I’ve been in broadcasting for half a century on both sides of the microphone, although I’m probably best known as a broadcast engineer (or a broadcast technologist, if you must).
I’ve had the good fortune to create some brilliant projects, bringing new stations and technologies to life, some of which changed the face of radio broadcasting in the UK and across the world.
Classic FM is one of my favourite “babies”, right from the start with the bid process through to its launch and beyond. I designed and built Classic FM’s first studio centre at Oval Road, Camden, designed and commissioned its national FM transmitter network and broadcast a weekly show – The Classic Quiz – for ten years, not from its London studios but live from my home in Wiltshire, the first broadcaster to do so, apparently.
I’ve been called “The Father of DAB” which is an enormous compliment. At a time when few were interested in digital radio and others saw it as a threat to cosy FM monopolies, I pioneered the world’s first commercial DAB broadcasts, won the bid for the UK’s national commercial DAB licence and launched Digital One a year later as its Chief Exec. Recognising that radio manufacturers didn’t have a low cost DAB chip solution available and this was holding back DAB, I put a together a JV to manufacture a new DAB chipset together with the first portable DAB radio selling for under £100 – the Pure Evoke One. The rest of the radio industry thought I was mad and refused to back the idea. That DAB chip venture became Frontier Silicon where I was a founder director, and they’ve gone on to sell about 50 million DAB chipsets. The WorldDAB Forum elected me as its President so I set about developing the DAB+ standard which I saw as urgent both and necessary to underpin DAB’s future, which it did as is now the most successful digital radio broadcasting standard in the world. I’m pretty proud of that because without Digital One, the chip and DAB+, radio broadcasting would be in a pretty poor state. Instead it’s healthy, vibrant and offers more stations, more formats, more music, more speech and more choice than ever before.
Other parts of of my career have included BRMB, Severn Sound, GWR Group as chief engineer, presenter and programme director, and later at BFBS where radical modernising of their technology and television departments was necessary.
I’m supposed to be retired but then Boom Radio came along, and together with a bunch of similarly not-quite-retired radio execs and DJs, we launched what has become a remarkable success story in British radio.
Outside of radio interests, I am a Trustee for the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, helping to look after the nation’s history and heritage, and a Trustee for the British Wireless Fund for The Blind. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and a Fellow of the Radio Academy. I live with my family in Wiltshire.