Interview: Harrogate DJ Pete Allison

London-based DJ Pete Allison has family in his hometown of Harrogate. Image supplied.
London-based DJ Pete Allison has family in his hometown of Harrogate. Image supplied.

“Last week, the lift doors opened and X Factor judge Nicole Scherzinger walked out, but the other day it was Vanessa Feltz - it’s a lottery, really.”

Such are the surprises faced by Pete Allison, the former St Aidan’s CE High School pupil who is making a name for himself as a national radio DJ.

This week, Pete was asked to take on two full weeks of the Radio 1 early breakfast show in March, a task described by the presenter as the biggest event he will ever have taken on.

It means he will broadcast live across the UK from 4am until 6.30am on weekdays from March 3 to March 14.

It is a telling coup for Pete, who first spoke to the Harrogate Advertiser ahead of his first stint on the early morning slot on Radio 1 in March 2013.

Pete said: “The March slot has come very quickly after I was last on Radio 1. It will be one of the biggest things I have ever done.”

At the end of 2013, Pete found himself the first choice to cover the early slot when the regular host was unavailable.

He said: “If you had told me back then I would be the regular early breakfast cover presenter on Radio 1 I would have been very surprised.

“I don’t know what 2014 will hold for me but I didn’t in 2013, either, and it worked out very well for me.

“It is nice to know Radio 1 has the trust in me to come down and cover, but every time I was asked it was more and more of a surprise.

“There are no guarantees of being invited back, but there never have been so I keep taking the approach of doing it to the best of my ability and looking at each show as being the last I will ever do for them.”

After leaving St Aidan’s in 2009, Pete studied broadcast journalism at Nottingham Trent University, where he won the Student Radio Award for Best Male Presenter.

Now living in London, he said: “It was a strange year for me, I had the challenge of moving to London and I did weekend shows on Absolute Radio and Christmas shifts at Radio 1. It was a non-stop fortnight.

Covering the early morning slot means a 2am wake-up call, and Pete can be called up to cover late the evening before, and expected to have a plan with which to fill two and a half hours.

He explained: “I have a bank of ideas in my head as and when I need them, but in October I got a call in late afternoon to cover the show.

“I quickly wrote some ideas down then realised I was up in a few hours, so went to bed.

“I had things ready but in those circumstances you just present the show as planned by the regular presenter.”

As for rubbing shoulders with TV stars, Pete sticks with his first love: “I’m still starstruck sitting next to the presenters working next to me, to be honest. These are the DJs I have grown up listening to, I’m still not used to that.”