Welney teen Toby keeps it country with new radio show

Toby Clarke, 14, who is presenting a country and western show on Radio West Norfolk. Picture: Chris

Toby Clarke, 14, who is presenting a country and western show on Radio West Norfolk. Picture: Chris BIshop - Credit: Archant

A 14-year-old country music fan has been given his own radio show.

Toby Clarke admits his tastes differ from your average teenager, as he puts the finishing touches to one of his first programmes, which will be broadcast by online station Radio West Norfolk.

'I'm the odd one really at school,' said the Neale Wade Academy pupil, who lives near Welney.

'Everyone else is listening to Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, stuff like that. I'm the one sitting in the corner listening to country music.'

Toby reckons he has enjoyed country sounds since he was born - a love he inherits from his parents.

'My parents went to a Dwight Yoakam concert before I was born and I was kicking,' he said. 'He's been around about 30 years, he plays such a wide variety, he sings it like it is.'

Toby hopes his hour-long show - which takes around three times as long to record and edit at his home studio - will encourage more people to listen to the likes of Grammy award-winning Yoakham. Whether his school friends will get into honky tonk remains to be seen.

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Toby's dad Reg Clarke, a BAFTA-nominated TV director, is helping ensure a wide mix from country's diverse catalogue.

'When I was growing up it was the likes of Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, they were icons of that era,' he said.

'Now, I hate to use the word soft rock, but it's almost turned into pop, it kind of sits between the two.'

Toby also presents a regular Gene Pitney tribute show with Rodney Collins, whose career includes stints at Radio Luxembourg and Radio One.

Mr Collins encouraged Toby to apply for the gig when West Norfolk Radio advertised for a presenter to host a country music show.

West Norfolk Radio claims a global online reach from its studios at Great Massingham, near King's Lynn.

It says of its newest recruit: 'Despite taking some stick from teachers and classmates Tobias has stuck with country and hopes to bring his love to a whole new generation of music fans.'

The Tobias Country Show will air online at 1pm on Thursdays, at www.westnorfolkradio.co.uk, where Toby will join a roster including Percy Paradise Presents and Harry and Edna on the Wireless.

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