Home shopping colleague Carl takes to the airwaves to connect people during lockdown

July 10, 2020

Our home shopping colleague Carl Dewayne picks goods during the day and picks pops at night on a new community radio station set up during lockdown to connect people and lift their spirits.

DJ Carl Dewane from Asda Cookstown

After his shift at our Cookstown store, Carl – who goes by the name DJ Carl Dee – prepares for his daily show which is on air between 6pm and 8pm on PlanetRadio.ie.

Carl, who's 58 and who has 21 years' service with Asda, has recently returned to work after shielding for 12 weeks.

He said: "I'm Type 1 diabetic so it was felt safer for me to isolate for 12 weeks at the start of the pandemic. In May a couple of friends of mine, who knew I was ex-radio, got in touch. They said that people were often on their own during the lockdown and, through the radio, we could keep them company, help them with their mental health and keep their spirits up.

"We have no news and we don't have any advertising. We are very light with our stories and we just try to entertain people. We now broadcast from 10am to 2am and I'm on seven days a week!

"I live in Cookstown, near the store, but the station itself is actually based in Galway, southern Ireland, but – as it's on the internet – it broadcasts all over the world."

Carl, who has previously worked on BBC Radio Cumbria and Two Counties Radio in Bournemouth, said: "Everybody is a volunteer at the station and we provide all the equipment ourselves, broadcasting from our bedrooms, spare rooms etc.

"We've been quite surprised by the response we've had. There were three of us, but now there's seven and we get between 48,000 and 100,000 listeners depending on the time of day.

"We get messages from Paris, America, Australia, and Spain – all over really – saying that they're enjoying the shows. We are more old fashioned radio – we'll chat a little bit and play music, but it's more 80s and 90s stuff."

Our store's community champion Janice Gibson said: "Music for Carl has always been about connecting people. He was living in lockdown and he wanted to help people in the same position as him. It's great having Carl as a DJ – especially on colleague nights and fundraisers."

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