About the programme
Mark was born in Marlborough at Savernake Hospital, grew up in the town with his large extended family of cousins, aunties and uncles always around and went to the local schools of St Mary's, St Peter's and St John's. Although it was at 16 when he made his debut on local radio he 'got the broadcasting bug' at the tender age of 11 when he built a studio in his bedroom and used to play music and tapes to his parents and sister. Mark admits: "I used to interview them for my pretend programmes and my mum would be anyone from the Prime Minister to a local shop keeper, she was extremely versatile." I remember turning up at one gig and overhearing someone describe me as the town's Tony Blackburn!! I think it was a compliment. During the early 1980's Mark set up his own disco with the cheesy catch phrase 'MJ your DJ' and did almost every school dance, wedding reception and birthday party in Marlborough and the surrounding area. His experience behind the mixing decks and persistent badgering of the local commercial station secured him a regular slot as 'The Masked DJ.' Mark said: "I used to play back to back oldies on a Saturday night but wasn't allowed to speak, hence why I was a mystery to the listeners, I don't think they ever found out it was me!" To gain more broadcasting experience he also joined Devizes Hospital Radio, where he met BBC Radio Wiltshire's Shaun Hodgetts and Matthew Smith. He said: "This was an excellent experience because you were allowed to experiment with programme ideas, things you couldn't do on local radio." Mark decided to travel Australia for a year in 1988 before coming back and going off to college in Birmingham to study media, which involved doing a work placement on the Wiltshire Times in Trowbridge. It was this journalism training that helped him land a job as a reporter with BBC Wiltshire Sound in 1992. After two years in Swindon he returned to Birmingham to work for a number of stations there, including BBC Radio Five Live - producing Edwina Currie - before going to BBC Radio Stoke, in Stoke-on-Trent, to present their Drivetime programme.