"Just a note to let you know you have a fan of 'collectors corner… she was positively gushing with praise for the show and the presenter!"
Sharon Armstrong, Sales Representative hertbeat fm, Knebworth, UK, July’01
"I loved your show and couldn't wait for Sundays to come to hear your voice & show. I feel like I really lost something special! I hope I do hear from you again.""
Cynthia Adams, Regular Listener. July 2013
"Robbie, just to say thanks so much for giving me time on the show last night. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was very impressed with the station. You've done an excellent, professional job, and I wish you success. You certainly deserve it. If there's anything I can do... (and I mean that). Thanks again, and see you soon I hope.""
Tony Bacon, Author & Editor, Backbeat Books, UK, March’02
"Wonderful Robbie Wonderful. It moved me to tears. But joyful tears, Wonderful memories of people I'll never forget. Thank your very much for this and for your lovely show. My biggest Dutch hug. Lieve groetjes.""
Levina Levja, regular listener to Radio Mi Amigo International. September 2017
"I feel compelled to let you know how much I enjoyed the programme yesterday. From Ray Stevens to Junior Campbell it was a wonderful evening's entertainment.""
Ian Cowley, Dunstable, UK, Sept’08
"Currently tuned-in to the current show from last week on your webpage...Flippin' Brilliant! It's like parts of my record collection on the radio. :)""
Spencer Kelly, Record Collector & Vinyl Enthusiast. August 2017
"I listened to your program on Voice of Peace that I had recorded. It was a really touching story and I got tears in my eyes.""
Ingemar Gustafsson, Vaxjo, Sweden, Sept’08
"Good grief - an enthusiastic DJ - a rare BEAST these days!"
Keith, Proprietor of Fruits de Mer Records, UK. March 2018
"You may not have won a Sony for the programme but we all think it deserves one."
Dave Randall, Stevenage, UK, May’10
"Many thanks for so many good years of wonderful listening… it was good to have, what seemed to me, a personal touch & a real rapport with the listeners. Keep on rockin'!!!"
Vic Regan, Herts, UK, May’10
"You always surprise me with things I've long forgotten about but it's great for me to remember…"
John Carter, Musician and Songwriter. January 2018
"It was a pleasure. Thank you for your warm hospitality and friendship. Made it back safely and I shall have a listen tomorrow to the smashing show."
Stuart Vint, Broadcaster & Writer. June 2017
In parallel with his career in the electronics industry, Robert "Robbie" Owen is an accomplished radio presenter. So it is not surprising that his roles in Sales and Marketing are characterised by excellent communications whether to individuals or in presentations to large groups.
He started his radio career in 1974 with Radio Hertford a hospital radio station. Then in 1978 he became a true "pirate" presenting Top 40 on the offshore radio station "The Voice of Peace" off the coast of Israel (enigmatically referred to on-air as being "somewhere in the Mediterranean"). His association with the Voice of Peace lived on many years after his last visit in 1982, as his voice introduced and closed the nightly "Twilight Time" programme until the station closed in 1993.
At Christmas in 1990, he completed a freelance contract with the Austrian State Broadcaster the ORF, on Blue Danube Radio in Vienna, where he presented "Good Morning Austria" and the Midday Magazine programmes. The music was "soft AC" (Adult Contemporary), with a high speech content of news and interviews.
In September 1990 he joined the newly established KCBC, a "golden oldies" station in Kettering, and progressed to be their Programme Controller in 1993-94, whilst still working full-time at Texas Instruments Bedford. He wrote the Programming section of their successful licence renewal in 1994. In 1993, 1995 and 1997 he also completed working holidays at KOKO (Adult Contemporary + Local News format), the local commercial radio station established in 1952 to serve Warrensburg, Missouri, USA (near Kansas City). This gave him inside experience of how American local commercial radio really operates!
At KCBC he developed a show for aficionados of the 60's "beat boom" , which was later called the "Jukebox Drive-In". This programme aired weekly on the High Wycombe station elevenSEVENTY from 1995 to 2000, and from March 2001 the Jukebox Drive-In moved to hertbeat FM where it aired weekly until May 2010. The programme regularly included interviews with luminaries from the music world.
In May 2010, after hertbeat FM became Jack FM (and now Heart FM), the Jukebox Drive-In moved to community radio station Biggles FM in Potton, Bedfordshire, until July 2012. Then in October 2016, after a long break, it returned to Northamptonshire on the new community radio station NLive, where Robbie was a founding member. It then returned to "KCBC Country" in October 2017 on Corby Radio, 96.3FM each Sunday at 8pm (www.CorbyRadio.com).
In 2017 Robbie built his own professional radio studio, a unique combination of old analog technology (turntables, cassette & reel-to-reel tape!) and digital playout system, which streams directly at robbieowen.com.
Between 2017 and 2019, having his own recording studio enabled him to start contributing to Radio Mi Amigo International, which revives the glory days of offshore radio from 1964 to 1989. It broadcasts daily on 6085KHz shortwave and online at www.RadioMiAmigo.International.
After the sudden illness of its owner, in 2018, Robbie spent a year as Chairman and helped to guide Radio Mi Amigo to became a non-profit broadcaster with a pan-european team of experienced former "pirates" broadcasting in English, Dutch, German and French.
Robbie has long experience of matching programmes to audiences, and successfully passing OFCOM assessments. He prepared the programming sections of KCBC's relicensing in 1994, and was the primary author of hertbeat's successful application in 2000. He also played a leading role in the "Maid FM" application for the Maidstone license, which was the runner-up.
He was the principal consultant for the NNBC (now “NLive”) application for a community radio licence in Northampton, and brought together local activists and the University of Northampton. This was the first time his University Programme and Radio careers have overlapped. He supervised the overall application, co-authored the programming and wrote the financial sections.
The disciplines required to succeed in these application processes are extremely demanding, and the success of the hertbeat FM application against formidable opposition was a decisive demonstration of Robbie's creative, organisational, and analytical skills.
Out of four applications he has been on the winning side 3 times!
Essaimage Associates is a lean and resourceful business, able to find efficient and durable ways to solve major problems. This experience did not come through more than 30 years of association with a corporation like Texas Instruments, but through building a new radio station from scratch!
So how do you build a new radio station? The hertbeat FM story is one that few have experienced. Many people dream of running their own radio station, but few actually make that dream reality because it is a long and complex process requiring many skills that just are not within the grasp of a typical "radio presenter".
In the case of hertbeat FM, the first step was the forming of an effective group to secretly lobby the Radio Authority for a licence to be offered in their area. This required political acumen as well as strong motivation. Once the licence was finally advertised, the group went public and set about generating massive local support, to counteract the emerging challenge from one of the most powerful newspaper groups in the UK.
The licence application required credible answers to several fundamental criteria:
Proof that you had strong support and most of your management already in place.
That your Programming would cater for local tastes and interests, as well as being commercially viable.
That you had done detailed Market Research so you could genuinely demonstrate what the local audience wanted to hear
That you had sufficient financial backing (circa £500,000) and a detailed business plan from start-up and up to 8 years on-air!
AND, that you understood the Engineering challenges of the both the transmission sites and the studio location
The hertbeat FM Licence Application was a convincing winner, causing immense embarrassment to the so called "experts" who had rubbished the efforts of this independent group!
Robbie and his team then built the radio station and it went on-air on March 3rd 2001. He was the Executive Vice-Chairman for 5 years, until July 2005 when the business was sold. The station is still on-air today (as “BOB FM”). It is profitable and still independently owned. This a source of enduring pride to hertbeat’s founders!
This project demonstrates an incredibly diverse range of skills: people selection, press & public relations, lobbying, market research, capital raising, financial planning, buildings, transmission sites, studios, marketing, promotions, sales, music, programming, presenter & sales training, cash-flow management, due diligence, trade sale, contracts, and shareholder relations.