Bill Brewster’s Favourite Radio Shows

In just two years, KMAH has become a real force on the underground electronic scene. Brewster’s joyous (and always informative) Disco Jungle show, one of the first on air, has helped them to achieve this. Not only has KMAH had an impact on a wider level, but it has given much needed structure to the Leeds scene, providing a physical and virtual space where the city’s selectors, producers and promoters can engage in a cultural exchange. It is testament to the vital importance of radio, particularly pirate or independent stations like this one. So, ahead of his history of disco DJ set at KMAH’s 2nd Birthday party event at HiFi, we asked Bill to select what he regards to be the best radio shows of popular music history.


1. John Peel Show, Radio 1, UK


“Who else? We are all children of John Peel in someway. Certainly my generation were. His influence stretches way beyond his relatively esoteric show, helping guides scores of bands and producers from early obscurities towards the charts, when he would invariably drop them. I discovered him in 1976 just as he was about to abandon the prog-rock that had been a feature of his 1970s shows, but what struck me about Peel was that he would give anything a chance however weird or annoying it might sound to the average person’s ears. I discovered countless artists via his show and first heard hip hop, go go, electro, house and techno (often without even realising that that’s what they were, Peel was never one for genre labels).”


2. Alexis Korner, Radio 2, UK


“Largely unknown outside a coterie of ageing British blues fans, Alexis Korner was an instrumental part of the early blues scene in the UK, galvanising and nurturing young musicians (including the early Rolling Stones). His group, CCS, made a series of excellent albums on Mickie Most’s RAK, including the Top Of The Pops theme, their version of Whole Lotta Love. He was also a great broadcaster and his show in the late 1970s and early ’80s was an essential listen every Sunday. Although it largely focused on the blues, he would also play funk, soul and jazz. Every week was like a musical lesson when I was a teenager.”


3. Tony Humphries, Kiss FM 98.7, New York


“Although I was never fortunate enough to listen to Tony’s shows ‘live’, many many tapes circulated around London during the mid-to-late 1980s, passed around like illegal samizdat to disciples. As well as his incredible mixing and taste in music, they also captured the glamour of New York for those of us who has never been, as vivid in our minds as photos of graffiti or listening to Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. It was also enhanced by the golden voice of Yvonne Mobley, who presented the Mastermixes: nobody gives more music.”


4. Paul ‘Trouble’ Anderson, Kiss FM, London


“It’s hard to select just one DJ from Kiss, because it defined a whole period in London club history in the mid-to-late 1980s, but one of its more influential DJs from the post-legal period that began in September 1990 was ‘Trouble’, whose Saturday show was absolutely essential listening, with an energetic mixing style that was loose and super funky and the perfect taster for his weekly Wednesday party in Camden.”


5. Tim Sweeney, Beats In Space, WNYU 89.1, New York


“Arguably one of the most important post-analogue shows. Even though it’s broadcast weekly via WNYU’s radio station, it’s significance and influence has come through its presence on the internet, one of the few radio shows that appears to have a pan-continental following – and is often essential listening.”

Bill Brewster


See Bill Brewster this Friday at the HiFi Club for KMAH Radio’s 2nd Birthday Party. Check the event page here.