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Wednesday 29 Oct 2014

Press Release

Pete Townshend to give inaugural John Peel Lecture at The Radio Festival for 6 Music

Pete Townshend playing at the BBC Electric Proms in 2006

BBC Radio 6 Music will launch The John Peel Lecture, a keynote speech given by a leading figure in music and/or broadcasting, at this year's Radio Festival in October.

Taking its inspiration from one of the greatest radio broadcasters of all time, The John Peel Lecture aims to discuss and create insight into music and music-related media from the past, present or future.

The inaugural John Peel Lecture will be given by Pete Townshend, acknowledged around the world as the creative force, guitarist and chief songwriter of The Who – one of the biggest bands to come out of Britain – at this year's Radio Academy Radio Festival on Monday 31 October 2011 in the Lowry Theatre, Salford.

Pete will examine the current state of music media and ask the question: Can John Peelism survive the Internet? In an age of free downloads and a disposable attitude to music, can creative people earn a living, and without radio how can the "unpolished" music that John Peel championed find an audience?

The lecture will be introduced by Tom Ravenscroft, 6 Music presenter and the son of the late John Peel, alongside fellow 6 Music hosts Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie and will be broadcast live from the festival on the digital station. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session.

Pete Townshend says: "I am honoured to be invited to deliver Radio 6 Music's John Peel Lecture. Through John's shows I first heard artists like The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Undertones and The Proclaimers before they had record contracts. John didn't just listen to music, he played it on air and let his audience decide. He was a listener first, and an activist second, and I am happy to have a chance to honour him and examine how his legacy might extend into the future."

Tom Ravenscroft says: "We have in the past few years had trains, housing estates and a restaurant named after dad and so I think he'd have been both bemused and delighted to see he now has a lecture and that Pete Townshend will be delivering the first of them. I'm really happy that 6 Music are honouring him in this way and that the people who kindly agree to participate will help ensure that his legacy will continue into the future."

John Peel was one of Britain's most loved broadcasters. His dry wit, healthy disregard for authority, and devotion to music in all its forms left a lasting impact and legacy on music and music-related media. He started his broadcasting career at pirate station Radio London before making the transition to the newly launched Radio 1. His late night music programme championed countless top music artists, including Pink Floyd and White Stripes and he promoted new talent using his famous Peel Sessions, ensuring airtime was available for aspiring and unsigned artists. John died in October 2004.

Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Radio 2 and Radio 6 Music, says: "John Peel was one of the radio industry's original free thinkers, breaking down the barriers of music to present his take on the musical world. His eclectic ear for a good tune made him a favourite with his millions of listeners, musicians, and the industry alike, and I'm delighted that BBC Radio 6 Music is building on John's legacy to inspire further free thinking about music and the music-related media."

John Myers, Chief Executive of The Radio Academy, who produces The Radio Festival, said: "We are absolutely thrilled that one of the icons of British rock music has agreed to deliver this important lecture. The radio industry in the UK relies on high quality music. John Peel was at the forefront of introducing new talent to the listening public and Pete Townshend and The Who were among the first artists John promoted at the start of his formidable and influential radio career."

The Radio Festival will take place between 31 October and 2 November at The Lowry, Salford Quays. Other speakers at the event include Radio 2's Steve Wright, Ronnie Wood and Jamie Cullum.

Notes to Editors

Accreditation: There is an accreditation system to attend this event. Journalists can apply for free accreditation via email: or An accreditation form will be sent by return.


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