Dance music may have conquered
the charts. but the airwaves? N01
yet. Kathleen Morgan tunes in to a
pair of DJs trying to bring
commercial radio into step with club
Dance music. despite its all-pervading chart domination. is still struggling with the mighty
muscle of the mainstream radio bosses. Confined
to a couple ofspecialist music shows on Radio 1.
aired by the ‘raving‘ Pete Tong. and plugged bv a minority ofdance-crazed Obsessives on Scotl md‘s ;
commercial radio. including Clyde‘s Paul Welsh
and Forth‘s Allan Campbell. dance music is everywhere but where it should be.
Paul Welsh. Radio Clyde's only self-professed dance music fanatic. admits to being a frustrated man. Reduced to undercover tacticsin order to
5 satiate his enormous desires to pump Glasgow's
airwaves with some seriously heavy dance sounds.
Welsh‘s sonic melting pot is a Massive Attack on
Kylie Minogue. In the pre-clubbing hours of
Friday. Saturday and Sunday night. Welsh can be heard spicing up the official Clyde playlist with ‘some Galliano or maybe Slam Slam: something
more credible in my opinion.‘ Compromise is
tattooed across Welsh‘s heart. which nevertheless
skips to a funky beat.
‘l‘m generally regarded at Radio Clyde as MC.
Pee Wee. although I listen to everything across the board.‘ he explains. ‘I know that they want me to
play safe. but for every safe record I play a hard-core one. I rely on discerning listeners to
Maybe I’m just lighting a lost cause here,
but it anyone else says to me that all rap
records sound the same, I’ll kill them.
recognise what I want them to hear. My Shl x
basically a pop mainstream show — I play da c music whenever I can. but if you go against int
rules. they‘ll just fire you.‘
As entertaining as Welsh‘s dulcet tones are his sledgehammerings of Gloria Estefan and Jason
Donovan with On-L' Sounds. reggae and hip-hop. His eternal good humour. as he deals with Clyde‘s
compulsory phone-ins and chit-chat. belies a deeper sense of frustration: ‘Maybe I‘m just
fighting a lost cause here. but if anyone else says to
me that all rap records sound the same. I'll kil them.‘ Welsh regards himself as an ‘educator‘.
introducing his audience to the stuff that Dougie
Donnelly‘s nightmares are made of. A year ago. during Donnelly‘s three month stint as Clyde‘s head of music. Welsh‘s quota was temporarily reduced from three nights to one night a week.
ON FOLLOWING PAGES: LEE BURCHILL'S FAVOURITE SOUNDS
70'l‘he List 1-1 ~ 27 June 1991
v' LISTINGS: GLASGOW 71 EDINBURGH 72
With scarcely a hint ofbitterness. Welsh recounts that ‘Dougie wasn‘t the biggest dance fan in the world. and it was inevitable I was going to get
chopped. I‘ve had my sweet revenge though. because now Dougie. a Hall and Oates man. is playing things like De La Soul and Gang Starr on his morning show.‘
Allan Campbell. otherwise known as Radio Forth‘s ‘The Duke‘. presents a specialist show on a Sunday evening. which enables him to play ‘everything from rhythm and blues. house and rap. 5 to rock and reggae.‘ Sympathising with Welsh‘s precarious position. Campbell recognises himself as entirely privileged. given the attitudes which govern commercial radio. :
Campbell praises his music boss. Colin Sommerville for allowing him interference-free airwaves: ‘I bless Colin‘s cotton socks for giving | me the freedom to do what I want. Last week I got 1 to do a half-hour session with Gang Starr. and recently I did something with Cabaret Voltaire. who‘ve done a really good techno album. Provided: [don‘t play records with “Motherfucker” in them. 5 I can play what I want. although that did happen on one occasion. purely by accident ofcourse.‘ '
Campbell. whose past activities involve j managing Paul Haig and co-establishing i Glasgow‘s house ofdance music. the Sub Club, feels that there exists a tunnel vision in the upper ; ranks of British radio. ‘lt just hasn‘t a good reputation for enlightened programming. Something that radio programmers have used to 5 beat dance music with is by maintaining that it‘s repetitive and boring. Dance music and rap have only been taken on board on sufferance. because as far as the programmers are concerned. regrettably some people actually like this stuff. It‘s not through any commitment to the music.‘
Campbell believes that the only way for dance music to hit the airwaves is by projecting some form of identity: something which is rarely perceived beyond Michael Jackson and Will Downing. ‘I think the problem with a lot ofdance 5 music is that individual records are successful and good. but the people who are producing the records are faceless. That‘s why. although it‘s not strictly dance music. rap has become more .' danceable; the performers have a definite identity. It‘s hard to point to someone whose development can be traced over three or four years the way a rock act can. Massive are the exception to this — they came out of the Bristol scene and signed under the name The Wild Bunch. with Nellee Hooper. So they have an idea ofcharacter.‘
Neither Paul Welsh nor Allan Campbell regard themselves as innovators. Both simply plug away at what they regard as the best sounds. Laughing at; his attempts at humility. Campbell admits. however. to viewing himself as ‘a kind ofChannel 4-type programme. Good music always gets out i there somehow.’ he insists. “I‘m just the guy who 1 channels them.‘
Tune in to Pete Tong on Radio One, Fridays 7.30—Iopm; Allan Campbell on Radio Forth, Sundays 7-10pm; Paul Welsh on Clyde One FM, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays 7. 45—11pm. Pete Tong will be appearing at The Tunnel, Glasgow on 15 June.