Like many radio presenters, I started as a mobile DJ. From there I went on to hospital radio, and when the FM frequency beckoned I jumped at the chance to join Skyline Gold in Southampton.
It soon became apparent that other stations were sometimes short of presenters, and the norm in those days was to play automated music. In 2011 I offered a show to Forest FM – Sounds Of The 70s – which I still present there to date, and I soon realised that here was a gap that needed filling elsewhere.
Other stations followed including the legendary 1260KYA in San Francisco, Castledown Radio in Wiltshire, and the Bigl, today’s equivalent of 60s pirate station Radio London. (I have been broadcasting live on the BigL from my south coast studio six days a week since 2013).
Soon stations all over the world started airing the shows. Some have used the shows for a while then replaced them with live presenters when available, others have given them their own permanent slots.
Many people have asked who was my favourite interviewee, and the answer has to be Stu Cook of Creedence Clearwater Revival. Not only did Stu give me around twenty minutes, he was happy to talk about the days when things weren’t good, and after all, Creedence was my all time favourite band in the 70s.
For the 60s, it has to be The Searchers who are friends, and I have published their official website since 1997. As I have often said “On the rare occasions when things were hard going I went to see The Searchers. Their sheer hard work and professionalism put me to shame and gave me the kick up the backside I needed”.
My shows often feature guests, and interviews have included chats with Frank Allen of The Searchers – always a delight, Mike Rutherford (Genesis), Paul Carrack (Mike and The Mechanics, Squeeze), Justin Hayward, Alan Clark (Dire Straits), Tom McGuiness of Manfred Mann, Deborah Bonham, Simon Townsend, Stu Cook (Creedence) Dave Clark (Dave Clark Five) and just about every other 60s band still working!
Not only that but household names like Jenny Eclair and Toyah Willcox have also joined me!
My live radio work has taken me to California, and my shows now air from Tenerife to Tasmania!
Very much a fan of personality radio, I try to remember that the listener comes first, I try to give my shows a live feel and keep listeners interested with features like the “A side B side”, “follow that” and the “back to front” song.
One of my favourite write-ups came from Ace FM in Spain – sadly now long gone:
Gary started his DJ career back in the days when half a dozen singles from Saturday Night Fever were guaranteed to fill the dance floor. Hospital radio beckoned in the early 1990s and he now finds himself on a Spanish station, surprised that it’s the English speaking population that listens, having always thought the most suitable audience would be those who hadn’t a clue what he was on about.
He fell in love with beat music in the 60s, and in 1997 he was approached by The Searchers to publish their official website which he does to this day.
The Gary Jackson Show is packed with special features – not for the audience’s benefit, but because at his age just staying awake for two hours is tough enough, and every little helps!