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Ok so I know I haven't updated my blog page in quite a while, so before anybody shouts at me, here is a bumper edition taking a look at the last few weeks: the end of August and the beginning of September. As new look Drive continues to take shape here's just a taste of some of the things you may have missed since August 16th.


Every Monday at 4.30pm, Mark Reed pops in to the studio to update us on the weekly goings on at the Brentwood Theatre on Shenfield Road. There have been a number of exciting happenings in the last few weeks, not least of all auditions for the Christmas show, "The Plotters Of Cabbage Patch Corner", on stage in December. Students handpicked from a number of graduation showcases were put through their paces all day long on Sunday 12th September, with dance workshops and solo songs... resulting in eight offers being made to assemble this year's festive cast.

Hear Mark again: 6th Sep | 13th Sep


Every Tuesday at 5.30pm, Essex FSB Regional Organiser Keith Brown provides a weekly roundup of business news in Brentwood, Billericay, Ongar and Romford. With the whole country facing cuts in services and budgets left, right, and centre, things are tougher than ever for local traders. We highlight what is available to make the most of resources, including utilizing social media for promotion, applying for grants to fund energy efficient lighting, and attending networking meetings to make new contacts they may prove beneficial.

Hear Keith again: 7th Sep | 14th Sep


After the half-past headlines each hour, we showcase music from local artists in the Brentwood and surrounding areas. If you're a singer/songwriter get in touch with the show and your songs could make the Drive playlist. Email your mp3s to or put your CDs in the post to Phoenix FM, Baytree Centre, Brentwood, Essex CM14 4BX.

On 9th September, we had a double whammy of live performers playing acoustic on Drive. Darren Merrion featured in the Original Talent group that narrowly missed out making the wild card week on Channel 5's 'Don't Stop Believing' at the beginning of August. He and fellow musician Jimmy Sharp overlooked my constant mispronunciation of their names to play more than half a dozen tracks between them, including a rather unique version of Jason Derulo's 'Riding Solo'.

Hear the interviews again: Jimmy Sharp | Darren Merrion


Over the coming weeks we'll tell you more about Drive's new studio assistants. Rebecca Clarke is currently studying at Sixth Form College and returns to the role of 'Girl Tuesday' after a stint with previous Drive presenter Gareth; Pip Edwards, a teacher, took to running the news desk like a duck to water on her first week in place as 'Girl Thursday'; and 'Girl Friday' Stephanie Kilian is no stranger to a microphone and an audience as a full-time student at a London performing arts school. The trio will be on hand with up-to-date showbiz news and events happening in the local area.


Every Friday at 6pm, Drive takes the music you've been listening to all week and puts it in the mix to get you ready for a party night, be it indoors at home or out on the town. Popular remixes of tracks from the likes of Diana Vickers, Alexandra Burke, Ellie Goulding and Katy Price feature on the part of the show that officially signals the end of the weekday slog and the beginning of the weekend.

On Saturday 11th September, I celebrated completing my first five-day week (yes I presented Drive every day of the week for the first time in over a month!) by transporting The Weekend to a Saturday night 10-12pm slot for one week only.


Aug 16-20: Snails can sleep for up to three years at a time and 48% of people read a newspaper or magazine whilst on the toilet.
Aug 23-27: All polar bears are apparently left-handed and crocodiles can't stick their tongues out... and as the heat of the summer continues we learn that 22% of homes have one fan whilst 28% of homes have two.
Aug 31-Sep 3: 90% of New York cabbies are newly-arrived immigrants. Going to New York? Are you in the 2% of men that leave their partner to do all the packing for holidays (that includes me each and every time!)
Sep 6-10: Did you know one in 2000 babies is born with teeth whilst only one in two billion will make it to 116 years of age? More animals this week too as we discovered you can lead a cow upstairs but not down them, and an ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain. Plus the electric chair was invented by a dentist.
Sep 13-17: We found out that in the English language, "typewriter" is the longest word you can type using just one line of a QWERTY keyboard, "month" doesn't have any rhymes or near-rhymes and "Go." is the shortest sentence. 66% of us don't wash our hands after using the toilet (even though we know we should) and 83% of us check our email every day.


Now redundant on the show but we debated various topics including:
- Streaking - 30% of men have done it... have you?
- Are you a workaholic?
- What would you do for 400? Lick the pavement?
- Councils wanting to charge employees 1 a day to park their car
- Getting stuck in traffic after a nine-day jam in China
- De-stress techniques following a Chinese man growing his nails to 35cm to do so
- What you wanted to be when you grew up
- If you're organised packing for holidays or do it all at the last minute
- Dealing with the mess in the house. Who's the worst? The kids or your other half?
- NHS Direct being reportedly replaced by 111.
- Experiences with your mobile phone company
- Mince pies being in the shops already - too early?
- Weird and wacky weddings - why be conventional in the 21st century?


Each week we choose an album out in the shops that week and play a different track from it each day on the show just after 4.30pm. We've had some cracking albums of the week on Drive, with a number of them going on to become number one come Sunday. Notable inclusions are 'Flamingo' from Brandon Flowers, the Saturdays' 'Headlines', Katy Perry's 'Teenage Dream' and 'Euphoria' by Enrique Iglesias.


Likewise, the show ends each day just before 7pm with a selected record of the week. This will be a hot new release due out over the coming months. Over the previous month the Saturdays have featured with their follow-up to 'Missing You': 'Higher' which will be released as a collaboration with Flo Rida in November. Enrique Iglesias was originally due to release his duet with Usher 'Dirty Dancer' before opting for 'Heartbeat' instead. Katy Perry is choosing 'Firework' as the next track from her album in the US, and so a UK release to coincide with Guy Fawkes' night seems very much on the cards.


A special edition of Drive on August 30th saw me count down the 40 biggest selling songs of the year-to-date. Here's how they stood at the time:
Pos LW Artist Song YTD total
1 1 Owl City Fireflies 634100 635200
2 2 Helping Haiti Everybody Hurts 620400 620400
3 3 Usher ft Will I Am OMG 606200 606200
4 4 Tinie Tempah Pass Out 530700 530700
5 5 Alicia Keys Empire State Of Mind (Part II) 522100 541600
6 6 Rihanna Rude Boy 512600 512600
7 9 Katy Perry California Gurls 512400 512400
8 7 Iyaz Replay 507900 507900
9 8 Lady Gaga ft Beyonce Telephone 502500 539000
10 12 Eminem ft Rihanna Love The Way You Lie 494800 494800
11 10 BoB ft Hayley Williams Airplanes 487300 487300
12 11 Plan B She Said 462500 462500
13 16 Yolanda Be Cool & D-Cup We No Speak Americano 430600 430600
14 13 3OH!3 ft Katy Perry Starstrukk 410400 530500
15 15 Jason Derulo Ridin' Solo 408700 408700
16 14 Glee Cast Don't Stop Believin' 407600 417300
17 17 Journey Don't Stop Believin' 378400 702900
18 18 Timbaland Ft Katy Perry If We Ever Meet Again 372000 373100
19 19 Sidney Samson Riverside 372000 373100
20 20 Lady Gaga Bad Romance 368800 827400
21 21 Jason Derulo In My Head 361400 361400
22 22 K'naan Wavin' Flag 359900 359900
23 23 Scouting For Girls This Ain't A Love Song 357100 357100
24 24 Ellie Goulding Starry Eyed 339400 339400
25 25 BoB ft Bruno Mars Nothing On You 331900 331900
26 27 Eminem Not Afraid 331100 331100
27 26 Justin Bieber ft Ludacris Baby 325400 325400
28 28 Cheryl Cole Parachute 323700 341800
29 29 Florence & Dizzee You Got The Dirtee Love 309500 309500
30 30 Roll Deep Good Times 307500 307500
31 31 Lady Gaga Alejandro 303200 312400
32 32 JLS One Shot 290100 308600
33 34 David Guetta ft Chris Willis Gettin' Over You 287200 287200
34 33 Dizzee Rascal & James Corden Shout 286300 286300
35 35 Tinie Tempah Frisky 282000 282000
36 37 Example Kickstarts 281000 281000
37 36 Florence & The Machine You've Got The Love 276900 459300
38 38 Kylie Minogue All The Lovers 272400 272400
39 39 Alicia Keys Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart 269700 271500
40 47 Eliza Doolittle Pack Up 258800 258800
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