Terry Wogan, Chris Evans Danny Baker UK's top 40 radio broadcasters
Terry Wogan, Chris Evans and Danny Baker are named among UK’s all-time top 40 radio broadcasters – but does your favourite DJ make the list?
- Sir Terry Wogan took the top spot on the list with 25 percent of the total votes
- His weekday breakfast programme regularly drew in eight million listeners
- Fellow BBC legend John Peel came in second place while Tony Blackburn third
Sir Terry Wogan, John Peel and Tony Blackburn have come out on tops of the 40 greatest radio broadcasters of all time according to British wireless fans.
Taking the top spot was Sir Terry, who was voted number one with an impressive 25 per cent of the vote.
The broadcaster, who worked for the BBC for most of his career, was reputed to be the most listened to radio presenter in Europe with his army of TOGs (Terry’s old Geezers and Gals).
His weekday breakfast programme, Wake up to Wogan, regularly drew eight million listeners and he was awarded a knighthood in 2005.
He was awarded a knighthood in 2005 and passed away in 2016 at the age of 77.
Sir Terry Wogan’s (pictured) weekday breakfast programme, Wake up to Wogan, regularly drew eight million listeners
Credited with bringing psychedelic and progressive rock to British airwaves, Peel was the longest serving Radio 1 DJ of all time, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004.
Peel promoted artists from a wide array of genres, and his ‘Peel sessions’ are said to have catapulted many little-known artists to fame, including David Bowie, the Specials, the Happy Mondays and Roxy Music.
Third on the list was Tony Blackburn (18 percent), the first DJ to broadcast on Radio 1 in 1967. He has worked across BBC and commercial stations throughout his long career.
Another BBC legend, John Peel came in second place with 21 percent of the vote
A champion of pop and soul music, Blackburn was once suspended from his Classic Gold Digital breakfast show for playing too many Cliff Richard records.
Zoe Ball, Ken Bruce, Graham Norton and Simon Mayo all made the top ten, with 13 percent of the vote.
While Disk Jockeys remain popular choices for radio loving Brits, there was also room on the list for legendary cricket commentator Brian Johnston, as well as acclaimed ‘Letter from America’ author and presenter Alistair Cooke.
A spokesperson from Ruark Audio, who commissioned the study to mark the 100th anniversary of the UK’s first entertainment radio broadcast, said: ‘The three highest ranking broadcasters neatly encapsulate what as a nation we love about radio.
‘It is a platform that we find comfort in, especially when many are feeling more alone than ever, much as we found comfort in Wogan’s dulcet tones.
‘Radio brings many positive effects, which mirrors the progressive broadcasting of John Peel; finally it is a medium with enduring appeal, much like Tony Blackburn’s endurance.
‘The power of radio has never been stronger, as this survey shows’.
The report, based on a national survey of 1,500 adults by Ruark Audio, found that on average Brits listen to three hours and 12 minutes of radio every single day.
In fact, almost a third (32 percent) of us prefer listening to the radio rather than watching TV or streaming services.
Lockdown has had a big effect on the nation’s listening habits with 47 percent saying they listened to more radio during the pandemic.
Tony Blackburn (pictured) was the first DJ to broadcast on Radio 1 in 1967 and was once suspended from his Classic Gold Digital breakfast show for playing too many Cliff Richard records
In fact, the research indicates that there could be something of a renaissance emerging when it comes to enjoying radio and audio entertainment, as 15 percent of 16 to 29 year old’s said that they’d only started listening to the radio in 2020.
Listening to the radio seems to have a big impact on how we feel, with the data revealing 84 percent feel that listening to podcasts or radio was good for their mental health.
When asked why, 55 percent said music lifts their spirits, 48 percent find background noise comforting and 47 percent listen for the company.
Meanwhile, 22 percent said that they find hearing voices on the radio to be particularly calming. One in five even said that it gives them a different perspective on life.
Three quarters of those surveyed said that the radio was a nostalgic pleasure which reminded them of when they were young, while 74 percent said that they find radio a comfort.
The study also found that seven in ten people find it easier to take in information from radio or podcasts, rather than watching videos.
The study found that people aged 16 to 29 listen to an hour more radio every day than the over 60s (three and a half hours compared to two and a half).
And 55 percent of the younger generation say they listened to more radio during lockdown than before, compared to 31 percent of the over 60s.
1 Terry Wogan
Sir Terry Wogan worked for the BBC for most of his career and was reputed to be the most listened to radio presenter in Europe. His weekday breakfast programme, Wake up to Wogan, regularly drew eight million listeners.
2. John Peel
Attributed with bringing psychedelic and progressive rock to British airwaves, Peel was the longest serving Radio 1 DJ of all time, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004.
3. Tony Blackburn
Tony Blackburn was the first DJ to broadcast on Radio 1 in 1967. He has worked across BBC and commercial stations throughout his long career. A champion of pop and soul music, he was once suspended from his Classic Gold Digital breakfast show for playing too many Cliff Richard records.
4. Chris Evans
He started his broadcasting career working for Piccadily Radio, Manchester as a teenager, before moving to London as a presenter for the BBC’s Greater London Radio and then television, where The Big Breakfast made him a star.
5. Kenny Everett
Kenny Everett was a British comedian and radio disc jockey. After spells on pirate radio and Radio Luxembourg in the mid-1960s. He was one of the first DJs to join BBC’s newly-created BBC Radio 1 in 1967.
6. Steve Wright
Steve Wright is credited for introducing the zoo format on British radio, with its zany, multi-personality approach. He currently presents Steve Wright in the Afternoon and Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs on BBC Radio 2
7. Zoe Ball
Zoe Louise Ball was the first female host of both The Radio 1 Breakfast Show and The Radio 2 Breakfast Show for the BBC, and presented the 1990s children’s show Live & Kicking, alongside Jamie Theakston
8. Ken Bruce
Kenneth Robertson Bruce is a Scottish broadcaster who is best known for hosting his long-running weekday mid-morning show on BBC Radio 2 since 1992. His first job was washing cars before launching his broadcasting career with the Hospital Broadcasting Service in Glasgow.
9. Graham Norton
Graham Norton, is not only a radio presenter, but a comedian, actor, author, and commentator. He is a five-time BAFTA TV Award winner for his comedy chat show The Graham Norton Show and an eight-time award winner, overall.
10. Simon Mayo
Mayo was the presenter of Simon Mayo Drivetime on BBC Radio 2 between January 2010 and May 2018 and is, with Mark Kermode, presenter of Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review on BBC Radio 5 Live
11. Annie Nightingale
Annie Nightingale was the first female presenter on BBC Radio 1 in 1970, and is its longest-serving presenter. She also remains the only female DJ in the world to have been honoured with an MBE by The Queen
12 Paul Gambaccini
Paul Gambaccini is an American-British radio and television presenter and author in the United Kingdom. He has dual United States and British nationality, having become a British citizen in 2005.
13. Brian Johnson
Brian Johnson was a British cricket commentator, author, and television presenter. He was most prominently associated with the BBC during a career which lasted from 1946 until his death in January 1994.
14. Jo Whiley
Johanne Morton Whiley is an English radio DJ and television presenter. She was the host of the long-running weekday later weekend Jo Whiley Show on BBC Radio 1. She now currently presents her weekday evening Radio 2 show.
15. Jimmy Young
Sir Jimmy Young CBE, was an English singer, disc jockey and radio personality. Early in his career in the 1950s he had two number ones, “Unchained Melody” and “The Man from Laramie”, both in 1955.
16. Nick Grimshaw
Also known as Grimmy, the English television and radio presenter became known for having hosted a variety of shows on BBC Radio 1 including his current Drivetime show, and The Radio 1 Breakfast Show between 2012 and 2018.
17. Alistair Cooke
Alistair Cooke KBE was a British-born American writer whose work as a journalist, television personality and radio broadcaster was done primarily in the United States.
18. Jeremy Vine
He is best known as the host of his BBC Radio 2 lunchtime programme which presents news, views, interviews with live guests and popular music, taking over from long time host Sir Jimmy Young in 2003.
19. Janice Long
She is best known for her work with BBC Radio. She has appeared on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, and currently BBC Radio Wales and Greatest Hits Radio. On Radio 2 she presented a weekday night time show from 2000 to 2017 from midnight.
20. Danny Baker
An English comedy writer, journalist, radio DJ and screenwriter, throughout his career Danny has largely presented for London’s regional radio and television. He was born in Deptford to a working-class family and raised in nearby Bermondsey.
21. Alan Freedman
Nicknamed “Fluff”, was an Australian-born British disc jockey and radio personality in the United Kingdom for 40 years, best known for presenting Pick of the Pops from 1961 to 2000.
22. Nicky Campbell
Nicky is a Scottish radio and television presenter and journalist. He has presented the BBC Radio 5 Live breakfast programme since 2003, BBC One’s Sunday morning show The Big Questions since 2007, and Long Lost Family on ITV since 2011.
23. Trevor Nelson
His first job was in a shoe shop, but his love of music meant a part-time role as a DJ. A a pioneer in the urban music scene, he moved to BBC Radio 1 to present the first ever national RNB show. Nelson currently broadcasts across two radio networks.
24. Annie Mac
Real name Annie MacManus, Annie is an Irish DJ, television presenter and podcaster. She is known as the host of her flagship BBC Radio 1 show, which was formerly hosted by Zane Lowe. She also hosts her own podcast Changes with Annie Mac.
25. John Humphrys
The Welsh broadcaster was the main presenter for the Nine O’Clock News from 1981 to 1987, the flagship BBC News television programme, From 1987 until 2019 he presented on the BBC Radio 4 breakfast programme Today.
26. Nicholas Parsons
Christopher Nicholas Parsons CBE was an English actor, straight man and radio and television presenter. He was the long-running presenter of the comedy radio show Just a Minute and hosted the game show Sale of the Century during the 1970s and early 1980s.
27. Kirsty Young
From 2006 to 2018 the Scottish television and radio presenter was the main presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs and previously presented Crimewatch on BBC One from 2008 to 2015.
28. Alan Coren
Alan Coren was an English humourist, writer and satirist who was well known as a regular panellist on the BBC radio quiz The News Quiz and a team captain on BBC television’s Call My Bluff. Coren was also a journalist, and for almost a decade was the editor of Punch magazine
29. Mark Radcliffe
An English radio broadcaster, musician and writer. Born in Bolton, Lancashire, Mark is best known for his broadcasting work for the BBC for whom he has worked in various roles since the 1980s.
30. Victoria Derbyshire
Victoria Antoinette Derbyshire is an English journalist and newsreader. Her eponymous current affairs and debate programme was broadcast on BBC Two and the BBC News Channel from 2015 until March 2020.
31. Melvyn Bragg
The English broadcaster, author and parliamentarian. He is best known for his work with ITV as editor and presenter of The South Bank Show, and for the BBC Radio 4 discussion series In Our Time.
32. Humphrey Lyttelton
Also known as Humph, was an English jazz musician and broadcaster from the aristocratic Lyttelton family. Having taught himself the trumpet at school, Lyttelton became a professional musician, leading his own eight-piece band, which recorded a hit single, “Bad Penny Blues”, in 1956.
33. Shaun Keaveny
Shaun William Keaveny is a British broadcaster who presents the afternoon show on digital radio station BBC Radio 6 Music The Channel 5 series The Mega Council Estate Next Door aired in September 2020 was narrated by Keaveny.
34. Eddie Mair
Eddie Mair is a Scottish broadcaster who was a presenter on BBC radio and television. Mair now presents his show on LBC between 4pm and 7pm every weekday. Mair also hosted BBC Radio 4’s daily news magazine PM, the Radio 4 Saturday iPM, and NewsPod. He occasionally presented Newsnight and Any Questions
35. Zane Lowe
Lowe is a New Zealand radio DJ, live DJ, record producer, and television presenter. He now hosts his own show on Apple Music 1’s international radio station, He has also developed a DJ career, with sets at various concerts and as a warm-up act for touring bands.
36. Sue Lawley
Sue Lawley’s main broadcasting background involved television news and current affairs. From 1988–2006, she was the presenter of Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 .
37. Sue MacGregor
Susan Katriona MacGregor CBE is a BBC Radio 4 broadcaster, perhaps best known as a former presenter of Woman’s Hour and later the Today programme.
38. Chris Morris
The English comedian, writer, director, actor and producer. He is known for his black humour, surrealism, and controversial subject matter. He has been praised for his “uncompromising, moralistic drive” by the British Film Institute.
39. Lauren Laverne
Known professionally as Lauren Laverne, is an English radio DJ, model, television presenter, author, singer. She was the lead singer and additional guitarist in the rock band Kenickie.
40. Jenni Murray
an English journalist and broadcaster, best known for presenting BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour between 1987 and 2020. She hosted her final Woman’s Hour programme on 1st October 2020.
The 40 Best Radio Broadcasters of all time
Terry Wogan 25%
John Peel 21%
Tony Blackburn 18%
Chris Evans 17%
Kenny Everett 15%
Steve Wright 14%
Zoe Ball 13%
Ken Bruce 13%
Graham Norton 13%
Simon Mayo 13%
Annie Nightingale 10%
Paul Gambaccini 10%
Brian Johnson 9%
Jo Whiley 9%
Jimmy Young 9%
Nick Grimshaw 8%
Alistair Cooke 7%
Jeremy Vine 7%
Janice Long 7%
Danny Baker 7%
Alan Freedman 7%
Nicky Campbell 6%
Trevor Nelson 6%
Annie Mac 6%
John Humphrys 6%
Nicholas Parsons 5%
Kirsty Young 5%
Alan Coren 5%
Mark Radcliffe 5%
Victoria Derbyshire 5%
Melvyn Bragg 4%
Humphrey Lyttelton 4%
Shaun Keaveny 4%
Eddie Mair 4%
Zane Lowe 3%
Sue Lawley 3%
Sue MacGregor 3%
Chris Morris 3%
Lauren Laverne 3%
Jenni Murray 3%
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