Monday, 27 December 2010


All that fuss and palava and it's over so quickly, It's just the one day now isn't it? I can remember a time when we had the two full days for Christmas, boxing day was just like the big day again, with another lovely roast and perhaps visitors or visits and/or games for entertainment. Hardly any vehicles on the roads as well. Nowadays, boxing day means packed roads and shopping centres - Christmas is over and it's queues for the sales, I'm not in them though - I'm a grumpy old git!

OKay fm was unfortunately off air (line) from late Christmas eve to midday today (Monday) due to a remote systems error that was beyond our control. There was no technician available to fix it - understandably. These things happen from time to time regrettably and I would ask you to please accept our apologies. I was very annoyed because we re-capped the mixing board PSU last week with minimal disruption to service and I love listening to the weekend music.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Well, that's nearly another year over and I would just like to say a big THANK YOU to all our loyal listeners for the complimentary emails and for keeping us on our toes with requests - the feedback is much appreciated.

PLEASE NOTE! Engineering are carrying out some work over the Christmas break - this may result in brief disruption to our service from time to time. We are hoping to limit this to the occasional brief loss of audio in either the left or right channel (hopefully not both!) as we connect some new equipment - essentially we are re-capping our board's power supply unit, it hasn't been switched off for eighteen months and it is twenty two years old! So please be assured that it's our end not yours and apologies to those naughty people recording our music.

From the OKay fm team - have a fabulous Christmas and a very happy, healthy and wealthy New Year to everybody and keep on keeping the faith!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Update and about time too!

I suddenly thought yesterday; we've got a blog and I've not posted for ages. Well, there has just been so much going on around here - been really busy with one thing or another and I completely forgot about updating the poor old blog! Anyway, we have been getting some very positive feedback from listeners which is much appreciated making it all worthwhile and we've also had a couple of donations to help with our running costs, thank you very much. We are aware from the stats that our audience figures are increasing nicely too, brilliant!

Now - radio broadcasting! In particular small independent specialist stations like ours; you have little chance of setting up such a terrestrial station in the UK. We would dearly love to have OKay fm broadcasting on FM in our area; a hot spot of northern soul lovers and in fact we thought the introduction of community radio (which we'd being helping to lobby for since the early eighties) was the answer - but no! I was involved in two licence applications locally; each had to include a non-refundable payment of £600 - both were rejected. It transpires that the ethos of community radio is 90% community and 10% radio - fair enough, but as radio and music lovers we feel that we could have done a lot of good for our community. Now - pop across to the other side of the world; New Zealand. There you are positively encouraged by the government to set up a low powered radio station in your area, the stations are completely unregulated, as they're automatically entitled to a GURL (General Users Radio Licence) so long as they meet technical regulations. You are not allocated a frequency - you choose your own! Many other countries have similar schemes. We would love to see that here but there is no breath being held! We could, of course, set up a transmitter and antenna and become pirate broadcasters, or as in our case unlicenced broadcasters as we are self funded and not commercial, but I don't think so - we have the internet and I believe that this is the future. However, one big problem - listening in your car, all the preceding waffle is intended to lead up to what I hope will be some useful information. I have been given a second hand smartphone, a very interesting bit of kit it is as well - I downloaded a code to unlock it and got a free sim card from giffgaff which runs on the O2 network and features free unlimited internet access at the moment. I've been on a learning curve with this phone having no previous interest or experience with anything other than an old Nokia on Orange PAYG. This new one is a mini computer able to access the internet so I thought it might be possible to get a programme to receive internet radio. I tried a couple of apps but the inbuilt browser wouldn't play the files and after a lot of faffing about I was getting ready to give up when I discovered Wunder Radio. This uses the Radiotime directory and we are in there. I don't know whether it uses its own browser but OKay fm now plays beautifully on my phone. As the phone has an audio out jack, I thought if I get one of those gizmos that lets you transmit your mp3 player to your car radio I should be able to listen in the car. That would be brilliant and make a change from Classic FM. In theory this should give nationwide coverage. I'll let you know how I get on....

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Sorry I forgot!

Apologies - I forgot to say that, hopefully, we will have a new weekend DJ starting soon. DJ Andy, who is into EW & F, Leroy Hutson, ROY AYERS and much more, has contacted us to say that he would like to come on in and join us, so we've identified a potential weekend slot for him and are taking things further, so stay tuned for further information.

Update from your old VJ

A couple of things to share with you - well three actually! We were walking our Harry dog across the fields yesterday morning, what a beautiful day, I just happened to glance down and I saw something shiny and guess what - a bright shiny 5p piece!! (Adjust my voice patterns to my Harry Hill approach) - "What are the chances of that happening, eh?" I thought: hey up, this could signify a big lottery win!!! Well there was nothing last night - but it's imminent, I feel it in my water!

So, we walked a bit further, into the next field. I then heard a sound I haven't heard for a couple of years at least - the beautiful melodic tones (two) of a cuckoo, coming from a tree a couple of hundred yards away. We just stood and listened enraptured as it is the sound of early summer and you don't hear it very often now. She or he was obviously aware of us as the cuckooing was quite intense but after a while it stopped and we saw a bird fly out of the tree and away.

And now for something slightly more radio related: you may or may not be aware of the fact that we play proper records on OKay fm and unlike seedys, playing records means not only more work, pleasurable though it is, but the gramophone needles (stylii we call them in Staffordshire) don't last for ever, they need replacing after about 500 hours and there is always the danger of damage too. So we need to have a stock of spares. Unfortunately, nothing lasts for ever and the ones that we like and use are not made any more. It is possible to buy generic or after market stylii, but they are not the same. So I thought - let's have a little look on the old eBay and yes; a dealer offering exactly the make and model that we need, brand new in a sealed box - I won the item for a very good price and the dealer immediately put another one on, I won that too and one after that! I don't know how many he's got but I'm going to keep bidding until I've got a good stock in. Well, some blokes spend loadsa money on fishing and golf and stuff so I reckon I'm allowed to spend a few quid on stylii - until the petticoat government notices anyway!

Saturday, 17 April 2010


If you have problems listening, try clicking here ....that's assuming that you would like to hear our fabulous music of course!! Oh and by the way - we are now on Facebook - I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not - time will tell, we may get fed up with that pretty quickly although it has to be said that star weekday evening DJ Pam is well into it!!

Right then - a subtle change to our weekend broadcasting - although the 70s are still very prominent, we are expanding into the 80s, 90s and even up to date with our music - weekends are now known as " classic soul dance weekends", very exciting times, we will be playing more fabulous tracks every week. We have a new Sunday evening jock, or should that be jockette, starting soon - Mrs G ( I think that's correct); apart from playing you some fabulous music - she also intends to share with you her immense catalogue of extremely useful hints and tips - I can't wait!

We always love listening to Dicky Davies on a Saturday morning, but we noticed that this morning 17th April, he seemed to be mostly standing at the back of the studio - there must have been a valid reason for this, perhaps he was trying to emulate the hip 60s jocks in NYC on WABC - speaking into an echo chamber or maybe there was a more fundamental reason - he needed to be nearer the loo! We're looking forward to next week's instalment with great interest.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

A great site for vinylistas!

Following yesterday's post and the link to that lovely youtube video for people who love proper records, I was reminded about a favourite site of mine where the theme is very much the hardware (toys) rather than the software (pizzas). Devoted vinyl junkees who appreciate the superior sound quality obtainable from the medium will know all about this one - it is of course vinylengine and it will keep you occupied for ages. That's it now - sorry for getting sidetracked, I promise that we'll leave all that business and return to normal with the blogs (for the time being!).

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Vinyl Rules OKay (fm)

I don't exactly know how this happened because I wasn't looking for it, but I came across this marvellous little video on youtube the other day and I thought you might like to see it. If you are a vinyl junkee you will love it, if you are not, you will love the kids. Enjoy...

Friday, 19 March 2010

The 4th North Lancs Soul Festival

"Morecambe, Lancashire is where soul people come together from across the UK to create a unique celebration of soul music". I wish I had written that! The seaside resort of Morecambe is home for the Seaside Soul Club who organise the North Lancs Soul Festival event and this festival of soul is being played out over three days in May; lovely! This is a free festival; you only have to shell out for accommodation and grub. Three rooms of quality soul music held in Smokey O'Connor' "Temple of Soul", Morecambe Street, Morecambe CR4 5HF. Here we go with the dates; the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of May 2o10, what a fabulous weekend! This entirely free festival is possible due to a collection of passionate (oooh!) soul jocks from radio and soul clubs throughout the UK who give their time and energy to make this event happen. Well alright! I'll ask our lovely web mistress Caro to put the flyer in our news page on the website so you can have more info.

Sunday, 28 February 2010


Johnno has sent me some pics of his new record shop - I can see that he's got some really good stuff, reasonably priced too, I'd love to get in there and have a root through the boxes! I just wish we lived nearer to Hull...
While I think about it - let's have a mention for the Hull Soul Club too! Plenty there to interest soul fans...

Monday, 22 February 2010

Yet another fix for a vinyl junkee!

More good news today - had an email from purveyor of fabulous music to OKay fm - thaaaat's Johnno! Johnno has opened a new record shop in Hull and it's called....JOHNNO'S SOUL KITCHEN. The vinyl specialist is located in the Newland Arcade, 1-39 Sharp Street, off Newland Avenue, Hull, HU5 2AF. Telephone numbers: 01482 575407 and 07851 439720. Rare and collectable items on sale include: FUNK, SOUL, JAZZ, RAP, SKA, 2 TONE, R&B, GOSPEL, TAMLA, REGGAE, NORTHERN SOUL, DANCE. With tons of new and used vinyl 45s, 12 inch and LPs with some low price items, this new store is well worth a visit. I tell you what: I just love being involved in this whole fabulous music, vinyl, soul, music, radio thing - and I'm an old git!! Well, not that old! Thank heavens for the internet that's what I say - definitely the future for music and the radio. One of our on-air team is here with me; a quick word from our 6pm to midnight soul sister, Pam: - 'Hope you're enjoying the funky, get down on it, soul and jazz numbers that we're playing daily for you. They really get under your skin don't they? Keep on listening there's something for everyone, if you're new to the station some of the records you may not have heard before but they grow on you like moss and you can't get them out of your head'. Well alright! That's what I say...

Friday, 12 February 2010

A good day today - the petticoat government decreed that I could accompany her to our local town, Rugeley, or as I like to say - Rugethley; I like to give it a bit of Welsh (my lovely son-in-law is Welsh, also I have to pay homage to the vinyl junkee paradise of Cob Records, Porthmadog). Anyway, I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to check out our new local vinyl emporium THOSE OLD RECORDS while she attended to the extremely important business of selecting food and drink for the weekend!

What a brilliant experience this was - not only did I have the opportunity to meet Chris, the proprietor and a committed vinyl junkee with not a seedy in sight, but I managed to obtain a Marvin Gaye album with a track I've been after for ages, (soon to be heard on my Okay fm show). This track - also done by the Artistics (I'll let you guess the title) is so rare that I had almost given up on getting it on any format preferably not seedy. Seven delicious vinyl albums in all, mint condition and very reasonably priced were purchased from Chris. Thank you Chris, I look forward to seeing you again very soon.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Gig news - Junction 11 Soul Club is back!!

One of the best loved northern soul nights in England is back after a two year break! Now that the Aquarius Ballroom in Hednesford near Cannock is back in action after being taken over and re-furbished by Cannock Chase Council, Junction 11 organiser Phil Turner is bringing the soul night back on the last day of every month starting Saturday January 30th. Tickets will be available on the door at the relaunch.

Junction 11 club nights regularly entertained capacity crowds during their first stint from 2002 to 2007 when they had to close after the former owners of the Aquarius went bankrupt in 2008.

Phil says - "We had a huge response last time, too big for the former owners to handle. The Aquarius is a great venue and we're glad to be back."

I don't know who is playing on Saturday, but one thing is for certain - it will be a great night with some fabulous music all from vinyl and I, as a soul freak and vinyl junkee, will definitely be there! : -)

Monday, 18 January 2010

A Happy, Healthy and Wealthy New Year to you all!

Hi there! Well here we are into another New Year already - I must just say what a great year 2009 turned out to be! After 30 years of wishing, hoping, lobbying and pirating we finally managed to make the dream a reality - our northern soul radio station was born! After the realisation that we were never ever going to get a licence to set up a legal terrestrial minority interest music radio station playing northern soul in England we decided that the only way in our lifetime was to set up an internet soul radio station.

I must admit that initially, this seemed a 'second best' option but as things turned out the internet definitely seems to be the way forward, not only because the future of radio is digital and not necessarily DAB, but potentially you have a world wide audience and the added advantage that we can run this exactly as we want to - we don't have to be dictated to by the likes of ofcom for instance. That is not to say that we are not legal; we are - as the Drifters say 'We pay our dues'. So, after 10 months of intensive work involving the setting up of the OKay fm website after first deciding on the name, our studio equipment, sorting through and logging thousands of 45s and LPs, commissioning our station id's, deciding on codecs, streaming service providers, testing, etc, etc, we went online 3 months early, June 1st 2009 to be exact, thanks to Caro our brilliant web designer.

Incidentally, we did find it difficult to select a suitable name - first of all we went back to our original station name of the 80s - Soul City fm, but somebody else had nicked it! That was originally inspired by Soul City Records, so we thought; right let's have a look in the old record box - and the first one that we pulled out was by the Vibrations on OKeh, so we thought great! That'll do but we'll change the spelling to avoid possible litigation! Everything went well for a couple of weeks and then - our first problem; the second weekend, Saturday, 70s weekend and all that, I booted up the laptop and we weren't online! Down to the station and on checking the streaming server - oh dear! The dreaded blue screen of death! Pressing the fast forward button at this stage and advancing a couple of weeks of testing, googling and deciding that we need a new server; we were finally back on line with a reliable stream thanks to CPC.

There are 9 music lovers involved at the moment deejaying (I hate the term - presenter!) and we have 6 hour slots - not unusual with music radio stations where the dj literally just plays the music without having to attend to phone calls, interviews and facilitating news feeds etc. We do work to a playlist - basically that consists of each dj having a Schweppes drinks crate of 45s for their slot and it's up to them to select the running order.

We do speak every now and again - but this is pre-ordained by El Presidente (Marge Tubb) and we have a card with things to say. This is pretty much descended from the format of American top 40 stations of the 80s (including Laser 558, the pirate ship off the English coast), plenty of music but not much speech, we don't even announce the records! I understand that in future we may change that slightly and run 30 minutes of music back to back and then back announce the tracks. One thing is certain, with all this fabulous music, there is no way we are going to talk all over it! Anyway, that'll do for the time being - just a mention that we are now 24hrs online with 6hrs of jazz from midnight to 6.00am our time - I wish I could stay up and listen 'cos I just love jazz - I'll have to find a way to record it! : -)