Radio entertainment and showbiz

Johnnie Walker to recollect his “colourful life” in special programme

As BBC Radio 2 marks the 60th anniversary of pirate radio, Johnnie Walker opens up about his life in a special programme.

Walker on Walker sees the former pirate radio DJ take a deep and very personal recollection of his colourful life.

With many decades in broadcasting since those early days of pirate radio to BBC Radio 1, KSAN in the USA, Radio West, GLR, 5Live and ultimately Radio 2, he talks about the ups and downs of his adventurous life with the music that mattered most, and which defined the key moments.

Johnnie made his name in the 60s on Radio Caroline, famously continuing to broadcast on the night of 14 August 1967 as he and the station defied Government legislation, with over 20 million people believed to be listening.

During his first seven years with Radio 1 from 1969 to 1976, Johnnie became known for placing the importance of the music he played, above the chat in between. He pioneered many new names on his lunchtime show, where Pop The Question and the Tuesday Chart Rundown are also well-remembered features.

He once described the Bay City Rollers as “musical garbage”, which made front page news, and his outspoken views and insistence on playing album tracks led to a showdown with his Radio 1 boss.

Johnnie then went to America, moving to San Francisco in 1976, working on KSAN until his love of the music got in the way again!

Returning to the UK in the early 80s, he rejoined Radio 1 following stints in commercial radio. He also worked for other stations including 5Live, Radio Radio and GLR before joining Radio 2.

In June 2003, Johnnie announced that he was taking time off to battle cancer, returning to the station six months later and won the Gold Award at the Sonys. In 2006, he was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List and on 5 April 2009 he took over Sounds of the 70s, which he still presents today along with the Rock Show.

Walker on Walker sees Johnnie opening up to give a genuine account of his life, sharing his deep, personal thoughts through all the good and not so good times, from the rebel who refused to tow the line, to the cheeky music afficionado, to the profoundly spiritual person, who has touched the lives of millions.

Walker on Walker will be available on BBC Sounds from Monday 25 March and will air on BBC Radio 2 in the early hours of Sunday 31 March, 3am – 5am.

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