Tony Leo, to Premiere New Show on SAMS Radio 1

Introducing “The Northward Sounds”

Tony Leo is a name renowned on St Helena, especially when it comes to radio. Arguably one of the most popular radio presenters of all time, Tony’s career has spanned many decades and he is credited with paving the way for many presenters today, having started out at Radio St Helena where his large following began.

SAMS are proud to announce, that for the first time, Tony will be going out ‘live’ across the airways on SAMS Radio 1, with his new show “The Northward Sounds” premiering next Wednesday.

“I am cooking up another radio programme, but for a different radio station, as I will soon be premiering a new show on SAMS Radio 1,” commented Tony. “On Wednesday, 24 January, I will be taking the air with “The Northward Sounds” – with the programme taking the same format of what I did on St FM. SAMS Radio 1 is situated almost as far North on St Helena as you can go North to the sea in Jamestown, and the SAMS Building was once the home of the ‘Wards’ family for many years before becoming a radio station, hence the name ‘The Northward Sounds’ – so follow me if you can.”

Tony’s distinct style and his unquestionable experience, as well as his many many loyal listeners, will be a welcome boost to SAMS Radio 1 as we continue to develop our product for all our supporters on St Helena and around the world through the SAMS Radio App (available on the Play Store).

“We are very excited to welcome one of St Helena’s most popular radio presenters to SAMS Radio 1,” commented CEO and Radio Manager for SAMS, Donna Crowie. “I am looking forward to working with Tony once again and looking forward to his contributions to our airwaves. We hope the listeners of SAMS Radio 1 on-Island and around the world will enjoy what Tony will bring during his weekly shows.”

‘The Northward Sounds’ premieres at 11 am on Wednesday, 24 January, on SAMS Radio 1 – tune in, turn up, and enjoy!

Tony explains his departure from St FM

Hello and greetings from your Radio Producer and Presenter, Tony Leo.

There is nothing new about changing stations. It happens to many people who are either unhappy where they are, or just want a change. Ever since SAMS came into being some years ago I was invited to join, but I was a loyal subject to St FM at the time, and doing two programmes on two different stations on a voluntary basis was a bit much. However, there was a need for me to move last week when I did because of a number of issues that needed addressing, where I could not convince management that the station needed to operate more professionally.

I passed on some remarks on how more money could be generated for the station by creating proper commercials and not just announcements. I was given a clean-cut answer. “Don’t tell me, say that to Mike Olsson” – at least listen to what I had to say. I wanted so much to do Tradio (a type of radio talk show format where listeners call in) on my programme. This would have boosted up listenership as I did many years ago at Radio St Helena. St FM had two professional pieces of equipment to do the job but needed to be installed onto the mixing system. It meant that listeners would ring into the presenter and they would be on air themselves explaining. The Director told me that no one (meaning radio presenters) would want to use the telephone system in that way and that listeners would not ring in – they did it years ago, and that was the legal way of doing a phone in. There was a third piece of equipment that Jonathan Clingham sent down from UK for Saint FM for a telephone link on air and I wanted to use that because the other professional pieces were not in my reach, so I asked for it to be installed just before Christmas. The Director told me that it was no problem and could be installed in a few minutes. When I went into the station the next time looking if the link was connected and ready to be used, I was told that the Director had removed it and it was no longer in the station, but in his home. After a phone call asking what had happened, I was told that there was a fault and the equipment would not work. I very much doubt if that was the case, so I dropped what I had planned.

I also gave the offer to do a few lectures about radio production and presentation, not only for St FM but for anybody who needed help and assistance in presenting their programmes, or even for new people considering getting involved in radio. The Manager however thought this would not be a good idea as no one would want that kind of training. Emerald Newman-Yon expressed an interest and is still waiting. In general conversation, my friends kept getting onto me, stating that I trained the manager at Radio St Helena. Yes I did, and she was trained to identify news, collate news, write news in the correct way, capture voice clips and read news at the correct speed of between 120 to 130 words per minute. I did not train for general broadcasting.

Things were not going my way at all for quite a while at St FM, but what really wound me up was the fact that a recording of my Wednesday morning show, due to be broadcast the following day at 5 pm, had been lost somewhere. I never did ask for that programme to be recorded. That request, according to the Manager, came from listeners – hence the reason for it being recorded and re-broadcast the following day when folks could listen after work. When the recorded programme was not played, no one from St FM had the decency to phone me and say that the programme had been lost or to give an apology. There was nothing at all from them, so really the programme did not matter at all. I was startled when the recorded programme did not take the air because, for quite a number of weeks, listeners overseas who grabbed the programme from the internet found it to be very distorted and there were dropouts in the interviews. Apparently, two people overseas were doing an analysis of the reception on the internet because many people had this reception problem and contacted the webmaster. There was nothing I could do as that part is always left to the station staff to record and tailor the programme for the repeat. Apparently, the Manager told listeners on air that she was interested in having a good reception for local listeners and not those overseas.  Radio listeners will have heard on air the Manager saying that someone had been adjusting the switches on the mixing panel and changing cables. These are not the things you say on air – all these are in-house concerns. If you have another job to do, then do it, don’t tell a listener, just get along and do what you have to do – be professional, and people will like you for that. Everyone knows that each presenter is different in voice and in operation, so changes must be made from person to person. The rule is ‘Always check your equipment before you commence your show’ – this is what all presenters should do. It is one of the golden rules in broadcasting. 

I am not a professional, but I was trained to do what I do and I try to be as professional as I can be in anything I do in radio. I have a vast knowledge of many techniques in radio. Sometimes, when I have time, I will tell you where I have been and what I have done in my career as a certified radio presenter.

Now you are more informed as to why I suddenly left Saint FM.

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