I’m a comparative newbie to the world of radio, even though it has always fascinated me. It’s a world full of strong and eccentric personalities, very weird business practices and over-regulation. But it wasn’t always like that. In decades gone by it was even worse. In this stunning book, John Myers tells of his career in radio since the 1970s both as a presenter and businessman. It’s a book that pulls few punches. It’s a book which names names and at the end of it you are wondering how many friends Myers will have left in the industry. But its seering honesty is why it works so well. It’s one of those books you are devastated to finish. You want it to go on and on.
Myers started in local radio in the late 1970s in Cumbria. His tales of getting in at the bottom and trying to work his way up are often side-splittingly funny and anyone looking to get into radio would do well to take note of his perseverance. He spent many years at various radio stations ‘oop north’, as well as in Scotland before eventually becoming head honcho at GMG Radio, where he created a hugely successful radio operation based around the Real Radio and Smooth brands. GMG is in the process of being sold to Global, who own LBC, the radio station I present on. Myers left GMG in 2008 to travel the world and now runs the Sony Awards and Arquiva, as well as heading up the Radio Academy. He carried out reviews into both BBC national and local radio, the first at the behest of the Labour government in 2009 and the latter for the BBC itself as part of its Delivering Quality First Initiative.
To call John Myers ‘Mr Radio’ would not be an exaggeration. I’ve only met him once, but I suspect he’s a marmite character – not devoid of devout acolytes or bitter enemies. And that’s another reason to read this book. Indeed, this book should be read by every broadcast journalism student, producer, radio suit, presenter and regulator. I learnt more about radio from it than I thought possible. It’s full of anecdotes, laughter, a few tears and lessons in how to, or not to, run a radio station.
John Myers is on Twitter @JohnMyersTeam