Aircheck Tracker

Profile: John Peel OBE: Liverpool-born John Peel first learned his job as a disc-jockey in America.  After completing his military service here in 1962, he went to Texas and began working for radio station WRR in Dallas where he remained for two years - just at the time The Beatles' success was reaching it's peak.

For the next three years he moved to various radio stations in America, among them KLMA in Oklahoma City which claimed the biggest night-time audience of any radio station in the country.  Later he headed West to work for KMEN just outside Los Angeles.  He returned to Britain in the Spring of 1967 and joined Radio London off-shore.

On BBC Radio 1 he started by presenting a Monday-Friday 11pm to midnight show, having established his popularity on the network with the "Top Gear" programme long before anyone thought of using the title for a TV motoring programme!

Whereabouts: In the mass cull of 'old school' Radio 1 presenters inflicted by Matthew Bannister following the resignation of Johnny Beerling, John Peel was obviously not placed in the hat and escaped the cull to remain at Radio 1, where he remains the longest serving Radio 1 DJ from it's launch in September 1967.  No one, even John himself, manages to work out why he stayed when so many went.

John also provides voice-overs for TV commercials and documentaries, such as a well known brand of toothpaste ... oh to hell with it ... Aquafresh ... and as the voice-over for BBC1's (or should that now be BBC ONE's) 'Life Of Grime', which has now run into a third series.

As well as his Radio 1 work, he is also the voice of Radio 4's Home Truths, a weekly magazine chronicling the lives of ordinary people around the UK

Since Mark Goodier's departure from the Radio 1 Top 40 show, station bosses had been filling the slot with just about anyone.  John Peel OBE is the only surviving member of the original Radio 1 line up from September 1967.  In his Big L (Radio London) offshore days aboard the Galaxy, he presented a chart show only to say he would NEVER present one again - saying he is not over-fond of current best-selling pop singles.  At Big L, John was allocated a few climbers which didn't match his musical taste - for example: 'Ciao Baby' by The Montanas.  Despite all of this, Radio 1 finally persuaded John to present a Radio 1 Top 40 show on January 12th 2003. The ex-perfumed gardener has avoided doing any chart rundowns for the duration of his 35-year Radio 1 career, but agreed to present the January 12th 2003 chart as a one-off only.

The 63-year-old broadcaster said 'I'm really looking forward to it.'  John has been a champion of underground music whilst at Radio 1, and he has a rather healthy cynical attitude towards chart pop.  He often mocked performers when on BBCTV's Top Of The Pops.

So it seemed then that Peely would go on to surpass the efforts of Jo Whiley, the first woman to present the chart show, who cut a Europop tune short because she didn't like it that much.  Peel was scheduled to present the show from London rather than his Suffolk home, which he refers to on-air as Peel Acres.  A Radio 1 spokesman said: "It's been really good having a variety of our presenters fronting The Official UK Top 40 and we're really pleased that John is going to be doing it. Everyone's bringing their own individual style to the show and we're sure John will do so too."

Cometh the moment, NOT cometh the man.  At 3:50, Rajesh Mirchandani announced that Scott Mills would be presenting the Chart - frantic re-checks showed that the Radio Times said John would be doing it, SKY Digital said he would be doing it, and BBCi said he'd be doing it on news pages - Radio 1's home page though, confirmed Rajesh's statement when AIRCHECK wasn't satisfied that no announcement was forthcoming at 4:00pm upon the start of the Chart Show.

A visit to a busier than usual Top 40 chat room at BBCi, on getting a word in edgeways, and when asking why John wasn't on the show, received a response as follows: '...the BBC didn't want too many people doing the show before it was re-launched.....'   There were no further responses despite questioning from interested parties on line.  

And so, no history was made after all the hype.  We'd have thought that by the time that decision was made, it would've been too late!  There had already been 'too many' presenters doing the show since Mark Goodier left.  Further updates will follow here and via our news page and home page ticker, as they become known.  

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