Ridge Radio – Presenter of the Month April 2021

Ridge Radio is our local community radio station with its studio at Soper Hall, Caterham, staffed by 48 volunteer presenters.  To listen download the free Mobile App and tune in from anywhere in the World, or on any Alexa enabled device by first asking, ‘Alexa Install Ridge Radio’ and then by asking, ‘Alexa Enable Ridge Radio’ or visit: www.ridgeradio.co.uk and clicking ‘Listen Live’.
This month, our Presenter in the Spotlight is Crystal Hay. Her show is on Sunday evening from 17:00 to 18:00.
Please tell us about your show on Ridge Radio. 
My show is called “The Gospel Hour with Crystal Hay” featuring a selection of gospel, reggae, dance, jazz, and inspirational music. My passion is to encourage, uplift, inspire and share a message of love and hope through my music.  As a singer and songwriter, myself, I like to give local and national gospel artists the opportunity to showcase their music, and sometimes I will invite them onto the show. 
Each week I feature a “Quiet Zone” (featuring Jennifer Beckford): a chance to relax and reflect with 'The Word for Today'.
When and how did you get involved at Ridge Radio?
That was over three years ago. It’s funny, the thought of being a radio presenter had never crossed my mind, it’s not something I thought I could ever do. It was my cousin, Ridge Radio's DJ Ricardo, who encouraged me to apply. Knowing I am a Christian he came up with the idea of The Gospel Hour Show. 
Both of our dads came over from Jamaica together in the late 1950s: they also DJ’d!
Music was always playing in my house. As a young child, I remember my dad loved a wide range of music: reggae, blues, Motown, big band and calypso.  But every Sunday morning, my mum would play her favourite gospel records at full volume: Patti Paige's Old Rugged Cross, Mahalia Jackson's Just A Closer Walk, and Amazing Grace. It is a beautiful memory that has stayed with me.
How has lockdown affected you and your family? 
Honestly, lockdown has been incredibly challenging. It was very difficult not seeing my daughter, grandchildren, and family. I remember going to bed and praying that it was all a bad dream, and that when I woke up everything would be back to normal, but of course it wasn’t.
Sadly, I lost two elderly relatives to Covid-19. My heart goes out to anyone who lost loved ones during this time.  
I found great strength and comfort in my faith: it helped me to recognise that the opposite of fear is faith, and to understand that worrying isn’t going to change the situation. I have developed stronger feelings of faith, gratitude and appreciation for my family and for life in general, which in turn has opened a constant flow of love, encouragement, and support. Surprisingly, as a family we’ve grown even closer, with regular Zoom meetings to celebrate birthdays etc…And we played so many quizzes online, to pass the time!
My wonderful neighbours arranged weekly check-in sessions. We would meet at the bottom of our gardens to have mini-keep fit sessions with music. My church family were very supportive and we all eventually learned how to connect online for our regular Sabbath School services. 
I volunteer at my local church community outreach and, because we couldn't physically access the Ridge studio, I learned how to record my shows at home. It took me around eight hours to record a one-hour show but it was all worth it! I felt like I was doing something to help others and I found that people were texting, calling and asking me for the replay links to my shows, as they found the music relaxing and inspiring. 
Do you feel optimistic about the future? 
Yes, definitely! Fortunately, my vocal students and I-Play Music Academy successfully switched to online lessons: we even held our first virtual concert.  I managed to record a video for my new single Thank You (ft Mo Pleasure) and released a single "Just A Little Love" with Paul Hopton, all during lockdown!
I would really like to also acknowledge all the families and businesses who have been severely affected by lockdown and pray that as a community we will all continue to embrace change, pull together, encourage and support each other in the future.
What is your favourite song to unwind to after a hard day? 
Oh, I would kick my shoes off and dance around the living room to Sounds of Blackness' I'm Going All The Way. Life isn't always perfect, but we must never give up! 
Finally, do you have a philosophy for life that you would like to pass on to our readers? 
Start each day with a 'Spirit of Gratitude', giving thanks for the gift of a new day.  Forgiveness and love: treat others the way you would like to be treated, and lastly read the book of Proverbs: it’s full of wisdom!
Ridge Radio are always looking for presenters, if you would like to present a radio show, email Andy Mac at andy@ridgeradio.co.uk for more information.
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