The Wire

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Listen to Greetings Music Lover: Celebrating Steve Barker On The Wire

May 2018

The premiere of Steve Urquhart's new audio documentary exploring the life and work of BBC Radio Lancashire broadcaster and Wire contributor Steve Barker

May 2018 sees veteran Wire writer and dub/roots columnist Steve Barker celebrate 40 years at BBC Radio Lancashire, where his legendary freeform show On The Wire continues to promote underground and new music every Saturday night at midnight. This special audio portrait charts Steve’s influential (and occasionally turbulent) four decades on air. On The Wire was among the first to interview The Smiths and Depeche Mode; it played 808 State’s “Pacific State and A Guy Called Gerald’s “Voodoo Ray” before anyone else; it even staged a free Fall gig at Clitheroe Castle. It’s been threatened by BBC cuts – twice – and both times saved with the help of its fiercely loyal listeners across Lancashire and worldwide.

Made by Steve Urquhart – producer of the recent BBC Radio 3 feature A Portrait Of Val Wilmer, chronicling another renowned Wire contributor – Greetings Music Lover features rare archive material plus new interviews from On-U Sound’s Adrian Sherwood, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, David Rodigan, Stuart Maconie, The Wire’s Tony Herrington and Derek Walmsley, plus various contributors to On The Wire over the years, and Steve Barker himself.


A good show and with a knowledgeable host too. Love his continuous support of reggae music, which is not mentioned above...

Honour to be a long time part of the team o.t w. X🙏 🎶🎧🎤.... A u.k. Radio instituition ...resoect indeed

His weekly show is absolutely essential listening. His deep knowledge and love of original and adventurous music has turned so many people onto so much great stuff....and increased my record collection!

This a great portrait of a fine man and a fine show

Like the show itself, that was a great listen - thanks for that. Keep up the good work...

Been listeing since the earliest OTW broadcasts...the best compliment I can pay Steve is that at times OTW was more essential listening than John Peel...he was ahead in bringing hip hop and dance to the airwaves in the mid to late '80's...and as for Reggse and!..those early Dub shows are land mark stuff.

Shame its tucked away at midnight, used to love it when it was broadcast live on a Sunday afternoon , lazing in the house in Liverpool

Congrsts Steve, I will keep on listening and spreading the word..."welcome music lover..."


its greetings music love!!!

Fraser.... i cant even type my own name!! doh!

Dub un jour, dub toujours... Steve Barker still at the control ;))
Laurent / WTM Paris

This is beyond well deserved. Truly my most listened to program and one of the most informative, inspiring and influential shows in history. This man is a true legend and pioneer, my hat is off to you Steve!

On the Wire has always been, and continues to be fantastic and essential. Steve is a hero. All the best young man - Al R.

I was listening to On The Wire in the early 90's, when Steve announced that he had a free copy of an album to give away to anyone who rang up. So I did and he sent me a beautiful purple-marbled vinyl copy of Babes In Toyland "Spanking Machine" A record I still play today!
Thank you, Steve Barker

still got lots of cassette recordings of the show from the 80's
it was essential listening


I remember trying to listen in at home in my bedroom in Dublin around about 1990. I had merry hell trying to tune the blasted thing in - kept fading in and out due to the terrible reception across the Irish Sea. But on a good day - if the weather was nice - you could get pretty reasonable reception here in Dublin. I recently searched out OTW online and am now a regular listener again - but without the hissing sounds. If only I could have gotten such good reception back when I was 18. Congrats to Steve and all at OTW - with Peel dead, Kershaw off the air and the recent retirement of Paul Jones, almost all the links to my radio youth are now gone. Long may the Barker bark!

It's a wonderful documentary about a wonderful show I'm proud to be associated with over many years. And so excited for The Wire to publish it!

We are trying to gather as much On The Wire material as we can, including recordings of shows. We have good coverage from '93 or so onwards (with lots of gaps), but really lacking in recordings for all the 80s and early 90s. If anyone has OTW recordings or other ephemera, we would love to hear from you, please contact me at to discuss.

Would love if "Shar" above could get in touch!

OTW has to be the top show on bbc readio. Have listened to this show for most my life from sundays to thursdays to saturdays thought it was moved to discouraged us from litening.You could pic it up on the wirral and even in south liverpool. .

Steve opened my mind and introduced me to many tunes and styles. I would call him up and he'd let me come and sit in the studio at BBC radio Blackburn on Kings St, just by the lights. This was a Sunday afternoon before moving to Darwen St studios. He gave me records and made me feel important. OTW was the most import radio show. I loved it. Thank you Steve. I love you man.

OTW, WAS MASSIVELY, I had loads of tapes back in the day, my favourite being the hip hop, dance show in I think 86. Almost 2 hours of fantastic nonstop tunes covering all sorts of bits n pieces of the genre. It was one of my prize possessions that I took to France on my first foreign break, I ended up there for 10 months but halfway through the time our car got broken into and all the tapes were stolen. I always imagined some kid in the south of France thinking what the .... Is this. I met Steve a few times, I mentioned getting him to DJ when My friend Andrew Hobbs, a Preston legend was getting married and he said yes. No dad dancing that night. Steve is an absolute hero, and the On U Sounds shows he helped to support at the Ritz and International Manchester were and still are some of the greatest gigs I've witnessed. Keep on doing it. Love and peace Kenn

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