There's no stopping Cardboard Shoes

By Jonathan BarnesBROADCASTING legend Keith Skues has promised his listeners he will never hang up his headphones - even if they will be hearing less from “Cardboard Shoes” in the future.

By Jonathan Barnes

BROADCASTING legend Keith Skues has promised his listeners he will never hang up his headphones - even if they will be hearing less from “Cardboard Shoes” in the future.

The 66-year-old is preparing to adjust from hosting five shows a week on the regional BBC radio service after a schedule revamp and admitted the change would be a shock to his system.

“I've had a good run so I can't complain - now I should be able to get a bit more sleep,” he said.

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Under the changes, taking place next month, Mr Skues is being replaced on the late-night show by BBC Radio Suffolk presenter Nick Risby, who will present the programme from Ipswich four nights a week, from Tuesdays to Fridays.

The nightly slot, from 10pm to 1am, has been Mr Skues' territory for the past 10 years.

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He will still host his pirate radio-themed show on Monday nights from 10pm to 1am and is taking on a new four-hour programme on Sundays, from 9am to 1pm, which he will broadcast from his home in Horning, on the Norfolk Broads.

Mr Skues, who was awarded an MBE in 2003 for services to local radio, said: “The BBC like to change things round and to inflict Skues on anybody for 10 years is long enough. It's time to move on.

“I'm not unhappy or bitter about it at all. Obviously I'm going to miss it and a major move after 10 years is going to disrupt and affect you.

“But I've been on radio all my life and I've reached my sell-by date. The Beeb have kept me past my sell-by date and I'm grateful for that.”

He added: “They are looking for a younger audience, people in their 50s rather than those who are even older than I am.

“Even if I'll only admit to 35, I've actually reached my retirement age now. If I worked in an office, I'd be out at 65 anyway.

“But there are those who want to retire and those who don't and the word doesn't exist in my vocabulary. I'll go on until I drop.”

Mr Skues began his broadcasting career with British Forces Network in 1958 and is the only DJ to have completed stints with Forces' radio, pirate stations, Radio Luxembourg, independent radio and BBC national, regional and local radio.

He was one of the original DJs to join Radio One at its launch in 1967 and was described by his late colleague John Peel as “the jewel in the crown of East Anglian radio”.

The broadcaster, a freeman of the City of London and RAF squadron leader, said he wished Mr Risby the best in his new role on the regional BBC service, which is broadcast across the Eastern Counties network.

“I spent many years in radio management and I was always keen to do what the BBC is doing - hoping that young talent will come through,” added Mr Skues.

“I don't want to sit there at 10pm every night blocking somebody from moving on. There is a lot of talent coming through and it needs to be wheedled out.”

Mr Skues, who is also a best-selling author and holds a pilot's licence, said he was looking forward to getting back his social life after the change.

“Five nights a week solidly working, you are literally married to the job. You fall out of bed and start planning for the next night,” he added.

“It takes me all day to put the show together, then afterwards I send out all the prizes and do the admin. It does cramp one's style.

“Now I'll have more time to myself and I may get round to unpacking the bags that have been sitting there since I came to East Anglia 10 years ago.”

The veteran broadcaster said he was delighted to be continuing with his Pirate Radio show and was looking forward to his new Sunday slot.

“I'm being allowed to broadcast the Sunday show from home and I've still got all the old-fashioned stuff, 300,000 records I can't play at The Forum(the BBC Radio Norfolk HQ),” added Mr Skues.

“I've also got four hours instead of three, so I can bore people to death with lots of archive material.

“In the past, I had the opportunity of interviewing everybody - the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Elton John - and I can broadcast those again, once I've blown off the cobwebs. I'm looking forward to it - and I hope people will like it.

“I will be able to spend more time writing, get a bit more sleep and enjoy some sunshine - and I've still got two radio shows a week. If they wanted to get rid of me, they would have done, so I'm happy.”

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