South East Radio saw the return of one of the most recognisable voices in the country yesterday (Monday) as Phil Cawley returned to their studio on the quay as the new host of the station's drive-time show weekdays from 3pm to 6pm.
Before becoming part of the furniture at Today FM, Phil worked the afternoon slot at South East Radio in the 90s, a time he recalls with great fondness. While he will still present his renowned 'Sunday Drive' show on Today FM, he's delighted to return to his old stomping ground during the week. At one stage though, it looked like Covid was going to put paid to his comeback before it began.
'We've been talking about it since Christmas,' he revealed. 'I still have my Sunday show on Today FM, but I found myself at a loose end during the week. I never really left Wexford. I live in Avoca, but I'd still be down regularly and I'd meet the lads for coffee and that type of thing. Some of my best friends are in South East Radio. I'd be great friends with Alan McGuire, Alan Corcoran and Dave Redmond and all the lads. I kind of dropped a major hint that I might be interested in January and it just so happened that it coincided with Alan McGuire's retirement.'
'We had the contract signed and a deal done and then, out of nowhere, lockdown arrived. The radio station was forced to tighten it's belt and there was a question of some staff being furloughed or let go. They told me that they just couldn't take me on at that time. To be honest, I felt kind of sorry for the predicament they found themselves in. Throughout though they were great and they said they were committed to hiring me when things returned.'
Almost six months to the day, Phil had his big return to the South East Radio airwaves yesterday. Things got off to a great start as his arrival was announced with a skit involving none other than Ivan Yates.
'We won't be changing a massive amount,' Phil says of his new show.
'Alan has done a great job in this slot for years. I hope to connect with the listeners. I want people to know that they can talk back and that every text will be read. Basically it's getting the message out that their local station is accessible.'