Profile: Simon Bates:
It's a little known fact that Simon's radio career actually began not in the
UK but on a US radio station back in the 1960s. He then loved to other
stations in New Zealand and Australia. However, Simon is a Brit and
returned to his homeland in the early 1970s to join BBC Radio 4.
In 1974 he presented the early show on BBC Radio 2 and moved onto BBC Radio 1 in 1976. He then went on to present the mid-morning show on the nation's pop station for 17 years with audiences topping 11 million. In the show, Simon carved out a reputation for high profile and landmark programme features. From 1980, 'Our Tune' saw listeners letters (with the names changed) read out - these stories revolving around heart-wrenching tales of relationship break-ups and other associated turmoil culminating in the play of the listeners' memorable song or songs. All stories were renowned for being backed by 'Romeo & Juliet' from the 1968 film score by Franco Zeffirelli.
'The Golden Hour' was another landmark feature now copied by other radio stations since, (albeit under different names), with a featured year for listeners to guess - thie feature ended in February 2001 having been called 'The Mystery Years' towards the end of it's run.
Simon's show was truly one of the
most listened to radio programmes in the country - perhaps this is because in a
poll taken a few years ago, Simon's voice was among the ten most easily
recognisable voices in the UK.. Even pop stars were drafted
in to present the slot during Simon's holiday some time ago. Established stars such as
Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Jason Donovan, and The Pet Shop Boys filled in
for him in 1990.
In the last 20 years, Simon Bates has been behind programming being broadcast from over fifty countries. This has led him to win many accolades in this time. In 1993 he was voted the Radio Personality Of The Year and he also has many Sony Awards to his credit for his 'Round The World series and for his special programmes involving Eric Clapton.
In 1993, Simon quit BBC Radio 1 when he, along with many other star names, was not considered to have a future with the station by Matthew Bannister - then, the new station controller. He then spent a short time on the now defunct station Atlantic 252. Over more recent years, from September 2000, the 'Our Tune' feature found a home on satellite TV channel, SKY ONE, with Simon seen almost hourly, behind a microphone in a dark studio - the story was then followed by a video chosen by the person sending the chosen letter in.
In November 2002, Simon was axed from the LBC breakfast show, after the takeover of the station by Chrysalis Radio. He presented his last shown on the station Friday November 8th - and, according to sources at the station, a letter was sent by motorcycle courier to him that very same morning ending four years at the station.
Simon's agent Phil Dale said at the time that the split was an amicable one - with the presenter having previously decided to leave after LBC asked him to commit fully - 'Simon knew there were changes with Chrysalis coming in. He does drivetime on Classic FM but LBC want people who will give full service to the them. He wants to concentrate on his Classic FM drive-time show, which is networked in the afternoon rather than being just London. And he does The Movies on Saturday evening on Classic FM too. Simon is glad he won't be getting up at 4am to do the breakfast show any more. He didn't want to be doing it all. He knew the breakfast show was going to end and was happy to take the drivetime show when Classic FM offered it to him' he said.
Simon is also regularly involved in voice-over work for TV and radio and has in 2002 recorded the narration for a series on London for American TV channel, CBS.
Whereabouts: Simon is still a very busy person, and can often be seen on satellite channel SKY NEWS reviewing the day's papers. As of 2002, his radio involvement can be tracked to Classic FM presenting 'Drivetime' , weekdays 4:00pm-6:30pm and 'Classic FM at the Movies' Saturday nights from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.
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