Terry Wogan voted greatest BBC radio presenter

John Peel and Sue MacGregor second and third in Radio Times poll of leading figures in broadcasting

Sir Terry Wogan has been voted the greatest BBC radio presenter, in a survey of leading figures in broadcasting to mark the 50th anniversary of Radios 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Wogan topped the poll ahead of John Peel, Sue MacGregor, Annie Nightingale and Alistair Cooke. Chris Evans, who was paid at least £2.2m last year by the BBC and is its highest paid on-air star, according to its official pay list, ranked 26th.

Wogan joined the BBC in 1966 and went on to present the Radio 2 breakfast show for 28 years across two stints. Wake Up to Wogan attracted more than 8 million listeners and at its peak was the most popular radio programme in Europe. Wogan, who was knighted in 2005, died last year.

The Radio Times polled 39 men and 39 women working in broadcasting, including the Today presenter John Humphrys, the author Philip Pullman and the BBC’s former director of radio Helen Boaden, asking them each to name their top 15 broadcasters on BBC radio.

Second-placed Peel was renowned for promoting new artists on Radio 1 and also presented Home Truths on Radio 4. MacGregor, who ranked third, has presented Woman’s Hour and the Today programme, and still fronts The Reunion on Radio 4.

Nightingale was Radio 1’s first female presenter when she joined the service in the late 1960s. Now 77, she still has a show on Radio 1 and is its longest-serving DJ. Fifth-placed Cooke wrote and presented Letter from America from 1946 to 2004.

The BBC is hosting a series of events to mark the 50th anniversary of its radio services, including a “live lounge month” on Radio 1 and a pop-up digital station, Radio 1 Vintage, launching at 6am Friday.

Tony Blackburn, who spoke the first words on Radio 1 in 1967, will present a programme on Vintage alongside the current Radio 1 breakfast show host, Nick Grimshaw, and there will be 50 one-hour shows, including archive material from the likes of Peel and Zoë Ball.

Also among the top 10 presenters in the Radio Times poll were Kenny Everett, one of Radio 1’s original DJs and twice fired by the BBC; Jane Garvey, the Woman’s Hour presenter who has led the criticism of the gender pay gap at the BBC; the jazz presenter Humphrey Lyttelton; Radio 4’s PM host Eddie Mair; and Garvey’s co-presenter on Woman’s Hour, Jenni Murray.

Notable absentees from the list include Grimshaw, Chris Moyles, Simon Mayo and the Today presenters Nick Robinson and Sarah Montague.


Graham Ruddick Media editor

The GuardianTramp

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