NDTC media studies student Lee Glasby received permission to set up and organise an internal radio station within the college circa 1994. My knowledge of the early days of Keynorth is very limited, but I hope to add more details on this time period as this website grows.
Glasby was granted a tiny room in the college's humanities section with which to set up the studio. From the very beginning, KNR was not a "proper" licenced radio station, it only ever broadcast to the college's refectory, via the audio miracle of speakers and long wires.
Glasby would use his not-inconsiderable audio production talents to produce numerous voice-overs and jingles for the fledgling project, as well as present his own programmes. As Keynorth Radio's Programme Controller, Lee oversaw a small number of people joining the station as presenters also, including Lee Redfern and Anthony Copley.
Circa 1995/96, Keynorth Radio was granted access to a slightly larger studio premises at NDTC, the hallowed and infamous Room 102, also in the humanities section of the building. The move allowed Lee Glasby to expand his vision for the station by acquiring better audio equipment and basically having enough space now to swing a cat (he didn't ever do that, animal lovers).
Lee Redfern had left KNR and NDTC sometime in 1995 to move to Glasgow, something which, upon his eventual return to the college in 1997, he would not stop telling people about. During this period of transition, Glasby carried on as Programme Controller and main presenter, helped out infrequently by a handful of students who obviously liked the idea of "being a DJ" but were too feckless and idle to stick with an extra-curricular project as this one.
April 1997 saw a dramatic change at Room 102, when 16-year old A-Level student Jimmy Barnes applied via letter to Lee Glasby to become a presenter with Keynorth Radio. The pair immediately struck up a firm friendship, and after some basic training on the mixing desk, Barnes began a two-hour afternoon music show. The first few episodes were curious, to put it politely, as Barnes' nerves had obviously got the better of him and his voice resembled that of somebody who had just buried a loved one. But he soon got into his stride and was able to present his programmes in a more relaxed and light-hearted way.
Lee and Jimmy's friendship opened new and unexplored avenues for Keynorth. A long-time fan of comedy and a keen amateur scriptwriter, Barnes encouraged his boss to produce new, humorous jingles and spoof commercials, and Glasby often asked Barnes to think up new characters and lend his voice to the audio productions, all of which were done on the trusty reel-to-reel tape recorder. One of Jimmy's earliest creations that made it to air was Mr. Ronson, a parody of sadistic teacher Maurice Bronson from BBC serial Grange Hill. The character was relatively short-lived; Barnes decided to focus on newer characters tailored specially for Glasby's flagship show The More Music Madhouse and doing loud Mr. Ronson jingles began to hurt Jimmy's throat. The name of the character lived on for months, however, thanks to the Lee-produced Ratboy & Ronson 45-minute mixshows.
September 1997 and the start of a new academic year at NDTC saw the return to the college and the station of Lee Redfern. This marked what is arguably the halcyon period for Keynorth Radio: Lee Glasby was in charge of overseeing presenters and output, and had three lunchtime shows, Tuesday's The Madhouse, Wednesday's chart show The Non-Stop Top 20 and Friday's The Jam Sandwich. Redfern's main vehicle was his Tuesday morning programme Alternate Nation, and he infrequently also presented a near-identical Friday afternoon show named Something for the Weekend. Jimmy Barnes was the only of the three regular KNR team not to have a specifically-named show, presenting eponymous Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning programmes, aswell as the Thursday afternoon The Jimmy Barnes Album Show, which was dropped by Barnes in late-1997.
Glasby, Redfern and Barnes were the only three permanent fixtures at Keynorth Radio during this period, although Glasby's decision to let Jimmy's Madhouse creation Gary Hunter have his own show from December 1997 onwards meant that it seemed there was four presenters for a short period, when it was in fact Barnes doing an additional weekly shift. Other NDTC students showed mild interest in learning the studio ropes from time to time, but there was never any new additions to the presenting team during the final year of KNR's existence.
Lee Glasby's lifetime ambition of having a professional radio career was beginning to take off in late 1997, he was seen less and less at Room 102 and his Keynorth programmes weren't a regular feature of the station schedule anymore, with Glasby only presenting The Madhouse and The Non-Stop Top 20 when he had the time to swing by the studio. By around February 1998, Lee had, albeit unofficially, discharged his duties at Keynorth Radio as he started at Peak 107, and though an official decision was never made, Jimmy Barnes became in effect the de facto Programme Controller as he and Lee Redfern continued to present on a regular basis.
Barnes didn't have a fraction of the audio production ability that his friend and boss Glasby had, but was able to keep things ticking along reasonably well, thanks in no small part to the plethora of jingles, promos and ads that Glasby had produced over the past couple of years. Lee Redfern, though relatively keen to continue his Alternate Nation broadcasts until after he had taken his A-Levels, was thinking to the future and his university placement, and did not really care whether KNR would once again reach the heights it had in mid-to-late 1997.
The death knell sounded for the station in May 1998 when an alleged break-in at Room 102 left Keynorth Radio without most of it's much-needed audio equipment, including the secondary CD player Barnes had brought from his home. Jimmy asked NDTC staff if new equipment would be provided, to which they replied in the negative. After four years of providing entertainment to hungry and skiving students, Keynorth Radio was no more.
Even fifteen years after the door to Room 102 was closed for the final time, long-time friends Lee Glasby and Jimmy Barnes still reminisce with fondness about their time together at Keynorth Radio and, thanks to Glasby's foresight, limited compilations of old material are in existence. Lee and Jimmy occasionally talk about what it would be like to do an all-new episode of KNR flagship The Madhouse for their own personal enjoyment. North Derbyshire Tertiary College as an institution of learning ceased to exist some years ago, and the main college campus was knocked down recently to make way for some poncey new houses or flats or some shit.
Keynorth Radio does however live on in a way, not just via this website, but on YouTube. Jimmy Barnes decided in early 2013 to bring his favourite KNR comedy character Gary Hunter out of retirement after almost fifteen years for a short series of "radio" programmes uploaded to the worldwide video-sharing platform. Gary Hunter's Radio Broadcast (the "pilot" being titled Gary Hunter's Radio Hour) ran for four episodes and can be viewed/listened to currently on Jimmy's YouTube channel. Barnes has no immediate plans to produce any further Gary material for YouTube, but has not totally ruled out further shows in the future. Jimmy is also hoping that, if work and family commitments can be worked around, he and Lee Glasby will one day collaborate in some form once again.
Programming Heard on Keynorth RadioEdit
The More Music Madhouse (presented and produced by Lee Glasby, from 1997-1998 co-written and co-starring Jimmy Barnes)
The Non-Stop Top 20 (weekly chart show presented and produced by Lee Glasby)
The Jam Sandwich (programme in a similar vein to The Madhouse, presented and produced by Lee Glasby, with occasional contributions from 1997-1998 from Jimmy Barnes)
Alternate Nation (presented by Lee Redfern)
Something For The Weekend (presented by Lee Redfern)
Jimmy Barnes (no official name for Barnes' main programmes, though they would unofficially and in certain promos be referred to as Jimmy Barnes In The Morning and Jimmy Barnes In The Afternoon)
The Jimmy Barnes Album Show (programme consisting of a whole album played from start to finish with occasional links from Barnes)
Gary Hunter's Christmas Crackdown (one-off Madhouse spin-off in December 1997 presented by Jimmy Barnes in character as Hunter)
Gary Hunter's Winter Warm-Up (name given to Gary spin-off series between January-March 1998)
Gary Hunter's Spring Clean-Up (name given to Gary series from April 1998 to KNR's end in May 1998)
The Happy Hardcore Half-Hour (presenter-less live or pre-recorded mix of happy hardcore/rave music that existed for a few weeks in 1997, produced by Lee Glasby. The original programme lasted double the length of subsequent shows, and was hence called The Happy Hardcore Hour)
Ratboy & Ronson/The KNR Hitmix (presenter-less pre-recorded mix of music, usually lasting either 30 or 45 minutes and often used as a bridge between "proper" KNR programming. Produced by Lee Glasby, but on rare occasions in 1998 Jimmy Barnes would use his own personal 30-minute mixes that focused on a particular band or artist such as The Pet Shop Boys or New Order)