Janice Long – BBC Radio 2 Presenter
BBC Radio 2’s much-loved late night presenter doesn’t shout it from the rooftops, but she’s been first on the scene with countless bands and artists, eager to present them with a national platform. The list of artists she’s championed is distinguished indeed, from Frankie Goes To Hollywood to Amy Winehouse and beyond.
It says a lot about Janice that the only club she’s ever been a member of was Eric’s, the famous Liverpool nightspot that helped launch so many new wave artists. “When I joined Radio Merseyside I suggested they do a programme that covered the scene that was going on. I just wanted to produce it, but they said, “Nobody knows what you’re talking about, so you do it”. That’s when I started doing sessions on radio. I remember going to see Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s first gig at Mr. Pickwick’s in Liverpool. They were just astonishing, everyone was blown away.”
Late in 1982, her own big break arrived. “I got offered the job at Radio 1, because they’d heard about the show, and I was fortunate enough then to be able to start there doing Saturday nights, 7.30 till 10, in Manchester, and they let me do sessions.” A little later, she would host Radio 1’s early evening show four nights a week. With the evangelistic enthusiasm that’s still her trademark, Janice would lobby labels and publishers to sign Frankie. As the Liverpool scene developed, she would also champion the likes of OMD, The Mighty Wah!, China Crisis and Echo & the Bunnymen.
No sooner had she landed one of the biggest jobs in radio than Janice was also appearing on the UK‟s flagship music show. She was a regular presenter on “Top Of The Pops‟ for six years from 1982, and one of the BBC’s backstage interviewers at the global concert to end them all, Live Aid. After working for the BBC’s London station, then called GLR, Janice took a turn at running one of her own, moving back to Liverpool to launch Crash FM. In 1999, she began to appear on BBC Radio 2, where she soon found a new home for her love of new music as the network’s weekday nighttime presenter. The session guests flocked in, from new bands such as the Wombats and White Lies to old friends like Morrissey, Primal Scream and Paul Weller.
The buzz of introducing people to great music has not diminished. “You do get letters from people saying “I’d never heard of Stornoway, or Robinson. My record collection is constantly increasing. Thank you”. That sort of response is what drives Janice Long, always has and always will. “Music is my hobby, my passion, it’s everything,” she says. “And fortunately, it’s my job.”
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