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Popular rock show broadcast from a living room in Ilfracombe

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: August 16, 2012

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A ROCK show for a Birmingham City radio station is being broadcast from an Ilfracombe living room.

John Forster, 54, of Marlborough Road, Ilfracombe, started the show, which only plays music by unsigned bands, for Birmingham City Radio four years ago.

He says it has since become increasingly popular and at one point reached 1.1 million listeners.

The show is currently broadcast internationally, including in Australia, India and Canada as well as across Europe.

For the first three years it played all kinds of rock music from mainstream bands but in the last year John has stuck to only playing records by unsigned groups.

John broadcasts the show on a Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 6pm and 9pm via his laptop and various other broadcasting equipment.

He started out playing a bit of rock music on another radio show called Haunted Cornwall on The Source FM when he lived in the county.

This led to him doing a show on Penwith Radio which was then syndicated and taken on by Birmingham City Radio.

John has continued to broadcast the show for them from his house in Ilfracombe where he moved to a year and a half ago.

John said: "When I first started out there were two other people involved. I started just putting on some music to help out. I've absolutely no idea how it has got as big as it has."

He also thinks the show will eventually get a lot bigger than it currently is and may look to make some money out of it in the future.

John said he made the decision to play only unsigned bands a year ago after Ofcom increased their fees for playing mainstream music.

He said: "Signed bands get told what to play. I would not go back to playing mainstream music.

"It is not what people are used to listening to and there thousands and thousands that do not get the air play and the promotion and the recognition they deserve."

The show takes up a lot of time with John saying he gets music given to him by around 1000 bands, meaning it takes hours to prepare each show.

John, who lives with his partner and seven-year-old daughter, says his love of rock music started after he bought Black Sabbath's first album in 1967.

However, his dad did not approve and broke the record in half, saying he was not allowed to listen to that kind of music which of course made him want to listen to it even more.

John is also organising the Ilfracombe Rock Festival along with Chris Hammond which takes place this weekend at the Bunch of Grapes pub.

Chris said: "All these bands are coming at the weekend as a thank you to John for getting them the success."

John's rock show can be listened to online at www.birminghamcityradio.co.uk.

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  • GlueMonsters  |  October 19 2012, 8:10PM

    Glue Monsters here, how you doing? I hope you're fine. Anyways, John is the man! It is refreshing to see an article on a man who is not about making money, but about doing what he loves and spreading that love around. It's a beautiful thing man. Man, not only does this dude know good music, he is also very generous - after all, he plays Glue Monsters songs. We're a band that doesn't practice or rehearse, we just make up songs on the spot, and John seems to get what we're about. To John: Keep up the good work man, and thanks for providing a forum for us to do our thing. To This Is Devon: Thanks for telling people about this man. If you get a chance, come on by and hear what this dude is about. Hubba knows what he's saying, and hey man - it's Rui from Revtend here too! And Annette, hello. Wayne, man see you in the chat room. And that DoDriver band is cool man. And Empire of Fools, I'm sure they're good too. See you all in the chat room! That's it, we're out of here. Drummer says bye too!

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  • Conspiresto  |  October 19 2012, 6:59PM

    Hi guys, Wayne from Conspires to here i would like to thank John personally for all the air time he has given us over the last year, we recently released our new album Symbiosis and he played the whole album over the length of a one show now how many shows would do that? He has also give bands the opertunity to be heard by record companys so who knows what will happen in the future. I would like to echo the last comment on the chat room its a great place to chat about the music or to the band members, so if you fancy a chat please come and join us. Thanks again John and keep up the good work.

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  • dodriverband  |  October 19 2012, 2:09PM

    Thanks to John, DoDriver received a lot of attention from UK bands and made some connections in Europe as well. What John is doing is invaluable to unsigned artists, we spend a tremendous amount of time and money trying to get airplay of any sort so when John's show became an outlet we were more than happy to be involved. A lot of work is involved in running a radio show so we feel honored to be played by John and really appreciate all the hard work he does for so many unsigned bands. Thanks again John! Jody Velletta - singer for DoDriver from New York state, USA

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  • passt  |  October 19 2012, 8:41AM

    Thank you John for giving unsigned music the chance it deserves! EMPIRE OF FOOLS!

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  • accom  |  October 19 2012, 7:23AM

    Muito bem Rui, obrigado e boa noite.

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  • rui_monteiro  |  October 18 2012, 1:51PM

    John's Rock Show opened many doors to all artists and bands where all have a chance, whether they are pop, rock, blues, jazz or metal. One of the things I find most amazing is the chatroom where the announcer (broadcaster) john forster, listeners and artists can talk with each others! Without a doubt one of the best radios on the intenet these days. Through this message, I want to thank you John for your help to us, that is invaluable. Best Regards Rui M. Revtend

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  • Dizzy40  |  October 18 2012, 12:00PM

    What a brilliant idea! I watch a lot of live music and have long thought that many of the unsigned bands are as good, if not better, than the signed artists, they just need a platform.

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  • AnnetteRU  |  October 18 2012, 10:15AM

    Well said Erik! John gives unsigned bands a chance, where mainstream radio does not. It's a great show and we are so grateful for John's support. John's show is like a breath of fresh air!! Thank you John!

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  • edjgraphix  |  October 18 2012, 7:36AM

    John's Rock Show is great! John is always searching for the best hard rock music out there. Some of us from the bands he plays chat in the chat room when we can to show our support for the show and because it is a fun place to crack jokes, talk music and discover new sounds. He asks nothing from the bands except to let their fans and friends know about the show. John also promotes any new releases by artists that do their part in promoting his show. Best of all, the musicians are a huge part of John's Show. He always asks us for our thoughts and ideas about everything, so we are not only listeners, we are participants. For instance, he asked the bands to donate a song for a benefit cd that would help kids and support our troops. We were included in the discussion on the artwork and on how much we should charge for the cd (he even reduced the price one last time due to my plea of today's economic pressures!) Today, he played the artists personal top 5 bands, and those of us who had submitted a top 5 to him had our moment to show everyone which bands we really enjoyed. I wanted to choose more bands so I wouldn't offend anyone, but everyone there is so cool and understanding that nobody took offense and all of our songs managed to pop up somewhere during the show. And that is only a sample of what the show is about. By the way, I'm from Los Angeles, California. I'm one of the outsiders!

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