Radio WM – Sunday Night Party

left to right: Clive Payne (presenter), Ian Wood (main presenter and producer), front Nermin Aaron (presenter), right Paul Flower (presenter)

left to right: Clive Payne (presenter), Ian Wood (main presenter and producer), front Nermin Aaron (presenter), right Paul Flower (presenter)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I presented for Radio WM of a weekend between 1989 and 2000.  I also did some bits for television too but predominantly, my time was spent in radio.

I co-presented a Sunday night locally networked programme called the Sunday Night Party and it’s main presenter, Ian Wood, would occasionally allow me to go off and interview people, some of them famous, for the programme.
For those people who remember the configuration of Radio WM’s studios, they were basically five cubicles or ‘Areas’ as they were locally known.  Areas One and Two were self-op studios, Area Three, although designed as a studio but without self-op desk was used as the telephone answering area.  Area Four was the same as one and two and Area Five was set up with a round discussion table and a number of mic sources, which were controlled as ‘slaves’ from Area four.

The Sunday Night Party was transmitted live from Area Five because of the number of contributors participating in each programme and driven by me, also presenting from Area Four.  It was taken by WM, Hereford and Worcester, Shropshire and Stoke and in the earlier years Coventry and Warwickshire had us too, all under the local branding of ‘Midlands BBC’.  WM’s jingles were re-sung to reflect this.

On one occasion I became aware of a new band gigging in Birmingham and the SNP was a good platform to promote local talent.  I invited the band, whose name I can’t remember now, into the studios to record a couple of songs for the SNP early one evening.  I duly ordered up some extension leads and extra mics from Paul Hunt our engineer in charge and some acoustic screens too, to ‘encase’ the drummer in so the sound didn’t spill.
We cleared the furniture in Area five and prepared for a sound check.  I’m not saying they were loud but I’ve never seen PPM meters on a Mark 3 desk wrap themselves around the stop quite so quick!   Oddly enough the floor seemed to vibrate too.

The evening continued and we were about ready to record the two songs after I’d interviewed the band.
Radio WM provided locally networked programmes during the week too and ready to go out live in Area two was Tony Wadsworth and Julie Mayer.
The band started to play and rocked the first floor.  I heard that Tony and Julie had to apologise to their listeners as the sound of the band could be heard in their studio and therefore by their listeners.
Radio WM’s studios were above the Daytime Live offices downstairs.  Unbeknown to me, there were a couple of people working late in there that evening and they could feel the ceiling vibrate from the sound of the drums from the band immediately above their heads.  Rumour had it that a diffuser shade came loose off a light fitting in their office as a result of the vibration.
I never got to apologise for disturbing their evening so if they know who they are then perhaps this can go some way to being a belated apology.

As this was a one off band session, I did ask WM management if I could hire Studio 2 in Network Radio as this would have been easier but WM were unwilling to spend that kind of money in those days.  I therefore had to resort to the cheap option.

So that was the one and only time I made the earth vibrate for various people in Pebble Mill.

Clive Payne 1Clive Payne

 

 

 

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

Andy Walters: ‘Area 1 was Asian Network, Area 2 was the self op one that looked into Area 3, Phone in room. Area 4 was the other self op cubicle that could also drive the mics in Area 5 which was just a talks studio. Apparently Area 1 was the Editor’s office in the days of BBC Mk2 desks and the third studio was sat next to the record library.

I remember the night of the earthquake well which disrupted WM’s programmes as well as Edwina Currie on Radio 5 Live.’

Tony Wadsworth: ‘If I recall the studio configurations correctly, area one wasn’t a self-op studio. I presented the breakfast show from there 94/95 and Chris Christopher Baxter drove me from area two. And the late show came from area four….I think!’

Ian Wood: ‘So that was what went on when I was elsewhere! Sorry about that, Daytime Live office. And hats off to Clive for the blog and the photo.’

Lawrie Bloomfield Obituary May 2014

[This obituary to Lawrie Bloomfield, by Tim Beech, was published in Ariel in May 2014: http://www.bbc.co.uk/ariel/27538461]

Lawrie Bloomfield, who has died at the age of 80, was the hugely popular manager who started BBC Radio Shropshire and guided it through its first nine years.

He was responsible for starting and developing the careers of many fine broadcasters – as well as bringing a sense of fun and enterprise to all that he did.

Lawrie followed his father into journalism on the Portsmouth Evening News and made his broadcast debut on Radio Newsreel in 1959 and, after several years freelancing on regional television and featuring regularly on Sports Report, he joined BBC Radio Solent in 1970. He later became station manager at BBC Radio Lincolnshire before putting together the team at Radio Shropshire in 1985.

He was one of the Corporation’s very best talent scouts, giving opportunities to a whole generation of talented and skilful journalists and broadcasters, many of whom can still be heard and seen across both BBC and commercial networks.

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Lawrie Bloomfield and colleagues on Radio Shropshire’s first day in 1985

Back at 70

Radio Shropshire soon enjoyed some of the highest listening figures in the country thanks to Lawrie establishing what was seen as a more modern and bright style of local radio broadcasting. He set a high standard and the station continues to be one of the country’s most successful due in no small measure to the outstanding foundations he laid.

After retiring from the BBC in 1994, Lawrie was appointed MBE for services to radio broadcasting and continued to be active through the Thomson Foundation, training and advising young journalists and broadcasters from around the world. He also returned to work at his beloved BBC Radio Shropshire, producing, presenting and reporting.

The station’s former news editor John Shone recalls: ‘He absolutely loved it and we loved having him in the newsroom. At 70 he was back at the sharp end and in top form. His experience was such a great asset to the station and he always gave sound advice and great encouragement, especially to younger members of the team.’

‘Way ahead’

A measure of the affection felt for Lawrie comes in the many tributes that have been made. ‘He was one of the greats’… ‘a lovely boss to work for and a great team-builder’ … ‘like a favourite uncle to me and gave me my first chance at presenting’ … ‘Lawrie was my favourite (boss) because we all always felt he was ‘on our side” … ‘a larger than life character, a pioneer of the new wave of BBC Local Radio stations’… ‘one of the old school who built local radio from nothing in the early days’ … ‘Lawrie was way ahead of the others – three women breakfast presenters in the first four years – and such a line-up of talent’ … ‘there was never a manager like him!’

His son Colin, now breakfast presenter at BBC Radio Derby, said: ‘He was a big inspiration for me. I would not be doing it now if it wasn’t for him.’

And the former head of local radio and network radio in the Midlands, Owen Bentley, described Lawrie as ‘one of local radio’s great characters’.

For giving chances to so many, leading with skill and inspiration, establishing a great local radio station and above all for being a wonderful person, Lawrie will be remembered with huge affection and gratitude. Our sympathies are with Colin and his mum Alison.

Tim Beech, managing editor, Radio Shropshire

Lawrie Bloomfield retirement invitation

Lawrie Bloomfield retirement PdW

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright resides with the original holder, no reproduction without permission.

Official invitation to Lawrie Bloomfield, Managing Editor of Radio Shropshire’s black tie, retirement party. The invitation was made to Tony Inchley, Managing Editor of BBC Radio WM, and presenter, Pat de Whalley.

Thanks to Pat de Whalley for sharing this invitation, and keeping it safe for the last twenty years.

The following comment was published on the Pebble Mill Facebook page:

Pete Simpkin: ‘I worked with Lawrie in the 60s when he was a freelance working for BBC South in Southampton. A real character and great personality.’