiences. …Folk, Country, Asian etc.

My duty turned out to be the below stage concert broadcast announcer for a relay of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and I spent ages boning up on the works to be played and the musicians involved. I discovered for instance that there was no agreed pronunciation of the conductor’s name Neeme Jerve. Anyway the time arrived for me to announce the arrival on stage of the Leader and the Conductor and in true BBC Proms tradition I had my script marked so that I could physically cue them to walk from their position beside me, below stage and arrive in front of the audience at precisely the moment I said their name on air. The first two worked well but when I got to the name of the solo pianist for the evening, Peter Donohoe, he did not arrive on stage and my announcement of his name was greeted with an unexpected silence from the audience. I put down the microphone and rushed to the steps leading to the stage to discover what mishap had befallen him, at the same time attempting to assemble some words in my mind to explain to the listeners what had happened. I could see that he had got halfway to the stage but had turned back to collect a small canister of muscle spray which pianists keep close at hand and which he had passed by where he had left it at rehearsal at the foot of the steps to the stage. At that moment he reached the stage and the applause resulting gave me the time to get back on air and introduce the music.

At the end of the first half I handed back to Ken Dudeney in the studio for a pre-recorded 20 minute interval feature only to discover to my horror that the said piano soloist had decided to give the audience an impromptu encore which went on for some 6 minutes meaning that not only were the players of the CBSO being denied their interval lubrication but I was faced with an impromptu session of my own as the orchestra had decided to stick to their scheduled 20 minutes sherry consumption. Luckily Ken had a variety of trailers to help fill the gap, but I too had lots of fascinating facts about the second half programme and the history of the Town Hall with which to regale the mystified listeners until the Orchestra got back on stage and the rest of the concert continued without more heart stopping moments!

Pete Simpkin

Ken Dudeney – Radio WM photocard

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction about permission.

Ken Dudeney used to present a country music Saturday lunchtime show on Radio WM called ‘Town and Country’.

Thanks to Stuart Gandy for making the photocard available.

Michael Fisher remembers Ken well:

“I remember Ken from the Radio Birmingham days and was delighted to meet him at the reunion last August. He was also the one who “closed” Radio Brum and re-opened it with its new brand of WM.”

Radio Birmingham and Radio WM producer and presenter Pete Simpkin adds the following information:

“Ken still lives within a stone’s throw of Pebble Mill and has a comprehensive collection of memorabilia about Radio Birmingham/ WM. We shared many hair raising situations ‘on air’ and also he was the person who actually suggested the name WM when change was mooted but was shouted down!”

Andy Caddick worked with Ken:

“I worked with Ken in the early 80’s when he presented the afternoon show on WM. Lovely man and voice.”

Sparks, Andy Frizzell remembers a challenging booking:

“I lit a New Year’s Eve show that Ken hosted/produced at Longbridge Social Club. Frank Ifield headlined and allegedly had a contract that insisted on a follow spot on him. Lighting for radio? Hmmmm.”

Tim Manning:

“As an aside, most of the photos for these promotional flyers for the re-launched Radio WM were taken by Stuart Roper at the back of Pebble Mill by the stream. He had a favourite spot for taking them.”