John Shaw - Tribute

Nov 25, 2013, 06:23 PM

John was a one-off. Steeped in the skills of radio, and a producer of the old school who would take every err and umm out of an interview, even if the clock had long since clicked round beyond midnight, he was always keen to pass on his knowledge. A generation of 80s radio interns, many of whom now occupy senior positions across the industry, can look back and thank John for a grounding which served them so very well.

John spent much time with BBC Local Radio in the East Midlands, before being tempted to commercial radio in 1980. An unlikely home for a character like John, but in the days of full service commercial local radio, his experience on the Revox was put to good use. He hosted the Classical music show, and painstakingly assembled a weekly Arts Programme called ‘Alternatives’. The late night magazine programme came under John’s production remit too, and he monitored that output with an ear rarely found in the frenetic commercial world. Whilst speech was a forte, John loved his music, and introduced an array of the most eclectic tracks on his ‘Here Be Dragons'/'Sunday Evening Programme', with a child-like enthusiasm and gift, which made every one feel genuinely worth a listen.

In more recent times, John returned to BBC Local Radio, often to be heard on the station’s sports coverage, including, of course, good mention of his first love, cricket. Just maybe his second was the railway.

Throughout his career, John put his incredible intellectual capacity to good use on radio, and showed proud, grumpy intolerance of those who sacrificed quality. Or those 'widdlepots', as John would have said, who thought television was a good idea.

A gentleman, and a perfectionist, John died in November 2013.