Do you all know about Radio Abbey? It’s Kenilworth’s own radio station, broadcasting 24/7 on the internet from the Kenilworth Centre in the heart of our town. There is a growing band of presenters with music for pretty much everyone, and new presenters joining all the time. It’s a local radio station but the shows can be enjoyed by anyone anywhere in the world. There are currently people in 38 countries listening in!
I present two weekly shows: one is BookFolk, which (as its name suggests!) about books and folk music, though I play a broader range of music than just folk. It aims to highlight new music from the folk and acoustic scene, but I also take the opportunity to play vaguely related music that I love – what’s called Americana, older folk and acoustic music, and my heroes Bob Dylan and Nick Cave. I also talk about books, about book-related news stories and issues in the book world, and am expanding that to talk a bit about films and art as well. My other show is called Old School Disco, and I play the kind of music we used to hear at our school discos in the 70s and early 80s (which of course includes music from the 60s and even a bit of rock and roll). There are also shows featuring Northern Soul, classic and prog rock, local contemporary musicians, LGBT+ anthems, classical, pop going back to the 80s, house music, big band and swing, jazz and blues, and some shows that play an eclectic range of all sorts. Lots of shows are available via listen again on the Radio Abbey website (which is soon to be revamped).
The station is entirely run by volunteers, and its only income comes from sponsorship. At the Tree House, we are going to start to raise a bit of money to support it – particularly to buy new music for the station. So I will have a pile of cards where you can write any song requests, and if you feel able, throw some change into a nearby jar to contribute to the fund. We’ll also be doing some fundraisers, including an Old School Disco inspired dance night. We always have charity tins, and I like to change those from time to time, so this year, we will make Radio Abbey one of our promoted charities. And when I get my oven replaced, I’ll try and provide some little home-baked goodies to tempt you to part with your spare change!
The station has really grown over the last year, and is a wonderful resource for the town. We are happy, as presenters, to give shout outs to things going on locally, we are trying to support the major events that happen in the town, and we’d love people to take it to their hearts and help it get bigger and stronger all the time! There are also lots of available daytime slots for new presenters – contact Holly Hewitt at the Kenilworth Centre if you’re interested.
Next up for us is a day of broadcasting for Valentine’s Day. Some of us are less keen on the whole concept of this day than others, so expect some more cynical responses as well as plenty of love songs! Tune in from 8am on Friday 14 February – yours truly is presenting the first two hours, and there will be plenty of melancholic numbers as well as some happy stuff!
BookFolk is currently on Monday afternoons from 1-3pm, and Old School Disco is on Tuesday evenings from 6-7pm. Send your requests!