The Spirit Of Radio: The biz pays tribute to Radio 1 and Radio 2

The Spirit Of Radio: The biz pays tribute to Radio 1 and Radio 2


What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of Radio 1 and Radio 2 than to take a warm, fuzzy trip down memory lane? Here, top names in the biz share with Music Week some of their favourite memories, moments, shows and, of course, presenters…


Natalie Judge, General manager, Matador
“My first introduction to Matador was actually via Radio 1 and John Peel. I’d stay up late listening and recording shows on a cassette player, and then find out which record labels released the songs. I remember hearing Sleep The Clock Around by Belle & Sebastian and endlessly playing the Mogwai and Interpol Peel sessions.”

Saul Galpern, Founder, Nude Records
“I’d spend every single night of my youth pretty much in my bedroom with the door closed, listening to John Peel and taping every single punk band. I’ve still got them all, Siouxsie And The Banshees and The Slits, all these bands. I’m grateful to Radio 1, they really did change my life in a way.”

Jane Third, Global chief creative officer, PIAS
“Growing up in the Highlands of Scotland, Radio 1’s only competition was Moray Firth Radio, so we were a captive audience. That was our connection to the outside world. I used to tape the John Peel show a lot, I still remember my tape running out halfway through the first ever play of Björk and David Arnold’s Play Dead and listening to the first minute-and-a-half over and over again.”

Sas Metcalfe, President, global creative, Kobalt
“I grew up in North Wales and I remember listening to Steve Lamacq and John Peel to hear the new music shows. It was one of the greatest things that the UK had back then; listening to music that you’d never be able to hear anywhere else. I was a very big Radio 1 fan in my student days, because that was where you heard new music.”

Jarvis Cocker
“I was a kid, I was 17 when we did the Peel Session, the drummer [Wayne Furniss] was 14. We nearly died because we weren’t old enough to drive, so we had to get somebody with a van and this guy nearly crashed on the way back from it. So it was almost the first and last Peel session. It’s funny because I was in that studio in Maida Vale with the rehearsals for the Scott Walker Prom. It was a weird feeling – it was 36 years ago that we did that session.”



Rebecca Allen, President, Decca
“I can tell you now, the artists we’ve broken over the years would not have broken without Radio 2, whether it was Madeleine Peyroux, The Shires, Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum… What I love about Radio 2, and I feel so passionately about this, is they’re not about data, not about what’s happening at that moment. I think Jeff Smith [head of music] is exceptional because it’s just about the quality of the music. What he’s done for genres that would never get a look in... I could talk forever about Radio 2. The importance of them in the music industry is second to none. They make the music industry colourful, I love them.”

Tom March, Co-president, Polydor
“My first thought is thank God for the BBC and thank God for Radio 1 because without them we would be fucked. In a nutshell, for me, through the years, every artist I have worked with wouldn’t be where they are today without Radio 1 and that remains the case. They take a chance on artists, they break artists.”

Jane Dyball, CEO, MPA“When I was a kid, I used to have two immovable weekly commitments to the BBC. One was obviously Top Of The Pops on a Thursday night and the other was the chart run-down on Radio 1. When discussing anti-piracy activities now I have to remember my pirate past when I put a microphone in front of the radio to record the charts, pressing pause-record when the DJ came on. I still have some of those tapes. It’s why I became obsessed with joining the music business.”

Bruce McKenzie Sales director, Townsend Music
“Coming from Manchester, for me the Radio 1 and 2 coverage of the recent One Love concert was something I’ll never forget.”




DJ Semtex, Director of artist development, Sony

“Tim Westwood is a pioneer whose tireless dedication to hip-hop culture has transcended borders, changed the game, and amplified the art-form. Tim joining Radio 1 was a necessary lifeline for all hip-hop fans across the UK.”

Wayne Hector, Songwriter
“I used to listen to Westwood all the time. I would have been fairly young, but it impacted me – the best thing about it was all the exclusives he would get. He was the guy you’d go to to get all the newest stuff.”

Damaris Rex-Taylor, General manager, Disturbing London
“The show that inspired  me most when I was growing up was Tim Westwood. His show was genuinely exciting, bringing US talent over whilst giving exposure to new British music, he really helped shape UK music culture.”



David Austin, Songwriter/George Michael’s manager
“Radio 1, to me, will always be about Sunday night, the chart show. I tuned in every Sunday as a kid and I used to record it as well; once I got a cassette recorder that could actually do that, it was fantastic. I used to listen to it with George, actually. And then, once we were in the business, we’d always tune in as well. You’d know what the midweek was and you’d have a fair idea of whether you were going to listen or not. You might get a call from the president of the label and then you’d tune in. It’s not quite the same on Fridays, but then I’m sad they got rid of Top Of The Pops as well…”

Moe Bah, Founder, 2K Management
“A recent memory is when Dua Lipa covered Did You See by J Hus, and also Calvin Harris’ Rollin ft. Future & Khalid in the Live Lounge. She absolutely killed it in her own style!”

Zena White, MD, Partisan/Knitting Factory
“I used to record the Radio 1 chart show every Sunday using a double deck tape recorder to cut the best songs onto a mixtape for my pals, like I think every kid of my generation and three above must have done. In my GCSE study leave I vividly remember listening to Radio 1 all day every day, religiously… Romeo by Basement Jaxx and Missy Elliot’s Get Ur Freak On must have been on the playlist because I think I learned their lyrics better than my maths equations.”

Robert Ashcroft, Chief executive, PRS For Music
“What a brilliant institution BBC Radio is, that we are able to celebrate five decades of its existence. Radio 1 and Radio 2, and now Radio 6 Music, which PRS For Music fought to save alongside UK Music in 2010, have made an incalculable impact on UK culture. I would like to congratulate all of BBC Radio and thank them for giving air to our members’ music of all tastes and genres for the past 50 years.”




Rhys Hughes, BBC head of live music & events, popular music
“I remember when Annie Mac started, I brought her in as a broadcast assistant on the Evening Session in 2002. I’m quite proud of Annie’s rise. What a remarkable story. She badgered me, ‘Put me in the studio, let me do a demo’. I heard that lilting Dublin accent and just thought it was fantastic. She’s now one of the world’s biggest DJs. I was the executive producer in specialist at the time, and I definitely saw something [in her]. I’m not going to take the credit for the next 15 years, that was all Annie’s hard work.”



Sammy Andrews, Founder, Deviate Digital
“Happy Anniversary! Your playlist support for the last Prodigy album without doubt helped us achieve their No.1 record and a shout out to your DJs especially Dan Carter who tirelessly continues to fly the flag for rock and metal in the UK. Also, congratulations to BBC Radio at large for successfully making it though over 20 interviews with me... without me using the word ‘fuck’ once!”

Paloma Faith
“My favourite memory was BBC Radio 2 in Hyde Park [2014] when a couple got prosecuted for doing a sexual act in the middle of my performance. It went to court and made the papers!”




Julie Weir, Head, Music For Nations

“I was with a band that will remain unmentioned with Grimmy when he was doing his evening show... He saw me through the window and asked who I was through the sound proof glass while I was sitting in the green room... The band explained and he said, ‘Hello’ on air and waved. My involuntary response was sticking two fingers up. This is about eight years ago and I am still scarred as it’s not normal behavior for me remotely, and I was mortified as I love Grimmy! Maybe this can be an apology in print! (And honestly I am utterly gobsmacked at myself here!).”



Stephen Taverner, Founder, East City Management

“I used to be a radio plugger at Rough Trade. Back then, I knew dear old John Peel would play my music. And I remember this guy on regional radio as well who always used to play the records I would send to him. He was one of the few people out there that would play them. He rang me up one day and said, ‘I’ve got a job at Radio 1’. And I’m like, ‘What? Really?’ And he said, ‘Yep, we’re starting a new show, it’s going to be called the Evening Session and Mark Goodier is going to present and we’re going to play all your music’. I couldn’t believe it. It was Jeff Smith [now head of music, BBC Radio 2, 6 Music] and he stayed true to his word, I kept sending him our music and he kept playing it!”


Peter Leathem, Chief executive, PPL
Congratulations to both Radio 1 and Radio 2 on the extraordinary milestone of 50 years. Both stations are national institutions and are synonymous with so many key events in people’s lives. Personally, I recall many happy memories as a student in the 1980s gearing up for a night out by listening to Pete Tong on a Friday evening and then consequently winding down with Janice Long on Sunday evenings.”



Louis Bloom, Head of A&R, Island

“I’ve always loved the specialist shows. Lamacq and Jo Whiley was something I would religiously listen to every single night. And to then have records played on that show – and brought through that show – was an incredible experience and so rewarding. I want mainstream success, but I want it to come through an authentic place and that’s what the BBC allows and encourages, and it’s unique because of that.”



Paul Rodgers, Head of BBC Radio 6 Music
“For Radio 1, it was hearing The Fez, which is a song from The Royal Scam by Steely Dan, on a Sunday morning. It just absolutely… I had never heard anything like it. That was in ’76, or something like that. I think it was Noel Edmonds playing it, it was just incredible. For Radio 2, I really loved Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour. They were brilliant, legendary programmes.”

Lara Baker, Marketing & events director, AIM 

“As a kid, I never missed a Sunday afternoon chart show on Radio 1. In fact, embarrassingly, I was probably a teenager before I realised that Whole Lotta Love was a Led Zeppelin track and not just the Official Chart theme tune (I know, I know). Years later, when I started working at AIM, we held our first event with Radio 1 and 2 at the BBC headquarters and it was a real thrill visiting the station that had soundtracked my youth. We have done a lot of great work with the stations since then, and in particular share a mission with BBC Introducing to champion emerging independent talent. Happy anniversary to Radio 1 and 2 and we look forward to continuing to work together in the future.”




Ward Thomas
“We’ve been listening to Radio 2 our whole lives, and especially remember listening to Terry Wogan’s show in the morning on our way to school. So having our very first radio session experience on his show is one of our fondest memories of Radio 2. Being very nervous at the time, Terry walked out of the studio and introduced himself while offering some delicious chocolate rolls, immediately making us feel more welcome and at home. After that session, we carried on going back, and from that day onwards he had a massive impact on our careers and remains a huge influence on who we are.”



Korda Marshall, BMG EVP, new recordings
“In my 32 years in A&R, they’ve been immensely supportive and immensely frustrating. They’re supportive when they play the music and frustrating when they don’t. They were immensely important with Ash, they were immensely important with Muse. I remember Radio 1 saying, ‘Over my dead body will we ever play James Blunt’, and then 16 weeks later it was the most played record on Radio 1. I love the fact that they are prepared to admit they make mistakes, and they are so passionate about music and so supportive of the record industry, and playing new artists and helping us break new talent.”

Geoff Taylor, Chief executive, BPI
“I used to go to boarding school in London. My parents used to come up and take me out to tea on a Sunday afternoon, and so we’d listen to the Radio 1 Chart Show in the car. I was eight or nine, so that’s closer to 50 years ago than I’d like to admit. It’s what got me into music.”




David Dollimore, President, RCA UK
“I’ve grown up to Radio 1. I listen to Radio 2. I was just a junior A&R but when Pete Tong played Stardust on his radio show from Radio 1 live in Miami, that was a moment for me.  Working with London Grammar when they did their first Live Lounge, or when they were interviewed by Dermot on Radio 2; for artists that you work with closely, that first play is always special because it’s part of a journey. It’s the same with hearing Paloma now getting played on the Breakfast Show on Radio 2. I still get that buzz from it.”


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