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Spotlight On CCG Members :- Mr. Steve Barker

Spotlight On CCG Members :- Mr. Steve Barker Creative Communities Group RSS Newsfeed for Creative Communities Group Online art gallery newsfeed

~~Not many media students can say they have interviewed rock god Jimi Hendrix and Beatle widow Yoko Ono in the same week. It’s a skill that a youthful Steve Barker achieved when he began his career in journalism. Let’s learn more as we uncover some fascinating facts about this Lancashire born media savvy maverick.

Following Steve’s excellent handling of two of music’s biggest stars he was soon recruited by  BBC Radio Blackburn in 1978 to work on a music review show RPM.  His highlight was no doubt interviewing Joy Division’s Ian Curtis which historically became his last. RPM evolved into On the Wire which went onto become the longest running continuous underground music show on UK radio.

This is the story of how ‘On the Wire’ became radio gold :-

It was an early champion of new musical genres such as hip hop, House and Techno, many bands and performers who were to become musical legends passed through the show, these included the following seven accomplished musicians :-

• U2
• The Smiths
• Depeche Mode
• Brian Eno
• Burning Spear
• Lee “Scratch” Perry.

During the 1980’s, fans swapped cassettes of the show across the UK, this played a key role in popularising hip-hop. Detroit techno artists such as Derrick May were championed as new and emerging music and in the midst of the acid house era it offered crucial exposure to the homegrown stars of Manchester’s rave scene, these included 808 State and A Guy Called Gerald. In 1986 the show presented The Fall live at Clitheroe Castle, with 2500 fans and one policeman in attendance.
Throughout it’s years on air the show has been threatened by BBC cuts – twice – and both times saved with the help of its fiercely loyal listeners across Lancashire and worldwide.

Between 2002 and 2011 Steve has worked on several projects away from his UK roots. These are based in China for the British Council and broadcast from the BBC’s Beijing bureau.

Steve’s enthusiasm for new music continues despite his advancing years. His maturity has shaped the present state of On the Wire as you will be more likely to see Steve introduce more laidback genres such as pre-war hillbilly, gospel or country blues instead of experimental electronica or dub. Since 1999 he has also contributed to a monthly Reggae/Dub column to The Wire magazine.

Over the four decades he has been in media he has interviewed, presented and edited quite a number of shows and articles. In May 2018 therefore he rightly celebrated his 40th continuous year with BBC Radio Lancashire.

Born and bred in Lancashire and living in the county for most of his life, Steve can confidently proclaim, “The North will Rise again!”

With these bold convictions and with a considerable amount of experience in media behind him, I am sure we can all learn by his devotion to his work and sheer love for what he does. We welcome, Mr. Steve Barker to the CCG.

The Wire www.thewire.co.uk
On the Wire's website is www.otwradio.blogspot.co.uk
^Alex Ashworth.