MONDAY to FRIDAY 10AM – 1PM
Solar Gospel Sunrise October 29th 2023
Daily features, just after 11.30, are as follows:
Monday: Counting down a retro US chart (sometimes pop, sometimes r&b/soul) anytime from 1967 onwards.
Tuesday: Counting down the new Sweet Rhyhms chart top 20.
Wednesday: The Ethereal Magic session.
Thursday: Any one of a collection of features – The best of British, Instrumentals from down the decades; 70’s 7″ singles; the R&B/New Jack Swing/Old-school hip-hop half hour; the Protest and Social comment song half-hour; the Neo-soul half hour; Jazzy soul/soulful jazz; Underrated 80’s; Sweet soul harmonies; Epic tracks (7 and a half minutes or more); The Yacht rock/Blue-eyed soul half-hour; and great songwriting teams from down the decades.
Friday: Rotatring between four features – the Club, Disco & Radio anthem session; the Funk half-hour; Great Soulful performances; and the Jazz, Funk & Fusion session,
Also on the last Friday of the month, I call it ‘Special request Friday’ where about hald the show is given over to listeners requests.
Tony first started radio DJ-ing in Bermuda, progressing from librarian and production assistant, to doing fill-ins for a wide variety of music-style shows, ranging from gospel, classical, middle-of-the-road, country, jazz and popular. Eventually, in 1965, under his pseudonym “T.M. Trouble Maker – Tony Monson” (!) he obtained his own nightly evening show, playing his choice of pop and soul.
In 1967 Tony left Bermuda to move back to London, and briefly became an offshore pirate – on Britain Radio 355 – an MOR/pop station in the same stretch of water as Radio London and Caroline; this station was starting to get real recognition with the recent indoctrination of the legendary Tony Windsor as manager. Unfortunately, when the Marine Offences act became law, Radio 355, along with many other offshore pirate stations, was forced off the air.
Later in 1967, Tony and a friend set up one of the very first mobile disco operations, playing at parties, events and weddings – until 1971, when he opened up a record and hi-fi shop in Brighton, Sussex. That folded in 1976, but Tony went on to set up a record distribution company, servicing record shops across Britain with U.S. imports – and another record shop in Kings Road, Chelsea, called Disc Empire. Meanwhile he had been doing various radio shows or guest spots – most notably on BBC Radio Brighton and Radio Medway.
For a while in the early 80’s, the early soul pirate Invicta (fronted by the late Tony Johns) broadcast from a flat that he rented – with Tony doing the odd show for them; then in 1982 Tony joined legendary soul pirate station JFM, presenting an early Sunday evening show for several months – plus the odd all-night show. Tony left JFM in 1983 to join Horizon Radio – doing a Sunday luchtime slot; when Horizon went 24 hours a day in 1984, Tony presented the breakfast show – Monson’s Morning Mayhem. In October 1984, Horizon Radio was raided, losing all their equipment and studio – and shortly thereafter Solar Radio was born – broadcasting initially on the same frequency – with Tony being one of the three main organisers. Tony continued the weekday morning show, but then relinquished that to Dave Collins early in 1985 having been asked to join the Essex Radio soul team along with Dave Gregory and John Leech.
In 1985, Tony joined Essex Radio with his own Saturday evening show, and appearances at the Soul Night Specials at various Essex clubs. When Solar re-launched at the end of 1986, Tony left Essex to co-manage it and present the Sunday morning show “Easy On Sunday Morning”. After the whole project finished in 1988, Tony joined Kiss FM for a brief period as a pirate, and then (having assisted with Kiss’ application) as a legal presenter in 1990,
presenting two weekend morning shows; later he did an early Thursday evening slot, followed by a late Sunday evening slot.
In 1994 Tony joined the Thamesmead station RTM (later renamed Millenium), playing his own choice of pop, rock, soul, country and jazz – later on presenting a specialist soul show on a Monday evening. A couple of years later he joined South-East London comuinity station FLR, doing a Thursday eveninf soul show.
From October 1998 he has been exlusively involved with Solar – from their early analogue days through the Sky Era and now available through a multitude of apps, currently presenting shows Monday – Friday from 10AM-1PM, with daily features, and a nod to music celebrities who have birthdays or anniversaries on a particularl day, but about half the show given over to new or current music from the Swwet Rhythms chart. The various features include the ‘Jazz saloon’ sessions – one at around 10.30, one around 12.30; two songs from the 1960’s before 11; the Gospel session just after 11 (Monday-Thursday, but on Friday the House & Garage double-header); the halfway house at 11.30 – usually something underratedbof his choice, but sometimes a birthday request for someone; and the the Soulful Slowie segment somewhere between 12 and 12.30.