PAUL 'Goffy' Gough is a familiar voice across the North-East and this year celebrates 25 years on air. He reveals the secret to his longevity to Nick Loughlin

PRESENTING has always been for Paul Gough. Music has always been part of his life.

This year, the BBC Tees presenter celebrates 25 years on the North-East airwaves, after his first show Goffy In The Morning started out on Century FM.

But long before he was given a platform across the airwaves, Gough was learning the art of broadcasting at home in Hartlepool. Those memories and ideals from back in the day form part of his positive outlook today.

“We lived in Lowthian Road, and in the attic I had a big speaker which would play downstairs for me mam,’’ he laughed. “I would play them, introduce them, do my own shows as a kid.

“I’d play her favourite records while she was in the kitchen – there’s nothing now I don’t play that I’ve not played myself. It’s comforting and familiar.’’

You can find Goffy on BBC Tees every Saturday and Sunday, for two hours from noon.

It’s positive, upbeat, thoughtful, emotional – and shows every listener can resonate with on many different levels. The North-East is Goffy’s patch.

After being approached by BBC Tees chief Dan Thorpe to get back on air on a Saturday, the success of that show then brought a second slot 24 hours later: same presenter, alternative days, different style.

“The Sunday show works well because we have the traditional, family-feel and I often say that people can go around the dial, on that time slot, and there’s nothing like it out there on radio,’’ he admitted.

“A lot of stations are pre-programmed, pre-recorded and a rotation which is repeated.

“People hear something with me they’ve not heard in a while and come back for something else.

“It becomes very conversational; I know the patch and the people.

“Sunday is a different show to Saturday. If I was to do two shows the same people would have switched off by now. Saturday and people are up for a night out. Sunday is about recovering from Saturday night!

“I learned in my tough times that Sunday is a difficult day to negotiate for some listeners. Those excited on Saturday are feeling very different the next day.’’

He added: “The other thing of making good radio – and this comes after taking some time out – is how to deliver music. Playing music is an art form. The work is setting it up for someone to want to listen to it.

“You can play a record. But can you play one you can talk about? Put it into someone’s mind, jig an emotion. Sometimes you need to say nothing.

Goffy has matured as a present over the years. He still enjoys a laugh and a joke on air, but there’s no longer a pressure to impress.

The days of his wind up calls on Century are fondly remembered. They became part of North-East folklore.

But, as he accepts, there’s no way he could still be doing them today on the BBC.

He recalled: “The wind-ups were great, genuinely funny moments. I can be out now and someone will tap me on the shoulder and tell me about the wind-ups or recite words from them. I know now that the CDs sell at car boot sales for 25 pence!

“People would wait outside the school gates to hear them. They’d be stuck on the A19 in traffic, looking around and everyone was laughing in unison!

“But you can’t keep on doing the same thing. On the radio you have to keep reinventing to survive. We have parked them up.

“People talk about Goffy in the Morning, but the finest thing I carry from Century to Tees is talking to thousands of listeners over the years to tap into their knowledge.

“I would never try and make today’s shows feel dated. They are presented in a very personal way, calling on a back catalogue from the huge BBC library.

“Presentation style in 2019 is different to 1994. I deliver the songs on air very much in a today style and treat them delicately - never making them sound dated, tired or by using presenter clichés applicable to their eras. ‘’

Gough took over on the Century breakfast show from John Morgan (also the Century MD John Myers) – “a giant of a man” – and someone who he retains the upmost respect for.

“He’s a great friend, moved onto other things in the industry and nothing gives me a bigger thrill when he goes to Boro games and he gets in touch when listening,’’ he said.

“I’d never been on radio before Century. I worked the clubs, got to know people. But I’m qualified to play music to you – I was at the youthy discos, I was at the nightclubs with you, I’ve hosted events for you, been at some of the biggest functions around with you, I’ve been on the radio with you.

“I enjoy my radio now more than ever and I’m fully aware of what can happen. I’ve had a personal fall after Century and I’m not afraid to talk about it. I gained confidence from it. I might fall, but I will survive and might not set the world alight, but I’m not materialistic, no need to prove myself.

“On air on a weekend I treat every show as my last and put so much into them.’’

There’s a familiarity about listening to Goffy. There’s people from the past namechecked, stories to tell, a flood of memories.

It’s a comforting and winning formula.

He added: “Let people smile while they are listening. Start prodding emotions, gain their confidence and they will come back. Put me up against a commercial station, something programmed weeks ago in London by a generic presenter with no affinity with the area… if I can’t make a decent job of it that with all my experience and unlimited BBC library and the connections I’ve made over the years, knowing all about the patch I may as well pack up!’’