Broadcast veteran Brian Richmond leaves Gold 905, but is not done with radio yet

Brian Richmond, 75, will still be a presenter on VintageRadio.SG, an online radio app geared towards seniors, after leaving Gold 905. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE – Broadcast veteran Brian Richmond would like to quell some rumours. His sudden departure from Gold 905 after being on air for more than five decades is not because he is ill.

And he is not done with radio just yet.

He will continue to be a presenter on VintageRadio.SG, an online radio app geared towards seniors that streams classic pop tunes from the 1950s to the 1970s.

“I try to keep myself fit as a fiddle,” he tells The Straits Times in an interview at the office of VintageRadio.SG, adding that he jogs three times a week and that his health is fine.

“Age is just a number. I feel as young as I think I am. You know, I keep thinking that I’m 27,” says the amiable 75-year-old Singaporean with a laugh.

Richmond has been hosting on weekdays from 10am to 2pm on VintageRadio.SG since it launched in September 2020. On Wednesdays, he has another programme in which he interviews personalities ranging from ministers to other seniors, and discusses topics such as active ageing. Other VintageRadio.SG presenters include veteran singer Rahimah Rahim and radio deejay Patrick Kwek.

Richmond is also still hosting live events, from tea dances at community clubs to programmes at senior activity centres and nursing homes.

“I was burnt out. I had so much work, so something’s got to give,” he says of his decision to stop doing The Vintage Showcase, his show on Gold 905 that aired on Sundays.

A former sportsman, Richmond started as a radio presenter and television sports commentator at what was then Radio Television Singapore in 1971. He was also a deejay at various clubs in Singapore.

“People fail to realise the preparation that goes on behind The Vintage Showcase. It’s not like I work only once a week, I’m working every day.”

The Vintage Showcase has several segments ranging from song requests to highlights of local music. He had to spend a lot of time working on e-mail and messages from listeners, as well researching the background information of the songs on his playlist.

“I was contemplating on this for at least two months or so. It wasn’t done on the spot,” he says of his decision to quit. The only person he told beforehand was his wife, Susanne, a part-time family counsellor. Even his two sons, Mark, a former radio deejay and now a director at Sport Singapore, and Don, a music composer and producer, were kept in the dark.

Brian Richmond says he received a lot of messages from his long-time listeners telling him that they were sad that he was leaving Gold 905. He hopes they will continue to listen to his shows on VintageRadio.SG.

He says doing the VintageRadio.SG programmes is less stressful because they are mostly pre-recorded at his house and he can work on them at his own pace. He plays songs from the 1940s to the 1970s, including a lot more local music from his massive personal collection of vinyl records, which he says numbers around 10,000.

When he is not busy with work, he spends his time reading autobiographies and watching news channels on television.

He is not a fan of scrolling through posts on social media. “My worry is I will become a slave to it. I can use my time better,” he says.

He and his wife live in an executive flat in the northern part of Singapore. The couple go out with their sons and their families on the weekends.

He used to have regular outings with his only grandchild, Sol, son of Mark and his wife, actress and director Beatrice Chia-Richmond. But these have stopped since the 15-year-old left Singapore for Orlando, the United States, to train as a professional golf player in June 2022. Brian Richmond plans to travel to Florida to visit Sol in 2023.

He has been feted several times in his career, earning accolades such as a lifetime achievement award at the Singapore Radio Awards in 2005. In June 2022, he was one of the broadcast media veterans honoured at the Singapore Press Club’s 50th anniversary event.

If there is one thing that he will miss from Gold 905, it is the live, on-air chats with his listeners. But he is glad they can still connect with him through various channels on the VintageRadio.SG app. He adds that he is on good terms with his former colleagues at Gold 905, describing them as family.

He says of his time there: “I will miss it, that’s for sure. Like any other thing, if you’re used to it, it becomes part of your life and when suddenly you don’t have it, then you will find a bit of emptiness.”

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