Ridge Radio – Presenter of the Month: Chris Rowling

Ridge Radio is Tandridge's local community radio station. Broadcasting from its studio in Soper Hall, Caterham, it is staffed by 48 volunteer presenters. To listen, download the free mobile app, ask any Alexa-enabled device to install and then enable Ridge Radio, or visit www.ridgeradio.co.uk and click 'Listen Live'.

This month, our Presenter in the Spotlight is one of our most experienced DJs, Chris Rowling. His Thursday afternoon show goes out from 13.00 to 15.00, and is called 'Chris plays the Sixties'.

What is the format of your show and how did you get involved with Ridge Radio?
My show is a mixture of hit records from the 1960s, with some lesser-known titles thrown in. I was introduced to Ridge Radio by Michael Van-Boolen, who presents a country music show on Monday afternoons.

When did you become a DJ, and what attracted you to radio presenting?
It would have been in 1964, when I started deejaying at a youth club. At university, I set up the R&B Club for people who, like me, were into soul and American R&B records. We had about 100 members, and I was very proud of that! The late Kerry Juby introduced me to hospital radio, and I had a show on Woolwich Hospital Radio, and later Radio Mayday in Croydon. Eventually, because of my love of music, I opened my own record shop.

Tell us more about that.
It was from 1985 to 1990, in Redhill. It was great fun, and I made some good friends, but the shop wasn’t profitable, so I sold it after five years.

Where else have you worked?
I had a number of jobs at Capital Radio, but one of the most interesting was as a technical operator working on shows with Alan Freeman, Michael Aspel and later Chris Tarrant.

Who have been your influences?
My heroes have always been DJs: Tony Hall on Radio Luxembourg, Jack Spector on WMCA in New York and Roger Scott on Capital Radio.

Who are your favourite artists from the 1960s?
Gary Lewis & The Playboys: admittedly not a very well-known group but they made some great 45s for Liberty Records, starting with 'This Diamond Ring’, in 1965.

What makes you keep presenting at Ridge Radio?
Deejaying has always been something I enjoy, and back in the '80s and '90s I made my living as a mobile DJ at wedding receptions and birthday parties. In 1985 I was the DJ on the SS Canberra, during a cruise around the Greek islands. These days, the loudspeakers would be too heavy for me to lug around, and it’s much easier to just walk into a studio which is already set up!

Finally, what advice would you give a new presenter?
Always record your show, and listen to it twice over the following few days. You will know what you like and don’t like about it, and what you could change. Most of all, have fun!

For more information about Ridge Radio, contact Andy Mac: andy@ridgeradio.co.uk.



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