I had to get a turntable to play my first record on air

Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: English pigs? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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Rick Jackson

I’ve been asking listeners what was the first single they ever bought and I thought I’d get the ball rolling by playing mine.

Everyone looked hypnotised by the spinning, crackling disc as the words ‘wee-oo-wee-oo-we-umm-umm-away’ filled the airwaves

Thing is, the radio station has never had a turntable.

It’s never needed one. Going on air in 1998, the technology already existed for computer play-out systems.

In the studio, all I have is the control desk and a screen.

On that screen is everything you’ll ever need. Music, jingles, adverts. You name it, it’s on there.

All you then need to do is click a mouse or touch a screen, a far cry from the pieces of vinyl, CDs and eight-track cartridges that would fill a studio back when I started in radio.

It would take forever finding all the records and carts required for your show. You’d need up to 50 records and more than 100 carts for a four-hour show.

Nowadays it’s all computerised and operated with a click of a switch.

You can even put it in ‘auto’ so you can leave it to segue whilst you make a cup of tea.

So a turntable had to be specially installed for my show last Friday as a small group of staff gathered in the studio to observe this strange phenomenon.

Then at 5.10pm it happened, live on air. I put my first record on to the turntable, selected ‘45’, moved the arm across and lowered the cueing lever.

The needle gently made contact with the vinyl.

Everyone looked hypnotised by the spinning, crackling disc as the words ‘wee-oo-wee-oo-we-umm-umm-away’ filled the airwaves.

That record has been given some rough treatment since 1982.

After all, at the tender age of nine you don’t really know how to look after things.

But to my surprise, it played all the way through without jumping.

As my fear of failure slowly subsided, I’d completely forgotten the embarrassment of my first 45 being The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit!