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13 November 2014

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You are in: London > Radio > 94.9 Presenters > A-Z 94.9 Presenters > Tony Blackburn

Tony Blackburn

Tony Blackburn

Tony Blackburn

Tony's Soul and Motown show returns to BBC London 94.9!

Every Sunday lunchtime Tony puts the soul back into your weekend, playing the songs he loves best.

Tune in from Midday to hear the biggest songs from Soul and Motown legends spanning five decades.

As always you can help Tony chose the music, whether it's Marvin Gaye, Barry White or Beyonce

Phone: - 020 7224 2000 Text 07786 200 949 - Normal rates apply.

About Tony Blackburn

Born in Guildford, Surrey in 1943, Tony was educated at Millfield Public School in Somerset, and Bournemouth College.

The son of a doctor in Lilliput near Poole, Dorset, he made his first public appearance with the Ian Ralfini Dance Orchestra at the Bournemouth Pavilion while at College, and later appeared with various bands in hotels.

Having finished his education, Tony read in the music press that disc jockeys were wanted by a pirate radio station.

He applied, got the job, and made his first radio appearance on 28th July 1964 on Radio Caroline South.


In 1966, he joined Radio London and introduced the first ever soul programme in the UK.

His soul programme and consequent weekly club nights called 'Soul Nights' became so popular it eventually took over Capitals 'Best Disco In Town Nights'.

6000 people were regularly turning up including Stevie Wonder on one occasion who wanted to thank Tony for introducing the UK to soul music. It could be said that Tony commercialised soul music and in the process reinvented Radio London.

Tony joined the BBC Light Programme in August 1967 and made his first broadcast on the "Midday Spin" programme.

The first

When BBC Radio One commenced broadcasting on 30th September 1967, Tony presented the daily "Breakfast Show", and was the first disc jockey on the new network.

He hosted the "Breakfast Show" until 1974 when he took over the morning show for several years, followed by Junior Choice. He remained with Radio One until 1984.

Tony then spent some time at BBC Radio London, before leaving to join Capital Radio on 2nd July 1988 to launch their new Capital Gold station where he presented his soul shows until December 2002.

Today, Tony presents the breakfast show for The Classic Gold Network, which transmits across 18 stations as well as presenting his soul show on BBC London on Monday evenings and Saturday afternoons.


Tony is a legend of the airwaves and has become a household name through his DJ-ing, TV Shows, and he inspired the cult of the radio DJ. His passion for Soul music has been the main underlying factor in most of his shows.

From the days spent with his assistant 'Dave Pearce', now mostly heard on Radio 1, when they used to go to New York together to bring back the latest music to him having the first legal soul show in the UK, which also introduced the raunchy phone call slot.

Tony has thirty-six awards including, in 1989, the "Gold Award for Outstanding Contribution to Radio". He was also awarded the "Best Breakfast Show" (Contemporary Music) by Sony Radio Awards in 1993 and "The Radio Academy Music and Media Award" for outstanding contribution to Music and Radio in 1997.

Tony also co-presents ITV's prime-time show, Animals Do the Funniest Things, which attracted over 7 million viewers on its last showing. Tony has made numerous other television appearances over the years, including the hosting of his own show "Time For Blackburn" in 1969.

King of the Jungle

He is well remembered for compering BBC's world famous "Top Of The Pops" from the late 1960's to throughout the 1970's.

He continues to make regular guest appearances on a wide range of television shows. Tony's television appearance in 'I'm a Celebrity ... Get me Out of Here!' in 2002 was a huge success - he was crowned King of the Jungle.

Tony is still a big attraction on the DJ circuit, having toured many of the Rank Clubs around England in '99, challenging local radio DJs and Kiss 100's Bam Bam in a battle of the DJs.

Tony continues to make many personal appearances with his trademark 70s and 80s show, including his annual trek to one of Ibiza's top clubs - proving that he's the original.

last updated: 20/03/2009 at 21:42
created: 17/07/2006

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