Guy Starkey first stepped on board the m.v. Peace when he was just 18 years old. He’d done a lot of voluntary radio work in a hospital radio station in his home town of Chester, England. This was his first big break in the industry, though, and Programme Director Crispian St John wanted to hear what he sounded like on air before finding him a place in the schedule. So he was given an hour-long slot that evening during1540 Disco. Cris met Guy on the way out of the studio, saying ‘You’d better get some sleep because you’re taking over the breakfast show from tomorrow, starting at 6am!”
During Guy’s time on the Voice of Peace, he presented the breakfast, mid-morning, afternoon drive and classical music shows, as well as at one time a daily sponsored Beatles Hour and a daily sponsored Abba Hour. He said: ‘This was a fantastic way of learning the job, but it was very, very intensive as we each had to produce and present two or three shows each per day. We also had to take turns to sit on the ship’s bridge, listening to the ship-to-shore radio in case Abie called us.’ In those days there weren’t any mobile phones, and not even the famous Motorola two-way radio that many of the later jocks remember very well.
Guy admitted that he found some of the very necessary but less glamorous routines on board ship a bit tiresome: ‘Chipping the loose paint off the deck in blazing hot sunshine when we were stuck in Ashdod harbour for a week with generator trouble and doing a stint in the chain locker while the anchor was being pulled up from the sea bed were the worst tasks I was given!’ Another ‘highlight’ was being thrown overboard fully clothed by some of the other jocks. ‘It took five of them to overpower me!’ he pointed out.
Guy left the Peace Ship to return to the UK to study for a degree just as the cockroaches looked like they were getting large enough to open the doors to the galley for themselves. The lure of the Mediterranean was so great, though, that within a year he was working at Radio Nova International, halfway up the Monte Fontane in Camporosso, Italy, which broadcast all along the French Riviera in several European languages. This was during the university vacation and another year spent abroad learning French.
On graduation, Guy got a job at the British Forces Broadcasting Service in Gibraltar – he also speaks Spanish - then returned to the UK to work for a number of years in commercial radio, broadcasting on Beacon Radio 303, Marcher Sound, MFM, Radio City 96.7, City Talk 1548, Red Rose Radio, to name but a few.
More recently, Guy has been working in education, teaching radio and journalism to new generations. He has written a number of books, book chapters and journal articles, as well as being a frequent speaker at academic conferences as far afield as Poland, China and Mexico. He is now a Professor of Radio & Journalism, but he continues to broadcast on a small number of internet radio stations. He said: ‘Radio has changed so much since those early beginnings on the Voice of Peace. It’s just brilliant, though, that even today I can still do one of my very favourite things most days a week – broadcast on the radio to listeners near and far. The Voice of Peace has changed a lot, so has radio, so has the world around us, and I’ve certainly changed a bit, too, but the basic principle hasn’t changed… music makes friends and friends make peace!’
You can find out more about Guy's books and the rest of his academic work at www.guystarkey.com
Birthday:Too many to worry about these days!
Favourite Music: Generally anything depending on my mood.
Favourite things: Certainty and occasional excitement and the colour purple.
Dislikes: Hassle of all kinds.
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