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Tony Blackburn in conversation

Tony Blackburn is a radio legend that has worked in the radio industry for 50 years. Before he came to the stage, session host John Simons took us back 50 years

and reminded us of when Tony first started in radio and the days of pirate radio and Radio Caroline.

We got to hear some fantastic archive audio of how Tony sounded on Radio Caroline, and he talked about how the pirate radio first bought the American formats over to Europe, and how he got given the breakfast show – mainly because he only slept 5 hours a day and always up first in the morning!


He described how the impact of pirate radio in the UK was revolutionary in the days before the BBC played any popular music, and we heard some amazing archive audio from Radio London.


When the BBC launched Radio 1 in 1967, Tony was the first DJ on it and we got to hear the legendary audio from that very moment, including his famous dog sound FX!

Tony told us of his love for classic PAMS and JAMS jingles, and how he still believes in the power of jingles, and wished they could be used more today.


He went on to also recount his passion for soul music and how he got to present a soul show on BBC London with the themes of “sex and soul”!


John highlighted how Tony has worked for pretty much every station in UK and is currently on BBC Radio 2 – but he still works for 6 different stations every week!


Tony’s also a big fan of technology and we even got to see some of the videos he makes for his listeners in his Radio 2 studio.


He then went on to talk about being a TV host on ‘Top of the Pops’ in the 70s and 80s, as well as his appearance on the reality show “I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here”, which he won.

He ended by speaking passionately about his love of personality radio, and how he hates automated radio. “Leave the DJs alone to become personalities, let them get on with their job, and do away with the playlists”.

And that got the biggest round of applause of the morning from the packed room!

Tony Blackburn interviewed by Trevor Dann, Radiodays Europe: