Wolverhampton radio presenter Dicky Dodd has shared the highlights of his career in a new podcast for a Midlands communications agency.
Dicky discusses everything from finding himself struck dumb on stage at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre to being made redundant last year and embarking on a new career as a part-time bus driver.
He also talks about how lucky he feels to be able to give back to the community. “I am really proud of what I have done over the years and how I can use my role to help raise awareness and help charities. I can entertain people but I can also help to make a difference,” he said.
Dicky’s career took a new path last year after he was made redundant after 19 years as long-standing role as breakfast presenter on Signal 107.
He found a new home as a presenter at 101.8 WCR FM in Wolverhampton, but he also qualified as a West Midlands bus driver and is delighted to be able to indulge his boyhood love for buses alongside his passion for local radio.
In the podcast, for PR and features agency Nurture Media, Dicky reveals he fell into radio almost by accident.
He had planned to do a video at Wolverhampton Bus Depot for his media studies course at school but was turned down for health and safety reasons. Through a neighbour, he ended up going along to Beacon Radio to film ‘A Day in the Life of Beacon Radio’.
He walked into the Tettenhall Road studios to find Dale Winton on air, playing Waterloo by Abba.
It was a fortuitous visit – not only did it begin his lifelong love affair with radio, but he also met the girl who would later become his wife.
He took some photos around the studio, including one of a promotions worker called Julie. They later worked together on the roadshows; friendship and love blossomed and they are now married.
“The way that I got into radio was a bit like default really,” he said. “It was not meant to happen but it did, and I am really glad it did. Radio is not a job, it’s a way of life. I really love it.
“It’s funny how you gravitate towards things you have an aptitude for.”
Dicky grew to become a household name across the Black Country after starting his radio career in 1994 at Beacon Radio. With his new-found fame he was able to help out with charities and good causes over the years. He has slept out to help the homeless and collected clothing donations as well as supporting many other projects.
Dicky said one of the highlights of his career on air included meeting Lionel Richie after an interview.
“I grew up listening to Lionel Richie in my dad’s car. I never thought that as a kid listening to him and then playing his songs on the radio I would ever get to meet him,” he said.
Off air, a highlight was appearing in panto at Wolverhampton’s Grand Theatre in early 2020, an experience that – unusually – left him lost for words.
He played the role of the Sultan in Dick Whittington, alongside stars like Su Pollard, Jeffrey Holland, Ryan Thomas, Ian Adams and many more.
“We had to rehearse my scene. I walked down the stairs and they were all there watching me. My mind went blank,” he said.
“Ryan Thomas looked at me because I had to feed him a line and raised his eyebrows. Then they fed the line to me and I did it. But I was so embarrassed. In my dressing room I had this massive panic or anxiety attack, thinking ‘I can’t do this’. I was really questioning myself.”
Then he thought of his mum, who had died just a few months earlier, in March 2019, leaving Dicky devastated.
“I thought, I am doing this for my mum to make her proud, because she is looking down on me,” he said.
“And I went out there on the first night and I delivered the performance. When the curtain came down everyone was so complimentary, but my stomach was like a washing machine.”
Dicky found himself in the news later in 2020 when he was made redundant from Signal 107, where he had been for 19 years, and where he had become part of the family for many listeners as presenter of the breakfast show.
“I had invested a lot of blood, sweat and tears,” he said. “There were great times, there were some challenging times and there were some sad times as well.
“But it’s business, it’s what happens. And you’ve got to sometimes not take it personally and you’ve got to move on.
“I had had a rough year when I lost my mum and I thought to myself that’s the worst thing that could happen to me. This is nowhere near as bad, so I’d got something to measure it by. When I put it side by side I thought, well it’s a job at the end of the day.”
Listeners rallied round and launched a petition calling for him to be reinstated. Even MP Pat McFadden signed.
Dicky said the support was ‘mind-blowing’ but he knew that chapter of his life had ended. He remained positive and moved on, finding a new job at WCR and qualifying as a professional bus driver.
“You have got to move outside your comfort zone sometimes,” he said. “I am pleased to have another string to my bow.”
Dicky was chatting to Sally-Anne Youll for the podcast, called The Media & Me.
The episode can be listened to at www.nurturemedia.co.uk/podcasts/radio-isnt-a-job-its-a-way-of-life/
It’s also available on Spotify at open.spotify.com/episode/1uwwuEdovAdHq9tBbaHGy5 and Apple at podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/the-media-me/id1551791937