Who is Nick Abbot?

If you've just bumped into this web site and are thinking
who the hell is this Nick Abbot guy then let me explain...

Nick Abbot started his radio career on his student station at Brunel University, URB as it was back then (now B-1000). Eventually he went on to bigger things at Radio Luxembourg and then to BBC GLR in 1988 where he did a breakfast show. Nick was never really happy there and soon left. While at Luxembourg Nick got to know about the controversial American talk show presenter, Neil Rogers. After listening to his shows and doing a couple of live link-ups Nick decided he wanted to base his character on Rogers.

It was only when he was offered a job on the UK's new national rock music station Virgin 1215 that Nick was given a chance to do just that. This is where I come into the story. I first heard him back in 1993 while living in Finland. One night I was scanning through my satellite channels (you can't get Virgin on AM in Finland and Finnish radio was awful) when I bumped into a rude man taking the piss out of some poor caller on Virgin. I was hooked from that moment on and almost every week night I listened in 10 'til 2am (which was actually 12 'til 4am for me in Finland).

The show was amazing popular. People of all ages phoned in. The kids created music jingles for his show and the older ones gave Nick advice on his many health problems. Clint was on the phones and gave some input into the show. Then of course there were the regulars like Ade Who Can't Get Laid (a kid who worked in a biscuit factory), The Mad Baker Boy from Romford (a psycho who baked bread at night), Zurie ("Hello!"), Mrs Hull (Nick's adopted radio mum), Rab (so called as he was always drunk and sounded a bit like Rab C Nesbit), Miriam ("I love you Nick"), Mad Mary and many others. Being in Finland I wasn't able to phone in because of the restrictions on 0645 and 0500 numbers to international callers, but I did post him a little computerised joke "jingle" on a tape which he used quite frequently whenever the computer system in the studio went down.

Sadly this classic show ended in 1994. Nick was then given an early evening slot and had to tone-down his act, mainly just asking people for music requests. It seemed that Virgin couldn't afford Nick's rather large Radio Authority fines any more. (I could go on about how restrictive the Radio Authority are in the UK and what I think of them, but that's best left for another time.)

After this I didn't hear much about Nick Abbot and had assumed it was all over. And in a way I think it was. "Nasty Nick" just wasn't going to work with the Radio Authority.

However, back in 1995 I had moved back to the UK and discovered the Internet. I decided to start a little web page about Nick Abbot and his old Virgin phone-in. It was more of a joke than anything else. I didn't really think it would get much interest and no one else seemed to have any Internet pages about Nick. But just at the same time another guy called Andrew Ace was creating an "official" Nick Abbot web site. It was a total coincidence. I don't think he knew about mine and I didn't know about his page until we had both put our pages up on-line at around the same time.

My page then started to generate a bit of interest. At the time it only contained a couple of transcripts and a few badly sampled jingles from the old shows.

About a year later in 1996 a "Nice Nick" appeared back on the airwaves doing stand-in's for Talk Radio presenters. Still a very funny guy but with less of the "abuse". Things were looking up again.

Around this time Nick was also working for VMR, Virgin Megastore's radio station. It was also possible to see Nick play live from the London store. I happened to see him there one day quite by chance. It was a strange feeling looking up into this 'goldfish bowl' type studio above the record stands after recognising his voice and seeing him there. It was like seeing God looking down at you.

In the summer of 1997 Virgin Radio let Nick do another phone-in but he never really had a chance to get it going properly. Nick was only broadcasting on AM and satellite, the FM version of Virgin for London was different. This meant he was in the 'spare' studio with no one to help him screen the callers. As a result it was difficult to get the momentum going and the quality of calls could not be maintained. The show didn't last very long.

The same summer Nick landed a proper job on Talk Radio, co-hosting with a good friend of his, Carol McGiffin. The shows were excellent. They both worked together really well. Eventually that show ended and Nick got his own Saturday afternoon show on Talk Radio with a little help from Kev the producer, Sickboy on the phones and Nellie (who later moved to Virgin to do his own music show). It was also around this time that I started the Nick Abbot mailing list for fans to get in touch and chat with each other. The list has been going from strength to strength ever since it was started and is now a popular place for idle chitchat and Nick Abbot related announcements.

It wasn't until Summer 1998 that Nick managed to get a full time weekday evening show on Talk Radio. Things were going really well, the show was a success, we all fancied Nikki the newsreader, and everyone was having a laugh. By now Nick had built up quite a following on the Internet and many web sites where being dedicated to him. In fact there were so many web sites out there that I got together with Andrew Ace, Chris Barnes, and Ian Cole to start www.NickAbbot.com, a central point on the Internet where all the Nick Abbot sites could be listed and easily accessed.

Then in November 1998 Talk Radio was taken over and acquired some new management. People were being fired left, right and centre, sometimes with just a few hours notice. Talk Radio was changed into a sports orientated station (some have called it a lower class version of BBC 5 Live with adverts). Nick Abbot, along with many of the other station's favourites did not fit in with the new schedules and were told to leave. To many Nick Abbot fans on the Internet this was known as "Black Thursday". Nick's producer Kev also decided to leave and headed on over to Virgin. Many listeners with Internet access devoted their time to bringing Nick Abbot back on the air. In fact Neil Kennedy started a virtual condolence book for the death of the Nick Abbot show which attracted hundreds of people to sign it within a just few days!

In March 1999, just five months after losing his Talk Radio show, LBC announced that Nick Abbot was to co-host a new Saturday evening show with the one and only Carol McGiffin. Nick and Carol were on top form once again with their new home. Even Andy/Sickboy managed to hop on over to screen the calls. It was like belonging to a family, listening to that show - or perhaps a better way to put it, it was like a casual chat down the pub between mates. But the show ended in September 1999, when their contracts ran out. Although popular with the younger generation, many of whom where listening via the station's Internet web site and so do not count, the show did not fit in well with the rest of the station's programmes or the older listeners. Nick's last ever words as a broadcaster on LBC were, "Oh by the way, I'm a lesbian."

As we approach the year 2000 Nick's fans are left wondering what is next for the Nick Abbot talk shows. Nick is running out of stations to broadcast from. Perhaps it is time to start thinking of other broadcast mediums, much as the Internet.

Through all this Nick has managed to keep his daytime music show on Virgin. He is one of Virgin's longest running DJs, being there from the start in 1992. If you like Virgin's playlists his show is worth a listen. Even though Nick doesn't say much he'll add the odd comment here and there between songs that'll make you laugh.

Nick Abbot now has one of the biggest selection of fan web sites for any British radio presenter. Quite ironic when you think how much he hates computers.

And in closing, I'd just like to say contrary to what you may have heard Nick call us, we're not all "Net nerds" (I think I'm reasonably normal actually). We just like to devote a bit of our spare time to promoting his excellent shows. Nothing wrong with that. =o)

©1999 Timo Newton-Syms
(Webmaster for this "banana coloured" web site, NickAbbot.com, and owner of the mailing list)