Surrey Sounds – A brief History by Martin Hill
Early Days
The Site
The Gear
The Studio
Station Staff
The jingles
The Broadcasts
The End
The Reunion

My interest in music and radio started many years before I joined Surrey Sounds, in fact my earliest memories of radio was getting up at 5am and waiting for Radio 2 to start broadcasting. Radio 1 was on Medium Wave AM only then and Radio 2 was not 24 hours a day. What choice we had back in 1971!

The early 70’s was a time when I discovered music and radio all be it as a non participant. It was not until I left school and working at Plessey as an Apprentice electronics engineer that I got involved in CB radio. The combination of electronics and fun knowing that the AM CB was illegal really wet my appetite. I believe CB Radio really died once it was legalised on FM.

It was through CB radio that I met up with the presenter Roger Hall and he introduced me to Rob James. I had already been doing some very basic disco work, mainly because at the time I was very much into the club scene and it was suggested that I could join the station with a one hour programme. I can’t remember if I was tried out but I do remember seeing the studio for the first time and wondering how an earth I was going to work the mixer (it was a little basic).

I’ve got to admit I was as nervous as hell during my first shows and I cringe to hear myself now. The final broadcast made on the 5th March 1983 at least had me starting to sound a little more relaxed, in fact I really enjoyed my last show.

I played a mixture of Reggae, jazz and soul, although my true roots back then were with jazz fusion and artists such as Eddie Henderson, Jimmy Owens and Herbie Hancock etc.

After the station closed down Rob and I decided to start up a mobile disco and keep the name of Surrey Sounds name alive. We went on to run our disco as partners up until 1992 when pressure from my ex wife forced me to sell up my share. I really regret that I had to do that. We also had a regular spot on Sunday and Tuesday nights at the Holly Tree Pub in Addlestone, Surrey. We played a mixture of charts and oldies and I really enjoyed my time there.

I also managed to join a couple of Hospital Radio stations, Radio Wey and Radio Lion.

Over the years I’ve tried my hand at Voice Over work and had a few DJ spots for work colleagues but most recently narrated a training video for a large railway company. (Still looking for work…hint)

I guess it must run in the blood as even now I would not miss up a chance to get behind the microphone. Surrey Sounds was one hell of a station and will always remind me of what it’s like to stick your neck out for something you believe in.

Long live free radio and long live the freedom of choice.

Martin Hill Oct 2006

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Last Updated:
Friday, November 9, 2007
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