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Monday, October 19, 1998 Published at 16:13 GMT 17:13 UK


From teenage kicks to radio role

Feargal Sharkey: Now has behind-the-scenes career in music

Feargal Sharkey, the former frontman for new wave popsters the Undertones has got a new job - helping to shape the future of radio.

Sharkey, who went on to have a solo career after the Undertones split, has been appointed by Culture Secretary Chris Smith to help oversee independent radio on the Radio Authority.

Asked how he would change radio given a choice, Sharkey said: "Play lots and lots more of my records - that's very important."

The singer of Teenage Kicks - which is consistently named as veteran DJ John Peel's favourite single - has been appointed to the position for five years

On Monday he met Mr Smith, who has been keen to widen the membership of the radio watchdog.

Hands on experience

Sharkey, now working as a consultant to record companies, applied for the RA position after vacancies were advertised for the first time in the national press.

"What he can bring to this is the role of the practitioner," Mr Smith said.

"He's got hands on experience which very often people sitting on these regulatory bodies don't have."

Sharkey said he was keen to bring his love of music and radio to bear in his new role.

"I was that nine-year-old child under the bedclothes listening to faraway voices when I should have been asleep. I still work in one form or another in the recording industry and hopefully I'll bring that on board.

"I'm one of those classic Celtic people who has an opinion on everything from the Milk Marketing Board policies in the 1960s to the colour of stamps."

Sharkey said he had absolutely no idea he would ever be in such a position when he was an aspiring pop star in his teens.

Wanted his name in centre of records

"I vividly remember being 16, 17-years-old looking at records and really wishing that they had my name in the centre of them.

"Personally I believe the next three to five years are going to be a really exciting time for radio with the advent of digital broadcasting. It will open up huge avenues for people.

"It can provide a greater range of opportunity for young musicians and for me this is a small step to help give something back."

Sharkey's appointment was one of three made on Monday.

David Witherow, a former deputy managing director of the BBC World Service was also appointed along with Sheila Hewitt, who is a member of the Immigration Appeal Tribunal and the Legal Aid Board.

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