What I like to call my "radio career" began early - as a listener. Like thousands of others, aged something like 12 or 13, listening to John Peel weekday nights on Radio One. That was my grounding, where my love of music and radio truly began. I used to write down every track he played, the sessions, the records, marking them out of ten. I used to have notebooks stuffed full of running orders and comments. Peelie's programmes were the backbone of my youth.
Five/six years later, a stint on university radio led to work in local radio where I used to read the weekly gig guide with Jo Whiley. The pair of us went to see John in the mid 1980s to try to get him to plug our programme.
Jo went on to Radio 1, I went to Radio 4's Today programme - as a reporter - covering a succession of dodgy war zones. After being shot at in Somalia, I decided to go back to music. Much safer. I became Today's music correspondent, interviewing everyone from Tom Waits and Neil Young to Led Zeppelin, Van Morrison, Nina Simone and The White Stripes. Peelie became my regular pop pundit... "not you again" he used to joke as I turned up before his Radio 1 shows with my tape recorder to get his comments on everything from the White Stripes to western swing.
It amused him that I went on to present Today with John Humphrys and Jim Naughtie ("Radio 4" he said "thats serious stuff") before going over to the BBC World Service to present music and arts programmes. When John died, I did the Today programme's tribute to him. I also had to front his last few programmes he'd already pre-recorded for the World Service shortly before his death...the most difficult thing I've ever had to do. John was my mentor, my inspiration and a bit like a father figure for me. He didn’t know it, but he subconsciously taught me everything - how to broadcast, to tell stories, to express my passion for music...to be me. He helped me grow up...to become who I am today.
When fellow broadcaster Charlie Gillett died in 2010, I inherited his weekly world music show "World Of Music" on the BBC World Service. In April, faced with large scale cuts, the BBC decided to axe the programme and disillusioned at the BBC's disinterest in music, I quit to launch my own production business www.markcolesmusic.com
Three months on, here I am - on air in Switzerland, on my website and now Dandelion Radio. It’s a real honour to be a part of a station dedicated to the guy who back in the 70s kick-started everything for me.
Tracklistings for my previous shows:
01/2012 - 12/2011 - 11/2011