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Sunday, March 05, 2023

The Longest Running Music Radio Show is 2000!

 On Saturday 18th March legendary music radio show, On the Wire will broadcast its 2000th show.

Presented by Steve Barker, On the Wire is the longest running continuous underground music show on UK radio!

Since 1984, the programme has championed artists and bands from all over the northwest alongside music from all manner of genres including Blues, Hip Hop, Punk, Dub, Reggae, Electronica, Jazz, Disco, Techno and Psychedelia.

Steve's music knowledge is second-to-none and he delivers each show in his inimitable laid back and dry-witted style. Interviews with Depeche Mode, Lemmy from Motorhead, Michael Stipe, U2, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Neneh Cherry, Burning Spear, John Cale from the Velvet Underground, The Smiths and Brian Eno are just some of the big names who have featured on the show over the years, along with regular guests, features and sessions.

Until the pandemic, the weekly show was broadcast on BBC Radio Lancashire, and via Mixcloud, but after BBC Local Radio cuts, On the Wire was restricted to Bank Holidays and specials. After further shakeout On the Wire – and all other local radio specialist music shows - will no longer be available on the BBC after August this year (though still available on Mixcloud).

Steve often hosted On the Wire live events in the north west, including The Fall at Clitheroe Castle, Lancashire when 2500 people turned on a Sunday afternoon in June 1985. Another memorable night was a sold-out 1988 Christmas gig at The Ritz in Manchester, which featured A Guy Called Gerald, 808 State, Little Annie, Adrian Sherwood's On U Sound System and special guest Neneh Cherry.

Adrian Sherwood created the theme tune for the On the Wire and his impressive catalogue of work has always been supported by Steve over the years. As Adrian comments:

“Steve Barker is a very important 'music man' in so many ways and I’d like to congratulate Steve on the momentous achievement of having reached the 2000th edition of his mighty radio show, On the Wire. With Steve’s music selections, great knowledge and taste he was every bit on par with our old friend John Peel (who had the greatest respect for Steve).

“Steve has shared his vast knowledge and love of music with me (plus a good number of samples that litter the On U Sound catalogue)! He has offered me advice and encouragement and was one of the first supporters of my productions from the very beginning. I have total respect for him as a proper music man and for all he has done for me and in championing so much great music.”

Excerpts from both the On U Sound and The Fall gig will be featured on the 2000th edition of On the Wire, which will be available from midnight on Saturday 18th March (www.mixcloud.com/otwradio). On the Wire will be back on BBC Radio Lancashire on Saturday April 8th, with the final BBC show being broadcast on Saturday May 27th.

The 2000th show will be filled with lots of fantastic tunes with special guest selections, alongside some incredible interview clips from the past, including one of the last ever radio interviews that Joy Division's Ian Curtis recorded just 3 months before he died.

As Steve sums thing up: “I never imagined that the show would last so long, I suppose you could say I just got carried away for the past forty years or so… but we have always championed new, experimental and underground music that always seems against the grain when it first appears.”