194 Radio City: The Heart of Liverpool

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Location: Denbighshire, United Kingdom

After deciding to resign from the Civil Service after 25 years, I am now free to pursue my dream of writing. My first book '194 Radio City - The Heart of Liverpool' was published through Lulu in April 2006, and is available from good bookshops and internet suppliers. If you have difficulty getting a copy, please contact me.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Joe Butler Memories

It transpires that Joe had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer around a year ago. Tributes are starting to pop up around the web and elsewhere. Dave Lincoln, who was of course a presenter at City during the same early years as Joe says "Radio in Liverpool during the 70s wouldn't have been the same without Joe Butler on the radio. Not only did he host the country music show, but also an amazingly popular Sunday lunchtime request show. He'll be sadly missed."

This morning I trawled through a stack of emails collected during my research for the Radio City book. What was clear about Joe was that he was always quick to acknowledge and praise the people who worked alongside him, usually the engineers. Much more so, in fact, than he was willing to talk about his own achievements. Despite his success and fame, he remained a humble man and needed quite a bit of prompting to talk about himself. And when he did, it was always as if he couldn't quite believe his luck to be working in country music and radio.

Speaking of his time at City in the 1970s, Joe described the Radio City Stanley Studios as being "...pretty much state of the art at that time and they were constantly being upgraded. I always seemed to get on well with the engineers who didn't always get the praise they deserved. They were especially helpful to me when I did outside broadcasts. The ones I particularly remember were the outside broadcasts for the Radio City Country Jamborees I did for Give A Child A Chance. These took place at Aughton Chase near Maghull and also at Croxteth Park. We did these for about five years and they were very successful. They were a bit of a headache for the engineers with so many live bands and two separate stages to set up.

"Another memorable one we did was at the Cavern Club in Matthew Street, also for Give A Child A Chance. It featured Nashville superstar George Hamilton IV together with The Hillsiders. The engineers worked their socks off and entered into the spirit of things (with a little help from the third engineer, Jack Daniels!!!) Special mentions here for John Gorry and Steve Kelly; they were amazing.

"Regarding the 'ghost' of Radio City, I did hear a few stories about it but never saw it. I believe Pete Price claimed to have seen it, but he was always on another planet anyway!"

Radio, and of course country music, will miss you, Joe.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Death of Joe Butler

Don't have any more details as yet, but have just been informed that Joe Butler, host of Radio City's Country Style and member of The Hillsiders, died yesterday. I will let you know as soon as I have more information.

Joe was a lovely, down-to-earth man who, as those who have read my book will know, was able to contribute many an amusing tale of his days as a presenter at Radio City. It was a job he loved and one which held many happy memories for him.