I Was So Skint I , I Had to Sleep in My Car for the Golden Gods. the Next Year I Owned Them; BILLY RADIO STAR RECALLS THE ROCKY ROAD TO MEGA-SUCCESS; How Former Boss of Real Radio Launched a Global Rock Music Empire and Will Premiere a Website Allowing Fans to Find out All about Fave Bands
Byline: CRAIG MCQUEEN firstname.lastname@example.org
A LEAFY residential street in Hamilton isn't an obvious place for the epicentre of a global rock music empire, but don't tell that to local man Billy Anderson.
The 45-year-old is the former MD of Real Radio and its sister stations, having quit the high-flying post to launch his own business aimed at tapping into the loyalty of hardcorerock fans across the world.
After securing PS13million of investment, he bought a stable of magazines, headed by Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, launched his own digital rock radio station and next year will premiere a rock music website - all from the office above his home.
But only 18 months ago, Billy had to sleep in a hire car while attending an awards ceremony as his dream teetered on the brink of collapse.
He said: "People had been saying I'd lost it - following a personal passion as if it was a hobby.
"The day after last year's Download Festival, we were invited to a rock awards ceremony called the Golden Gods Awards and we couldn't go, we didn't have the money. But we hired a car and went down to make it look as if we were fine. We slept in the car outside the venue overnight. After completing the magazine deal, we now own that awards ceremony."
Billy's never been shy of a challenge, having done the famous Cannonball Run in America and he loves his motorbikes. He even rode his Harley Davidson on the annual Glasgow Yorkhill Hospital Easter Egg Run to raise funds for the charity.
The story of his rise begins when Billy was MD of GMG Radio, having turned Real Radio from a young upstart into Scotland's biggest commercial station.
The firm bought Paisley station Q96 and rebranded it Rock Radio, and Billy immediately found out how passionate rock fans were about their music.
He said: "I noticed that when we did a Real Radio event, we couldn't give away a T-shirt, but when Rock Radio had its first birthday at the Garage in Glasgow, we'd sold out of merchandise by the time the second band came on. That resonated with me. What people wanted from Rock Radio was a badge and I started to look at it differently.
"It was a way of life, it was honour. It was part of you. I could relate to that because I'd been a rock fan since I was a kid. So I saw the opportunity to go deeper with an audience."
He decided to go it alone, naming his project TeamRock.
"I started to amass a war chest and negotiated to leave my job. I started to piece together a team of people I had known for over a decade and we started to build out from my house. I changed the dining room into an office and the living room was the boardroom."
But the early stages didn't go according to plan. Two attempts at buying a radio station didn't work out. …