Book Review: Broadcast Brothers
Broadcast Brothers is an account of, “the desperate race for the last piece of virgin territory on the commercial radio map of England”. The ‘Virgin-Territory’ referred to here is the High Peak area of Derbyshire.
Reviewed by: David Harris
The eponymous ‘Broadcast Brothers’ are Steve Jenner, a school teacher and former racing driver (b.1958) and his younger brother Paul (b.1962) who was a mobile DJ. The book is a memoir of both of their lives, their various experiences with pirate radio and RSL (short term licenced stations), and of the run-up to them obtaining the licence to run High Peak Radio.
This station has broadcast (on 106.4 and 103.3MHz FM) since 2004.
The title follows a dual-narrative-approach, with each brother writing a short chapter and then handing over to the other to carry on with the narrative. The authors just about manage to keep this in sync throughout the book. The first quarter of the book is about the brothers’ early lives, their recollections of listening to the radio and of Paul’s life as a mobile DJ playing clubs around the country. The brothers dabble as pirate radio presenters but become legal and run an AM station – WHAM (Wonderful Hucknall AM).
The book describes in detail the RSL stations the brothers operated in the Nottingham and Derby areas before they decided to promote – and ultimately bid for and win – the franchise to operate in the High Peak area. The book exposes the massive bureaucracy new entrants faced when trying to break into a world dominated by big corporations. It was a very expensive and time-consuming process with very little in the way of transparency in the process of awarding licences. On the last page of the book, we learn that they won the licence. It would be interesting to have read about how the last 15 years of running the radio station went and what lessons others could learn. This book should attract a lot of attention in the Peak District.
This review featured in RadioUser June 2019