From prankster to media mogul

Good Times, Bad Times: The Business Personalities Of The Year

By the time he was thirty, disc jockey Chris Evans had done everything career-wise he had set out to do - including making his first million.

The red-haired unreconstructed lad had hosted the most-listened-to morning radio slot in the country, the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. He was the star of television's The Big Breakfast and TFI Friday and he had his own group of media companies, Ginger TV Productions, Ginger Air, Ginger Radio and Ginger Services.

Ceremoniously kicked out of Radio 1 after the BBC refused to give him Fridays off, he bounced back eight months later to head the rival slot to the Breakfast Show at Virgin Radio. It was initially a ten-week contract to tide the station over while the Monopolies and Mergers Commission investigated the proposed sale of Virgin Radio to rival Capital Radio. But when it became apparent Capital would not re-employ Evans, the disc jockey decided to buy the station himself.

In November Evans put together an pounds 85m bid for Virgin, less than Capital Radio had offered, but it was in cash and the bid won.

The move has forced broadcasting executives, who until then had largely dismissed Evans as a wide-boy prankster, to take him seriously as the country's new media mogul.

To call him that may be premature. But you can be sure Evans won't just stop at Virgin.

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