Ray Daniels, veteran Scottish broadcaster, has died at the age of 52. His husband, Tim, announced that he passed away peacefully in his sleep.
This tribute is from his friend and former colleague John Collins for RadioToday.
Ray’s first stint behind the microphone was at Hospital Radio Paisley but he went on to forge a career on both sides of the Atlantic.
In Scotland he’s best known for two stints on Drive at Westsound and later at Real Radio Scotland. His warmth and humour came through in every link. In an era when presenters often had a touch of the transatlantic about them, the precision of his diction coupled with the always-present smile in his voice marked every link. The smile was one of his great tools – he could add layers of innuendo with ease.
Ray’s skills were much in demand and resulted in him appearing on several stations across Scotland in an era when ‘portfolio careers’ were still in the future. He was the duty announcer at BBC Radio Scotland in December 1988 when Pan Am 103 exploded above Lockerbie, handling a huge news event that shocked the shocked the world with consummate ease and professionalism. This ability to handle light and shade in very different formats made him stand out as a broadcaster’s broadcaster.
Ray was generous with his time and advice, playing an important role in the early careers of less experienced colleagues.
A move to the US found him on air in New York at WMXV, WNYC and the NPR station in Nevada. He also worked as a consul at the UK embassy in New York, giving him the opportunity to “chaffeur Tony Blair around the city”.
In 2009 he went public about his dependence on alcohol and the warning from doctors that the booze was placing his life in danger.
Latterly his battle was with cancer and he regaled Facebook friends with often humorous accounts of his journey in hospitals in New York and Scotland.
In fact, Ray continued to post with great humour on Facebook until hours before his passing. He had strongly-held views on almost everything from the current state of the radio industry to politics and nationalism which were (almost) always shared with his trademark wit – and the occasional rant.