I was born in Durban, grew up in Joburg at various boarding schools. I was
in my late teens when the rock revolution took place, when bands like the
Rolling Stones, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, the
Grateful Dead and a thousand others started making serious waves. The
Beatles had just released "Sgt. Pepper's". It was a whole new world, and
captivated myself and all my friends. I started collecting as much as my
limited funds allowed (a cub reporter in the SABC newsroom earned a massive
R80-00 a month!), and I still have some of the vinyl I bought in those
The travel bug bit me round about then - I was fortunate enough to miss the
ballot, which was the way they conscripted kids for the army in those days,
so I was free to go. I boarded a ship in Durban and over the next seven
years I starved in Australia, body-surfed in Bali, meditated in India,
worked deckhand on a charter yacht in the Mediterranean, and wasted time in
Canada. When I was actually earning money, it was generally as a freelance
journalist. I remember not eating very much during those days, things
I returned to South Africa and rejoined SABC radio, working for the English
Service as a producer/reporter. I had my first music show, called "Where
I'm At", round about 1977, on the English Service (now SAFM). I was the
first DJ to play ZZ Top on local radio. I remember getting a note from the
station's Programme Manager the following day, telling me that he strongly
disapproved, and that I really shouldn't play that kind of music on his
station. Needless to say, I carried on playing "that kind of music", and
joined the fledgling rock station, Capitol 604
, in 1978.
I was with Capitol for their first two years. It was bliss. We were based
in Port St. Johns, on the Transkei coast. I body-surfed every day, and
played rock & roll on the radio every night. It was the berries. The
was situated in the old Port Captain's house, overlooking the town. It was
the vibiest studio I've ever worked in. Towards the end I came into
conflict with Management regarding the content of their playlist in my show
(they wanted me to play some of their 'Top 20', and I wasn't too happy about it), and we
parted ways in 1981.
I immediately joined Radio 5, and shortly thereafter I was provided with
four hours of late-night airtime, five nights a week, and permission to
whatever music I liked. I doubt whether any rock DJ in the world at that
time had that kind of freedom, and I made the most of it. It was during
those days that the "Rock Professor" name came about - an advertising
gimmick that somehow stuck.
Round about 1992 the old story of Management wanting me to play more of
their playlist raised its ugly head again, and once again I was given my
marching papers. I marched down to 702, who were happy to give me my own
music show on what was essentially a talk station. Eventually, music was
phased out, and I found myself, having gone full circle, back at my very
first station, the English Service, which had since become known as SAFM.
did late night shows of my own music for them until 1999, when (guess
what?), I was told that I needed to play more of their playlist if I wanted
to keep the job! My last show on South African radio was in March, 1999.
So that's my 25-year broadcasting career, in a coconut shell.
I presently run a small firm which assists companies with Credit Control
problems - a
different field, I'll admit, but it keeps me off street corners holding a
large sign saying "Enormous vinyl and CD collection to support - pliz
I have a beautiful wife, Nadine, and two Staffies, Monty and Lulu. I've
been a motorbike rider all my life, and for the past eight years I've
a Harley with the Gutter Gremlins MC (we're not as scary as we sound). I
also have official duties with the Harley Owner's Group (HOG), based at the
dealership in Rivonia.
I'm extremely pleased, and grateful, to have been given this opportunity on
Radio Today to play my music again. I have a room full of it, just itching
to be heard. The patter of Little Feat will once again be heard on South
African airwaves! I'm especially pleased to be working, once again, with
those great broadcasting professionals, Phil Wright, Rafe Lavine, and Leon
Economides. Long live rock!
-- Chris Prior, 3rd February 2006