Thursday, 17 January 2013

Angela Bond - an appreciation

An old friend and long-time mentor, Angela Bond, died last week. She changed Radio.

Angela with Kenny Everett back in the day
Angela Bond was one of a kind. An old school radio pro; you couldn’t find better. 

Her worldwide career spanned singing, presenting, producing (Kenny Everett and Ed Stewart, among others, at Radio 1), slugging her way through BBC seventies and eighties bureaucracy, and then ushering in some of the most seismic changes to hit UK music radio, as the first person to rep Selector, the original music scheduling software, for the UK. 

While people outside radio - and many inside - may well not have even heard of Angela, it's almost impossible to calculate, let alone explain, the impact she had.

We met 25 years ago, when I was head of music at BRMB/XTRA in Birmingham. She trained me, as she trained all of the first generation of music programmers in commercial radio. My thinking changed fundamentally through analysing the music I programmed, weighing each song in ways I hadn't begun to think about. 

21st century radio is a different beastie. Back then, it wasn’t about efficiency or expediency, it was about thinking it through and getting it right. Angela revelled in that process. My career changed beyond all expectations as a result of her work. All of the people she trained owe her a huge debt. 

Angela was infinitely patient, she loved radio people, and she adored her craft. She was a unique link between the world of hand-built music show production and our present-day world of digital libraries, playlists and music scheduling.  

And she was a pioneer. But pioneers don't always get the credit they deserve. When she retired, it was the industry’s loss. But she was not honoured by the industry she served so well, something I suggested several times to colleagues at the Radio Academy. By then, a new generation had moved in at the Radio boy’s club. 

But this week there has been a huge industry-wide, world-wide, conversation about Angela, as the news spread. I’ve been talking about her with friends in New York, London, Paris and Stockholm; Facebook has rippled with comments and appreciation from all sides. That kind of affection is worth more, far more, than a box-ticking and dutiful gong at an awards ceremony. And I’m sure she would have been tickled pink at the buzz she stirred up this past week. 

Rest in Peace, Angela.

You can find other blog posts on people we have lost here 


Len Groat said...

A fitting and true tribute to a special lady Robin.

She taught me a great deal beyond Selector, was a warm and wonderful person, and THE most hilarious outrageous dinner guest, in some ways like a female Kenny!

RIP Angela

Tony Currie said...

I also remember Angela as a friend, a constant source of hilarity, and a thorough pro. I will miss her. And I totally agree, Robin, she ought to have been recognised by her industry in some way.

Paul Easton said...

"All of the people she trained owe her a huge debt." Indeed they do - and I am proud to have been one of them. She was also a good friend - and extremely supportive when I was having some personal problems many years ago.

I also agree that it's lamentable she failed to be recognised properly by her peers in the Radio Academy. Some very good, but less worthy, people have been awarded Fellowships and there is also a 'Lifetime Achievement' for services to music radio. Either or both of those would have been extemely fitting.

digeri said...

Angela was an amazing person. She was brilliant and humble and had a great sense of humour.

Andy Archer (as was) said...

I was saddened to learn of the death of dear Angela. I first met her when she came to Radio Orwell in Ipswich to teach us how to operate "Selector". We later met up when I joined North Norfolk Radio where she was a director. We often met up for drinks at house in Sharrington where she would always drink me under the table. I last met her about a year ago when she had just returned from a visit to the States. We met by chance outside a restaurant in Holt. "Lets do lunch, I've so much to tell you" screamed. It was a memorable occasion. As Tony Currie has commented, I too think she should be given some sort of recognition by the radio industry....she was a one off.