In a recent conversation between Peter Anstis, Media Director at Expatsradio.com and Stewart Andersen, Editor at Homes&Travel, Peter began by revealing that he started out life in the seaside resort of Eastbourne.
“I love the sea and the country,” explained Peter. “I especially enjoy being on and in the sea. I’m not a shooting and fishing type but I do have kayaks permanently strapped to the top of my camper van, ready for us to take off whenever we have a moment.”
How often Peter and his family actually have a moment is open to debate. Running an on-line radio station that is constantly growing and demanding attention means that there’s precious little time available for relaxing.
“Originally I was going to be a civil engineer, but I have to admit I wasn’t a great student. I found when I actually got into doing the job I didn’t really enjoy it. Certainly it would have been a smooth career path but it just wasn’t for me. On the other hand, I discovered the clarinet, saxophone and flute. I had a crack at playing them and discovered I actually wasn’t too bad especially on the saxophone and within a couple of years I was playing in a group.
Launching a radio station
“This was all in the early 1960s and it wasn’t long before I found myself in Germany and particularly Frankfurt, Hamburg and The Star-Club working with some very big names, particularly Americans. The rules were strict about bringing bands over from the States and they frequently needed what was known as a pick-up band. I worked for an agency in Frankfurt that only had two saxophonists. All of this meant that we worked like crazy for a couple of years which was wonderful.
“Communicating didn’t present too many problems. Because of my polyglot family background, I suppose you could say I was reasonably cosmopolitan. So living in Germany meant that I picked up the language on the hoof. And since then, thanks to my wife being Dutch and having to communicate with her family, that’s my best foreign language followed by French and German and then a working knowledge of Spanish.
“It was around this time that someone suggested I should get in touch with Polydor Records to see if they ever needed session musicians. It turned out they did and it was while I was doing all this that one day I noticed a studio full of recording equipment that was covered in knobs and buttons. From that point onwards I had an interest in the way a studio worked and that, after many twists and turns, finally led to launching a radio station.
“I think, happily, that I manage to combine being technical with creative in the sense that I understand how things work together and I think I also know how to put programmes together. That’s not to say that the computer revolution hasn’t left me behind somewhat, although it’s safe to say that I’m probably using up to a dozen to fifteen software packages at any one time in the studio to edit everything from video to film and sound.
“But I have to admit I was much more at home with the simplicity of manipulating good, old-fashioned tape. Now you spend your time having to save things in case you lose them and, of course, being human, it’s simple to forget to do something essential. Stop, record and playback were the easiest things for me.”
Partners and collaborators
“Expatsradio started in November 2005 as a test site. We wanted to find out if there was a market, which there certainly was, but we wanted to make it much bigger and to do that meant finding funding. Having worked in radio and television meant that we had a lot of contacts and a great many kind people helped out. Last March everything changed for the better and several of those kind people became partners and collaborators.
“In the last 12-months we have gone from zero to approximately 125,000 to 128,000 listeners per month. That means we have around one million listeners per year and our target is now one million listeners every month. It’s going very fast because many people have realised that owning a computer means they can listen to radio programmes on the same machine. It’s so easy to go to a site, choose a programme, press a button and there you are. You’re also able to be completely interactive with a station like Expatsradio.com.
“In fact, FM stations are becoming interested in this way of working given the size of the market. It’s estimated that there are just under 14 million expats on the move at any one time who speak English as their first or second language. We really welcome our listeners’ involvement with what we are doing, we love to hear from them and we’re happy to have them working with us. We thoroughly enjoy it if our listeners hear of something interesting where they are based and get in touch with Expatsradio.com to tell us about it.
“Our motto is Anytime, Anywhere and It’s Free. If you have a wi-fi or any internet connection anywhere in the world you can listen to Expatsradio.com. Even with a poor connection, we’ve had people tell us that they download programmes and that way, they can listen to us.
“We’re working on a special site for iPhones, iPads and all other smartphones. It is possible to get us on a mobile phone at the moment but there isn’t the complete accessibility. There will be, we’re not there yet but keep listening to this station.”
To listen to Peter Anstis and his colleagues or to get involved and become part of the Expatsradio family simply log on to: www.expatsradio.com