Monday, 10 April 2017


by Dave Roberts

Here's a little item from our sound archives.

Unusually, we can date it exactly. This poetic gem was recorded on the 26th December 1994 at the studios of YFM in Crewe.

As they say in all the best comedy monologues, it were this way:

In the early 1990s several groups around the Mid-Che
shire area were trying to promote the idea of 'community radio' - small scale operations covering a much narrower area than the existing commercial stations.

Our own group, based in Middlewich, was called Mid-Cheshire Radio and aimed, as the name implies, to cover the Mid-Cheshire towns of Middlewich, Northwich and Winsford.

In neighbouring Crewe Harry Nelson and his gang had created YFM (the 'Y' originally stood for the word 'Youth' and later came to signify 'Your', but the station always identified simply as 'YFM').

Illustration: The Cat/Stewart Green

Over the years YFM and, later, Witch FM and then The Cat, presented several short-term restricted service licence (RSL) broadcasts aimed at demonstrating  the concept of real local radio to the public.

When Mid-Cheshire Radio came to nothing (although, slightly ironically, there is currently an internet based station in Northwich with the same name) we threw in our lot with YFM and that is how the Cheshire Folk show came into being.

There were, of course, various alternative suggestions for the name of the show, including Folk Me, Go And Folk Yourself, Folk Off etc. but Cheshire Folk seemed to be the logical name to use.

The original presenters were myself and Dave Thompson (he of Middlewich FAB Festival fame) but, in reality, my co-presenter for most of the second run of the show was Paul Williams.

Paul as he is today, which is not all that different from the way he was then, actually

So it was that Paul and I found ourselves in a small studio (equipped with a mixing desk reputed to have been used by Pete Waterman to record Kylie Minogue, fact fans) at Crewe College on Boxing Day 1994 and Paul asked if he could read one of his poems.

And here it is, preserved for posterity and sounding as good as ever after twenty-one years. But as great as the poem is, it's the throw away line at the end of the recording which has always stuck in my mind.

One of the best comebacks in radio history, I'd say.

You'll note that, though I've always remembered the poem as Trevor, Lord Of The Sheep, here we've restored its proper Sunday name:

Cheshire Folk, incidentally, stumbled on for a few more years and appeared on several more short-term broadcasts including Witch FM (where we followed the Legendary Lonnie Show on Sunday afternoons), finally spluttering to a halt on The Cat during one of the station's last RSLs

The last edition was broadcast from a studio at the M Club (in reality a semi-derelict cinema in Crewe town centre). I don't have the date, but I do remember it was the night that Ocean Colour Scene appeared in the club below.

Young music fans besieged the building anxious for a glimpse of their idols, while I administered the last rites to Cheshire Folk in a little studio high up in the rafters somewhere, unnoticed by most and, I suspect, unheard by many.

But our pioneering work for community radio did, at least, bear fruit, peripheral though our contribution may have been. The Cat now broadcasts full time on FM (and via the internet) and you can check out the website here. The radio station appears to have gone back to its erstwhile base at Crewe College.

Paul later emigrated to Australia, though not, we hasten to add, because of this poem.

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