Janice Long death: Peter Hook, Tim Burgess, Jeremy Vine and Jo Whiley lead tributes after radio DJ dies aged 66

Over a career spanning 40 years, Long helped to launch the careers of future stars including The Smiths, Amy Winehouse and Adele

Roisin O'Connor
Monday 27 December 2021 11:32
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Janice Long dies aged 66

Musicians, fellow broadcasters and listeners are paying tribute to BBC radio presenter Janice Long, following her death aged 66.

The radio DJ, who became the first woman to have her own daily show on Radio 1 and the first regular female presenter on Top of the Pops, was hailed as a “trailblazer”.

Her agent said she died at home on Christmas Day after a short illness.

Over a career spanning 40 years, Long helped to launch the careers of future stars including The Smiths, Amy Winehouse and Adele.

Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order, and The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess shared tributes, with Hook calling her a “great friend and a great supporter of our music”.

“Janice Long was a supporter and mentor for so many bands,” Burgess wrote on Twitter.

“To hear our records on her show was always the biggest thrill - her enthusiasm and love shone through. One of a kind. Safe travels, we’ll miss ya.”

Pop band Frankie Goes To Hollywood said Long “always had their backs” and credited her with being the first presenter to play and interview the band on the radio.

Rock band Doves, singer Billy Bragg and Reverend Richard Coles, who was part of the pop duo the Communards, also remembered Long for helping to launch their music careers.

Jeremy Vine shared a photo of Long at her radio booth on Twitter, and wrote: “Going to miss you, Janice Long.”

He added a photo of Long with her brother, the late entertainer Keith Chegwin, and wrote: “Brother and sister, both left us far too young, at 60 and 66.”

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BBC Radio 1 DJ said Long was a “truly brilliant radio person” who was “so kind and sweet” to him when he was on the early shifts and Radio 1, and she was on nights for Radio 2 around the same time.

“She picked the greats and got them in session before other DJs had even heard of them,” he said. “She was such a laugh as well.”

BBC Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley hailed Long a “trailblazer and role model for all women broadcasters”.

“Her passion for music was unrivalled. I loved her Radio 1 show with a passion. Condolences to her family,” she said.

BBC Radio Wales, for which Long had hosted an evening show for the past four years, paid tribute to her on Boxing Day by playing some of her favourite songs.

Scottish singer Midge Ure, who co-organised Live Aid with Bob Geldof, called her a “broadcast legend and absolute music lover” who had stood with them on the pitch at Wembley Stadium as they announced Live Aid.

BBC Radio 2's Ken Bruce recalled having “such a laugh” with Long while filming Antiques Roadtrip together“ and added that she was a ”great broadcaster“ and ”always terrific company“.

“Janice was a wonderful, warm human being and exceptional broadcaster,” her agent Nigel Forsyth said in a statement. “She told a brilliant story and always made you roar with laughter with her sharp wit. She will leave behind her husband Paul and two children, who she thought the world of.

“Janice loved the BBC and started her career as a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in 1979, to complete it with the magnificent people at BBC Radio Wales. Janice wanted it known she was so thankful to the NHS and all who looked after her there.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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