Parasite lost?

60 minutes with…Simon Frater of Kiss FM

A look into the life of the man behind the voice

by SHEENA RAWCLIFFE [email protected]

There are hardly enough adjectives in the Oxford English Dictionary to describe this man, but if I had to choose only one it would be energetic.

Simon Frater – Si – is the catalyst who has brought life to weekday mornings on KISS FM Algarve.

Our first meeting, in the bowels of the KISS FM empire, was during the last 30 minutes of his show. This particular show had not been a good one for Si – computer problems, timing issues and general frustration – but who knew, other than those on hand to witness it? The consummate professional that is Si Frater kept on entertaining the Algarve.

Si moved to the Algarve in his 30s from Manchester (North West England), to make a new life for him and his family.

“I was held up at gunpoint in the street – you know just minding my own business – and the next minute – well…”

The following morning Si told his wife, Janice, “We need to get out”. For Si this was not some dramatic empty gesture, but one of genuine concern; concern for his young family, and for the lifestyle they were being subjected to which was fast becoming unacceptable.

“We booked a flight to the Algarve and knew within a very short time that this was where we should be.”

Making such a huge life change, so speedily must have had its problems?

Not really, according to Si. They had to consider the family and friends they would be leaving behind, but this made the Algarve a sensible choice.

Apart from the obvious opportunities for friends and family to visit the Fraters and have a good holiday, the Algarve is a relatively short distance from the UK, so in emergencies, or just because they wanted to, it would be easy to pop back to the UK either by road or plane.

“We are a ‘today’ family” Si told me. “We enjoy life and choosing Albufeira as our home was not accidental. Janice and I are both outgoing people and Albufeira offered us the opportunities we were looking for, as a family.” Each time Si mentioned his family, his face lit up; they are obviously a very important part of his life and he has no problem showing it.

Well-placed for Si’s line – well that should be lines – of work the family settled in quickly and easily. Daughters Chantal and Zoe enrolled in Portuguese schools and with wall-to-wall sunshine, beach, good clean air and a safer environment to live in life is good.

I wondered if Si had experienced any financial concerns when considering uprooting the family and coming to the Algarve without a job to go to.

“I knew that there would be work for me. I will do pretty much anything that makes me money as long as it is legal. And it did not take me long to find it.”

“Also Janice and I do have an on-line business (selling glass bricks for interior design purposes) which I knew would also support us.”

“I have been nightclub DJing for nearly all my adult life – I just love to entertain.” But nightclubs and radio are just two sectors of the entertainment industry which Si has enjoyed. He has also worked as an extra on many television programmes. He was regularly seen as Eric on Coronation Street, he was a policeman in Brookside and played Tommy, Rick Mayall’s godson in a made-for-TV film.

Si, who loves and lives to entertain, enjoys DJ-ing in night clubs in the evenings, but still manages somehow to reserve some of that special energy for the mornings on the Breakfast Show.

Some say that Si Frater is a bit like Marmite – you either love him or hate him. I met a much more complex individual who is far from complacent.  

He challenges himself each day and he is his own most severe critic. With listeners ranging from seven-years-old to seventy-plus-years-old The Breakfast Show is now a ‘must listen to’ programme for many, with the constant addition of new features and always with a small helping of madness.

Reminding me so much of the style of The Hairy Cornflake (Dave Lee Travis) on BBC Radio One, back in the 70s, I for one hope that there is much more to come from Si Frater.