Category Archives: In The Papers

Jason leads the way on #3030 Challenge

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

We’ve recruited a number of Phoenix FM presenters – including myself – to take part in the #3030Essex challenge!

The idea is a very simple one – the challenge encourages people to do 30 minutes of exercise in each of the 30 days of June. There’s no specific rules about this – it could be something strenuous or something not normally associated with exercise, such as gardening, housework or even walking – as long as people get moving.

The challenge is being spearheaded by Active Essex. The group’s director, Jason Fergus, came down to the studio to explain how it all works.

Jason and Phoenix go back a long way – he was a guest on our very first “trial” broadcast back in December 1996 when he was Sports Development Officer at Brentwood Council. He enjoyed his visit so much that we recruited him to present a weekly show for the three remaining weeks of the broadcast trial!

You can hear Jason talk about #3030Essex on our website at and you can find out more about the challenge at too.

* Lots more guests coming up in the next seven days on 98FM. Andrea Sandell will be talking about locally-produced film Cassandra and and solicitor Brian Hughes from Shenfield’s Rainer Hughes will be talking about consumer rights.

* There will also be live music in the studio from The Silver Bayonets, Drew Tobias and Stormy Space Weather.

Singer And Model Brings A World-Wide Following

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

We’ve added an internationally-renowned singer, model and broadcaster to our team – all in a day’s work for your local community radio station!

Maria Rubia has now settled down in Brentwood but has lived in many other countries during her life – she is fluent in five languages.

She originally hoped to go into theatre and trained in Swansea alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones. However she got her big break in music when she sang down the phone to a record company executive!

Maria is best known for her song Everytime You Need Me with German dance group Fragma, which reached no 3 in the UK in 2001 and earned her an appearance on Top Of The Pops.

She has performed all around the world with A-list stars such as Michael Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Tina Turner and Robbie Williams.

Her singing career also led her to a modelling career and she has appeared in FHM, Company and OK Magazine, and has also presented and produced on top radio and TV stations including Radio 1, Kiss FM, Capital, Channel 4 and Nickelodeon.

Maria’s musical career isn’t over though – she is still signed to EMI and will be releasing a new album next January.

Maria told me that she became an artist because of her love of music and radio became a natural progression. People from all over the world have been tuning in to her first two shows for Phoenix FM and this gives a new connection that a live artist would not experience.

You can hear Maria every Saturday at 8pm on 98FM and online, and her previous shows can also be heard at

* Lots more guests coming in over the next seven days. Laura Coyle will be talking about Saint Francis Hospice’s latest fundraising and events and Keith Ball, son of jazz legend Kenny Ball, will be chatting about his musical career.

* There will also be live music in the studio from Anver Anderson, Sam Callahan and Eat My Dust.

A chance to apologise for interrupting England star’s Sunday lunch in ’80s

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

It was much harder to spot footballers by accident when I was younger than it is today. Now you can just go on Google or Twitter and get a lot of clues about where you might see them within 60 seconds.

30 years ago you might get lucky and see them driving a car with their name on the side of it. This wasn’t showing off on their part – it was part of a sponsorship deal that they might have arranged, a nice perk in an era when players did not get the massive wage packets they get today.

So when I was 12 years old and a friend and I walked past a house in Gidea Park with Alvin Martin’s car on the driveway, I thought the natural thing to do was to knock on the door and ask if he lived there. We were both a bit shocked when he answered the door!

Alvin was in the middle of an illustrious playing career, with 598 appearances for the Hammers and 17 more for England, along with a spell for Leyton Orient.

He was part of the FA Cup winning team of 1980 and a member of West Ham’s “best ever” team which finished third in the league in 1985/86.

He also achieved the extremely unusual feat of scoring a hat-trick against three different goalkeepers in the same match. West Ham hammered Newcastle 8-1 in a league match in 1986 and Newcastle had to substitute their keeper twice due to injuries.

We were delighted to welcome such a great player into the studio as part of our reguar West Ham Way podcast. Alvin spoke to hosts Dave Walker and Exwhu Employee about his varied career and told some great stories about his time at Upton Park. And I got the chance to apologise for interrupting his Sunday afternoon back in the 80s!

The interview can be downloaded as a 90 minute podcast from our website and is also available free on iTunes by searching for The West Ham Way.

Alvin’s sons are also both professional footballers; David plays for Millwall and Joe is at Stevenage. Joe has joined forces with fellow pro Harry Beautyman to form the Beautyman Martin Academy who run football courses for young players of all abilities. The courses take place in Havering and more details can be found at

* Lots more guests lined up in the next seven days on air. Former Drifters singer Roy G Hemmings will be chatting to Nigel Fitzmaurice on his Sunday evening soul show Stepping Out.

* We will also be welcoming Andy Peynado from Crystal Communication who will be talking about the Brentwood Business Awards, and there will be live music in the studio from baVard and Sam Callahan.

Presenter Charlie is a driving force behind town’s first Business Awards

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

Our hard-working Drive presenter Charlie Davy has been busy over the last few weeks talking to as many local businesses as he can!

We’re working with the Brentwood Chamber of Commerce to help make the first Brentwood Business Awards a success. Philip Cockram from Pinney Talfourd was the latest visitor in a long line of local people who came in to talk about what they do and the aim of the awards, including Ian Marshall from Spargo, Ruta Gabalis from AeroBlue, Jane Winfield from Wortley Byers and Steve Lee from Havering College.

All of the interviews can be heard again on the Phoenix FM website at

Charlie has also been interviewing local small business owners at our new monthly business networking meetings, The Phoenix Family, which are taking place on the second Thursday of every month at Shenfield Cricket Club. The next one takes place from 12pm-2pm on 14 June and more details can be obtained from Steve Roach on 07952 498009.

[bullet] Phoenix FM took part in the #MentalHealthMinute initiative last week, where we broadcast a special message which featured Prince Harry, Lady Gaga and other celebrities simultaneously with hundreds of other stations all over the UK.

We’ve been running our own mental health podcast, Mental Health Matters, for a few years now. In our latest edition, host Graham Stannard chats to entrepreneur Martin Böddeker and multi skilled therapist Marie Delanote. All editions of the podcast can be found on

[bullet] Guests coming up in the next week includ Ron Ridge from Brentwood and Four Parishes First Responders and Natasha Redford from Chicken and Frog talking books with Michelle Ward and author Sylvia Kent.

[bullet] There will also be live music in the studio from Phil Lagos, baVard and X Factor finalist Sam Callahan.

Ever-growing range of interviewees grace the studios of Phoenix FM

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

We’re always covering local people, events and causes on Phoenix FM but we’re getting more and more opportunities to interview all sorts of people.

Last week our Thursday evening presenter Chay Appleyard got the offer of an exclusive interview with Frank Turner just before his sold-out show at the Cliffs Pavilion in Westcliff. Frank is a folk singer-songwriter who doesn’t fit the normal stereotype of a folk singer, having a punk edge which reflects his original post-hardcore band Million Dead.

Since then he’s had two number 2 albums – at the time of writing this, his brand new album Be More Kind is sitting at no 2 in the midweek charts which could give him an unusual hat-trick. Frank was also one of the few performers to take part in the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, playing three songs live in front of a TV audience of 900 million!

On Saturday we had a visit from Jimmy Constable, one-third of 90s boy band 911. Jimmy enjoyed considerable success with them with a number of top ten hits and a no 1 single in 1999 with a cover of the Dr Hook hit “A Little Bit More”. Jimmy chatted about his new album, Road To Evolution, and also about his struggles outside the limelight and how music has helped him get his life back on track.

Both interviews are available to listen again at

** Lots more guests coming up in the next week on air. Simon and Joanne Schultz from Chelmsford Salvation Army will be talking about their charity work in Kenya and local solicitor Brian Hughes from Rainer Hughes will be discussing legal issues around probate law,

Sporting guest helped us to get inside champion mindset

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

Many of our listeners of a certain age will have fond and vivid memories of turning on BBC1 during primetime and watching the top athletes, footballers and boxers of the day taking part in a series of tests in a competition which had more than a passing resemblance to our own schools’ sports days.

If they remember that show they’ll also remember a guy slaying all comers with his unfeasibly high numbers of parallel bar dips and squat thrusts. So I was more than delighted to hear that legendary Superstars champion BRIAN JACKS was able to make it into the studio!

Brian was British and European champion in 1979 and British and International champion in 1980. He was, of course, highly successful in his original sport of judo too. Brian won Britain’s first medal at a world championship, taking a bronze in Salt Lake City in 1967, and also gained a bronze mdeal at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Superstars regularly attracted over 10 million TV viewers in the UK and Brian became a household name, appearing on children’s TV shows and picking up endorsements usually beyond the reach of a minority sport participant.

As well as all of this, Brian chatted to lunchtime presenter Mike Jones about his biography The Mindset Of A Champion by Marc Gingell (who also visited the studio) and his current tour, which will take him to Blatches Bears Judo Club in Great Dunmow on 2 June and Southend on 13 June.

He was an extraordinarily nice guy and still in amazing shape for a guy whose judo career has lasted well over 50 years!

You can hear the interview again at

** Lots more guests coming up in the next seven days on air. Laura Coyle from Saint Francis Hospice will be talking about Dying Matters Week, and Ian Marshall from Spargo Hairdressers will be chatting the forthcoming Brentwood Business Awards and how local businesses can get involved.

** There will also be live music in the studio from Rob Palladino, Marc Hepburn and Sean Muir.

Chart Topper Baby D pops along to the House Of Fun

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

Another chart topper visited the Phoenix FM studios last week when Baby D popped in to chat on Karin Ridgers’ House Of Fun show.

Baby D, whose real name is Dee Fearon, is best known for the 1994 No 1 single “Let Me Be Your Fantasy” and also had two more top 3 singles with “I Need Your Loving” and “So Pure”.

She came down with her husband Phil Fearon, who had a number of top ten hits himself in the 1980s as singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist for soul band Galaxy.

Dee and Phil came down with their daughter Danielle and chatted about their careers and also picked music to play on the show, which can be heard again on our website at

** Our radio show The West Ham Way has been nominated for best podcast at the Football Blogging Awards, and Phoenix FM presenter @exwhuemployee (who is only known by his Twitter handle) is a contender for best social media account.

The FBAs nominations stage saw over 32,000 nominations with over a 1,000 different blogs, podcasts, YouTubers, influencers and vloggers nominated so we’re delighted to have two finalists! The awards will be announced next month at a cermoney at Alexandra Palace. If you’d like to vote for us please see @exwhuemployee on Twitter who has the information in his pinned tweet.

** Lots more guests lined up for the next week on air including Phil Scott and Spencer Hawken who will be talking about their new film Welcome To Essex, part of which was filmed in Brentwood.

** There will also be live music in the studio from Melvin Ashong, Black Chapel and Marc Hepburn.

Sanctuary set to celebrate 35 years of helping animals

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

Ruth Bradshaw visited Mike Porter’s Breakfast Show last week for the first of a regular series of chats about Hopefield Animal Sanctuary.

Ruth is the sanctuary’s new fundraising co-ordinator and will be coming in each month to tell listeners about events taking place at their premises in Sawyers Hall Lane. Hopefield has recently reopened after one of the wettest winters in living memory, and are gearing up for some special celebrations to celebrate their 35th birthday which are earmarked for the bank holiday weekend of 6/7 May.

The interview can be heard again at

Elsewhere we enjoyed a first successful meeting of The Phoenix Family – a new informal gathering of local businesses who regularly feature on or support our community radio station. Our Drive presenter Charlie Davy popped down to chat to some of our local entrepreneurs and then played out the interviews during his show.

The next event is scheduled to take place at Shenfield Cricket Club on Thursday 10 May from 12pm-2pm. If you are interested in coming along you can call Steven Roach on 07952 498009. We also have a new Twitter account for the event @ThePhoenixFam if you like getting your information that way!

** Many more guests coming up in the next seven days including TV and film actor Eddie Webber who will be visiting Tony Smith on his Sunday Lunch show.

** There’s also lots of live music lined up too including sessions in the studio from Natalia Marrokin, Keeley Smith and Melvin Ashong.

The one and only 90s chart topper Chesney Hawkes back in the studio

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

The Phoenix FM studios had a visit from 90s chart-topper Chesney Hawkes last week – just 16 years after his last one!

Chesney came in to see us back in February 2002, when we were broadcasting under a restricted FM licence for just 28 days a year. At that time we had a tiny studio in a room in Hutton Poplars Lodge in Shenfield. Chesney came down during our FM broadcast that year and played some songs live in the studio.

This time he was in town for rehearsals for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which took place last weekend at the Brentwood Centre. Chesney talked to our presenter Scott Ross about his musical and theatre careers and what people could expect to see and hear from him. The interview can be heard again on our website at, where you can also hear an earlier interview he gave to our Saturday morning presenter Naomi Sayers on the phone a couple of weeks ago.

As you can see from the two photos, he hasn’t changed too much over the years! Thanks to Scott who conducted the interview with very short notice and to the team at the Brentwood Centre for helping with Chesney’s appearance.

* Guests coming up on air in the next week include Jessica Kemp from the Beeches talking about National Care Home Open Day and Peter Green and Les Sheppard from the Rotary Club of Billericay who will be talking about this year’s Soapbox Derby.

* There will also be live music in the studio from Ian Perryman, Jessie Dipper and the SoSlam Young Songwriters group.

A packed programme of songs and great chat gave us an Easter treat

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

Easter is usually a quiet time for us at Phoenix as many of our usual on-air guests disappear for the Easter holidays, but the opposite is true for our Friday Night Extra show, hosted by Patrick Sherring.

Patrick has been on air with us on Friday evenings since September 2011 and rarely misses a show. He’s well known in our community as C of E Rector of Ingatestone and Fryerning,
Chair of Churches Together and a Governor of Ingatestone & Fryerning C of E Junior School as well as being a regular columnist on the Brentwood Gazette!

Every Easter Patrick presents a Good Friday special packed full of guests and this year’s show was no exception.

Tim Lee from Brentwood Churches Together spoke about the celebrations for Good Friday held in Brentwood town centre, with over 400 people and a dramatized re-enactment of the first Good Friday. He also talked about the service he had taken at Mountnessing school about an empty Easter egg.

Brentwood School chaplain Revd Dr Adrian McConnaughie explained about the services for Easter that were held before the pupils broke up for Easter and his time in Ypres the previous week.

Year 6 pupil Alfie sang live and talked about Easter at Ingatestone Junior School, singer Marina Bottali-Price sang three songs live in the studio and talked about her faith, and regular helper Jonty was there too.

Hard to believe you can pack so much into a two hour show! If you missed the show you can hear it again at

* Lots more guests coming up on air in the next seven days including Matthew Sweetapple from charity Step2It, Anne and Frank Woods chatting about the Billericay Streetlife Strollers and solicitor Sandy Brown from Shenfield’s Rainer Hughes talking about parenting and divorce.

* We’ve also got live music lined up from Nicola Collis, Jessie Dipper and Marc Hepburn.