How did I get involved in the first place?
Ray just sort of dropped into a conversation the idea he and some of his friends had of reviving Big L for a 30th anniversary event. That was enough to set me going! Being a PR man (some unkindly call me a spin-doctor) my head was immediately full of ideas for the publicity angle on a national scale... so I volunteered to help out on that score. As time went on, talk turned more and more to the news needs of Big L. I had been out of radio since 1990, and thought I had got it out of my system, but the bug was still there so I could not resist saying to Ray that I would help out on the news side on ship. "OK," said Ray, "You are News Director!" (Will I ever learn not to volunteer?) Most important to me was having the opportunity to blackmail Ray into letting me have PSA (Public Service Announcement) slots for charity use. Ultimately the station supported SANE (the Mental Health Charity) and the Epilepsy Foundation, along with the RNLI, amongst others. Big L did them all proud, and thanks are due to Stephen Kendall-Lane (Sound Communications Group) and Paul Graham (Big L) who expertly voiced the PSAs to good effect.
On the PR side things were not easy. Certain daily newspapers said, "No interest. It is all too long ago and everyone has forgotten Big L." Worst of all were young editors, even in radio and TV, who proudly claimed never to have heard of Big L. All Radio London meant to them was the defunct BBC Radio London. There were more enlightened people who restored my faith in journalism. Peter Birkett, a freelance now but formerly Foreign News Editor of the Daily Mail, was most enthusiastic to write about the project. In fact, his material led to items in the Daily Express and the Times. John Cookson from Sky News was more than enthusiastic and gave moral support from the start. His interest culminated in a splendid report on Sky News (more of which later). A mention must also be made of Jim Miller from CNN Atlanta's office. He was enthused from the word go and kept in close touch with the project via e-mail throughout.