It is so sad that our Programme Organiser for eighteen years Roger Eames, will not be with us in body to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary; but we can still celebrate his career and his friendly presence.
The following is from former Station Manager Owen Bentley for whom Roger was 'second in command' for twelve years:
Music and especially jazz is the thread that connects all parts of Roger Eames’s BBC career. He joined the BBC as a studio manager in 1962 and his skills in balancing such outfits as the NDO in Manchester led to his appointment as a music producer, a job that encompassed Music While You Work, Those were the Days, Victor Sylvester and Round Midnight but also sessions with young groups destined to characterise the sixties pop sound. An accomplished double bass player who had played jazz and formed his own bands since his student days he was soon the producer of Radio 2’s weekly Jazz Club presented by Humphrey Lyttleton featuring top jazz artists from around the world and new talent unearthed by Roger. He was proud of having introduced Jazz Workshop to Radio 3 despite the Controller’s comment that he “didn’t understand a note of it”. During these years he was the British judge at the Montreux Jazz Festival and served on Arts Council panels.
By 1969 Roger had a young family and wanted a more settled life and Local Radio beckoned. Following a brief successful attachment as Programme Organiser on Radio Nottingham he was appointed PO at Radio Leicester in 1970 where with interludes elsewhere, all music related, he would stay until his retirement in 1988. There his wide interests and amiable personality were great assets on and off the station and he always had time to talk and encourage newcomers. His love of music showed in the airtime given to local musicians, choirs and brass bands. His contacts at Radio 2 led to a memorable Local Radio 10th anniversary show which he produced featuring talent from all 20 stations broadcast on the national network and on all 20 Local Radio stations.
His Local Radio duties apart Roger was in demand as a musician and could be found on occasions in the pit of the Haymarket Theatre for the musicals for which that theatre established a national reputation. Together with his wife Christine, herself a talented composer and conductor they formed the Radio Leicester Big Band which went on to win major awards in Radio 2’s big band contests garnering welcome publicity and prestige for the station.
By the late 80s Roger found the narrowing of the programme
focus of Local Radio increasingly irksome and took early retirement establishing
a PR agency for public schools before moving to Spain where he and Christine took
their music skills to a new audience.