General News

Vernon Pierce & Bob Welham

Trials & Tribulations of a Radio Presenter

On Thursday13th January the Vall del Pop U3A held their first General Assembly for 2022 with a good turn-out of members keen to renew their Association membership and to learn about the trips and events planned for the first part of the year. After the official business the members relaxed to hear a talk, by Vernon Pearce, on his experiences as a Radio Presenter, not a DJ although music does form a part of the presentations.

Vernon got into radio late in his life, when in his early 50s he wanted something different to do in his spare time - so he joined the local radio station in the Wey Valley in Hampshire, UK, and Delta FM. He was initially assigned a show talking about the environment and enthusiastically researched environmental information relevant to the locality and interviewed local environmentalists. With some trepidation he presented his first show and soon learnt interview techniques and never to be surprised at what participants may throw up during an interview.

This was followed with a second show, a Food & Drink programme, for which he went out visiting local growers/farmers and wine experts and introduced recipes, some of which he was able to taste whilst on air. Vernon had found a niche and was awarded Best Talk Programme on Delta FM in 2001.

He then moved to Hospital Radio in Basingstoke where he enjoyed visiting the patients to get their song requests and for the first time found himself at the mixing desk as he presented his show and the requested music. Here he also had to include time for advertisers and to co-ordinate with the local news broadcasts. It was at this time he started to pre-record music programmes to interest his listeners which included Sounds of the 1940s by raiding his parents music collection, the Glen Millar story and his personal favourite Country Music.

In 2007 he retired to Spain but continued his Basingstoke Hospital Radio spot from Spain. Here he meet up with Bob James to present programmes on Valley FM, whose target audience was over 50s expatriates. His programmes included a Lunch Box programme which included short stories read by Jalon Valley writers, his own antidotes on current affairs items and his personal favourite 70s & 80s music. The programmes were recorded at home and Vernon continued to research his local news and stories to make his programmes relevant and of interest to his audience.

He and his wife also became interested in amateur dramatics, singing and walking as well as the standard retiree involvement with gardening. So after 4 years he left Valley FM to have more time for his hobbies, although he still send his Hospital broadcasts. He has now written a book entitled ‘Walks in the Val de Leguer’, which is on sale at local shops with all profits going to SCAN.

Vernon encouraged anyone who was interested to consider contributing to local radio, as a presenter of items of interest or music as one of the benefits of local radio was the wide variety of presenters.

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