Billy Bragg to give John Peel Lecture at Radio Festival 2012

John Peel was always hugely supportive of artists like myself who had something to say. Encouraged by a mushroom biryani, he gave me my first break in radio and I am delighted to be asked to speak at an event in his honour."Billy Bragg
Date: 05.10.2012     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.11
Category: Radio 6 Music; Radio
BBC Radio 6 Music and The Radio Academy announce today that musician, campaigner, writer and activist Billy Bragg will give the second annual John Peel Lecture at the 2012 Radio Festival in Salford on Monday 12 November.

The BBC 6 Music John Peel Lecture with 7digital is a keynote speech given by a leading figure in music and/or broadcasting. 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.

Following in the footsteps of last year’s inaugural speaker, Pete Townshend, Billy Bragg will explore how the pirates of radio become mainstream and in what ways broadcasters should reflect that. The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session.

Billy Bragg said: "John Peel was always hugely supportive of artists like myself who had something to say. Encouraged by a mushroom biryani, he gave me my first break in radio and I am delighted to be asked to speak at an event in his honour."

John Peel is remembered as one of Britain’s most loved broadcasters. His dry wit, disregard for authority, and devotion to music in all its forms has left a lasting impact and music and the radio industry. He started his broadcasting career at pirate station Radio London before the BBC launched Radio One. 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, sometimes unsigned, artists.

Billy Bragg was inspired by punk and his first album 'Life’s A Riot' with Spy vs Spy came out in 1983. Fired by politics, Billy saw his music as a platform by which to offer listeners a different perspective of events and he is often defined by his political songs. In 1992, Woody Guthrie’s daughter, Nora, approached Billy with the idea that he put new music to lyrics that her father had written in Brooklyn in the 1940s. The resulting album ‘Mermaid Avenue’ came out to great acclaim in 1998. A second volume was released in 2000. Both were nominated for Grammy Awards. 2012 sees the release of a third volume of tracks from the original sessions to mark the centenary of Woody’s birth.

Bob Shennan, Controller, BBC Radio 2 and Radio 6 Music, comments: “6 Music is a place that combines free thinking and musical expertise so it feels very much like a natural home for The John Peel Lecture. I’m proud that we can continue John’s legacy to inspire conversation about music and that Billy - an icon of British music whose outspoken views are sure to spark debate - will take centre stage for this special occasion.”

Clive Dickens, Chairman of the Radio Festival, said: “Billy will deliver a thought-provoking and fascinating lecture drawing from his diverse musical background and life experiences throughout his 30 years in the industry.

“John Peel was at the forefront of introducing listeners to new music and new artists and Billy Bragg was among them, the Lecture is a great way to pay tribute to a man who changes the structure of music radio through innovative programmes which were delivered with humour and an obvious passion and dedication to music.”

The Radio Festival will take place between 12th and 14th November at The Lowry, Salford Quays. 

The Radio Academy: Graham Robb or Melanie Smith (Recognition PR) 01325 363436 

Notes to Editors

BBC Radio 6 Music is an interactive digital radio station that celebrates the alternative spirit of music and culture, bringing together the cutting-edge music of today and the iconic and groundbreaking sounds of the past 40 years. The network has a weekly reach of 1.4m listeners (Q2 12), and is home to respected music presenters including Shaun Keaveny, Lauren Laverne, Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie, Steve Lamacq, Tom Ravenscroft, Jarvis Cocker, Cerys Matthews and Guy Garvey.

The Radio Academy is a registered charity dedicated to the encouragement, recognition and promotion of excellence in UK radio broadcasting and audio production.

Through an extensive programme of conferences, debates, masterclasses and other networking events, The Radio Academy offers opportunities for everyone from the national networks to individual podcasters to discuss the broadcasting, production, marketing and promotion of radio and audio. The Radio Academy is a member organisation which operates under the direction of a board of Trustees.