Janice Long, a long-time DJ on BBC radio stations and champion of new music, has died, her agent has confirmed.
The beloved broadcaster died at her home yesterday (December 25) after a short illness. She was 66 years old.
Long began her career in radio as a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in 1979, before being given her own programme, called Streetlife, on which she promoted local bands. She moved to BBC Radio 1 in 1983, hosting her own show on Saturday evenings, before moving to weekday evenings for a new music and current affairs programme and the Friday reviews show Singled Out. She was the first woman to have her own daily show on the station.
In her career, Long also became the first woman to regularly host Top Of The Pops, fronting the TV show for five years, and later had a long-running show on BBC Radio 2 until 2017. She also worked for the likes of BBC Radio London, BBC 6 Music, BBC WM, BBC Radio Wales, Greatest Hits Radio and Radio X, and set up her own station Crash FM in Liverpool in 1995.
Over the years, she gave some iconic acts their first radio sessions including Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Amy Winehouse, while also giving early exposure to the likes of The Smiths, Primal Scream, Adele, Richard Hawley and more.
In recognition of her support of new talent, Long was given the lifetime achievement award at the Liverpool Music Awards in honour of her outstanding contribution to the music industry. In 2016, she was given a British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors (BASCA) Gold Badge and, in 2018, was given an honorary doctorate by Edge Hill University in recognition of her “contribution to popular music and national cultural life”.
In the same year, a portrait of Long was displayed at the Royal College of Art in London as part of an exhibition celebrating female pioneers. Other figures to be featured in the show included politician Betty Boothroyd and boxer Nicola Adams.
Elsewhere in an illustrious career, the DJ served as one of the main presenters for the historic Live Aid concert in 1985, acted as a judge for the Mercury Music Prize and was a patron of Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA).
Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC, said in a statement: “Janice Long was a stellar presenter, who was loved and respected across the industry and her passing is a huge loss to music, broadcasting and the BBC.
“Over 40 years she blazed a trail across Radio 1, Top of the Pops, Radio 2 and 6 Music to name just a few, before building a wonderful show and loyal following on BBC Radio Wales. She will be missed by her fans, listeners and colleagues. All our thoughts are with them, Janice’s family and her friends.”
Lorne Clarke, Controller, Pop Music for the BBC, said: “Everyone in pop radio was saddened to hear of the passing of Janice Long. She was long admired for her role as a talent spotter and new music champion, giving Frankie goes to Hollywood and Amy Winehouse their first radio sessions, as well as lighting the way for female radio and TV presenters throughout the industry. We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends at this sad time.”
Colin Paterson, Head of BBC Radio Wales, added: “As a radio presenter her programmes were never about herself. For Janice, her broadcasting career was an opportunity to discover, share and champion music. There are few people who have done more to nurture new talent from music and the arts. She brought her passion for music to Radio Wales in 2017, supporting Welsh artists and Welsh language music ever since. We’ll miss her passion, her knowledge and her laugh. Our thoughts are with her many friends and her family who meant so much to her.”
Tributes have also begun to be paid online, with musicians, fellow broadcasters and music fans reflecting on her huge impact on pop culture over her career.
“First ever Frankie radio interview was conducted by her on Street Life on Radio Merseyside and she was the first to play us on the radio when she played the demo of “Relax”,” Frankie Goes To Hollywood tweeted. “Always had our back. Condolences to her family and loved ones. RIP X.”
First ever Frankie radio interview was conducted by her on Street Life on Radio Merseyside and she was the first to play us on the radio when she played the demo of "Relax". Always had our back. Condolences to her family and loved ones. RIP Xhttps://t.co/7Hf6QZ7Z2a
— Frankie Goes To Hollywood Official (@FGTH_Official) December 26, 2021
“Such sad news about Janice Long,” wrote Peter Hook. “She was always a great friend and a great supporter of our music. She was a lovely lady and a pleasure to be around. RIP.”
Such sad news about Janice Long. She was always a great friend and a great supporter of our music. She was a lovely lady and a pleasure to be around. RIP. ❤️
— Peter Hook (@peterhook) December 26, 2021
Current BBC Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts added: “RIP Janice Long. Thank you for everything you did to inspire others and open doors for other women and radio presenters to prosper xx.”
RIP Janice Long. Thank you for everything you did to inspire others and open doors for other women and radio presenters to prosper xx ❤️ https://t.co/IcSIfdfJkX
— Adele Roberts (@AdeleRoberts) December 26, 2021
See more tributes below.
We loved meeting Janice over the years such great company-funny-generous-so much love and knowledge of music-Janice introduced us to so many of our favourite records (especially her radio1 evening show)she helped and inspired us forever- great broadcaster-wonderful human being💔 https://t.co/hryXg4BEdv
— Manic Street Preachers (@Manics) December 26, 2021
Very much this. Janice was a trail blazer and role model for all women broadcasters and her passion for music was unrivaled. I loved her Radio 1 show with a passion . Condolences to her family❤️ https://t.co/2hDwihsBV8
— Jo Whiley (@jowhiley) December 26, 2021
Absolutely devastated at the news about Janice Long! An inspiration, lovely lovely person & brilliant broadcaster! Amazed to work beside her in the early days of Xfm & as a Mercury Prize judge. Such passion for music & life! A true great! So sad! 💚💚💚 https://t.co/wKiSFUbz7r
— John Kennedy (@JohnKennedy) December 26, 2021
We are both very sad to hear of the death of radio DJ Janice Long who was always so enthusiastic about new music and such fun to be around. She was very supportive to us in the early days of PSB. Heartfelt condolences to her family and friends. Neil and Chris xx pic.twitter.com/nfwcYGFd8J
— Pet Shop Boys (@petshopboys) December 26, 2021
Those of us lucky enough to meet Janice Long will know she was exactly the person you’d seen on the telly or heard on the radio. Like meeting an old friend for the first time. The outpouring of Love for Janice is real. She was always herself which is why we loved her. #janicelong
— Badly Drawn Boy (@badly_drawn_boy) December 26, 2021
“Janice Long, the DJ and broadcaster, died on Christmas day. She was a friend to the band and championed us. We send our heartfelt commiserations to her family and friends" JJ pic.twitter.com/ubHK5EPHFg
— The Stranglers (Official) (@StranglersSite) December 26, 2021
Janice Long R.I.P.
Janice is a Liverpool legend and a dear friend of mine, and I am so sad to hear the devastating news of her passing. My sincere condolences to Paul, Fred, and Blue….
Ian McCulloch Xxx#janicelong
— Official Ian McCulloch (@OfficialIanMac) December 26, 2021
Dreadful news. Janice stood with us on the pitch at Wembley stadium as we announced Live Aid. A broadcast legend and absolute music lover. 🙏 BBC DJ and broadcaster Janice Long dies at 66 https://t.co/oiB4aoj69o
— midge ure💙 (@midgeure1) December 26, 2021
Very sad news. Janice was a passionate music broadcaster x https://t.co/VD2V2lpHAP
— Shaun Keaveny 💙 (@shaunwkeaveny) December 26, 2021
Saw confusing reports about this (and denials) yesterday evening but sad to learn it's true. She was a very good interviewer & on a personal level we greatly appreciated her support, especially in the early days – hundreds of acts feel similarly I'm sure. https://t.co/OJrA9g4bmw
— Public Service Broadcasting (@PSB_HQ) December 26, 2021
RIP Janice Long, champion of so many bands that I love, particularly The Smiths. First woman to have her own show on male dominated Radio 1 and with that, giving airplay to so many bands that would never have usually managed to get it on a commercial station. Lovely person too ❤️ pic.twitter.com/mjEtKpdmmN
— 🎸🎤 Ⴝ⚈ṋ𝗴Ѕ ⚈𝔣 Ý⚈𝙐ᴦ 🇱ı𝔣e 🎹🥁 (@SongsOfYourLif1) December 26, 2021
Sad to hear the news about Janice Long passing. She was great to us and like the best broadcasters, talking to her was always easy, like catching up with a friend. RIP Janice 🙏X #janicelong
— The Coral (@thecoralband) December 26, 2021
So sad to read the news about Janice Long. For my generation she was a pre-watershed John Peel. A massively influential cultural voice who spoke directly to teenagers in the non-patronising voice of sheer enthusiasm.
— Andrew Wassail 🎄 (@Andr6wMale) December 26, 2021
Rest In Music lovely vibrant trailblazer Janice Long. Janice is a huge star in our @BBCRadioWales tight knit family ❤️🏴💔
As a woman in the industry, I truly admired her as the first woman ever to have a daily show on Radio One @BBCR1
We're in a state of disbelief to be honest https://t.co/ajsX9QA1iq
— Carol Vorderman (@carolvorders) December 26, 2021
For any teenage girl in the 80’s that wanted to present pop radio Janice Long was THE absolute beacon and goddess.
Fantastic broadcaster, hugely knowledgeable and bloody funny
(as this clip demonstrates) pic.twitter.com/2VMD88XLDT
— Rae Earl (@RaeEarl) December 26, 2021
Janice Long, along with John Peel, Kid Jensen and Annie Nightingale was a staple of my teenage radio listening habits, championing many great bands and getting many to play exclusive sessions on her show that aired in the slot prior to Peel's. #RIP pic.twitter.com/gS8IknfrEQ
— we love all that (@weloveallthat) December 25, 2021
From TOTP to Radio 1, 2, 6 & @BBCRadioWales Janice Long was an inspiration for women in broadcasting and influenced so many of our music choices. She continued to be passionate about new talent, including Welsh artists. Deepest sympathy to Janice’s family, friends and colleagues. https://t.co/JIvBF40Ufs
— Rhuanedd Richards 🏴 (@Rhuanedd) December 26, 2021
So very sad to hear of the passing of my friend Janice Long, who will be greatly missed by everyone who knew her. RIP.
— Ian Broudie (@IanZBroudie) December 26, 2021
Dear Janice Long always a pleasure to be with her. Smiling, funny, a great champion DJ and broadcaster. Above all, nice to be with. Deepest condolences to her family. #RIP
— Timmy Mallett (@TimmyMallett) December 26, 2021
We are truly devastated to hear of the passing of the wonderful, beautiful, passionate Janice Long. We first met her in 2004, and it remains one of our favourite interview experiences. Janice’s love for everything, not just music, will always be felt.https://t.co/mV3lGxhDP8
— The Subways (@thesubways) December 26, 2021
— Sally Lindsay (@sally_lindsay) December 26, 2021
Goodbye Janice Long. Will always remember how kind she was with us when we were on her show. Genuinely supportive. 🙏
— Camera_Obscura_ (@Camera_Obscura_) December 25, 2021
RIP Janice Long
i'll always remember your warmth and kindness to me when i was new to radio..
sending the very best of my love to your family
— maryanne hobbs (@maryannehobbs) December 26, 2021
I’m heartbroken about Janice Long. She was a unique, incredible force of good and champion of music.
I was so lucky to have known her, worked with her and called her a friend. What a huge loss. Love and strength to Paul, the kids and all her friends and family.
— Thea Gilmore (@theagilmore) December 26, 2021
So very sad to hear of the the death of Janice Long. Amazing lady, great friend, music lover and champion. A pioneering female DJ who opened many doors for others. I will miss you so much Janice. All my love and sympathies to your family. Andy x https://t.co/pATv8qnjS8
— Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (@OfficialOMD) December 26, 2021
— Natalie McCool (@NatalieMcCool) December 26, 2021
Very sad to hear of the passing of Janice Long, a consummate broadcaster, a rue music fan, and a genuine friend and supporter of grassroots artists and venues. Thank you Janice.
— Mark Davyd (@markdavyd) December 26, 2021
Brave brilliant Janice Long. The best friend a boy could have-40 years! We said our goodbyes on Thursday but she’ll never be far from here. An absolute pro, dedicated to the music she loved and championed, but smart, kind, funny, generous. I love you mate. Friends forever. 💔💔💔
— Pete Wylie is WAH!🌟 (@petewylie) December 26, 2021
— Ian Prowse (@IanProwse) December 26, 2021
So sorry to hear the Janice Long has passed away. She was the sister of my great friend Keith Chegwin who passed away a few years ago now.On the few times I met her she was always fun to be with. R.I.P. Janice.
— Tony Blackburn (@tonyblackburn) December 26, 2021
When I started working at XFM in London in '92, I genuinely couldn't believe my luck. Surrounded by so many of the new emerging indie acts who'd shape Britpop, and broadcasters I'd admired from afar,
So I bought a camera and started snapping.
I love these pics of Janice Long. pic.twitter.com/QiyiGH3dyd
— Lee Thompson (@leethommo) December 26, 2021
Farewell Janice Long.
Radio icon and one of the best presenters Top of the Pops ever had (I wasn’t around I just watch the reruns).
Here’s a little she told about her time presenting with John Peel and the video to Addicted to Love. pic.twitter.com/7KescbiL6L
— Rob Osborne (@robosbornewales) December 26, 2021
Sad news about Janice Long. I met her once. I was playing drums for a band that appeared on Keith Chegwin's Sky Star Search show in the 90s. She and Derek Nimmo were the panel of judges and they were very complimentary about my tub-thumping.
— Richard Littler (@richard_littler) December 26, 2021
Radio DJ Janice Long has died following a short illness, her family has confirmed. She was 66
She was one of Radio 1's first female DJs and the first regular female TOTP host
She was passionate about music and championed many artists long before they achieved chart success pic.twitter.com/4C6lhAdUB9
— lizo mzimba (@lizo_mzimba) December 26, 2021
Janice Long was a great broadcaster by making it feel as if she WASN’T broadcasting: instead she was one of us, confiding the secret of some amazing record she’d heard that she knew we’d get. I worked with her a few times, and she was so funny and kind. This is a huge loss. RIP.
— Simon Price (@simon_price01) December 26, 2021
Awful news. Janice's amazing Radio 1 show was part of the blueprint for the Evening Session when @jowhiley and I presented it. We fleetingly had back to back shows at XFM and she was a regular @bbc6music Roundtable. Always warm, generous and a real fan.https://t.co/TmINn0TLDe
— Steve Lamacq (@steve_lamacq) December 26, 2021