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28 October 2014
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Mike Shaft

Mike Shaft

Popular presenter Mike Shaft is back in town as the rise n'shine man on the the BBC's dedicated Commonwealth Games radio station. Mike will be presenting the station's Breakfast Show, kicking off the station's output at 6.30am on Monday, March 4th . . . and each weekday morning from then on until the end of the Games in early August.

He and the team will reflect the five-month build-up to the Games, taking in events such as the Spirit of Friendship Festival, the Volunteer Programme and the Queen's Jubilee Baton Relay. No problem for the versatile Shaft. After all, he's no stranger to Greater Manchester, nor to the Games themselves.

For three years he was the drivetime presenter on BBC Manchester, then BBC GMR, being one of the bedrock staff at the station's launch back in the 1980s. Before that, he spent eight years at Piccadilly Radio in the city, presenting nearly every music show going, as well as being the station's Head of Music.

Mike's effervescent personality and his love of life and people has been his hallmark throughout - and now he brings the "Shaft style" back to the North West, where he was brought up and where he carved out his broadcasting career. He brings first-hand knowledge and expertise about the Commonwealth Games too, having covered the pre-Games build-up and the event itself when they were held in British Columbia on the West Coast of Canada in 1994.

On top of all that, he was born in the Commonwealth country of Grenada before his parents brought him to live in Tameside as a young man.

Now, Mike - once known as the "Soul King" of Manchester - aims to put his art and soul into 'BBC 2002' 97.7FM.

Mike says: "It's great to be back. I want to make people feel good about the Games and to feel part of it all.

"It's going to be a lot of fun for everyone in the North West who embraces it. I saw what a great time everyone had around the Games in Canada. Now it's Manchester's turn.

"I don't think people have quite realised what kind of super event it can be and just how the next few months will liven people's lives in Greater Manchester.

"BBC 2002 aims to provide that vital link of entertaining people, reflecting and showcasing the range of things going on over the next five months and the personalities involved.

"Every morning from 6.30am to 10am, I'll be doing my own thing to kick off the day for listeners. I'm truly excited by it all, not least because it's happening in my home city."

It's certainly a long way from Mike's childhood days at Two Trees School in Denton. After leaving school, he worked as a counter clerk for the Post Office. It gave Mike "the chance to meet people" all over Greater Manchester - I worked in Whitworth Street, Longsight, Gorton, Levenshulme, Withington, Manchester city centre . . . you name it I've been there."

In the evening, he was crafting his DJ skills at clubs like Rafters and Pips. Then one day, he saw an article in a paper which said "Andy Peebles Goes to Radio One." The long and short of it is that within 45 minutes, Mike was knocking on the door for Andy's old job in Manchester - and he got it. Mike says: "It was a dream come true for me. My great love is music and I was able to combine business with pleasure from then on. On top of that, someone came along and asked me do commentary on my great sporting love, basketball. What could be better?"

Mike still does his basketball commentary, taking in the now-defunct Manchester Giants, Sheffield Sharks, Birmingham Bullets and Newcastle Eagles. He was a prime mover in setting up the UK's first black music station, Sunset Radio in Manchester and sometime later he won a Commonwealth Trust busary to go and work with the Commonwealth Games in Canada.

Take in working for The Christian Channel as a series editor and you have the multi-talented Mike Shaft, now taking on a new task with BBC 2002.

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Queen's Jubilee Baton Relay
Spirit of Freindship Festival

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