Peterborough’s long running breakfast show host Kev Lawrence is returning to broadcast from the city with a new morning radio show.
The former Heart presenter has spent the last year hosting the breakfast show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire but will take up his new role on Peterborough City Radio (PCR 103.2fm) on Monday August 17.
If you’ve lived in the city since the late 90s you will most likely have woken up to Kev on Hereward Radio, Lite FM, Heart Breakfast or more recently the Beeb.
Radio station PCRfm launched in April 2017 with an aim of keeping radio ‘local’ with all the news, travel and information for the city, as well as listing various events that are happening in the area.
Head of Programming at PCR 103.2fm, Chris Tibbles says – “Kev is a household name across Peterborough who has entertained people in the mornings for over 20 years. I have worked together a lot with Kev in the past and I am really excited to welcome him to PCRfm. I cannot wait for him to bring his passion and creativity to the station with his new Breakfast Show.”
Kev told ESP he’s delighted to be broadcasting from the city once again from the studios in Herlington.
“We’re in such a weird time I think never before has local radio been more important because the sense of community spirit and the sense of people wanting to feel secure and like they belong is crucial.
“One of my passions is bringing back local – giving Peterborough people the chance to feel genuinely connected to their local radio station, just like it used to be. Even though I enjoyed my time at Heart it wasn’t local enough. It was a national brand, delivered locally, we got loads of listeners which was great but it wasn’t what I would call ‘true local radio’ where it connects with its community in so many different ways.”
Kev made the shock announcement that he was to leave BBC Radio Cambridgeshire after just over a year a few weeks ago, citing the reason as cutbacks at the BBC, the impact of Covid-19 and the fact that a double header breakfast show wasn’t possible due to social distancing.
“The breakfast show on the BBC coming to an end came as a bolt out of the blue – for months leading right up to late June they were talking about making me a permanent staff member because I was freelance,” Kev explained.
“Two things happened – obviously Covid had a massive impact generally and they as a corporation had to make massive savings and me as a freelancer was a victim of those cutbacks. On top of that doing a double header breakfast show with Dotty became impossible because of social distancing – ultimately Dotty’s a staff member I’m a freelancer, so the freelancer goes. That’s tough to take but understandable.”
Kev maintains there’s no hard feelings with the BBC and told ESP – “My BBC career is currently on pause. I am still going to be part of the BBC family. I’m doing a show at the end of the August and they’ve asked to keep me on as a cover presenter..
“The breakfast show for me at the BBC has finished – for now – but the future remains very much open. Feedback from them has been nothing but positive. As the years go on I’m not ruling out a return to the BBC in the future.”
His move to the BBC after years on more music based commercial stations was certainly a culture shock but Kev says it’s been a fantastic year and he’s learnt new skills in the process.
“I’ve loved every second of presenting for them. It was a complete change of direction in terms of presenting style but I enjoyed it. It was tough at times, it was far more newsy and that meant it was very different but I actually enjoyed it. I gained much more experience in the journalistic side of broadcasting full stop.”
As someone who’s lived and worked in the city for years, Kev says he’s keen to be talking about all things Peterborough and to share his passion for his home.
“There was a thought to move away and do radio full time out of the city but I don’t want to move away – this is my home. I’ve known about PCR for a few years and had conversations in the past, and the timing was perfect, the stars aligned for this.
“When I first started here on Hereward, what I learnt then was how important a proper local radio station is for the city. I think the BBC is more newsy and PCR will be very different to that. It won’t be about setting the news agenda or breaking news stories we will only be about being a place for people to come to for great music, great local passion and conversation about Peterborough life, businesses emerging from Covid, talking to Peterborough people who have great stories to tell.
“It’s about setting a mood, setting a feeling. I think a lot of radio stations have a format – I’m not interested in having a format – I’m interested in having conversations in between great songs about what is going on in people’s lives in this city and I know for a fact, people of this city felt connected to Hereward, they really did. I hope that there will be a lot of people who find out about this breakfast show and equally feel connected to it. We’ll bring back a lot of the fun stuff we used to do in the Hereward days in PCR Breakfast. It’s going to be really exciting.”
You can listen to the new Kev Lawrence Breakfast Show from Monday August 17 on PCR 103.2fm.
Photos Kev Lawrence at PCRfm: by Terry Harris