Chris Stewart

Show:  Back in the Groove


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Chris Stewart

Show: Back in the Groove – Saturday  20.00pm – 22.00pm GMT

Show: Back in the Groove – Sunday 20.00pm – 22.00pm GMT

Email: chrisstewart@chocolate-radio.com

 

Chris got involved with soul music after a friend ask him for a lift to a local record shop to buy a birthday present for her brother. On arrival at the shop, which was full, he saw a small crowd of people at the far end of the shop all-jigging to the music and decided to investigate.

As soon as he got in earshot, he knew there was something different being played and not the normal pop that he had no interest in. Fontella Bass, Rescue Me was the record playing at the time and an hour later he had purchased his first 3 soul records, the other 2 where Martha Reeves The Vandellas, Jimmy Mack and The Elgins, Heaven Must of Sent You. Those days you ordered the record and came back on the following Thursday to pick up your prized possession. Records where on 7’’ vinyl and cost 7s and 6 pence, 5s and 11pence at Woolworths where most of Chris’s later came from in the early days.

The Disco scene was starting around this time, so twin decks and speakers soon followed with local gigs a social clubs and parties, followed by a summer season at Pontins, South Devon, where radio first came into play. Jersey in the Channel Islands, soon followed, then London and Baccus International audition in Fulham. 3 days later he was in Germany at The Yellow Submarine in Munich and onward to many European cities working as a DJ in Hotels and clubs for Baccus.

Returning to London in 1979 and meeting up with an old friend from Jersey who was involved with pirate radio, the name Radio Invicta came up and Chris was hooked on soul music radio, but did not as you will hear on a later radio close down show want to get involved in pirate radio.

Sadly, Radio Invicta’s transmissions in 1981 were either being interrupted by the Radio Interference Department or was simply not on air. That is when Anne, Roger and Chris decided to create a small station around the Camberwell area. October 1981 saw the first transmission on 5watts off Coniston House and the feedback was so impressive from listeners who found the transmission that Horizon Radio 94.5fm was born.

JFM had also come on at the same time with live broadcasts which where impressive to say the least. By December 1982 Chris had learned to build the transmitters, aerials and studios after a lot of help from Pyers and Ian W. With all engineering now in house Horizon Radio really took off as it had the most consistent broadcasting hours of any station. Wednesdays and Sundays every week with longer 7 day broadcasts over bank holidays.

Gary Lee was the first DJ to join Horizon, followed by Barry Tee and many more that later became household names in London. May 1984 saw Horizon Radio become the first 24/7 soul music station in Europe and possible the top station in London for listeners on par with Capital radio.

October 1984 saw the big studio raid and Chris would not put Horizon back on air, due to internal squabbles that saw some wanting to take over the station. January 1985 a new team for Horizon was formed and Horizon came back, bigger and better that before, with new DJ’s like Martin Day, John Osbourne, Barry James, Steve Bernard and Mike G, plus many more.

The Government decided to issue licenses in 1985, so to comply, Horizon Radio decided to apply for one and was the first station to cease broadcasting with a close down party at Harrow Leisure Center (30.000 tried to attend) after the final show hosted by Chris on Sunday the 15th of September, coming off air at 16.20pm. The Harrow Leisure Center was broadcast live and featured many PA’s from the artists of the day.

Chris stated he nor Horizon would ever broadcast again if the station did not get a license. Unfortunately Horizon did not get the license, so Horizon stuck to its promise.

After Horizon, it soon became apparent getting a job with another legal broadcaster was not going to happen. One even invited Chris to the studio, but as Chris left, the program controller said to the person who got Chris the interview “I would love to give him a job, but look at the success he has enjoyed with Horizon, he would not be satisfied with being a presenter he would want my job and the station managers job”.

Sad that some think with their shoe size IQ as all Chris wanted to do was play the music he loved and never wanted to own or run a station as the music was all he cared about.

After leaving radio he went back to the clubs as a DJ and enjoyed a lot of success working for Mecca, Rank, European and spent another 10 years in Jersey as a Dj and later Club manager for the big companies. In 2004 he took is own club and finally retired from the clubs in 2009.

Today he owns Web design and hosting company that reaches out across the world with customers in far off places.

2018 has been special for Chris as Roger asked him to do a show on Chocolate Radio. Its something he never thought he would do again and is slowly getting back to broadcast standards after a 33 year layoff.

Chris Says “The best feeling in the world is hearing all those great soul music tracks again in headphones and sharing them with new and old listeners and hopefully inspiring younger listeners to get involved with soul music radio”.

Thanks to Roger and Chocolate Radio that its now possible to do.



PRESENTER NOW ON AIR


Now On Air

Gary Hunt

Soul Magic

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