Keith Skues

Keith Skues

Richard Keith Skues has always been interested in show business. From the age of 10 he wanted to be a radio announcer. His first public appearance was via a perambulator but his publicity handout assures us that it was in a parish church pantomime. He appeared annually in various productions, and at the age of 16 wrote and produced a full length youth variety show. Keith was Youth Leader of his church club.

About this time he founded and edited the “Youth Fellowship Times” (1956-1958).

He was called up for national service in 1958 and admits there was more to it than marching up and down the parade square. Whilst stationed at RAF Chivenor he wrote “The History of Heanton Punchardon”, one of Britain’s oldest hamlets in the county of Devon.

At the beginning of 1959 Keith was posted to Germany and he secured, wangled, maneuvered (we are not told how) a post to British Forces Network in Cologne. He began as a presentation assistant, moved to production and later became an announcer. It was in 1959 that the now famous “Cardboard Shoes” gimmick was born. Instead of using his own name he tried a pseudonym. It has followed him around the world since.

After his release from the RAF he joined British Forces Network (which later changed its name to British Forces Broadcasting Service) as a civilian announcer and his first assignment was in 1961 posted to the sweltering hot desert of Kuwait during the Iraqi crisis. Here he set up a small station and broadcast to most parts of the world from where service personnel had been sent to Kuwait.

Later that year he was moved to Kenya with Forces radio. Mention the years 1916-1964 [sic: 1956-1964 – Ed] and Keith’s reaction is “those were the good old days”. Busy days, too for as usual he began to look for something completely different to do. In this case we substitute “do” for “conquer”. He successfully reached the summit of Mount Kilamanjaro (19,340 feet) in October 1962 along with a team of RAF personnel, who were the first services expedition not to lose any one on the way up, or down. Asked why he attempted such an exhausting feat Keith replied; “I wanted to get to the top in life!”.

Whilst in Kenya he wrote a pop page for the “Daily Nation”, and edited a features page for the “Sunday Post”.

On radio he picked up awards two years running for his series “Skues Me” and “Skueball Speshall” … climbed yet another mountain — Mount Kenya (17,058 feet) … directed a number of films including “The BFBS Story”, “Kilamanjaro — What a Long Walk”, “Wild Life in East Africa” … and appeared on local television.

In 1963 he returned to London and was attached to the BBC on a three month senior programme training course. It was just after his return to Nairobi that Kenya gained its independence, BFBS was closed down and after a stint in Swaziland, Keith was posted to Aden where he remained for three months.

“Trouble seems to follow me around the world — Kuwait, Zanzibar, Tanzyanika, Uganda and Kenya which had uprisings and mutinies, and I spent a few weeks in Swaziland during some trouble they had down there. In Aden I was up to my neck in it with the Radfan fighting. So I opted for a more peaceful life and packed my numerous kit bags and returned to England.”

Whilst at the BBC the bug for radio in Britain had bitten him and he came back once again to do something completely different. It was in 1964 that pirate radio began broadcasting off the shores of the British Isles and Keith joined Radio Caroline which was anchored off the Essex coast and where he worked two weeks on board and a week ashore. He became a regular presenter of the 9-12 morning show and admits that the highlight of his days with Caroline was when he escorted Prince Richard of Gloucester to the ship and interviewed him on air.

Keith moved to land based commercial radio in January 1966 working for Radio Luxembourg and presenting his own show sponsored by CBS records.

In May 1966 he was back at sea again but this time with Radio London — “I was writing a book about the pirates and wanted to experience as much variety as possible.”

He worked with many disc jockeys who are now broadcasting with ILR stations today.

“The pirates were outlawed by the British Government in August 1967 which was a sad blow. Pirate radio had proved really popular and had created a need for all day music and entertainment with an informal approach. Radio One was set up as a substitute, if you like, but on a national network. It more or less replaced the pirate stations.”

Keith came ashore and was offered a regular job with the BBC and was one of the original disc jockeys on Radio One. He was best known perhaps for his compering of “Saturday Club” but he was also a regular host of “Radio One Club”, “Family Choice”, “Pop Inn”, “Today”, “Disc Jockey Derby”, “Night Ride” and “Coming Home”.

He has appeared on many television shows including “Top Of The Pops”, “Thank Your Lucky Stars”, “Juke Box Jury”, “Pop The Question”, “Rough with the Smooth”, “Pop Quest”, “Calendar” and the “Kenneth Williams Show”.

He remained with the BBC until 1974 having worked on “The Story of Pop”, a radio series which was sold around the world. He co-wrote many of the episodes and was editor of the series. He joined Radio Hallam as Programme Director in March 1974.

Keith was appointed Vice-President of the National Association of Youth Clubs (Patron — HM The Queen Mother) in 1972 and is actively involved in voluntary work for the organisation up and down the country.

Off the air he likes writing and to his credit are “Pop Went The Pirates”, “Radio Onederland” (the story of Radio One) and “The History of the Skues Family”. Keith is a Lord’s Taverner, holds a private pilots licence, writes sleeve notes for LP record covers, has appeared in the film “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, is the voice behind many television and radio commercials, has represented Great Britain as a DJ in South Africa (1971) and in the last three years has been presented to HM the Queen Mother, HRH Duke of Edinburgh, HRH Prince Charles, HRH Princess Alice of Athlone, and HRH Princess Alexandra.

He is sorry that no-one from Radio Hallam met the Queen during her visit to Sheffield. Says Keith “We could quite easily have spoken to Her Majesty during our broadcast, as we were within touching distance, but that would not have been protocol.

Skues is the only Programme Director in Britain who is heard seven days a week with his own show, including “Lunch with a Punch” every weekday 12.00 midday-2.00 p.m. “It’s better than working,” he admits.

Bill Crozier

Bill Crozier

Bill Crozier started at a very early age in the entertainment business making his first public appearance at the age of 6½ years, playing solo piano in a local drill hall to an admiring family and a somewhat less enchanted audience. His mop of curly hair won the day — a crowd pleaser he has long since had to manage without.

A sickly child, he spent a large part of his childhood either going to or coming from the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children — except for a year in a convalescent home in Wiltshire, an experience from which that county has only just begun to recover.

He had a long and very successful career in motor engineering, nursery gardening and journalism (having been a grease monkey, muck spreader and paper boy in quick succession). He finally found a niche in domestic service, where he quickly climbed the social ladder from hall boy to fourth footman in about eighteen months, and managed to combine these not too arduous duties with the running of the local dance band. Bill’s natural progression to the butler’s pantry and the green baize apron, was impeded by the even more grandiose schemes of another member of the lower orders — an Austrian gentleman in the decorating trade. Since then Bill has been a strong supporter of D.I.Y.

Bill Crozier

Bill Crozier seen here with some of the hundreds of postcards received for his very popular 2-way link with RTE Radio in Dublin.

He joined the R.A.F.V.R. with his eyes on a pair of wings, but his feet stayed on the ground — they failed him on eyesight. He became one of the original ground gunners, before they were elevated to the title of R.A.F. Regiment, and finished up a marksman. (That was the second medical mistake for which he admits to being eternally grateful. The first occurred at his parturition, when the attendant doctor shook his head sadly and walked away.) Owing to an oversight, during the battle of the Bulge he found himself in the front line. Deciding that was no place for a devout coward, he started to run, but, with his usual inattention to detail went in the wrong direction, and bumped into a patrol of the enemy who surrendered to him, no doubt mistaking his terrorstriken leap for one of aggression. He was politely led to a huge camp inhabited by 2,000 German W.A.A.F. and would probably still be there if hostilities had not abruptly ceased.

After that, becoming a Senior Gunnery Instructor seemed natural.

In 1948, he joined the staff of B.F.N. in Hamburg, and remained with them until 1965, presenting the Cologne end of Two-Way Family Favourites with Jean Metcalfe for the last years of his sojourn in Germany. Since then Bill has been a freelance writer/broadcaster working as he puts it “for anyone and everyone”.

Having presented ‘Cozier with Crozier’, a nightly show for Hallam since the station opened in October 1974, he admits to being entirely happy in Sheffield and promises to stay forever — which might give lovers of wild life and a peaceful existence some food for thought! His ever faithful companion, Florence (Nightingale), merely preens herself and dreams of Berkeley Square.

For example, he wrote an appreciation of the writer Scott Fitzgerald, which was broadcast world-wide; wrote and presented two programmes on Operetta, which, two months later, the BBC asked him to repeat because of the listener reaction; did two nine-month long stints on “Music Through Midnight”; took over the presentation of “Those Were The Days”, ostensibly for three months, and that period was extended to six years; became a freelance producer with the BBC and was responsible for “Roundabout” for many months, as well as hundreds of recording sessions with well known singers and orchestras; took part in the special musical programme for Noel Coward, in which he spoke to people like Anna Neagle, Jessie Mathews, Hermione Gingold, Rita Streich, Francis Day etc., etc.; capped all that by becoming the studio producer for the Jimmy Young Show, which he handled for over 18 months.

Johnny Moran

Johnny Moran

Waking up ‘Hallamland’ is the role of JOHNNY MORAN, the early morning breakfast personality on Radio Hallam, whose show is comprised of lively popular music interspersed with items of local information, time checks, weather and news.

Although Johnny is a newcomer to the area, some years ago the Moran family lived in Sheffield and Johnny’s mother was born in the city. The Moran’s emigrated to Australia where Johnny was born and educated and first talked into a microphone working for radio stations 3AW in Melbourne and 3YB in the seaside resort of Warrnambool — commercial radio stations similar in many ways to Radio Hallam.

Having learnt something of radio announcing, travel was his next desire so Johnny boarded a ship and visited Singapore, Ceylon, Aden, Egypt, Italy and France, en route to London, where he applied for work with the BBC but was refused even an audition.

An introduction to Radio Luxembourg at a time when there was a DJ job vacant lead to Johnny flying to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg where he was one of the 208 team from 1964 to 1966, and it was during this time he first came to know Keith Skues who presented Johnny with a badge advertising his station Radio Caroline, the wearing of which did not amuse the manager of Luxembourg.

After two years abroad, Johnny decided to further his career by again trying to join the BBC … without success.

During 1966, Johnny taped some films and commercials, worked as a DJ and compere at the Marquee Club in London, and recorded sponsored radio programmes for the off-shore pirate station Radio London. It was at the Marquee that he first met Radio Hallam’s Roger Moffat.

At the end of that year, it was third time lucky and Johnny started work for the BBC Light Programme, working for the first time with Roger, Keith and Bill Crozier.

In seven years with the BBC, Johnny introduced programmes which ranged from Radio One Club, Housewives’ Choice, What’s New, a Golden Oldies programme, a Soft Rock programme, and the pop magazine programme Scene and Heard which ran for almost six years.

Among the highlights of his time with the BBC, Johnny counts two special programmes on the Beatles, and in 1972, a trip to Canada representing the BBC which gave him a chance to see top North American radio stations in action in Montreal and Toronto.

While working mainly in radio, Johnny has made several guest appearances on both BBC and Independent Television programmes and has worked as an announcer on BBC-TV. Further radio activities include programmes for BBC World Service and the British Forces Broadcasting Service which have been heard throughout the world.

In 1974, while working for British Forces and recording a series of shows syndicated in North America, Johnny met Keith Skues at a party given for singer Barry White and first heard about the plans for a commercial radio station based in Sheffield.

Keith was due to go to Sheffield after the party so Johnny offered to drive him to the railway station. Johnny got lost — Keith missed the train — but Radio Hallam were awarded a contract to start broadcasting!

Johnny’s was the first voice heard on the new radio station when it officially opened at 6 a.m. on the first of October, 1974, and despite a couple of hitches and a jumping record, he remembers that day as one of the most exciting of his career.

Johnny enjoys a wide taste in music and likes the exotic in motor cars, food, drink, and travelling which is still high on his list of favourite pastimes. An accomplished sportsman, he has been a member of Radio Hallam’s teams at cricket, football and motoring and is trying to learn to be a good loser, although he has high hopes of forming a winning combination for Hallam at darts!

Johnny is married and has a labrador dog, a black cat and a fairly sizeable collection of records, although he’s wary of loaning them to Roger Moffat who has still never returned a Barbara Streisand album borrowed five years ago.

With the extension of Radio Hallam’s broadcasting hours, you can hear the Johnny Moran Breakfast Show from 5 a.m. while 9 a.m., and on Wednesday evenings he returns 8 while 11 p.m. for the Soft Rock and Soul (thanks to a slip of the tongue, better known as the Soft Sock and Roll) Show.

1975 ● THIS IS TRANSDIFFUSION