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.David Symonds

 
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 18010
Location: Near Chester

PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 9:59 am    Post subject: .David Symonds Reply with quote

Does anyone have any recollections of David Symonds who presented shows on different BBC networks for several years
After a year on New Zealand radio David returned to the UK in 1965 and became one of the first DJs on Radio 1 when it began in September 1967
He used to present the late afternoon show which these days would be described as Drivetime and I have fond memories of his show and I vividly recall rushing home from school so as not to miss a moment of the programme and getting into trouble for missing football practise
He used to have some superb live sessions with the big artists of the period because of course the dreaded needle time problems were still current at the time but in a way this was a blessing in disguise as we got to hear some wonderful sessions
David left the late afternoon slot after a couple of years and presented a show on Sunday mornings called Symonds on Sunday but this was fairly shortlived and he later moved to Radio 2 where he stayed for a relatively short time
Rumour has it that he was sacked from the BBC for various transgressions but I don't know whether there was any truth in this story
In 1974 when the new generation of commercial stations came along he moved to Capital and presented the breakfast show for some time but unfortunately as there was no on line listening in those days and as I lived miles from London I like many others was unable to listen which as a keen Symonds fan got me very annoyed
About a year ago I was talking with a guy in South Wales who runs a site dedicated to the history of Radios 1 and 2 and he told me that David moved to Cyprus some time ago and now owns and runs his own music station in Limassol called 97.1 Coast FM and I now listen to this fairly regularly as it has NO presenters and the music comes first only interrupted by the usual adverts and David himself reading the news and a daily events report
At present I am doing some research trying to fill in the gaps in my knowledge and I am wondering whether any of you can help me with what David was doing after leaving Capital and before moving to Cyprus
I am aware he had a spell reading the news on Radio 4 in the 80s and a very kind lady called Lil also mentioned that he had a spell working on local radio in Portsmouth
I certainly believe that David was the best radio presenter I have heard in my lifetime and I would really love to see him back on Radio 2 in some capacity
I think he would be the ideal person to take over presenting Sounds of the 60s when Brian decides to retire and as the show is prerecorded he could easily cover it without the need to be based in the UK
I have previously chatted with Robert in Scotland who is a member of this forum about the subject but if anyone has any further information which might assist with my research I would be very grateful
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Andy W



Joined: 02 Dec 2010
Posts: 140
Location: France

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Ruddlescat

What a distinctive radio voice he has too but one that I doubt weíll hear back on the BBC. I hope I can fill in a few gaps for you from my research based on a combination of the web, books and my own notes.

Thereís a brief biography on this webpage dedicated to Capital DJs.
http://ssaunders.dyndns.org/ilraudio/cr/origpresent.html
Iíve reproduced it below:
Born in Oxford and educated in Berkhamstead, Hertfordshire, Dave read Botany at Oxford for a year. Shortly after leaving university, he headed for New Zealand. Spending a while as a lumberjack, he applied and got a job at the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation. Returning to Britain in 1965, Dave joined the BBC as an announcer. Before long, he was presenting Playtime, Newly Pressed and Breakfast Special, but his jump to fame was with Easybeat. In 1967, he went freelance and worked for both Radio One and Luxembourg. Before joining Capital Radio in 1973, Dave worked as the commercial production manager for Luxembourg and as a record producer. After a period of time with Portsmouthís Radio Victory he left to pursue his career in another direction.

The guy in South Wales will be Alan Davies who runs the excellent Radio Rewind site. There are some biographical details here:
http://www.radiorewind.co.uk/radio1/david_symonds_page.htm

So it seems that when David joined the BBC in the mid-60s he was announcing on the Home, Light and Third and by 1967 was presenting Easy Beat on Sunday mornings, apparently taking over from Keith Fordyce.

David was in at the start of Radio 1 and features in that famous photo taken on the steps of All Souls Church in Langham Place. Initially he presented a weekday afternoon show between 5.30 and 7.30 pm from October 1967 to February 1968. The time changed to 4.30 to 6.25 pm between February and July 1968. From July 1968 to January 1969 he was on air from 4.15 to 5.45 pm. These will be the shows that you rushed home to catch.

In January 1969 he lost his daily show to Tony Brandon and moved to Sunday mornings, back in his old Easy Beat slot. This ran until September 1969 when DLT took over.

From April to October 1970 he presented the Monday editions of Sounds of the Seventies, thereafter he left Radio 1.

So why was he demoted from his weekday show? Hereís David writing in The Independent in 1992:
In 1969 I was the first (and, as far as I know the only) Radio 1 DJ to be busted. I had left my overnight bag in a Doncaster hotel while on assignment for Radio 1 Club. An over-zealous manager called in the police when he found a small amount of grass in the bag. Douglas Muggeridge, who by then had replaced Robin Scott as controller, assured me that no stigma would attach to my BBC career. Perhaps it was coincidence, then, that the latter became downwardly mobile from that moment on, and I left Radio 1 altogether in 1971.

He goes on to say:
In October 1973, mine was the first voice heard on Capital Radio in London. I later moved to Radio Victory in Hampshire before returning to the BBC with an afternoon show on Radio 2. In the Eighties I went to California to live out the lost dream of sun, sea and rock 'n' roll. I tried the BBC yet again on my return, this time with Radio 4, and hated it. I'm now working for Capital Gold as a weekend and relief jock. It's just like old times. Almost.

You can hear clips of David on Capital here:
http://ssaunders.dyndns.org/ilraudio/cr/craudio.html

Between his time at Radio 1 and joining Capital he was managing bands including The Purple Gang and, more successfully, Fairfield Parlour.

Not exactly sure when he moved to Radio Victory in Portsmouth but you can hear both him and Eugene Fraser in June 1976 here (great photo too!):http://radioarkivet.se/en/endex.htm
Eugene was also ex-BBC and also later joined Radio 4 as a newsreader and announcer

By 1978 he was back at the Beeb as a Radio 4 announcer. He did many of the promotions for Radio 4 UK as the station was briefly called following the move to 1500m in the November. His was the first voice to welcome listeners to Radio 4 on long wave. His stint here lasted from October 1978 to August 1979.

In July 1979 David was back in the afternoons this time on Radio 2 presenting Much More Music. This started on 9 July 1979 and ran through until 1981. Hereís a very short clip of the start of a show from 1980, his jingle crashing David Bellanís news outro.
http://www.4shared.com/audio/FbxJmjUm/David_Symonds_Much_More_Music_.html

As David said in the 80s he moved to California. Apparently he worked at station KEZY but I have no more information on this other than he may have been on air between 1982 and 1984. Not sure when he returned to the UK and joined Capital Gold nor when he left and went to Cyprus.

As far as I can tell he still owns and manages 91.4 Coast FM in Limassol as well as running Rondor Creative Services Ltd.
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 18010
Location: Near Chester

PostPosted: Wed Dec 08, 2010 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am very grateful for all the information Andy

The main thing I now know which I did not know before is about his time in America

As its getting a bit late now I'm shortly retiring to bed but I'll go through the details in your post at some length tomorrow and possibly I might come back to you after that

Once again many thanks for your help which is much appreciated
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Andy W



Joined: 02 Dec 2010
Posts: 140
Location: France

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some more details, courtesy of Paul Donovan's The Radio Companion.

David started Easy Beat in 1966. He was head of programmes at Victory 1975-76. Presented a morning show in LA. Was again at Radio 4 as announcer/newsreader 1985-88. Joined Capital Gold in 1988.
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Helen May



Joined: 10 Dec 2006
Posts: 18494
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the reminder of the theme to Much More Music! I always enjoyed the show when ever I could listen, shifts at work allowing. I remember when he left for America thinking 'oh no not another one lost to the yanks' as my other favourite, Johnnie Walker, had done the same a few years earlier.

I don't recall him on Radio 1 that much, maybe he just wasn't on when I was able to listen.

H
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I said it live on air in the studio with Jeremy Vine on 10/3/2005
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ColinB
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember Dave Symonds on Radio One in the very early days - not to be confused with David Simmons, another broadcaster from the period.
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Andy W



Joined: 02 Dec 2010
Posts: 140
Location: France

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Helen May wrote:
Thanks for the reminder of the theme to Much More Music!

Helen - that music is, of course, Theme from A Summer Place by Percy Faith. I eventually got a copy of it on the Music To Watch Girls By album.
As for Johnnie Walker I've found a copy online of his last show on Radio 1 in 1976 on this excellent website http://www.azanorak.com/. The files are passworded so you'd need to join the Yahoo group but I could provide a copy of the file if you like.

Colin - yes David Symonds/Simmons, confusing. Don't think they were on Radio 1 at the same time fortunatlly. Don't remember anything about Mr Simmons. He was/is on BFBS and some of his Rockola shows are available to download on his website http://www.rockola.net/

Apparently David Symonds was known for his catchphrase "fantastic, put kettle on mother". Found and uploaded this very short clip:
http://www.4shared.com/audio/35SO1M-M/Put_Kettle_On_Mother.html
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Helen May



Joined: 10 Dec 2006
Posts: 18494
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Thu Dec 09, 2010 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy,

I've still got my copy of the last JW shows on Radio 1 but thanks for that site! I think I've been to it before some time ago.

I'd quite forgotten that Percy Faith's track was David's theme tune. I'm sure someone either on here or maybe the now defunct R2 board asked who used it as a theme. I don't think anyone came up with the answer!

I'll try and get to your other pieces when I've time to appreciate them when the festive season is over!

H
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88 - 91 FM this is Radio 2 from the BBC!

I said it live on air in the studio with Jeremy Vine on 10/3/2005
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 18010
Location: Near Chester

PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2010 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Andy,

I have now sifted through all the information you kindly supplied and as you say I had been on the Radio Rewind site run by Alan Davies in Merthyr Tydfil who is a very nice and helpful kind of guy and I had heard the soundbite of the 'put the kettle on Mother' jingle

I think if I recall David used to use it on his teabreak slot but the extract seems to refer to 'Mothers Everywhere' so I don't know if there was a seperate feature for Mother's requests
Interestingly enough the Barry Ryan track featured on the clip was played on SOTS a couple of weeks ago on 'The One Before The Hit' feature
Another of David's often used catchphrases as I recall was 'Certainly Vicar'

As I said before I had no idea he had lived and worked in America but thanks to you I now have a much better picture of what was happening during the missing years so thanks again for that

If you happen to come across any other relevent material I would be most grateful if you could kindly post it on this thread
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Andy W



Joined: 02 Dec 2010
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I meant to post this a while ago but I developed the information in this thread into a blog post with added audio, including some brief clips of the R2 show Much More Music

http://andywalmsley.blogspot.com/2011/11/david-symonds.html
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Helen May



Joined: 10 Dec 2006
Posts: 18494
Location: Cheshire

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for link Andy.

I tried to listen to the R2 bits but it 'buffered' and then was timed out. Is it me or are they no longer available?

H
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88 - 91 FM this is Radio 2 from the BBC!

I said it live on air in the studio with Jeremy Vine on 10/3/2005
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Andy W



Joined: 02 Dec 2010
Posts: 140
Location: France

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for drawing that to my attention. Had some issues with the site that hosts some of my audio. I'll re-load it.

Now fixed Very Happy
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 18010
Location: Near Chester

PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really grateful for your recent post Andy but like Helen I can't get the audio to play at present

Do let us know when you get the problem sorted as I would love to listen to tha clips if it can be resolved

It's all stuff which is of great interest to me Very Happy
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Helen May



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sound is working for me on the R2 ones at least.

H
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88 - 91 FM this is Radio 2 from the BBC!

I said it live on air in the studio with Jeremy Vine on 10/3/2005
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Andy W



Joined: 02 Dec 2010
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Location: France

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The audio on this post is fixed. For many posts I'm having to re-upload the audio which, as you can imagine, is a long process.
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ruddlescat



Joined: 16 Sep 2010
Posts: 18010
Location: Near Chester

PostPosted: Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's really interesting to listen to those old clips but what especially surprised me was the fact that David's tenure of the late afternoon show on Radio One only lasted from the beginning of October 1967 to January 1969 when he got moved to Sunday mornings

I thought that he had been on in the late afternoon for at least three years rather than only 15 months and clearly my memory which is usually very good on this occasion is playing tricks on me

I think it rather proves the point that time seems to go much more slowly when you are young as compared to the situation now when I wake up and think to myself that we are already almost a month into 2012

I think I can trace my love of late 60's music back to my days listening to the David Symonds Show and for bringing some of the wonderful artists around at that time (not always that well known) to my attention I feel I owe him a great debt of gratitude and probably to his producer at that time also Smile
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