Lou Fowkes – Whitstable Bay Radio

Whitstable Bay Radio as has been said is a community asset we should cherish.


Amongst its diverse presenters is Lou Fowkes and when Lou speaks you listen and that’s exactly what CommunityAd did.


So, Lou how long have you been presenting at Whitstable Bay Radio?

My first show was actually on Christmas Day! I took the all-important 12-2pm lunchtime slot, so I was sharing some of my favourite festive tunes whilst WBR listeners were peeling their sprouts! I launched ‘Mellow Mondays’ at the beginning of January and it’s where Whitstable and Tankerton listeners can ease themselves gently into the working week with a mellow mix of blues, jazz, soul and funk. It’s all blended together with my own take on that thing we all call ‘life!’


What do you enjoy the most about the show?

Being able to play what I want to play! And trust my listeners enjoy it too…  My ‘education’ in music began with my Nana, who introduced me to the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong and then my mum shared her love of soul and R&B with such celebrated artists as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding. So, I play a lot of that kind of thing but I also like to sling in a few 70s & 80s funk/disco tracks to kick things up a bit!


Tell the listeners what they’ve been missing if they haven’t yet tuned in?

Well, so much! Not just marvellous music but I also have a few special items I do in the show; I showcase new music by playing a song from a local artist or band (Music Makers), impart information on local events and activities and as we’ve all been so bogged down over the last couple of years with bad news; COVID-19 and now with what’s happening in the Ukraine, I find a positive story (No Bad News) to share that will (hopefully) put a smile on your face.


Proudest moment broadcasting?

Being asked to host my own show! Although I have worked in the theatre and entertainment industry for most of my life, I had never done radio – so it was a complete leap of faith but I love it! And I’m known to be a bit of a chatterbox…


Most embarrassing or regrettable moment broadcasting?

It’s still early days. No doubt that will come…


What makes Whitstable Bay Radio a fine station to be a part of? It’s certainly got a variety of presenters, hasn’t it?

It is the only radio station that serves Whitstable and Tankerton but also has listeners across the country, as Whitstable has such a fine reputation and people just love to visit our town. Jordan, our Station Manager, launched Whitstable Bay Radio, as we didn’t have our own radio station in the area. It’s gone from strength to strength and we are due to move into our new studio premises in the next month or so, which will be a very exciting development for the station, as we will be able to do ‘live’ interviews and invite local bands into the studio to play their music ‘live’, so the radio station will be reaching and involving more members of our wonderful community.


How long have you lived here in wonderful Whitstable?

I moved over here with my husband and son from Surrey in 2011 and it’s the best decision we ever made. We then got a West Highland Terrier (Bobbi) to take for long walks on the beach and swim in the sea with – but she flatly refuses to even get her paw wet! Rubbish, she is. Aside from that, we fell in love with the vibrancy of the place, the theatre, the ‘live’ music scene (I am also a singer, so this was important to me) the great demographic of ages and the very unique and quirky feel we have all come to know and love.


Best thing about the town?

Tankerton Slopes.


Worst thing about the town?

It has to be the parking. Not enough. Too expensive. Blah, blah, blah…  Although I love and regularly support the Charity Car Parking – such a great initiative.


Why is it important that a community such as Whitstable has its own radio station?

So important on so many levels! Not just because Faversham, Herne Bay and Canterbury have their own radio stations (we weren’t jealous or anything!) but because although it is quite a large town, it generally feels like a large village to me. I have found people to be much more friendly and helpful than in Surrey (ooh controversial, I know…) and we all tend to work together for the good of the town.

Before I was in my current job (a Marriage, Family & Funeral Celebrant) I was the Trust Manager for the Whitstable Improvement Trust, looking after the various projects in the town and also managed the Visitor Information Centre. So, I would spend a lot of my time working alongside the fabulous independent business, organisations and charities we have and found so much positivity to work together for the good. A dedicated radio station has a fantastic part to play in this and supports all this, not just with opportunities for musicians but additionally with live broadcasts and PA’s that we do at various annual events.


If you were forced into isolation by Boris…. or better still and more appropriately if you were invited to one of Boris’ parties and could only play three singles what would they be and why?

First of course, I must say that I would politely but strongly decline a party invitation in the middle of an isolation period. However, at any other party, and out of isolation, I would probably play The Weather Girls ‘It’s Raining Men’ (for the dance floor fanatics) ‘Leave A Light On’ by Beth Hart (for the sheer honesty and beauty) and ‘Wonderful World’ by Louis Armstrong (for just being my favourite song ever).


Anything else to add at all?

Yes. You can listen to my show ‘Mellow Mondays’ between 7-9pm every week on Whitstable Bay Radio online at www.whitstablebayradio.co.uk or via your Smart Speaker. Following broadcast, all of my shows are uploaded onto Mixcloud, so you can always listen the next evening whilst doing the ironing…


To stay up to date with Whitstable Bay Radio and check out Lou Fowkes live on the airwaves, visit their website and follow them on Facebook @WhitstableBayRadio and Twitter @whitstableradio.

by Dave McKenna

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