Throughout the 1980s, local specialist shows exposed me to a wide range of dance music. At the time that was a blanket term to cover anything from electro and hip hop to soul, reggae and early house music. Back then there were far fewer records being released each week, so DJs had to be versatile and play across the board. Some of the radio DJs who I listened to regularly were John Peel (of course), Greg Wilson, Robbie Vincent, Richard Searling, Stu Allan, Lee Browne, Ranking Miss P, Scotty, Tony the Greek, Steve Barker, Gary Hickson, Sam Brown & Waxmaster. Stu Allan was especially important in Manchester. Between 1986-92 (approx) he showcased the latest soul, hip hop & house releases, as well as many NYC style edited 'megamixes' by DJs such as Chad Jackson, Johnny Jay, Leaky Fresh, KA & Dolby D, Paul Mulhearn & Mr. Spin.
As an enthusiastic young music fiend in Stockport, these stations were a lifeline to quality new releases, and exposed me to a lot of older music that I had missed. Little by little I was building a collection fuelled by this knowledge, all the while improving my DJ skills. By 1987 I was proficient at turntable mixing and editing, although I was still using primitive home hi-fi gear. In the summer of 1988 I had my first mix played on Waxmaster's show on the Manchester pirate station WBLS. There is a useful archive of Manchester Radio here.