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Radio DJ Steve Penk on his perfect Surrey weekend

PUBLISHED: 17:10 07 January 2011 | UPDATED: 16:17 20 February 2013

My Surrey Weekend with Steve Penk in Surrey Life

My Surrey Weekend with Steve Penk in Surrey Life

Best-remembered for his daring wind-up calls on Capital Radio, Steve Penk now owns his own radio station up in Manchester, where he lives during the week. Come the weekend, however, he can't wait to return home to his family in Walton-on-Thames

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine September 2009

Best-remembered for his daring wind-up calls on Capital Radio, Steve Penk now owns his own radio station up in Manchester, where he lives during the week. Come the weekend, however, he can't wait to return home to his family in Walton-on-Thames


I moved to Walton-on-Thames 12 years ago when I was offered the morning show at Capital Radio.

Prior to living in Surrey, I had spent all my life in and around Manchester, where my wife is from, too (well, Salford to be exact). Rising to the challenge, however, the house went up for sale and we started house-hunting down here.

Chris Tarrant told me that he lived in Esher, and that we would love it there. From his description, it sounded very much like where we were living at the time.

So, every weekend for three months, we would view every house that came up for sale in Esher, but didn't really like any. We eventually found our house in Walton-on-Thames two weekends before Christmas in 1996 and have been here ever since. Our son Andrew was born two weeks after we moved in (phew!).

Chatting to Tony Blair

I have worked in radio ever since leaving school, having started out in hospital radio. I just love interacting with the listeners, and this is the basis for the wind-up phone calls that I do.

One of the most memorable was in 1998 when I was working for Capital, and we got through the security of the Downing Street switchboard and spoke to the then prime minister Tony Blair. No one was more surprised than me! It became a very surreal day, with every news channel camped outside my home in Walton-on-Thames!

After leaving Capital in 2000, I worked for Virgin Radio, taking over Chris Evans' breakfast show, and also did a stint as a TV presenter.

Television is such a contrast to radio. So many people, so much input, whereas on live radio it's just me, the microphone and 'the moment'.

Having worked in the radio industry for 31 years, I have always had my own ideas about what makes a radio station successful - creativity, risk taking and fantastic music. So, in September 2008, I bought The Revolution 96.2fm in Oldham, Greater Manchester.

As well as my responsibilities as owner, I also present the weekday breakfast show, often working 18/19 hour days, but it has to be done when it's your own business.

During the week, I live in Oldham, and return to Walton-on-Thames on Friday. It means we have a very condensed weekend but we make the most of it. Once I'm back, Friday evening usually means a meal at home and catch-up time.

On Saturday, we spend the day together, and do things around our three children. I have a boat on the Thames at Shepperton, which is great fun. We will often visit Legoland or Thorpe Park, too, or go to see a film in Guildford, Walton or Esher. Occasionally, we go to see a show in London. If we are feeling energetic, we also love Windsor Great Park.

Shopping in Surrey

If we shop, we prefer to stay local. Walton-on-Thames now has The Heart shopping centre, where you can usually get what you need, the kids might go to the library and we always bump into someone we know!

During the summer, we usually go to Garsons Farm to pick strawberries at least once and get goodies from the farm shop.

In the evening, we generally have a take-away or a meal out, or if the weather is good, we barbecue.

On Sunday, I travel back to Manchester - I have a live show to present in the evening plus preparation for the week ahead. The office is normally very quiet on a Sunday afternoon so it gives me time to go over the various aspects of the business, both the programming and commercial side.

The hardest part of my job is not the long hours, it's being away from my wife (and best friend) Helen,
and my children.

I've always been a home boy and hate being away, but I have big plans for my company Wind-Up Media and ownership of more radio stations will follow... The next one in Surrey?

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