Chronicle.lu recently had the opportunity to catch up with ARA City Radio Breakfast Show host Tom Clarke to learn about how he is settling into his relatively new role and his vision for the show.
In late November 2021, ARA City Radio, an English-language radio that forms an integral part of Luxembourg's independent radio station Radio ARA's network, announced that Tom Clarke would be taking over from Sam Steen (after twelve years) as the host of its weekday Breakfast Show.
Almost six months later, Chronicle.lu reached out to Tom Clarke for an interview.
Chronicle.lu: Please tell us a bit about your background, your interest and involvement in radio in general and your previous experience with Radio ARA specifically.
Tom Clarke: I did a show on Graffiti [Radio ARA's youth show] while I was still in secondary school. After school, I moved to Glasgow to study and had a show on the university radio station. I also became very involved in the music scene in Glasgow and eventually got to be a bit known as a DJ and so started doing guest radio shows here and there for independent radio stations like Red Light Radio, NTS and Dublab. I still also a have a monthly show that I make together with a friend for Clyde Built Radio in Glasgow.
Chronicle.lu: What did you find most appealing about the role of Breakfast Show host?
Tom Clarke: Being paid to soundtrack people's mornings every day is a dream gig.
Chronicle.lu: How have you settled into this new role? What have been some of the challenges?
Tom Clarke: In Glasgow, I worked as a concert booker and a DJ so I was mostly living at night, switching to early mornings has been a big change for me but I'd say I'm getting used to it by now.
Chronicle.lu: What is your vision for the Breakfast Show? What new ideas have you brought to put your own stamp on the show? How have listeners reacted to these changes? Have you found what works and what maybe doesn't?
Tom Clarke: I hope that the show gives people great music to start the day off, interesting interviews and a finger on the pulse of what is going on in Luxembourg's cultural landscape. I love the sense of community that the show has and want listeners to feel that the breakfast show is their own and open to their input at any time.
We've introduced some new features since I started the show. Two that have gone down particularly well are the track of the week vote that we have on Monday where listeners vote for their favourite out of a selection of new music that has been released that week to be played every day on the show. The other one is called "Lost in Music" that we do on Wednesdays, where we pick a theme, topic or genre etc and hand over the playlist to the listeners asking them to choose songs related to whatever it is that we're focusing on that week.
In terms of things that maybe don't work, I realise that I am a bit of music nerd so when I get a bit too geeky about things, I need to reel it in a bit!
Chronicle.lu: How do you go about selecting and reaching out to guests for the show?
Tom Clarke: Usually by looking for interesting upcoming events in Luxembourg but I've also had quite a few people on the show by now that I have met out and about at events and invited in for an interview the following week.
Chronicle.lu: Do you create your own playlists or do you have a narrow selection from which to choose?
Tom Clarke: Yes, I create the playlists and I'm constantly updating them with new music and old gems.
Chronicle.lu: What is your favourite genre of music? What do you like about Luxembourg’s music scene? What's missing (if anything)?
Tom Clarke: I love everything from great soul, disco, pop and RnB to psych-rock, indie rock and all the weird stuff in between.
It's great to see a more developed clubbing scene in Luxembourg and the amount and quality of bands coming here on tour is really good. There are some great local bands making music right now and it's amazing how much support there is for local artists from institutions like Music LX. I'd perhaps like to see more smaller DIY local gigs happening.