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Richard Skinner (broadcaster)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Richard Skinner
Birth nameRichard Skinner
Born (1951-12-26) 26 December 1951 (age 68)
Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Occupation(s)Presenter and radio DJ
Years active1970–present

Richard Skinner (born 26 December 1951 in Portsmouth, Hampshire) is a British broadcaster.

He was the opening announcer and TV anchor at the Live Aid concert in 1985, and is the only presenter to have fronted all three of the BBC's leading pop music programmes, The Old Grey Whistle Test and Top of the Pops on television and the Radio One Top 40 show.[1][2]

Early career

Skinner grew up in Portsmouth where he attended Portsmouth Grammar School.[3] He was a founder member of Portsmouth Hospital Broadcasting, which first went on air in April 1970. After studying newspaper journalism at Highbury Technical College. he began his career at the local paper The News. He then moved to the Erith Observer newspaper in Kent and at the same time appeared briefly on BBC Radio Medway, before joining the staff of BBC Radio Solent in October 1971 as a presenter of music programmes (including the weekly pop show Beat 'n Track) and as a newsreader.

Radio 1

Skinner joined BBC Radio 1 in the autumn of 1973 as one of the original presenters of Newsbeat.[4] He continued in this role until 1980, when he became a regular presenter of music programmes for Radio 1, taking over the Monday-Thursday evening show from Mike Read in the December. At the same time Skinner continued with Newsbeat as a studio producer and also worked as an in-vision continuity announcer for Thames Television. According to Skinner, during his time working on Newsbeat he broke the news of the death of John Lennon to Paul McCartney's household by phone in the early hours of 9 December 1980.[5]

In late 1981, Skinner became presenter of Radio 1's Rock On magazine show on Saturday afternoons and Roundtable on Friday evenings, on which he and guests would review the week's new releases. He continued with the programme until late 1985. In addition to Roundtable, from 1983 Skinner presented the Saturday Live show from 4 to 6:30 pm alongside Andy Batten-Foster.

On 30 September 1984, 17 years to the day after Radio 1 began, Skinner took over the Sunday afternoon Top 40 show, also broadcast on FM. That same day David Jensen, who had just left Radio 1, started presenting The Network Chart Show on commercial radio in competition.

On BBC television, he presented Top of the Pops and The Old Grey Whistle Test, and also played two roles in the Band Aid and Live Aid phenomenon of the 1980s.

Instead of publicising new Boomtown Rats release as planned, Bob Geldof announced the creation of the Band Aid project on Skinner's Radio 1 show in 1984.

Then on 13 July 1985, Skinner made the opening announcement at Live Aid ("It's twelve noon in London ...") as the event got underway. He also fronted the first hours of BBC TV's Bafta Award-winning coverage.[6]

In 2018, Skinner's original Live Aid opening announcement was featured in the remarkable recreation of the concert in the Oscar Award winning Queen bio-pic 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

Capital London

In the spring of 1986, Skinner left Radio 1 to join Capital Radio, and was replaced on the chart show by Bruno Brookes. At Capital, he presented on its FM Album Rock station CFM and hosted The Way It Is - Capital's equivalent of Radio 1's Newsbeat.

Return to Radio 1

In October 1988, when Radio 1 - which had acquired its own FM transmitters - extended its hours, Skinner rejoined the station to host a midnight show to play an eclectic mix of album-orientated music. In late 1989, Skinner took over the Saturday afternoon Radio 1 show the 'Saturday Sequence' from Roger Scott following the latter's early death from cancer. In 1991 Skinner also took over the helming of Scott's series Classic Albums.

In April 1990, he left the midnight show to be replaced by Bob Harris, but continued with the Saturday Sequence, where he remained until 1991, when Johnnie Walker took over.


From the turn of the 1990s, while still at Radio 1, Skinner also presented a daily show on BBC GLR, an eclectic mix of music, recorded and live, and live interviews from pop to politics. This continued until the end of December 1992.

Virgin Radio

On 1 January 1993, he joined the launch team at Virgin Radio, working as joint programme director, head of music and mid-morning presenter. On launch day 30 April 1993, he hosted the station's first programme. His weekday morning show ran from then until the autumn of 1996.


After a short spell at London's Liberty Radio as breakfast presenter alongside Carol McGiffin, in 1997 Skinner joined London's Melody FM, which later became Magic 105.4, presenting the mid-morning show for six years until September 2003. In August 2013 Skinner returned to Magic 105.4 to provide cover for holidaying presenters. Skinner also continued to provide cover in 2014.

Virgin Radio Classic Rock

In late 2003, Skinner was freelancing at the south-coast station Wave 105. Then in early 2004 he rejoined Virgin Radio on the London digital station Virgin Radio Classic Rock, where he hosted the mid-morning show, which was initially recorded, but broadcast live from mid-2005. During this period, he provided holiday cover on Virgin Radio. He left when live programming on Virgin Radio Classic Rock was abandoned in December 2005.

Classic Gold/BBC Radio Berkshire

After freelancing on the Classic Gold network, in April 2006 Skinner joined BBC Radio Berkshire to host the Saturday and Sunday mid-morning programmes. During this time he also covered for holidaying presenters. He left on 6 January 2008.

Original 106

In January 2008, Skinner joined Original 106 as mid-morning presenter and remained in the slot until November 2008, when the station was rebranded as The Coast by its new owners Celador. He briefly moved to weekend afternoons before leaving the station in December 2008.

Xfm/Radio X

Skinner joined Xfm, now known as Radio X, in January 2009 to present the station's networked mid-morning show in London and Manchester - leaving at the end of August 2011.

Absolute Radio 70s

It was announced in an Absolute Radio press release on 18 October 2011 that Richard Skinner would be part of the launch of Absolute Radio 70s. He hosted the opening show for the station at 10 am on 29 November.

Personal life

Skinner is married to Deborah. He has three children - Christopher, Kelly and Jamie.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "TOTP Archive of Presenters". BBC TOTP. 31 January 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
  2. ^ "Radio Rewind - Richard Skinner". Radio Rewind. 31 January 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2009.
  3. ^ Sheila Tracy (1983). Who’s who on radio. Worlds Work Ltd. ISBN 0-437-17600-2.
  4. ^ "Radio Rewind - BBC Radio 1 People - Richard Skinner".
  5. ^ "Why Radio 1's DJs hated Newsbeat". 24 September 2007. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Live Aid (July 13th, 1985) : Richard Skinner".

External links

Media offices
Preceded by
Simon Bates
BBC Radio 1
chart show presenter

30 September 1984 – 23 March 1986
Succeeded by
Bruno Brookes
This page was last edited on 13 June 2020, at 08:27
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