Profile: Peter Powell: Born March 24th 1951 in Stourbridge, Worcestershire in the West Midlands, UK, his father was an Australian born metallurgist, and was educated at Oldhall School in Wellington near Shrewsbury and at the famous Uppingham Boys School in Rutland. It was Peter's interest in radio that caused him to fail so many O-level examinations. During his last term, he was asked to produce a pop concert for his school, and his enthusiasm for this encouraged him to neglect his school work. However, he was lucky enough to have a housemaster who appreciated the fact that he had interests outside the normal sphere of schoolroom activities.
Peter left school at the age of 17 and went to Foley Technical College. This, Peter says, brought him '...down to earth...'. He thought he was going for a career in industry and needed examination passes in technical drawing and mathematics. It was his fifth attempt at the latter.
But the music business had a strong affinity in Peter's social life at the time. Outside of college, he was seen operating a mobile disco throughout the Midlands and during his holidays he would go on two or three week disco tours.
His working life started as a travelling salesman, for a company marketing agricultural housing and equipment - the disco activities filled up his eveenings. 'I had never thought about radio until the next door neighbour, a secretary, suggested that I should try for a job with the local station BBC Radio Birmingham. It wasn't on the air at the time, and it seemed a good idea to get in on it's birth. I went for the audition, not knowing what was ahead, and I passed. It was as simple as that, and I was the one who opened the station on 9th November 1970. I won the breakfast show and got a great deal of publicity.' During his stay with Radio Birmingham, Peter also hosted the Youth Club programmes.
Nine months later, in February 1972, Peter had the chance to join Radio 1 and, following a successful audition, presented an occasional Saturday afternoon programme for about three months. In 1971, he sent an audition tape to Ken Evans, the programme controller of Radio Luxembourg just prior to his engagement with the BBC. It was Peter's position at this time that restored his faith in 'Don't ring us...we'll ring you' letters. After the BBC thing, Peter was back to the discos earnings £15 per night, also doing occasional programmes for BBC Radio 4.
Durnig the 1970s, aged 22, Peter joined Radio Luxembourg - a move Peter saw as a great milestone in his career. 'Living in the Midlands, I'd always thought that you had to be in London to get the best positions in entertainment, and if nothing else, I'd hoped my success would be of encouragement to others living out in the sticks to have a go.'
Peter started his work at Radio 1 proper in 1977, spending a total of ten years at the station on various shows. In 1979, he gave a chap called Pete Tong a fifteen minute session on his show to play dance music. During his time at the station, Peter became known for his catchphrase 'Hello Mates'. Peter also made regular appearances on BBC1 television's Top Of The Pops and as a presenter on BBC1 Saturday morning television.
He was influential in the set up of internet radio station STORM, and was at one stage married to another ex-Radio 1 presenter Anthea Turner. His interests include cooking, boats of any kind (he has a large yacht moored in Ibiza), water skiing, tennis and squash, and amongst his musical preferences, The Jackson Five, Colin Blunstone, Bread and Simon & Garfunkel.
He remains the tenth longest serving Radio 1 presenter despite the time that has passed since his departure.
Whereabouts: Peter is one of four entrepreneurs who founded 'Worldpop' in 1999, which supplies pop news, information and features to primarily the 16-35 age band through SMS text messaging and e-mails. No existing radio work believed to be carried out. Speaking of his diverse career at the time of the launch of Worldpop, Peter, the company boss said 'It's reinvention, mate. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and I'm fully aware of my weaknesses and I want to utilise my strengths,"
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