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5 Minutes With Shaun Keaveny

We took 5 minutes to talk with broadcaster Shaun Keaveny about the future of radio, his favourite albums, and his Ruark R3.

Hi Shaun! Please could you tell us a little about what you do?

Hmm… I am a humorous story broadcaster, patchy father, and canal enthusiast. I make podcasts and I now have a weekly Patreon-based radio show called Community Garden Radio, which is an utter and growing joy.

How did you get into the field of radio/broadcast?

My only ever real job was a radio ad writer, which I held from 1997 to 2000. I was based at a couple of different stations in what was then the GWR radio group in Reading and Wolverhampton.

They were such great days: carefree, cash-free, and fun. Writing little ads for everyone, anything from a local car deal to a care home to a butcher… such variety. And you got to meet millions of great, mad, funny, and occasionally ridiculous people. It was through that I moved sideways into radio broadcasting, as an old boss moved to XFM in London and needed an overnight presenter, and remembered I was “quite amusing”. I proved him wrong many times in the subsequent three years.

You saw the take-off of digital radio in 2006, but where do you see the future of radio/broadcast heading?

Tricky one. Not sure. I want broadcasting to continue to flourish, with big national stations like the BBCs, Absolutes, and the like. However, they have been a bit under threat from the digital revolution, catch-up, and non-linear listening.

In some ways I can now make a living because of that, as many people like to listen on demand to podcasts and Patreon shows, but I love both.

You mentioned on your radio show that you play the guitar, do you have a collection - and if so, what’s your favourite?

I’ve got about 12 or so… my faves are the classics, the Strat, the Tele, the Les Paul! But I am in the market for an acoustic 12-string in case you know of one going…

Are you currently in any sort of band or do you just play at home?

I will ALWAYS be a member of influential post-punk pioneers MOSQUE, but we haven’t done a gig since 2014. We hope to do one before we all die.

You of course have an R3 at home… how do you like to listen to your music on the R3?

It is a magnificent beast, a thing of great ergonomic and aesthetic beauty, and it looks like it should be atop a lovely expensive G Plan unit… then you power it up.

I love both flicking through all the millions of radio stations available there, from the internet to the BBC or some Magic moments, before streaming my favourite songs. I do get told off sometimes for having it on a bit too loud, but what else can you do with such a lovely powerful and crisp sound? You have to turn it up!

Record covers of Radiohead’s OK Computer, Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions and Led Zeppelin II

Which albums do you always find yourself going back to?

OK Computer, What’s Going On, Innervisions, anything Zeppelin. I mean… how could you not?

You now have your podcast over on Spotify, but how do you find the podcast format? Do you see yourself getting back into live radio?

As I said, I love both things. I just love audio. I’m not a visual person really - I’m colourblind and I wonder if that is something to do with it!

I get overstimulated if I try to do telly stuff… I am better with my eyes shut, headphones on, concentrating on what people are saying and what I’m doing. I think our plan is to go back to live radio at some point, but not for a good long while. I am enjoying the Garden too much right now. The freedom and the camaraderie are intoxicating!

Shaun Keaveny’s Community Garden Radio is live every Friday from 1pm–3pm.

Listen to the playlist Shaun compiled for us.