Life is all about doing things that make you happy, with people you love hanging out with. I reckon if you can look back when your body’s given up and say “ha! That was all good fun wasn’t it!?”, that you’ve pretty much nailed it. As well as that though, I think it’s all the sweeter when you know that you’ve conducted yourself in a way that you’re proud of. Ultimately laughter at someone elses expense, or getting what you want by climbing on others, does not enrich the soul…that sort of thing will only leave you empty in the end.
Nearly seven years ago (at the time of writing), I decided I wanted to do a radio show that no one had really ever done before – a show where myself and a bunch of mates would just chat shit until the early hours of the evening. A show to make people laugh out loud, to show the strings, to expose the bullshit that the media and the news subject people to on a daily basis. A show where one minute we’d be evangelising about feminism or something of that ilk, and in the next second we’d be falling about laughing because someone made a rubbish “dick-joke”. A show that was at NO POINT worthy, or preachy, or up its own ass, but where we were able to make the points we wanted to make, in a way that felt real.
Since day one, the response to the show has been overwhelming. Consistently it’s been the most talked about show on Kerrang! Radio, it’s received rave reviews, (even The Guardian loved it!), and it’s even notched up some industry award nominations….but most of all, MOST. OF. ALL. – what makes me happy in my actual heart, are the people that have listened to it every Sunday night on Kerrang! for the last nearly seven years. I’ve said it a million times on air, if you listen to the show, you KNOW me, if you’ve stuck around to listen to it, it’s likely that we’d probably be friends in real life if we knew each other. It’s me, laid bare, no bullshit, all my insecurities, ego, frailty, confusion, worries, thoughts, feelings and all, every single week.
Kev, Tommy, Hayley, Louise, Debs, Renee, “topic-writer Laura”, Rosie, Leigh, Chris, Renee, “Tony-The-Swear-Button-Pusher”, “You Can Call Me Dave”, literally tens of others and I, have relished every moment that you’ve allowed us into lives…into your cars, your homes, your places of work – or wherever. You’ve thrown open your ears every Sunday night (and on the repeat on Wednesday nights) and allowed us to step inside your minds, and that is a pleasure and a privilege that I have enjoyed, every single week.
For the last seven years, Kerrang! Radio have allowed me to do quite literally whatever I want! We have pushed every boundary, decimated the lines of taste-and-decency, cursed, taken the station of air, taken each other hostage, turned up at listeners houses without any approval to do so, rap battled, killed each other on air, hired whoever we want, whenever we want, regardless of the price (Tony TSBP costs a FORTUNE), we’ve broken all the rules, flirted with the letter of the law, changed the length of the show, then changed it again, then changed it AGAIN (without really asking anyone if it’s ok to do so), decided to take all the songs out, bugged people’s toilets, not turned up, turned up and still not done the show because I “wasn’t feeling it”, done links that last 40 minutes (usually in radio you’re allowed to talk for a maximum of about 2 minutes) – and basically, just totally fucked about!! And not once, NOT ONCE has anybody EVER told me what to do, NOT ONCE has anyone ever meddled, which is why I will always think that Kerrang! Radio is the coolest radio station on earth.
The thing is though, allowing me that total freedom isn’t K! being reckless – people don’t believe me when I tell them this, but in ALL that time, through ALL that chaos, through ALL that madness and destruction, we have never received a single complaint. Not one. And do you know why that is? It’s because YOU GUYS GET IT! You know that the show only has a good heart, and that despite the madness, it’s intention has only ever been to try and make life better for some people, and help make the world a little less shitty….and do you know what? Knowing that we have, even in part achieved that, is the greatest feeling on earth.
There was a moment years ago that crystallised this for me. I was at a gig, I was standing at the bar, and this lady came over to me and started talking…I wasn’t really sure what she was on about at first, but it transpired that her daughter (who she’d taken to the gig), was a big fan of the show. “Awesome” I thought! For the next 10 minutes this lovely lady told me how a couple of years before that night, her and her husband had been toying with the idea of stopping her from listening to the show, apparently their daughter was starting to act up a bit at school and as she was only 13 at the time, they thought the show (from the bits they’d heard of it) was too rude. They’d told her not to listen but she used to listen under her covers anyway, they knew she was doing it, but couldn’t decide what to do…
….SO, they started listening…like REALLY listening to the show, not just hearing a few bits here and there and making a judgement call, but listening religiously, every week. Now, fast forward to that night at the gig…not only had they made the decision to let her listen, but now the whole family listened!! She told me that it brought them closer together, they talked to their daughter about her problems and they all related to each around their shared sense of humour and their thoughts about the silly talking points from the show. In fact, the reason that she was there with her daughter that night, was because her daughter had invited her to come along.
Now, I don’t know what it means to other presenters to “be a broadcaster”…but to me, the fact that happened, even ONCE, is the closest thing to “mission accomplished” that I could ever conceive of.
(Dammit, this is without a doubt the greatest video I’ve ever received…if you’ve never listened to the show then you won’t know that basically EVERY SINGLE thing they are saying in this video is from the show! Silly things, in-jokes…it’s just the greatest) 🙂
We’ve been re-versioning the show as a podcast for years (way way before podcasts were cool, btw)…and collectively we’ve been utterly blown away by just how many people that listen to the show listen via the podcast. There’s a million different reasons why you say you prefer the podcast: “I can listen whenever I want; I can listen on my commute, I can listen again and again, Sunday night’s are just the worst time for it as I’m getting ready for the week” etc etc etc. However, for years we always treated the podcast as the little brother to the show, but the reality is, that little brother has grown the hell up…and now it’s so big, that we’re pretty scared of it hahaha! I’ve thought about this long and hard and this is the reality – if we go down the podcast only route we can super serve that massive audience AND Kerrang! Radio can go back to giving the majority of people what they want – some actual music!! Hahaha! :o)
This year is the tenth year of my new band/new artist show, Fresh Blood (previously The Unsigned Show), a show that remains on Kerrang! Radio, every single Wednesday night, dedicated to unearthing the worlds best new talent. That show is produced and presented by me, and I’ll do it until the day I drop dead! However, where by bat-shit crazy speech show is concerned…the time has come to move it, once and for all, off the Kerrang! Radio airwaves and into the podcast world.
We’ve created over 200 episodes of “The Alex Baker Show” for radio broadcast and I can honestly say, I can look back with pride in my heart, and a spring in my step, safe in the knowledge that it’s achieved EVERYTHING that we wanted it to achieve.
I’m always going to want to play around with audio, so the show isn’t going anywhere, and whether you’ve just started listening, or been listening forever, please continue to do so via the podcast – we are also working on some new ways to listen too, so no matter what your set up, you’ll be able to download it and check it out….
…HOWEVER…to every single person that has tuned in on Sunday nights over the past nearly 7 years, whether you’d loved it, hated it, laughed with it, or laughed AT it…thank you. I have nothing but happy memories of broadcasting this stupid-ass show to you all, and knowing that it’s had an impact on some of you, is the greatest feeling imaginable.
Alex Baker – January 30th, 2016