Broadcast Legend John Peel Has Passed Away

John Peel is dead at the age of 65. The legendary Liverpool-born broadcaster died last night after suffering from a heart attack. He was on a working holiday in South America when the tragedy struck. The radio and music world is in a state of shock today as everybody he ever touched tries to come to terms with the news.
Tributes have been received from far and wide for one of the original voices of BBC Radio 1. Even in his latter years John retained an infectious enthusiasm for new sounds, and new talent. His dry wit has caused many a smile, his endorsement has launched many a career. Although he’d reached retirement age, only his passing away could force his retirement from the airwaves. John’s late night shows on BBC Radio 1 were compulsive listening for fans worldwide. They also attracted the station’s largest percentage of under 15 years of age listenership. Peel was so highly thought of at the BBC that he virtually just had to ask and his show-times were changed to suit his lifestyle.
Andy Parfitt, BBC Radio 1’s controller, has called Peel’s contribution to modern music and culture ‘immeasurable’.
He added: “John Peel was a broadcasting legend. I am deeply saddened by his death as are all who work at Radio 1. Hopeful bands all over the world sent their demo tapes to John knowing that he really cared. His commitment and passion for new music only grew stronger over the years. In fact, when I last saw him he was engaged in a lively debate with his fellow DJs over the state of new music today. He will be hugely missed.”
Peel was admired and loved by his peers. BBC Radio 2 presenter Mark Radcliffe says that Peel inspired him to become a dj.
“He was someone with a warmth and honesty who really loved music, rather than someone who wanted to be a famous DJ,” Radcliffe said. “John showed that it was possible to be a broadcaster on a national radio station and still be yourself. He was a maverick and a peer, and a role model for so many of us.”
Fellow Radio 1 presenter Jo Whiley continued a theme: “John was simply one of my favourite men in the whole world – as a music fan and presenter he was simply an inspiration.”
BBC Director of Radio & Music Jenny Abramsky said: “John Peel was a unique broadcaster whose influence on Radio 1 could be felt from its very first days. He nurtured musicians and listeners alike introducing them to new sounds. His open-minded approach to music was mirrored by his equally generous approach to his audience when he went to Radio 4 to present Home Truths. He had a remarkable rapport with all his listeners. Everyone at BBC Radio is devasted by the news. John is simply irreplaceable.”
The BBC’s Director-General Mark Thompson said: “We are all very shocked and saddened by the news of John’s death. He was one of the giants of radio and will be missed, not just by everyone at the BBC, but by millions of listeners of all ages.”
John Peel also presented shows for BBC Radio 4 and the World Service in recent times, and worked on US radio in the ’60s. John’s death has left a huge void in broadcasting which will never again be filled. The world is a sadder place today.
Note: BBC Radio 1 will run the following tribute programmes…
Tonight Steve Lamacq will celebrate John’s life from 11pm to 1am.
Tomorrow night Mary Anne Hobbs will continue the tribute from 11pm to 1am.
And on Thursday, also from 11pm to 1am, Steve Lamacq will look back at John’s life and talk to people he has influenced over the years.