Forty radio professionals who have made a significant contribution to the growth and success of the industry have been honoured.
The Roll of Honour, made in association with Audioboo, includes former Capital FM presenter Chris Tarrant OBE, Absolute Radio host Christian O’Connell and BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans.
The deciding committee chaired by Paul Brown, was made up of The Daily Telegraph’s Gillian Reynolds, author and broadcaster John Myers and Ralph Bernard, former Chief Executive of GCap Radio, who were all included on the initial list and drafted in to complete the rest of the line-up.
The four committee members were also joined by RadioCentre Chairman Dianne Thompson, Arqiva Awards Chairman Lisa Kerr and RadioCentre CEO Andrew Harrison.
Global Radio’s Richard Park and Ashley Tabor, Bauer’s Dee Ford, Sir Charles Dunstone, and Richard Attenborough CBE also made the cut.
Nominations for inclusion in the Roll of Honour were sought across the industry, with an independent committee appointed by the RadioCentre board, selecting the final 40.
Paul Brown: “We all enjoyed a splendid walk down memory lane – a real privilege and a reminder of the fun we had all had in our various commercial radio roles. We considered so many talented and influential people and have ended up with a powerful 40 that reflect a fascinating 40 years.”
40 Roll of Honour
Philip Birch was Managing Director of Radio London, the pirate radio station whose business model became the template for the early commercial radio stations. After the closure of ‘the Big L’, as it was known, Birch joined Piccadilly Radio in Manchester and was CEO until his retirement in January 1984.
John Whitney founded The Local Radio Association in 1963, successfully lobbying government to pass legislation creating commercial radio. He was the first managing director of Capital Radio from its launch until 1982, and was then Director General of the Independent Broadcasting Authority until 1989.
John Thompson was selected to establish the working framework for the new independent radio service, working first within Whitehall and then at the Independent Broadcasting Authority. An experienced broadcaster, editor and businessman, his brief was to co-ordinate and push forward the plans for radio on a commercial basis. He has often been called “the father of independent radio”.
Lord (Richard) Attenborough, was Capital’s founding chairman and is its lifetime President. His was the first voice on commercial radio, with the words … “This, for the very first time, is Capital Radio”. His investment was critical to the creation of Capital Radio and he used his personal art collection to secure the station’s salaries bill in its earliest days.
Lord (Jimmy) Gordon launched Radio Clyde as Managing Director on Hogmanay 1973. Acquiring other radio stations, he formed Scottish Radio Holdings which he first led in 1996 and then chaired until 2005. He was a founder of the first industry Trade Association and Radio Advertising Bureau and today is probably radio’s greatest champion in the House of Lords.
Les Ross joined BBC Radio Birmingham in 1970 where he presented one of UK radio’s first ever ‘zoo’ formatted shows. After being part of the launch team for TFM, he moved to BRMB where he hosted the breakfast show from Birmingham for 28 years, establishing himself as one of the industry’s best-loved presenters.
Terry Smith formed the consortium which won the licence to operate Liverpool’s first commercial radio station, Radio City, in 1974 and was the station’s managing director for the next 17 years. He went on to chair EMAP’s radio division as well as Independent Radio News, a post he still holds today.
Gillian Reynolds is the radio critic for The Daily Telegraph, a position she has held since 1975. She was previously radio critic of The Guardian and then founding programme controller of Radio City in Liverpool, becoming the first woman programme controller in the industry. In 1990 she was made the first Fellow of the Radio Academy and in 1999 was awarded the MBE for services to broadcasting.
Tim Blackmore was a Radio 1 producer before becoming Head of Programmes at Capital Radio in 1977. He was appointed as the first Director of the Radio Academy in 1987 before founding the Unique Broadcasting Company (UBC) with Simon Cole in 1989. Tim was awarded an MBE for services to independent radio production.
Stan Park started in the features department of LBC, before moving into sales. As CEO he built Independent Radio Sales into an industry leader with a market share of 70%. He went on to work at Talk Radio before investing in Metro Radio, subsequently re-launched as Trafficlink. Today Stan chairs RadioWorks as well as holding a number of posts outside radio.
Alan Robson began his early broadcasting on Metro Radio as a music radio presenter, but found his true vocation when ‘Night Owls’ debuted on the station in 1983. A fixture of the schedule ever since, Alan has developed a deep relationship with his listeners, which has been recognised by a raft of awards including the World’s Best Talk Show in the New York Radio Awards.
Richard Findlay worked at Capital Radio before its launch. In 1974 he became the first programme controller of Radio Forth and its MD in 1977. He later became Group Chief Executive of Scottish Radio Holdings. Richard also served as Chairman of the Association of Independent Radio Contractors, where he lobbied vigorously and successfully for deregulation. He was appointed CBE in this year for services to the Arts and Creative Industries in Scotland.
Deanna Hallett first ventured into radio while at NOP Market Research where she worked with the first wave of consortia applying to operate commercial stations. She was instrumental in developing the industry’s diary research methodology. She set up Hallett Arendt Ltd in 1986 and is highly regarded for her work in helping stations to develop their businesses through the use of supportive research.
Chris Tarrant joined Capital Radio in 1984, initially presenting its lunchtime show. Already a well known TV presenter, in 1987 he took over the station’s breakfast show and, after hosting 4425 shows on Capital, Chris Tarrant said his farewell in April 2004. Today he presents on BBC Radio 2 as well as hosting ITV’s ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’.
John Pickford began his journalism career on the Stockport Express. He made the switch to commercial radio and Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio in 1979. He has been at the frontline of local radio journalism ever since, leading his team with hands-on news gathering and reporting from the scene of major events such as the Manchester air disaster, the Strangeway’s riots and the Warrington bomb.
Richard Park began his career as a DJ in the 1960s working in pirate radio and is, today, one of commercial radio’s leading programming authorities. He joined Radio Clyde from the BBC in 1973 where he made his mark in sports, news and music radio. He was programme controller at Capital Radio from 1987 to 2001 before spells at EMAP and on TV’s Fame Academy. Today he is Director of Broadcasting and Group Executive Director of Global Radio and won the 2013 Sony Gold Award for his outstanding contribution to radio.
Neil Fox was, for 18 years, one of Capital Radio’s most popular DJs. As host of the Evening Surgery programme he became ‘Dr Fox’, a name which stuck through 7 years hosting drive time and 11 years at the Pepsi Network Chart Show. Since 2005 he has hosted the Breakfast Show on London’s Magic 105.4.
Ian Anderson is owner and operator, alongside his wife Inga Walterson, of SIBC (Shetland Islands Broadcasting Company), which began broadcasting in 1987. Ian was previously a broadcaster for the BBC and Radio Forth, as well as pirate radio stations including Radio Atlantis, Radio Northsea International and Radio Caroline.
Ralph Bernard CBE started as a journalist at Radio Hallam in 1975. Later, as CEO of GWR, he built the single station into a major group, eventually merging with Capital Radio to form GCap in 2005. Ralph played a pivotal role in the creation of Classic FM and was its chairman until 2012. Today he chairs the Quidem Radio group as well as pursuing a successful non-executive career
Jonathan Pearce’s first radio role was at BBC Radio Bristol where he made his debut match commentary on Bristol Rovers v Exeter City. In 1987, he launched Capital Gold Sport and became sports editor aged 23. In May 2002, Jonathan left Capital Gold to join BBC Radio 5 Live and, today, Jonathan’s energetic commentary style is enjoyed by viewers of BBC TV’s ‘Match of the Day’.
John Perkins was managing director of the Independent Radio News for 20 years until 2009. He began his radio career with Radio City in Liverpool at its launch in 1974, joining LBC in London a year later, where he presented the first ‘rolling news’ programme on UK radio.
Paul Brown worked in Forces and commercial radio before, in 1984, becoming a regulator first in the Independent Broadcasting Authority and then at the Radio Authority, where he was deputy chief executive. In 1995 he became CEO of the Commercial Radio Companies Association earning a reputation as the industry’s greatest champion. In 2006 he was appointed chairman of RadioCentre, before retiring from radio two years later to develop a portfolio of work interests.
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Douglas McArthur OBE began his radio career at Radio Clyde before becoming the founding CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). Across 14 years under his leadership, the RAB team led a highly regarded marketing campaign for commercial radio that saw revenue rise from 2% of advertising revenue to a peak of 7%. Douglas now leads the marketing consultancy Planning for Results.
Sir Charles Dunstone, co-founded mobile phone retailer, The Carphone Warehouse in 1989. He was the first businessman to use radio to launch a major brand, taking advantage of the industry’s growth in the 1990s. His business was a founding shareholder in the MXR digital radio multiplex business.
Avtar Lit is the owner and chairman of Sunrise Radio Group which he founded in 1989 to apply, successfully, for one of the first incremental radio licences in London. The group has since grown to include services in Birmingham and on digital and is an outstanding example of commercial radio’s strength in reaching previously underserved demographics.
Simon Cole started his radio career as a BBC trainee, moving to Manchester in the early 1980s as the head of programmes at Piccadilly Radio, the youngest programme chief on the network. Whilst at Piccadilly, Simon helped pioneer the market for national sponsored programmes. Simon founded Unique Broadcasting (UBC) in 1989 in partnership with Tim Blackmore.
Helen Mayhew’s broadcasting career began at BBC Radio Devon and Kent, presenting and producing a wide range of programmes. She was one of the original presenters on Jazz FM when it started in 1990, devising and presenting the ‘Dinner Jazz’ programme which pioneered a new mood-based style of broadcasting. Mayhew joined the re-launched Jazz FM in 2009.
Michael Betton started his radio career at Radio Orwell in Ipswich, before joining Ocean Sound as its launch programme controller and later its MD. He set up Lincs FM in 1991 and has since grown it to eight stations. Michael is the longest serving director of the industry’s trade association having served on the boards of AIRC, CRCA and RadioCentre.
Quentin Howard was the industry’s youngest ever chief engineer at Severn Sound before moving to the GWR Group, where he pioneered the use of CDs and digital playout systems. He was instrumental in the establishment of Classic FM, recording the famous birdsong test transmission in his garden. An early supporter of digital radio, he launched Digital One in 1999 and is now Director of TV and Technology at BFBS.
David Mansfield joined Capital Radio as commercial director in 1993, later becoming its CEO. In 2005 he led the newly formed GCap Media as CEO, following Capital’s £711m merger with GWR. David is chairman of RAJAR and has a varied career as a non-executive director.
Linda Smith joined the RAB in 2010 as executive chair and has helped inspire the revitalisation of the industry’s sales efforts resulting in growth in market share and absolute revenues in each of the last three years. Previously Linda was CEO of Starcom MediaVest, and from 2000-2005, was Commercial Director on the plc board of Capital Radio.
John Myers created the Century, Real, Smooth and Rock Radio brands. A former radio and TV presenter, he authored one government and two BBC reports on radio and recently published ‘It’s Only Radio’, a book recalling his 30 years in the industry. He is chairman of Team Rock, the Sony Radio Academy Awards and a visiting professor at the University of Cumbria and Sunderland.
Dee Ford was appointed managing director of Preston-based Rock FM in 1994 after joining the Radio City sales team in 1987. One of commercial radio’s greatest sales talents, Dee was repeatedly promoted at EMAP and now, as part of the Bauer Media Group, is group managing director of Bauer Radio.
Phil Riley began at BRMB in 1980, later launching Xtra AM before moving to Radio Aire as PD. Phil joined Chrysalis in 1994, launching Heart in the Wet Midlands and London. He became CEO (Radio) in 1999, overseeing its sale to Global eight years later. Now at Orion Media, he runs a number of Midlands stations now branded Free Radio and Gem 106.
Chris Evans’s first radio show was on Manchester’s Piccadilly Radio in 1983. His career then took him to GLR, Channel 4 and Radio 1. In 1997, Chris moved to Virgin Radio as a presenter, before later buying the station. When he sold it in 2000 to SMG, he became the man who had made the greatest personal fortune from the sector. UK Radio Aid, in 2005, heralded his return to radio, after which he joined BBC Radio 2.
Moz Dee began his radio career with BBC Coventry & Warwickshire. He was a presenter at the launch of Talk Radio and was appointed Head of Sport in 1998. The following year he joined BBC 5 Live as Managing Editor, before returning to the re-launched talkSPORT as Programme Director in 2008, helping to grow the station to record audience levels. Moz now runs Contented Digital Media.
Mark Story began his radio career at RTE, moving to Capital Radio as producer of Chris Tarrant’s breakfast show. In 1990 he joined EMAP where he spent the majority of his career working across stations including Key 103, Magic 105.4 and Kiss 100. He chaired UK Radio Aid in 2005 and today is one of Europe’s leading programming consultants.
Nick Ferrari is the multi award-winning host of the LBC Breakfast Show. Formerly a journalist for the Sunday Mirror, The Sun, and the Sunday Magazine, Nick moved into broadcasting as the launch editor of the Sky News Channel, moving on to work for Fox TV, L!ve TV and Talk Radio. His innovative programmes, such as Call Clegg, continue to keep LBC at the forefront of industry developments.
Christian O’Connell started in sales before turning his hand to presenting on 2CR Radio in Bournemouth and then Juice FM in Liverpool and XFM in London. He now presents the Breakfast Show on Absolute Radio and is commercial radio’s most award laden presenter, with 10 Gold Sony Awards.
Ashley Tabor is the youngest radio owner in Europe, having founded commercial radio’s biggest group, Global Radio in 2007 with the purchase of Chrysalis Radio. A year later Global Radio officially took control of all GCap Media. Today Ashley runs the country’s biggest commercial radio group and is a former chair of the Radio Academy.