A Career in Ten Songs: Grant Stott, DJ, Radio Forth

GRANT Stott presents the 10am-2pm, Through The Day, slot on Edinburgh-based radio station, Radio Forth. He has been part of the station since 1990, making him the longest-serving current Radio Forth presenter.

He has also been a stalwart of the Scottish panto scene, notching up 21 shows since his debut in 1993. This year, he once again teams up with Allan Stewart and Andy Gray at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, in ‘Aladdin’.

He made his ‘straight’ acting debut last year in ‘Kiss Me Honey, Honey’, with Andy Gray, which sold out its entire run, won a Fringe First, went on to tour across Scotland, and then returned to the Fringe this year for a limited run of six shows.

This is his career in ten songs…

1. Perry Como – Magic Moments –  Strange one, perhaps, but this is part of the reason I got my first job in radio. I had heard Radio Forth were splitting into FM and AM stations. I sent in my demo tape with very much a ‘FM flavour’ to it, which got me in for a meeting with Tom Steele – Forth’s programme director at the time.

He said he liked it but was looking for presenters for the AM service as he’d already got his FM line-up in place. The AM service was to be called MAX-AM and was all about music from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. How could I (as a young 20-something) connect with that sort of music? A challenge, if ever I heard one. “Let me go and make a demo tape with that sort of music, then!” I said. And I did, featuring Frank, Dean, Peggy Lee, et al. And the name of my proposed show? ‘Grant’s Magic Moments’. This got me my first radio gigs on MAX-AM Saturday morning, between 1am and 6am, and Sunday morning, between 2am and 6am.

2. Johnny Logan – What’s Another Year? – Working on the through the night shift is a great place to start out in radio – and to make your early mistakes. It’s a long story but, in a nutshell, I (unintentionally) played this record on air for someone in jail at Saughton, ‘from his other half’. I learned a valuable lesson there – always check what song is playing next before reading out a request.

3. Prince – 1999 – After my short stint on MAX-AM, I was thrust onto Radio Forth RFM to take over the 10pm-1am slot after the demise of ‘The Super Station’, which provided late-night radio across the UK, back then. Colin Somerville was in charge of RFM at the time and I remember having a discussion about the all-important first song and together we opted for 1999 – what an opener!

4. Horse – Careful – Horse was one of the first big interviews I did on Forth RFM; she was creating quite a stir having supported Tina Turner, signed to Capitol Records and released the sensational, ‘The Same Sky’. We played her stuff loads on Forth and she appeared as a guest on my first TV gig, ‘Wemyss Bay 902101′, which I hosted with Arlene Stuart – who is now Boogie’s sidekick on Forth One’s breakfast show.

5. Thompson Twins – We are Detective – This reminds me of my first panto experience, which came about through presenting Weymss Bay on STV with Arlene. We were filming backstage at the King’s in Glasgow when Barnum, starring Paul Nicholas, was in town; and the two of us were filming on stage, larking about. Unbeknown to us, Billy Differ (the then King’s Glasgow boss) was in the stalls, watching. This led to him offering us both parts in the panto that year, ‘Dick Whittington’. We played two detectives looking for Dick (Whittington) and hence the use of that particular song. We also got to murder ‘Dancing with the Captain‘ in that show as well – which gives another nice Paul Nicholas tie-in!

6. PM Dawn – Set Adrift on Memory Bliss – This, for me, highlights the power of radio and a good tune. When the two combine perfectly, it can stay with you forever. I had been on holiday and was picking up my car from the car park at the airport, turned the radio on – to Forth, of course – and Alison Craig was playing this. It was the first time I had heard it and I just fell in love with it. And from then on it has always reminded me of where I was, what I was doing and how good I felt that day – we even used to get away with playing the extended version on air.

7. Simply Red – For Your Babies – And talking of playing different versions of songs, I used to sneak in the odd play of the ‘Edition Francais’ version of this, as it as stunning. In fact, the whole album, ‘Stars’, takes me right back to my early days on Radio Forth RFM and moving into my own flat. Back when there were such perks of this job, I got a free copy of this album and played it over and over again in the car and in my flat.

8. Spice Girls – Wannabe – 1995 was the year of my biggest TV break, hosting ‘Fully Booked’ – initially alongside Zoe Ball and then with Sarah Vandenburg. It was the most chaotic but best gig ever. Filling two-and-a-half hours of ‘live’ telly every Saturday or Sunday for three years was just the best and scariest fun ever. Every time I hear this song it makes me smile as ‘Fully Booked’ was where the Spice Girls made their national TV debut, with ‘Wannabe’. Their debut appearance still pops up every now and then and this means there are clips of me with dreadful clothes and dreadful hair that will go down alongside this wee bit of TV history.

9. Elvis vs JXL – A Little Less Conversation – I thought my days of playing Elvis on the radio were over when I moved away from MAX-AM in 1990, but that all changed in 2002 when I was handed a CD of this while on air by Richard Wilkinson who was our head of music at the time. I was just blown away by this remix as I aired it and heard it for the very first time. Another moment in my career where music combining with radio created an wonderful moment!

10. Frank Sinatra – That’s Life – I can’t do a list like this without making mention of my wee internet sensation. A complete and utter accident, I wrote a parody of this song as a tribute to Fife as a filler for the Radio Forth Awards in 2011 and ‘That’s Fife‘ was born. I’ve been booked to sing it at weddings, I’ve sung it with the Edinburgh Gay Men’s Chorus, it’s been played at a funeral and this year it’s due to appear in panto. Not with me, but in Dunfermline!