Category: Radio Bristol
The BBC is sad to announce the death of Radio Bristol's
longstanding presenter Roger Bennett this morning,
in hospital in Bristol. He was 69 and had worked for the station since
its inception in 1970.
In his years presenting Morning
West, Roger received many awards and became the longest
serving breakfast presenter on radio.
He won the prestigious Sony Radio Presenter of the Year
in 1983; was voted Local Broadcaster of the Year in 1994; and in 1998,
was honoured with a Sony Gold Achievement award for his dedication to
On receiving the Sony award, Roger said: "To me, local
radio is an end in itself. I enjoy it as much now as I did when we set
up Radio Bristol in 1970. For me it's better than ever."
But his proudest moment came when Bristol University
presented him with an honorary Masters degree in July 1997.
"I was astounded when I heard about the degree but
I'm very honoured. It makes it worthwhile getting up at 4.30 every morning
for the past 23 years. And it's an award for BBC local radio too," he
Roger - who leaves behind a wife and four children -
was born within a stone's throw of Radio Bristol on 17 October 1935.
He went to Sefton Park Primary School and after passing
his 11 Plus continued his education at Bristol Grammar School, leaving
He had always been at the heart of local news, following
his father into journalism at the Bristol Evening Post and at one stage
becoming Britain's only known TV columnist to not own a television set!
He went on to become the Post's Chief Reporter, covering
everything from the Aberfan tragedy to interviewing the Beatles.
After 17 years as a print journalist, Roger joined the
BBC's inaugural local news team for Radio Bristol in 1970. Here he began
working on Morning West, where - with Michael Buerk as presenter and
Kate Adie reporting from the radio car - Roger took to the skies in
a spotter plane, keeping listeners advised about traffic conditions.
In 1974, he became the main presenter, a position which
he remained until his retirement in 2003.
Since then, Roger continued to work for Radio Bristol
in a freelance capacity and ever the consummate professional - despite
being treated for cancer - was still coming to the BBC's Whiteladies
Road studios as recently as last Friday (8 July) to present Pick of
A man of many talents, Roger was an accomplished jazz
musician, playing soprano saxophone and clarinet with his Blue Notes
BBC Radio Bristol's Managing Editor, Jenny Lacey, paid
tribute to Roger. "Roger was first and foremost a much-loved member
of staff and we will miss him terribly - as will his countless listeners
and fans across Bristol.
"He was a superb journalist who was able to get
to the heart of any story, while still being unfailingly courteous to
every one of his interviewees.
"He was very much admired by listeners, who saw him
as epitomising everything that Radio Bristol stood for.
"He had a real passion for his beloved native city
and a completely encyclopaedic knowledge of its highways, byways and
history. All of us here express our sincere condolences to Roger's wife,
family and friends. He was truly inimitable."