Everyone wants to share a car with former Rock FM and Radio Caroline DJ Rob Charles

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From giving a former member of the Royle Family a lift, to appearing on a popular Peter Kay comedy series, radio broadcaster and voice-over artist Rob Charles can certainly make a drive more interesting.

From giving a former member of the Royle Family a lift, to appearing on a popular Peter Kay comedy series, radio broadcaster and voice-over artist Rob Charles can certainly make a drive more interesting.

In 2013, the former Rock FM DJ was asked to be the voice of the radio on Peter Kay’s Car Share. He happily sent in some audition tapes and didn’t expect to feature quite as heavily as he was.

He recalls: “It was weird as I had been on Rock FM for so long, but I didn’t know if Peter Kay had heard of us. I had never met Peter Kay.
“The production company got in touch with me and I sent in to tapes - one of a Rock FM show and another of Smooth FM. They liked my Rock FM show and asked me to record for the BBC.
“I didn’t know until I went to the recording that this was for a new TV show about people sat in a car listening to the radio. I heard nothing more from it and assumed it really wasn’t that funny at all and didn’t go ahead.

“But two years later it was shown on the BBC. It was shown at various times with no proper schedule. It was not until it was repeated that the series as a big hit. In 2017, we recorded a second series.
“I didn’t realise I would be that prominent in the show. I thought I would just be in the background, but Peter Kay interacted with the radio quite a lot.
“I loved the show. It was sad when they decided to call it a day.”

Before he entertained passengers on Peter Kay’s Car Share, Rob had entertained another famous name.
Back in 1990, the 55-year-old ferried the late Caroline Aherne to work as they both presented at KFM Stockport.

He recalls: “I grew up in Timperley, Manchester, and Johnny Marr, Paul Young, Caroline Aherne and Frank Sidebottom all lived within a mile from me.
“I started my radio career in 1982 at Wythenshawe Hospital, and Frank Sidebottom was the first person I interviewed.
“He must have been visiting a patient there and he slipped a note through the studio door, asking if I would be interested in interviewing his new character. He came along in his giant papier mache head and I interviewed him.
“I then worked at pirate station KFM and in 1990 the station was legalised and Craig Cash, Caroline Aherne and Terry Christian joined.
“We were like one big happy family and we all got on with one another.
“Caroline used to come to my mum and dad’s house for a lift from me. We spoke about my show and her characters for the feature she came up with Who’s Mother where she did an impression of someone’s famous mum.
“She spoke about TV shows and why she turned down an offer to be a presenter on the Word with Terry Christian because she was scared. “We also gossiped about fellow workers.”

Nowadays Rob spends less time in the car, as he has a recording studio at his Whittle-le-Woods home.
From there, he does voice over recordings which are broadcast all over the globe.

He says: “My dad died in 2015 and my mum got dementia, so I needed to diversify what I was doing to look after her. I was always told ‘do what you know best’ and that is radio and voice-over work.
“I have a YouTube channel - Rob Charles Videos - where hospital radio and internet stations can download my jingles and voice-over work. This then takes them to my page where I can offer custom-made recordings for more corporate clients and I get a lot of work from that.

“I do adverts and on-hold messages for various companies. I get a lot of work from this. I have just done something for a station in Houston, Texas, all from my home.
“I have kept my hand in radio, as I have a show on the Great Yorkshire Radio on a Sunday, all recorded in Chorley. Technology is so good you can broadcast anywhere in the world.
“I also have a background music company, RC Media that supplies markets with custom commercials voiced by me to go on their radio channels. RC Media. Blackburn Market have been using my service for a few years now.”

Rob has moved around the country and even across the globe to further his radio career.
He says: “I worked at KFM from 1980 to 1982, with Craig Cash and then when I was 21, I went to work in Israel on the Voice of Peace. It was an English and American station, but broadcast to residents in Israel. It was lovely - I was treated like a celebrity. It was based on a ship three miles off the coast of Tel Aviv. The station started off broadcasting peace messages but in the end it was just pop music 24 hours a day. It was a really exciting opportunity and I met some life long friends there.

“I left there as I got offered a job at Radio Caroline which was another pirate station which broadcasted to the south coast of the UK and Europe.
“I worked there for six months and worked for Radio Top Shop in Manchester and also Radio 3D at Debenhams in Preston. I was on the ground floor, broadcasting to the lower floor. It was good fun as I got to play records and talk, advertising the clothes and special offers.”

In 1990, Rob rejoined the newly legalised KFM and two years later, moved to Rock FM. He adds: “I worked there for six years. It was THE radio station and everyone listened to it. It played the music I loved and we were one big happy family. It is quite sad as I was asked to join by the then programme controller John Myers, who sadly passed away last week, aged 60. He took me to another radio station after Rock FM, Century 105 (now Heart).”

Rob took a break from broadcasting in 2002 to run two coffee shops - Blueberries - in Sale and Leek in Staffordshire.
He adds: “Before I went into radio I got a City in Guilds certificate in catering as a backup so a friend and I set up the two coffee shops. It was a total change but I had to admit, my real passion was radio and I got bored. I got a call to come back to Preston to present on Magic 999 and so I went there from 2004 to 2010.
“After that I went to Central Radio Preston, and then the Bee Breakfast show and I worked there until 2015, when I started doing voice over work at my home studio.”

Over the course of his career, Rob has interviewed many famous faces and was bemused when his studio got trashed. He adds: “Mr Blobby once came into the Rock FM studio and knocked everything out of place.
“I have interviewed a lot of people, including Ant and Dec and The Bee Gees. I remember being so awestruck of The Stranglers’ Hugh Cornwell that I kept calling him Hugh Grant.
“When I was at Century, Noddy Holden worked there and whenever it was a hot day, he would always buy me an ice cream. He would never let me buy him one.”

It has not all been fun and madness, as Rob recalls a sombre time broadcasting following the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in 2001 and the death of Princess Diana in 1997.
He says: “One of the worst times was when the 9/11 attacks happened. That was an unbelievable afternoon.
“I was also on air when Princess Diana died. That was such a sombre week as all radio stations had to play sombre music until the funeral.”

The father-of-three’s other current work includes: social media advertising and marketing for BBB Group of Companies, Bamber Bridge; event hosting; match day DJ at Preston North End home games and he is on the air on 103.2 Beat radio in Preston from 1pm weekday afternoons.

For more information, visit http://www.robcharles.com/

Follow him on social media: https://www.facebook.com/#!/robcharlesradioshow and https://twitter.com/radiorobcharles