Karin Ridgers is a vegan, founder of www.veggievision.tv and the presenter for VegfestUK who also has a weekly slot on Phoenix FM. We caught up with her to talk about her passion for radio and how it provides her with a platform to talk about all things plant based.  

Karin Ridgers

Karin Ridgers

So, when did your love for radio begin?

Well, I still have the recordings somewhere from when I was about 5 of me interviewing my sister who was about 3. I wouldn’t let her get a word in really and I really believed I was making radio programmes.

When I was a teenager I used to love listening to Annie Nightingale and Janice Long who played such cool music. The chart show was on a Sunday evening and this was followed by the then Essex radio playing their late-night problems show and I used to try to keep awake and secretly listening to problems that didn’t really even make sense to me. But it was exciting to hear!

I then joined the Invicta Radio Anorak club and loved listening to Caesar the Boogie Man, James Whale and Steve Wright.

Like many kids I loved recording my favourite songs onto tape! I still have tapes too…. I couldn’t part with them.

I remember Tony Blackburn playing the older charts at the weekend too. Even though some of the music was just 3 or 4 years old it was exciting to hear it again. Not like now where you have everything at a click of a button! I met Tony Blackburn when I was at BBC London a little while back. He was in such a rush and I must have come across as such a wally telling him we share the same birthday and are both veggie!

So that’s when you were a teenager…. when did you get into radio yourself?

I saw an advert in the local paper for a Billericay based part time radio station and was excited to go along to the meeting. A super sounding presenter called Neil Matthew gave me a chance on his show where I read out local sports news. I am the least sporty person around and didn’t have a clue who the people were or even what the scores meant! If it wasn’t for Neil I don’t think I would have got on air.

As this station disbanded Phoenix FM stepped up, a more exciting dynamic radio station for Brentwood. Still however it was just on air for just a month every year. It was hard work to bring the station to the area and by the time you really got into the swing of doing your show the month was up!

I loved doing the shows but then went on to other things…. and Phoenix FM has now been full time for over 10 years!

For many years I enjoyed being one of Sadie Nines Loud Women on BBC Essex, so I had my radio fix without the stress of planning the show and operating the desk. I love Sadie and learnt a lot. She is a brilliant natural presenter who makes it all looks easy!

"Karin is an absolute star on my 'Loud Women Show' on BBC Essex. She has helped us win a Gillard Gold Award and a Nomination for a Sony Radio Award. Quick witted, informed, and not afraid to stand up for her beliefs, Karin is a joy."  Sadie Nine BBC Essex Presenter 

What are your shows about now?

Well I am back on Phoenix FM which is quite surreal at times as I was one of the founder members 20 years ago! And as a huge 80s fan I am playing some of the same music too! I feel more confident with myself as most people do from their 20s to their 40s, so my show is different now to then. I have some incredible friends, clients, celebrities and experts who have come onto my show.

We have chatted about health, comedy, personal development, Ayurvedic medicine, hypnosis, VegfestUK, Wetnose Day, chatted with journalists, eaten vegan food on air … we have had Jason Burrill the Big Brother winner in, Vicky Michelle the super actress, Wendy Turner Webster the TV presenter, health guru Rick Hay and we have some amazing people and musicians too lined up for 2018. I am so excited as I get to chat to these wonderful guests and they have the opportunity to tell their story too.  

I also still do stick with mainly 80s and 90s music so a little old school.

What advice would you give anyone who wants to start in radio?

Well I don’t feel I have the authority to give advice however I would say to get involved with your local station. Be yourself on air and always think about your listener. See if you can be a guest on your local BBC station perhaps or even just start to call in. Radio is quite magical …. I have always been a radio anorak… I can’t help it! Listen to different stations and see what value you can add.

I am delighted to be at Phoenix FM again. A super bunch of people. Some have been in radio all of their lives starting in bigger stations, some love it as a hobby, some are starting out and aim to go further. I am just happy to get to play my favourite music every Friday from 6pm to 8pm, chat with some brilliant guests … and many thanks to my listener as they seem to like it too!

How do you keep topics fresh and engaging for your listeners?

I love healthy eating, positive living, veganism and comedy too… and these always seem to be on trend!! I like to keep things organic and not scripted and people say they like this!

How much planning is involved for each show?

I used to take hours and hours before each show…. now I know what kind of music to play, and play requests so this makes it easier. Although it can take a while to arrange the guests… luckily I know some amazing people so as we have the connection already this is helpful. Sarah Jane Collins is a super help as she works with me getting the listen again link, play list and blog post ready after each show…. and then this is shared too….. so, it all adds up time wise! Maybe I should say years of and years of planning and ideas…. being a radio nerd!!

Do you ever get nervous and how do you overcome those nerves?

I did at first and you just have to feel the fear and do it anyway! It is all live and things do go wrong! It is quite nerve wracking operating the desk however I have the hang of it. … I think!! It is still good to feel a bit nervous – it shows you care! Sometimes I sit there and think “why am I doing this” and then I whack the faders up and start chatting and forget that’s how I felt!!

Who has been your most memorable guest?

Honestly, they have all been amazing and I am so excited for who is coming on over the coming weeks and months.  

What topics to you most enjoy talking about and why?

I really love talking about anything fun and positive… not boring negative news!! And yes …. a bit of vegan chat too!!

Tune into to Karin Ridgers House of Fun from 6pm to 8pm 98FM over Essex and online at http://www.phoenixfm.com

Hear Karins earlier shows at: http://www.phoenixfm.com/author/karin/

Karin is also the founder of www.veggievision.tv and the presenter for VegfestUK

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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