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 CCG - Creative Communities Group
Steve Barker
Location :

United Kingdom

Bio :

After a promising start in journalism, interviewing Jimi Hendrix and Yoko Ono in the same week, Steve Barker was recruited by BBC Radio Blackburn in 1978 to work on music review show RPM. Notably conducting Joy Division’s Ian Curtis’ last radio interview. This show eventually mutated into On the Wire, now the longest running continuous underground music show on UK radio. Between 2002 and 2011 Steve worked on projects in China for the British Council and broadcast from the BBC’s Beijing bureau. In May 2018 he celebrated his 40th continuous year with BBC Radio Lancashire.


On the Wire 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 including U2, REM, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Eno, Burning Spear and Lee “Scratch” Perry. In the '80s, fans swapped cassettes of the show across the UK, it played a key role in popularising hip-hop. It was the first British radio show to play music from Detroit techno artists such as Derrick May and, in the acid house era, it offered crucial exposure to the homegrown stars of Manchester’s rave scene, most notably 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.


Like John Peel, On The Wire has been threatened by BBC cuts – twice – and both times saved with the help of its fiercely loyal listeners across Lancashire and worldwide. Steve’s enthusiasm for new music, dub plates and the outlandish continues unabated although of late On the Wire has taken a more relaxed view of the music scene and is as likely to play pre-war hillbilly, gospel or country blues as much as experimental electronica or dub. For the last twenty years he has also contributed a monthly Reggae/Dub column to The Wire magazine.


Born in Lancashire and living in the county for most of his life, Steve staunchly believes “The North will Rise again!”


The Wire www.thewire.co.uk


On the Wire's website is www.otwradio.blogspot.co.uk 



Steve Barker