I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Capital Radio and me

When I were a lad I used to listen to Capital Radio a lot. I have fairly vivid memories of Saturday mornings filled with it, on the occasions that my brother and I would stay at home rather than go down to stay with our maternal grandparents, as happened every weekend until 1988. At Christmas there was always the top 500 songs, played virtually back to back (maybe just between 9am and 5pm? was radio even 24hr back then?) over the course of several days, almost always culminating in Me and Mrs Jones, Layla, and Hey Jude. I remember listening to Pat and Mick's individual shows, not just their single(s), and to the commercial chart show which differed in some way to the one on Radio 1, though I can't remember how. I even remember some of the ads. Well, two of them: Harry Enfield in Stavros mode advertising a new newspaper, the Independent, with the strapline of "It flippin' is or are you what"; and new train route (now defunct!) Thameslink, singing "Thames-link! Thames-link! The train that takes you // straight through London // without changing stations // yeah!".

Well, now I work at Capital Radio. Actually I work for Global Radio (I think), who just bought the company I joined in March (GCap Media), and who own Capital Radio amongst a whole host of other stations across the country. Odd that we're named Global really, but meh. I'm not really a fan of Capital these days, but it is ace to work at a place I've known all my life. Still getting the hang of working for a company that isn't a pure internet company (this being my first such job!), but there are actually quite a few benefits to that. And best of all I get to keep working in central London, and bumping into (literally) DJs. In the last few months I have managed to stumble past David 'Kid' Jensen, Pat Sharp (uttering the word 'cunt', though not at me), Paul Gambaccini, and Henry Kelly in the corridors or at security. What a list! I'm sure I've also been in close proximity to various people who weren't broadcasting in some way in the 80s too, but I couldn't care less about them (actually I know full well that I've seen Alex Zane an awful lot).

Aaanyway, the real point of this post is just to puff my chest out a little bit. Capital launched their new website yesterday. It's not just a redesign -- it's a complete rewrite from the ground up by the team I belong to, a wholesale move from the outsourced version which existed before to an entirely in-house solution. I'm pretty proud of it for a number of reasons. Every part played is a big part given the small size of the development team here, but I'm (hopefully not unreasonably) particularly proud of my own contribution because of the technology we're using. As if this post wasn't boring enough already...

Capital's site, and the CMS which powers it, is built using Django, a framework written in Python. Nothing majorly special about that, but before March this year I had never coded with either, having never even heard of the former. Leaving Yahoo! after 8.5 years was a gamble for me, and likewise this place took a punt on me, believing my "I'll have no trouble picking it all up" spiel having been presented with a CV that said I could only code in Perl. I'm double pleased that I've repaid their faith, and proved (to myself, even) that I wasn't just boasting.

Though maybe this django and python lark is just really, really easy ;-)


auswomble said...

I think they stopped the annual top 500 countdown when the every-shrinking collective memory of the listenership dropped to a couple of years. Stairway to Heaven was number one for decades, taking up that spot even before it had been written. When George Michael's never-gonna-dance-again ballad topped the list the writing was on the wall.

matt z said...

We've got a Python guy on the team now.. so we'll just have to port r3. I'll get back to you in a week or so!

I have similar Capital memories. I even remember when Gary Crowley was a regular.

Mind you, I almost joined the desultory protests when Capital gutted XFM -- what a disaster that was -- especially since the Beeb did something similar to GLR a couple of years later.