Beds, Herts & Bucks

Stevenage shed radio DJ broadcasts in BBC local radio slot

Deke Duncan
Image caption Deke Duncan in 1974 in his shed in Stevenage - and preparing for his New Year's Eve show at BBC Three Counties Radio in Dunstable

A DJ whose shed-based radio station was only ever heard by his wife has said it was "an absolute pleasure" to expand his audience after 44 years.

Deke Duncan, 73, was the subject of a 1970s BBC Nationwide television report from his home in Stevenage.

He was tracked down by BBC Three Counties Radio and broadcast a one-hour special on the station on Monday night.

Opening the show he said his aim was to "put a grin on your chin" and a "smile on your radio dial".

"Welcome to the big wide world of Deke Duncan," he said.

"Uncle Deke is in the air chair... and a mountain of music is guaranteed."

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Media captionShed station DJ given BBC local radio slot

Duncan started playing records from his back garden in Stevenage, Hertfordshire in 1974.

He said his interest in radio was sparked by pirate station Radio Caroline, which broadcast from a ship off the coast of Essex in the 1960s.

He set up Radio 77 - named after a job-lot of second hand jingles bought from a US station of the same name.

But with no licence, the station could only be beamed through a speaker in his living room to wife Teresa.

He presented non-stop weekend slots on the station with friends Richard St John and Clive Christie and made regular references on air to the fact he was broadcasting from - and to - 57 Gonville Crescent.

The Nationwide report was recently tweeted by BBC Archive and BBC Three Counties Radio broadcaster Justin Dealey tracked him down to Stockport, Greater Manchester, where he still broadcasts Radio 77 to just his wife. The station then offered him the one-hour special.

Duncan said he wanted to show his "appreciation" for Dealey on the show for giving him "this opportunity to do what I'm doing right now" and he was "very, very grateful".

Image copyright BBC Archive
Image caption The shed at 57 Gonville Crescent in Stevenage in 1974 - home of Radio 77

In 1974 he had said his "ultimate ambition" was to broadcast to the rest of Stevenage and the New Year's Eve show did not only got out to Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire on radio, but can also be heard via this link.

His story has been in many newspapers and television including BBC Breakfast and ITV's This Morning.

Mr Duncan described the media furore surrounding his re-discovery as a "whirlwind" but he was "loving it".

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