Sunday, 15 January 2012

Radio Aire

Alongside BBC Radio One, a commerical, regionally based rival had started to appear in the 1970s, and in Leeds this meant Radio Aire. An unprepossessing glorified bunglaow on the Burley Road on the way to Kirkstall, it was pretty much a Sisters-free zone in the early 80s. In 82/83 the DJ roster was dominated by late night phone-in shock jock James Whale, who had only a passing interest in music, future Radio 2 DJ and Guardian journalist Martin Kelner, whose late afternoon banter was popular amongst students, and alternative show host Andy Kershaw. The latter's appointment meant that the Sisters were now thwarted for local airplay by the very man who had refused them gigs as the university's Ents secretary (gig booker), as he was only too keen to tell me on my one and only visit to the Radio Aire studios back in Spring '83. The occasion was a visit from the Creatures, the Banshees off-shoot started by Siouxsie and Budgie whilst Severin was off with The Glove and McGeoch engaged with Visage. By '83 they had followed up Miss The Girl with their debut LP and were on a UK promotional tour to try to boost sales. Siouxsie's presence for an interview had been announced the day before, and a quick phone call had established her ETA. We were a little overawed when the great lady arrived at the Radio Aire reception area, sporting a blue streaked black bob rather than the back combed fright wig style that we were used to, but after the on air interview she and Budgie happy to chat,sign autographs and pose for photos before being whisked off for their next appointment. Whilst we were waiting, the ever laconic Kershaw had cheerily popped over for a chat, and in conversation we revealed that we were massive fans of the Sisters and wondered why he never seemed to play them. His view was very much that he had moved on (to psycho garage punkabilly - he had yet to discover Africa !) and that The Sisters were heading nowhere. With another avenue closed, the Sisters would have to rely even more on word of mouth to spread word of their brilliance ...

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