Mids legend Brad Baker celebrates 10 years on the air
West Mids born Brad Baker celebrates his first decade in broadcasting.
10 years ago he founded an online radio station in Sedgley. Since then, he has sung alongside Patti LaBelle in concert, presented shows across BBC and commercial radio and held a performance residency in Mallorca.
Baker, 26, said he is busier than ever:
“I am up to my eyes in it. I’ve never known life get so busy. Sometimes I laugh thinking back to when I was living in Mallorca in 2013. I’d go out to the beach for my morning coffee. It was on the hotel’s doorstep. I’d take in the sunrise and listen to the sea. Now, it’s just car horns, traffic and damp.”
He sits back, laughing.
“I’ve had a terrific ten years. When I started, I could’ve only dreamt about doing some of the things I’ve done.”
The Blood, Sweat and Gears star found his lucky break presenting a motorsports television show.
It aired on the Extreme Sports Channel and Motors TV. Baker is the youngest person ever to present on UK sports television, to date. He speaks fondly about those days:
“We would travel out to locations across Europe to report on some of the sport’s biggest sports meetings. I interviewed recognised names, and looking back, I admired my confidence.”
It was the TV show which sprung him into broadcasting. He later moved to the Mediterranean, which he says “was the perfect tonic for a young lad full of life”.
“I learned a huge amount from my people in Alicante and was inspired by them. Elliot Wright from TOWIE [The Only Way Is Essex] was my boss. I remember, he called me ‘the dog’s’ which was a terrific compliment knowing who he is.
“I remember him being so suave. He really was the most terrific businessman, brilliant with customers and an absolute charmer. I’ll always have a lot of time for Elliot.”
Baker says his best job was as resident guest at a five-star resort in the Balearic Islands. He said:
“Performing six nights a week at the showroom of that hotel was just superb. The set would last two hours. It would then would repeat itself after two weeks, so it was a two week format as most of the guests would very rarely stay beyond two weeks.
“During the day, I’d act as a PR, muzzling in with guests, making sure they were having a good time and all their needs were being met. I didn’t have to do this, but I wanted to. I’d sit and talk to everyone: at breakfast, by the pool, on the terrace. It pleased the hotel and the guests really appreciated it.”
Baker returned to the UK in 2014 and began working for Signal Radio in the Midlands and Staffordshire and Cheshire.
He started presenting a weekend breakfast format via the Hits Network, at the same time. The show syndicated across commercial radio, including a station in the Canary Islands.
In 2015, he entered the spotlight alongside soul legend Patti Labelle.
Wearing leopard print, the pair performed the 1975 hit Lady Maralade, which was later covered by Christina Aguilera. He describes this as the best moment of his career:
“As a kid, I was a big James Bond fan and one of my favourites was Licence To Kill from 1989. Patti LaBelle sang the end credits song to that film If You Asked Me To, starring Tim Dalton as Bond. If you’d have told me twelve years ago, I’d be performing with Patti, I just wouldn’t have believed you, but that’s what I did; such a fantastic experience.”
The Exchange is a news and current affairs show based on the national DAB station Gaydio.
They have a variety of panelists who discuss the biggest news effecting the LGBT community at home and abroad.
Baker was a regular speaker on this show and remembers the invitation:
“My manager contacted me to see if I fancied being a speaker on a news and current affairs show. I had become very fond of Manchester, which is where the studios were. It wasn’t an everyday thing. I had space in the diary, so I said yes. Although I don’t identify as gay, it certainly was special to be able to comment on news relating to a community that’s been, and still is, a big part of my life.”
Baker remembers presenting Late Night Love for regional radio in 2017, which he says “was the quickest show he’s ever presented.”
“Love songs was terrific. The shows were laid back. It was easy to present, because all editions were voice tracked, which is radio speak for recording links, dry, all in one go. You record them then layer them with the music after. A three hour would end up taking 20 minutes to record.”
At the end of that year, Baker moved to the south coast of England, presenting for Heart. He looks back at those days, fondly:
“There was such a great team down there. I literally lived seconds from the beach and minutes from the studios. The team at that place were second to none. They were a pleasure to work with. It was a slight contrast to the beaches of the Mediterranean, though, and those winter walks along the beach were interesting, to say the least.
“I know which beaches I prefer, but nevertheless, it was fine, with scarf and hat. I remember on Sundays I used to take the car out over the South Downs. Even if it was chilly. I’d have the windows down and music up. There’s something so pleasurable about driving the way cars are meant to be driven with no traffic on the road.“
A self confessed avid when it comes to cars, Baker featured in the 2018 edition of Regtransfers magazine.
“The difficult thing was, I owned six plates, so I didn’t really know which one to lead with for the photographs. I’ve since sold most my plates, because I thought my collecting was becoming obsessive. I still say if you want to sell a plate, stick it on a flash car and ride round in it. There’s nothing quite like someone seeing it in action to make you a decent offer.”
After life on the south coast, the BBC made him an offer he couldn’t refuse:
“I was offered a regional role as an on location broadcaster. Now, I thought, there’s a decent proposal. It actually turned out to be a great move, to be independent, out of the studios, on location, engaging with different people every day and turning round items for breakfast and drivetime. It’s something I am good at. Good job because I was useless at everything else. The times I’d actually say to myself ‘crikey, I’m having fun, and I’m meant to be at work?!’ Of course, because, work’s meant to be work, right?
Laughing, he added:
“It was fantastic and I met so many great people doing it and went to some stunning locations.”
He still pops up across telly and radio. Most of his time is spent working, which he describes as a 24-hour game. He has been approached to write a book, but struggles to fit it in.
Brad Baker is celebrating his first decade in broadcasting. He will mark the anniversary in a two hour special for radio later this month.