Former Jazz FM CEO and executive chairman of The Local Radio Company Richard Wheatly has died following a short illness, aged just 69.
Richard had been an integral part of Jazz FM for many years and is responsible for shaping the sound of the station today. Following a career in global advertising, Richard joined Jazz FM as Managing Director in 1995 until it was sold to the Guardian Media Group in 2003.
He then went on to lead The Local Radio Company, in charge of over 25 local radio stations across the UK. TLRC also bought the rights to use the Jazz FM name from GMG.
He then ran Jazz FM once again in 2008, buying the brand back from The Local Radio Company, and has been part of the company ever since, most recently hosting a weekly Sunday night show.
Richard was a well-known figure in the industry and served as Chair of both the National Jazz Youth Collective and First Radio Sales.
Siobhan Kenny, Chief Executive of RadioCentre, the trade body for commercial radio, pays her own tribute: “We are so saddened to hear the shocking news about Richard’s sudden death. He was a maverick in our industry when he launched Jazz FM. By creating Jazz’s Listen in Colour positioning along with the brand’s well-loved chameleon, he was successful in creating one of the most recognisable radio offerings of its time. He was driven by an entrepreneurial passion and a deep love of jazz music.
“The people who worked alongside him over his long career will testify that he was a decent man who brought something different to our industry and was always a calm presence in the room offering sage advice. Our thoughts are with his family and everyone at Jazz FM.”
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