I’ve done a few radio interviews in the past few days, all with the aim of telling people about The Red Light Zone (which is launched tomorrow) . On A1 Internet radio, the presenter Chris Grant took seriously ill just before I went on air and handed over to his co-host in Madeira. As the minutes passed, Chris was sending us text messages telling us that he was in severe pain and was being admitted to hospital there and then. Happily he was back on his feet the next day.
A few days later, I was on air with Dave Hodgson on Talk Radio Europe and backed myself into a conversational cul-de-sac about sausages.
This afternoon I was on BBC Radio Scotland, talking to Grant Stott who managed to cover my thirty year career in the space of fifteen minutes, pausing only for an archive clip of Johnny Sellotape and then allowing me to read an extract from the book itself. I told that Princess Anne story again.
Then Grant asked me what the BBC bosses thought when I told them I was going to write about life behind the scenes in radio …
Dan O’Day used his library of audio clips to illustrate the dos and don’ts, based on things he had heard, admired or cringed at from radio stations all over the world. One example was that hackneyed feature The Birthday List, when a radio presenter gave a roll-call of famous people – dead and alive – who might also be sharing a birthday with you on that day. But who, asked Dan, as he fired a clip of a bored presenter going through the motions, really wants to know that “… also born on this day was notorious Nazi, Adolf Eichmann, responsible for implementing Hitler’s Final Solution that led to the murder of millions of Jews.”
It was a fair point. You would have trouble shoe-horning that into the conversation at coffee break.
-The Red Light Zone (Chapter 12)
“I suggested the open auditions might be just a publicity stunt. Goaded into taking part, I looked around the office for some inspiration, but all I could see were office supplies and so Johnny Sellotape was born. And his daft gimmick of attaching old jokes to his jacket would allow him to fill the required five minutes of stage time, should he forget his lines.”
*audio from Stuck: The Rise and Fall of Johnny Sellotape (BBC Radio Scotland)
Picture: The Big Issue.
On this website we’ll be adding pictures and video content releated to the book, The Red Light Zone: An Insider’s laugh ‘n’ tell of BBC Radio. In this post, author Jeff Zycinski, explains – and apologises – for the misleading title of his memoirs of a career in the BBC and commercial radio.
The Red Light Zone? Yes, I know. it’s a bit misleading, isn’t it? I’m sorry if you came across this site thinking it might be an edgy expose of Amsterdam brothels, Edinburgh massage parlours of Lochwinnoch tearoooms (we’ve all heard the stories). But no – it’s all about my book on radio, which is sexy in its own way, of course.
It’s The Red Light Zone because much of my career has been spent in sound proof studios where the red light signifies a live microphone and a reminder not to cough, sneeze, swear or blurt out any honest thoughts about the Government, Opposition parties, Ofcom, the BBC Director General, awards committees, football teams, and accordionists, But now that I’ve left the BBC, that red light is off and I can say what I like about all of those things.
So let me tell you about how I sold my mind and body to broadcasting and about the people I met, the places I visited and the programmes we made, Friends have asked if this is going to be one of those ‘kiss ‘n’ tell’ memoirs, but I don’t think my air-kissing encounters with luvvies would justify that description. However, there were lots of laughs so maybe ‘laugh ‘n’ tell’ is more appropriate.
There are movie stars, one car chase and some nudity. Not much sex though.
Again, sorry about that.
The book is published in January 2019, but you can pre-order by clicking the link below to amazon.co.uk.
Buy Book Here