The Radio Jocks Who Have Changed From On-Air to Online

James Cridland

By James Cridland

Radio Futurologist
  • courtesy  May 12, 2015 


    Last week, in Toronto, Canada, I was lucky enough to be at the Canadian premiere of I Am What I Play, a radio DJ movie following four great radio presenters’ lives. Roger King, the director, spent some considerable time with a number of great radio presenters, and the movie is a treat for both radio fans and for fans of human stories.

    Interestingly, the movie isn’t a eulogy to the “good old days” of radio. It could so easily have fallen into that trip. But in the Q&A afterwards, the filmmaker was clear. “That kind of radio still exists”, he said, “but you need to look for it. It’s on the internet, there are lots of indie stations still around, and it’s on podcasts, too.”

    David Marsden was one of the DJs featured in the film, and was also present for the premiere. From the audience reception, he’s clearly a Big Deal: though I’d never heard of him before. What’s he doing now? Why, running his own internet radio station,

  • Running your own internet radio station, or podcasting, appears to be where many radio jocks of a ‘certain generation’ are going.UK radio presenter Steve Penk – formerly on London’s Capital FM and Manchester’s Key 103 – is now running two channels on TuneIn. The Steve Penk Windup Channel, running archive clips of his wind-up calls, and the Steve Penk Music Channel, with a freeform yet hit-driven mix of music (and occasionally live links).

    “I have always spent my professional life being creative, and just because I haven’t [currently] got a job on the radio, that process doesn’t stop. You can’t just turn off your creative brain, especially if that’s what you’ve done every day for the past 30 odd years,” he told me. His music channel flits between Frank Sinatra, Prince, Candi Staton, Ram Jam and Johnny Mathis. He says it’s just a hobby, keeping him busy. It costs him little to run.



  1. Yep…becoming very common. John “Milkman” Mielke is doing it (very successfully, I might add) with his station called “Blast The Radio” after being let go from his long-time gig with Bell Media in Ottawa and I’m trying to follow suit with my station (“The Drive – REAL Classic Rock” at since being let go from my gig with Jack FM in Calgary back in January.

    I can’t speak for John, but I know that in my case it’s been fun applying my radio knowledge to creating my own station & show as well as keeping the creative juices flowing.

    Yes, the listener count is low, but since getting listed on TuneIn, iTunes Radio, Shoutcast and it’s been climbing.

    Slow and steady wins the race, right?


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