Business News Industry People Media Top Stories

Tributes flood in for Janice Long

By | Published on Monday 27 December 2021

A flood of tributes were posted yesterday and overnight from across the music and media industries for Janice Long, the DJ and presenter who has died, aged 66, after a short illness.

Long’s death was confirmed by her agent Nigel Forsyth, who told reporters: “Janice was a wonderful warm human being and exceptional broadcaster. She told a brilliant story and always made you roar with laughter with her sharp wit. She will leave behind her husband Paul and two children who she thought the world of”.

Long began her broadcasting career at BBC Radio Merseyside in her hometown of Liverpool in 1979. She then joined BBC Radio 1 in 1983, becoming the first woman to have her own daily show on the station in an era when pop radio in the UK was totally dominated by male DJs.

Her Radio 1 show and regular stints hosting ‘Top Of The Pops’ meant she became a prominent and popular BBC music presenter, though within the industry she was also seen as an important champion of new talent.

After leaving Radio 1, in 1989 she joined what was then known as Greater London Radio during a particularly innovative era for the BBC’s local radio station in the capital, which sought to bring new kinds of programming to the airwaves. Long then became actively involved in two other projects that sought to do the same, by launching commercial alternative music stations in both London and Liverpool, resulting in Xfm and the shorter lived Crash FM.

But Long rarely spent too much time away from BBC radio, presenting shows for a number of the broadcaster’s other national stations, including Radio 5, Radio 2 and 6 Music, as well as on its local stations, most recently hosting the evening show on BBC Radio Wales. Meanwhile, from February last year, she also hosted a weekend show on Bauer Media’s Greatest Hits Radio.

Among those paying tribute to Long yesterday was BBC Controller Of Pop Lorne Clarke, who said: “Everyone in pop radio was saddened to hear of the passing of Janice Long. She was long admired for her role as a talent spotter and new music champion, giving Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Amy Winehouse their first radio sessions, as well as lighting the way for female radio and TV presenters throughout the industry. We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends at this sad time”.

Meanwhile the Head Of BBC Radio Wales, Colin Paterson, added: “As a radio presenter her programmes were never about herself. For Janice, her broadcasting career was an opportunity to discover, share and champion music. There are few people who have done more to nurture new talent from music and the arts. She brought her passion for music to Radio Wales in 2017, supporting Welsh artists and Welsh language music ever since. We’ll miss her passion, her knowledge and her laugh. Our thoughts are with her many friends and her family who meant so much to her”.

Countless artists took to social media to also pay tribute, including those who Long supported early in their careers. As Clarke noted, that included Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who had plenty of critics at the BBC when they first started out, but who found a champion in Long.

On the band’s official Twitter, they stated: “First ever Frankie radio interview was conducted by her on ‘Streetlife’ on Radio Merseyside and she was the first to play us on the radio when she played the demo of ‘Relax’. Always had our back. Condolences to her family and loved ones. RIP x”.

Meanwhile, among the many people from the radio industry also paying tribute to Long was Annie Nightingale, one of the few other female voices heard on Radio 1 in the 1980s. She said on Twitter: “Sad and shocked to hear of the passing of my dear friend and colleague Janice Long. Deep condolences to her family and loved ones”.