Show name: The Program – the Phonic progressive rock show
Presenter’s names: Spencer Jones and assorted regular/irregular guests
What type of music can we expect to hear on your show?
Progressive rock, avant-garde, psychedelic and art rock from every era.
What is the format of your show?
Two hours of intense strangeness. 90% weird, wonderful music – 5 per cent inane chat, 5 per cent useful information about bands and tunes. Oh, and 5 per cent comedy – that’s 105 per cent!
Why should we listen to your show?
Radio, especially independent non-commercial radio, is the best format for transferring knowledge of great, unheard music to a largely random demographic. That’s what the program exists to do.
Me and my guests have been privileged enough to discover some of the most beguiling, intriguing music ever recorded, and we love sharing it.
How did your show come about?
It was initially booted into existence by Elliot Woodford, who already presented a show on Phonic FM, but who had a secret hankering for a prog-rock show. He invited me (I am a notorious prog-rock headcase) to be his co-presenter. At the time I had absolutely no knowledge of the studio, the desk or what to expect, and Elliot pretty much ran the show for the first 18 months. Then he made the mistake of teaching me how to work the desk – I’m now just about competent at it, which is a good thing as Elliot is no longer guaranteed to be around each week to save my bacon. It’s got to be my favourite thing to do nowadays – never expected to get to do it at all!
What goes on behind the scenes in the studio?
If I told you that I’d have to dump you in a canal afterwards. No…generally a lot of laughing, even when I’m there on my own. The occasional frantic reply to a text message whilst attempting to cue the next track up, attempting to get the fan to cool me down whilst not creating the sound of a typhoon on the radio. Trying to work out which microphone is plugged into which desk channel is always a good game…and, no, the numbers are not to be trusted!
What has been your best on air moment?
I think the moment I finished my first wholly solo show and went to the news without mishap. Not exciting I know, but I was dead proud of myself for doing that…next stop, Radio 6 music!
What has been your worst/ most embarrassing on air moment?
Putting the same (wrong) track on three times in a row, with intervening, gradually worsening apologies. When I put the same thing on for the third time, I very nearly said a word more often used by Joan Rivers. But didn’t.
Who is your favourite artist?
That’s always a tough one, but I think I’ll have to say Van der Graaf Generator. They were/are extremely progressive and amazing musically, but they come with a dark, poetic, almost punkish overlay. And they have the best lyrics in the history of rock. Peter Hammill is a national treasure – one day the guy will be made a saint.
What is your all time favourite album?
Wow….that’s even harder. OK – I’m going to go with snooker legend and superfan Steve Davis (who, oddly enough, presents a similar show to mine on Brentwood’s local station Phoenix FM) and say Mekanik Destruktiw Kommandoh, by the French uber-weirdos Magma. I haven’t played much of this on the show as it’s a Sunday afternoon and people might get scared. But it honestly has to be heard to be believed – Carl Orff meets a cracked goblin in a cape speaking a constructed language called Kobaian. And, lest we forget, some of the most scintillating playing on record, ever. The whole thing is a rocket ride. Check it out on YouTube if you don’t believe me!