For the record in 73 minutes of recorded conversation Billy Sloan mentions Jim Kerr's name only once. Admittedly he does namecheck Simple Minds five times, U2 five times (at least), Paul McCartney twice, David Gilmour three times, and Elton John, Bowie, Muhammad Ali and Georgie Best in passing. To be honest, that's only a partial list. The journalist and broadcaster is – he admits as much himself – an inveterate namedropper.

But in the last 12 months in a small way people have been dropping his. It started in December 2014 when Sloan was made redundant by Radio Clyde after 23 years (on and off) at the microphone. "I was just talking to Billy Sloan for his last ever Radio Clyde show. It's a sad day," tweeted Lloyd Cole at the time. Come April, though, Sloan had started a new show on Radio Scotland. He's now to be heard on the station every Saturday and Sunday night. And in October he even got a passing mention in Good Night and Good Riddance, David Cavanagh's acclaimed book on John Peel as one of Peel's sometime contemporaries, and one of those DJs who made a contribution to the musical health of the nation.

Sloan, who turned 60 last month, has, then, arrived at the "veteran" stage of his career. He is looking well on it. We are sitting in a West End bar in the dog days of December, him in his trademark leather jacket, talking about music (his default setting), his younger days (when he worked on Glasgow building sites) and his technophobia (new bands take note. He won't stream your new songs. Send him a CD.)

His voice is cosily familiar. For those of us old enough to recall his first stint on Radio Clyde between 1979 and 1985 (yes, my hand is up), he was instrumental in introducing us to new Scottish bands such as the Pastels or the aforementioned Mr Cole (Sloan recalls the singer giving him a cassette while he was DJing. He played the cassette on his radio show and the Polydor record label was straight on the phone. "Within two months they were in a studio and within six months they were on Top of the Pops with Perfect Skin," Sloan recalls. "If it was exciting for them it was exciting for me.")

He is still playing music on the radio, still going out to three gigs a week, every week, still telling everyone that his job is his hobby. And he's thrilled to be working at the BBC. "People have been really nice and welcoming and you feel part of a team. I don't know if it will last two months, two years or 20 years but I'm having a great time."

The implication is that he never felt part of the Radio Clyde team despite spending more than two decades at the station. "There wasn't a team at Clyde," he insists. "I would come in at midnight. In the latter days because so much was networked there were times when I was the only person in the building."

He says when he was made redundant last December "the state of mind was one of disappointment and sorrow." I think there might be a little bit of anger mixed in there too. He doesn't seem to have felt much love from his employers. "We did sessions with some of the biggest artists in the world. We did interviews with U2, the Rolling Stones, Tom Jones, Coldplay, Simple Minds. But that didn't seem to have any currency with them because basically everyone in radioland is playing the same s*** 25 records over and over and over again. And I was always the proverbial square peg in the round hole from the word go.

"You're not looking for somebody to blow smoke up you're a*** but occasionally if someone had said 'how did you pull that one off? …'"

No-one else at the station, he suggests, was that interested in the fact that he would get a band like Oasis in for a session. "They would happily walk along to the vending machine and get a Twix or a packet of McCoy's crisps but they wouldn't walk 50 yards and look through a glass panel to see one of the biggest bands in the world playing in the station and I can only put that down to complete disinterest.

"But had it been somebody who had been eliminated in the quarter finals of The X Factor, a Jedward or someone who was typical daytime fodder, they'd have been doing cartwheels down the middle of the office carpet."

He moans, too, about the station's deClydeification over the years. "Radio Clyde is part of the fabric of Scottish and particularly Glasgow life, like Oor Wullie and Morton's Rolls and Barr's Irn Bru. But it seems to be getting anglicised. Tony Blackburn's on on a Sunday afternoon now [on Clyde 2]. Tony Blackburn's a great broadcaster, don't get me wrong. But people don't switch on Radio Clyde to hear Tony Blackburn playing a request for Elsie in Halifax. Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought local radio should be local and that's the last thing it is any more."

Sloan can certainly claim that. He was born in Townhead in Glasgow and lived in a room and a kitchen with his mum, dad, sister and brother ("This sounds almost Dickensian," he admits.) The family moved to a maisonette in Springburn when he was 13 (complete with indoor toilet and everything).

His father drove the Finnieston Crane and got his son a job at the docks as a clerk. Sloan then got a job with the Glasgow Corporation as a labourer. He had a 28-inch waist and all the overtime he could handle.

But he wanted to be a journalist and wangled a job at the Bishopbriggs Times on wages so low he didn't have to pay tax. The editor's husband happened to be deputy editor of the Sunday Mail and he offered Sloan a column in 1979. Everything took off from that. Soon Jim Kerr was dropping off Simple Minds' latest singles fresh from the recording studio.

In the eighties – when hearing new and independent bands meant staying up late and listening to DJs like Sloan on the radio – Sloan was a key part of the Scottish music scene. So much so that some 30 years (and counting) later that might now be a problem. There are some who, noting all those Simple Minds namechecks, would say that Sloan is stuck in the past. Yesterday's man.

"The people who say that frankly aren't listening," he says bullishly. "Last week someone had sent me an unsolicited single from a group I'd never heard of, Foggy City Orphan. It's one of the best things I've heard in the last five years."

That said, I doubt he goes home and listens to banging hardcore or glitchy electronica. He likes guitars, has done ever since he heard The Who Live at Leeds album back in the early 1970s. But press him and he'll tell you he likes Sinatra and Edith Piaf and musicals. "I can sit and watch the Mikado and think that's f****** magic. I'm not this guy who compartmentalises records. A great record is a great record."

Sloan was married "back in the mists of time, but that never worked out." He has two grown-up kids, five grandkids, goes to the movies and does boxing training in his spare time ("I'm one of the big skippers of the modern era.")

But give him the choice and he'll do something musical. It's Monday when we meet. He's been to three gigs since Friday; to see Gun, Madonna and The Bay City Rollers (some might suggest that's evidence for the prosecution in itself). "Folk say 'you're 60, you'll not be going to King Tut's anymore.' And I'm like 'how no?'"

Anyway, he says, when it comes to rock and roll the old ones are still the best. "In 10 years' time we are not going to have Bruce Springsteen and Mick Jagger and David Bowie and Elton John and Rod Stewart. The guys who wrote the book. I don't think Jake Bugg's in the same ballpark. Ray Davies' worst song is better than Ed Sheeran's best. But as soon as I say that I'm told 'you need to get with the programme grandad.'"

Someone who worked with Billy Sloan once told him that he was nothing but a fan with a typewriter. "Instead of it being the ultimate put-down which is what he intended, it was the greatest compliment," Sloan tells me. "When you stop being a fan, just stop. Go and walk the dog. I'm still a fan. I get excited. I've met all my heroes."

Billy Sloan leaves the building. Jim Kerr, Bono, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney go with him.



It sounds a bit namedroppery but sitting in a room with Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Brian Wilson David Bowie Ray Davies or Jerry Lee Lewis. These are the guys who wrote the manual.


Being out of work because I like doing what I do. My job's my hobby.


Ignoring the worst piece of advice I got. When I was about 13 or 14, I went to the careers master at school and said I want to be a journalist and he said 'forget it, in ten years' time there will be no such thing as newspapers.' I walked out of the room saying 'I'll show you.'


Groucho Marx. Hilarious. And if you ever tried to pull a bird if you couldn't pull a bird with Groucho as your oppo it would be worth knowing. Sinatra, because I just think he was the greatest male singer of that genre and I think he'd be a very colourful guy to hang around. Edith Piaf because I think she had such a troubled life but what she achieved in that life was amazing and last but by no means least Muhammad Ali. If you're going to be a boxer be the best, and he was the best.