Meet the presenters

Meet the Academy FM presenters

Find out more about our presenters here

Debbie Day
Breakfast Presenter
Hi, I'm Debbie which equals Mum to 2 amazing grown up children and Nan to 3 wonderful grandchildren, I also have 3 beautiful cockapoos. I run my own marketing business, but my passion is radio. I've been around it for the last 20 years and I'm still as excited now as I was then. The icing on the cake is being a Breakfast Presenter on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I absolutely love it, plus I'm very proud to be the Station Manager and Company Secretary. I love to sing and dance and write, I'm currently in the middle of writing a book, not sure how long that'll take to finish, but it keeps me busy.
Doc Atherton
Breakfast Presenter
Doc lives in Ramsgate with his wife Penney and their 3 lovely cats, Whiskey, Pepsi and Big George. Doc has worked at so many different radio stations over the year and has been with Academy FM since it launched. Doc is also a bit of a film fanatic (especially the Star Wars films) and a Sci-Fi Nut and loves nothing better than putting his feet up and watching a good movie. He's also well known to be a completely mad fan of the TV Series "Doctor Who" You can catch Doc on a Sunday morning from 7am.
Paul Rutters
Breakfast Presenter
Paul has been presenting radio programmes since 1990 - starting at the age of 14. Firstly with student and hospital radio before moving to work in Thanet for TLR. He presented the live overnight programme at the weekend and went onto present on Neptune, CTFM and KMFM across the county filling in for many programmes over the years. Now since 2012, Paul has presented the Saturday breakfast programme here at Academy FM and has a love for '80s music & travel.
Andy Theoff
Breakfast Presenter
Andy was born and raised in Thanet but moved away to attend college. After finishing his education he returned to his roots and lived and worked in the area for many years before moving recently to Canterbury. Andy works as a conveyancing solicitor and is a Partner at Direction Law in Canterbury. Andy has presented shows on various radio stations in Thanet, as well as on stations in Norwich, Guildford and in Southern Spain and has been on Academy FM since the day it launched.
Chris West
Breakfast Presenter
I was born in Dartford & moved to Thanet in 1984, I've worked for Mellow 1557 in Frinton On-Sea & SGR in Ipswich. In 1994 I was MD for Thanet Sound who applied for the licence for Thanet which was awarded to TLR. I've been very lucky to work on other radio stations in Kent with some great people & I have interviewed some famous stars, including David Essex, Norman Wisdom, Jimmy Tarbuck, Harry Hill, just to name a few. I have an events company Classic Music & Motors & organise Classic Motor Shows.
Patrick Foster
Daytime Presenter
Patrick Foster has been broadcasting for the last quarter-century around London and the South East of England. His first professional gig was on TLR at Margate before going on to have stints at CTRfm, CTFM, Trafficlink, Globecast Radio and Channel Travel Radio. He also works as a journalist and has written a number of books on naval and historical subjects as well as an e-novel called Catalina. He loves all sugary foodstuffs and Italian cuisine although he can only rustle up beans on toast.
Craig Cowell
Daytime Presenter
Craig was born and raised in Thanet. He began in radio over 20 years ago at Viking radio at Sea Bathing Hospital in Margate. Moving onto Radio Cabin, a Community Radio station in Herne Bay. He continues there with "The Mid-Morning Show" on Sundays. Craig joined Academy FM early 2015 with Thursday evenings "Your Shout" and now you'll find him on Thursday's "Drive Time". During the rest of the week, you can find Craig working as an Estate Agent in Thanet or spending time with his wife and children.
Paul James
Daytime Presenter
Paul started as a roadshow DJ in 1974 (whilst still at school), then progressed to nightclubs & eventually in 1985, began hosting radio shows, eventually becoming the Studio Manager at Southampton Hospital Radio. Paul went on to present shows on a number of RSL stations and presented the weekday late show on Max FM for 3 years. This was followed by 5 years on Cable Radio in Brighton, then 14 years with Swale Sound & SFM. Paul joined Academy FM in mid-2017, presenting the Saturday evening dance and disco show and whilst he continues with this, he now also presents a number of other shows on Academy FM. Paul can often be heard on the mid-morning show.
Theo Loyla
Daytime Presenter
Theo started his career in the music business in 1966, he won a national contest run by Radio Luxembourg in 1974 & in 1978 joined Polydor records as disco & local radio promotions manager, later becoming a freelancer Notable projects have been, films Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Fame, Flashdance, Footloose & Ghostbusters along with Artists Gloria Gaynor, Level 42, Shakatak, Whitney Houston and many more. Currently, Theo runs line dancing classes & is part of the news team at Academy FM.
Nigel Robson
Daytime Presenter
Hi, I’m Nigel. Loving being part of the wonderful Academy FM station! I took early retirement from a career in public service. I am now joint proprietor of CosyCats a boarding Cattery I run with my wife in Sandwich. I’m also a partner in Fordwich River Tours a boat trip operator from Fordwich! I usually do the Drivetime show on Tuesday afternoons as welcome your company. Hope you will be joining me!
Lee Ackroyd
Drivetime Presenter
Born in Bradford, Yorkshire in 1951. Relocated to Deal in 2019 after 30 years of living in Whitstable. During the late 60s, Lee was at the forefront of the new mobile disco era, working mostly in Lancashire and Yorkshire. During the early 70s, he got his first radio experiences with several hospital radio stations in West Yorkshire. He turned professional at the age of 19, working extensively in the north of England for large brewery chains and hotel groups, doing week-night pub venues and dinner dances at locations such as The Midland Hotel, Manchester, as well as at The Adelphi in Liverpool at the weekend. In 1971, he made the transition to club DJ playing at top venues in the north, eventually joined IDEA in Copenhagen, working clubs around Europe. By 1974, he was running a chain of mobile discos in the Midlands, then a year later relocated to Liverpool where he started presenting for BBC Radio Merseyside. Lee lived in Germany for 12 years, working in the oil field and, latterly, travel industries, whilst also running a mobile disco. Later, becoming a PADI diving instructor, spending time in the Caribbean and Key West in the USA. Back in the UK, he decided it was time to get a proper job. As a business development manager with Pilkington Glass, Lee was primarily involved in delivering new products to market, of which Activ self-cleaning glass is a typical example. During this time, he did his stint at Bridge Country Club, as did most local DJs, and then joined the Invicta Radio appeal team, which led on to doing all the events and outside broadcasts for Coast and Invicta. Until a couple of years ago, Lee was running Oldayz mobile disco, ably assisted by Lady Ackers, where they played vinyl 45s. Oldayz is no longer operating, but Ackers still has his collection of 45s! Retired now from the glass, window and construction industry, Lee was delighted to be able to take advantage of the opportunity offered by joining Academy FM. Among his many other interests… Lee is a qualified portrait photographer; He plays walking football for Canterbury WFC; He enjoys a style of dance called smooth jive; He has recently taken up metal detecting And is a long-time supporter of Liverpool FC.
Jon Mason
Evening Presenter
Jon is the presenter of the all 80s on a Wednesday night, and basically a floating Jock, filling in where he can here at Academy. He started spinning the vinyl at the ripe old age of 9 at a youth club on the RAF base at Manston. Ever since then he has had a passion for music. He had always wanted to get into radio but the correct doors never seemed to open. Over the years he has been involved with a couple of community stations with short-term licences and also an Internet-based station doing a Sunday breakfast show. Jon joined Academy in 2015 and has really enjoyed his time here as one of the team.
Ian Day
Evening Presenter
I was born and bred in Thanet many summers ago and I went to school here and have worked within Thanet most (but not all) of my working life. I am married to Lorna and we have three grown-up children. We live in Westbrook and have done for nearly 25 years. I love sport and music so volunteering for the Academy FM Sport show on a Wednesday night is an ideal hobby for me. I try to keep active with Five-a-side football, Walking Football and local Parkruns at Palm Bay and Pegwell Bay. I am a qualified football referee and enjoy being in the middle for games of all ages from youth U9’s to Veterans football and the over 40’s. My dream is to score a goal at Wembley Stadium one day!!
JB, ( John Brown )
Evening Presenter
I left school at the ripe old age of fifteen to become an apprentice cabinet maker, then signed up to join, HMS Worcester, I have also worked in the building industry, had over thirteen years in financial Services, and finished my working life as a facilities manager. But my first experience as a DJ came along just two years after leaving school when I was invited to do the music at a garden party for The Canterbury Wine Circle. Music then became a great part of my life. In the early seventies I built and launched the hospital radio service at Kent and Canterbury Hospital and then went on to manage it for the next thirteen years. At the end of the eighties I joined the Radio Invicta Appeal and later moved on to be part of their outside broadcast team. During this time I was involved in the launch of Mellow 1557 Radio station in Frinton-on-sea. It was during my time at hospital Radio and Invicta Radio that I became friends with some of my fellow presenters here at Academy FM. Throughout the noughties I worked with a local video roadshow. During my career as a DJ /Radio Presenter I have interviewed many people from all walks of life including Terry Waite, Berni Flint, and M.P. Edward Heath M.B.E. As you can tell Radio presenting has been a big part of my life and I am now happy to be part of the team here at Academy Fm
David Stringer
News Reader
A day spent with the Beatles in 1963 led to music dominating David’s private life. In the 70’s he ran an acoustic music club in London for 6 years, during which time he also developed the careers of several singer-songwriters. He also helped to run the Cambridge Folk Festival for a while, also the 3-day Slough Arts Festival Folk Competition. He co-hosted a late-night Folk Show on Capital Radio and has since broadcast on a variety of radio stations, including Radio Clyde (Glasgow), Mercia Sound (Coventry), Radio Solent (Southampton), BBC Radio Kent, Invicta Radio and regularly on Singapore's Radio 1. He has been self-employed as a business trainer and coach since 1992, work which has taken him to over 30 countries. Back in Thanet and currently President of BETA, the Broadstairs Ex (Round) Tablers Association. He also supports a number of community projects alongside his continuing coaching and mentoring projects.
Jeremy Kitt
News Reader
Jeremy runs his own successful web design business in Thanet and East Kent. His background is in International Telecommunications Management, he has over twenty years of experience as a senior manager with both Siemens and Ericsson. Jeremy has a degree in Psychology from the University of Reading and is the author of Making Happiness a Habit, a self-help guide aimed at promoting individual happiness.
Jerry Banks
News Reader
I ran a bicycle messenger company in London in the 1980s, travelled around the world for a year in my late 30s, then had a shop selling eclectic interior accessories for 10 years. Plus a bit of doing the wheel of fortune at Butlins. All obviously leading to my true vocation - being on the radio! Claim to fame - I once appeared on Top of the Pops!
Barry Gardner
Sports Reporter
Barry ‘The Barber’ Gardner has long been the voice of sport in these parts. He was Johnny Lewis’s sidekick at the former station TLR (Thanet Local Radio), and he joined the team at Academy FM when it launched in 2010. These days he is the Sports reporter on Paul Rutters Saturday Breakfast Show. He sold his Barry’s Barber Shop business in Northdown Road Cliftonville and retired in 2018 after 58 years of barbering. Sport has been an abiding interest for Barry, though he also spent four years with Ramsgate Operatic Society in his teens. He also played amateur football and cricket, and has been a Margate FC supporter ever since his dad first took him to see them play in the mid-1950s. Barry has been a cricket umpire and secretary of Cliftonville Cricket Club, as well as manager of Thanet under-17 and under-19 teams.
Weekend Presenter
Horace was born in Dartford and moved to Broadstairs in 1974. Horace left school and became a butcher working for his Dad in the Margate shop and that was a fantastic platform to try out his jokes and gain some confidence. Many of the customers said they only came into the shop for the abuse and comedy, shopping was the sideline. Horace was involved with Hit FM and the birth of TLR which is now known as KMFM. Horace's palace of fun is on our airwaves, Academy FM on Sunday from 1pm.
James & Mary Pringle
Weekend Presenters
James Pringle is our jazz and easy listening presenter. Previously he was a producer and presenter on Radio City, the Liverpool commercial station, and appeared as a theatre reviewer on BBC Radio 2. Later he made a career in publishing as a magazine editor and writer for consumer, corporate and trade publications. James and his wife Mary moved in early 2010 to Broadstairs. Mary also co-presents the show, she retired in September 2014 from the Royal Opera House after 15 years in the development department.
To find out more about Academy FM, please get in touch with us.

Office: 01843 572538
Studio: 01843 808234

Address: The Royal Harbour Academy Marlowe Way Ramsgate Kent CT12 6NB