Main content

Liz Kershaw

Hear Liz, Saturday, 1pm-3pm

We've all heard of the butterfly effect but it was a tiny virus that set Liz Kershaw on the path to becoming UK radio's 3rd longest serving female DJ (after Annie Nightingale and Janice Long).

Liz was seven-years-old when she got chicken pox and was suddenly stuck indoors scratching with the little red leatherette covered record player her parents bought her and the psychedelic 7" vinyl she'd got by collecting Weetabix cartons.

A few years later Liz was constantly clubbing in Manchester (aged 14) and her headmaster dad was despairing. "If you knew as much about your Economics as you do about pop you'd do a lot better in life!" Top of The Pops was seen as subversive and records were bought in secret and played when he was out.

To his surprise and relief she got four A Levels (aged 16) and headed off to Leeds University where she put on discos and bands and got what's now called "A Vorderman". A third class BA. Soon she'd got a job at BT and was writing a weekly music column for the Yorkshire Post and a bagged a show on BBC Radio Leeds after going in to sell them a new switch board. "You're a lively young gal. Do you know anything about pop music" she was asked by the BBC boss while in full flow about the latest telephone technology. "Yes I'm in a band". (with neighbour Carol Vorderman) "Would you like to do a weekly programme featuring local talent?" he mused. On The Rocks with Liz Kershaw was born.

BT moved Liz to London to run its new premium rate services including an upgraded version of the old Dial A disc. In 1987 she submitted a mix of the interviews she'd done with bands to Radio 1. In October they launched her Sunday afternoon pop magazine show Backchat which won a Sony Award six months later.

Liz then presented Radio 1's prestigious Evening show before being paired up with Bruno Brookes for the station's Weekend Breakfast Show until, in 1992, she moved to Radio 5 to present the UK's first national daily phone-in.

In 1994, she was part of the original line-up on the newly launched 5 Live and then in 2000 took over BBC Radio Northampton's Breakfast Show which she left in 2002 to help launch BBC 6 Music.

In 2005, she was asked to rejoin BBC Local Radio to launch BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and became the only woman in the country to present a radio breakfast show on her own (BBC or Commercial) and won three awards for the station while still having fun at the weekends on 6 Music.