Tributes have poured in for the trailblazing radio presenter Janice Long who died on Christmas Day at the age of 66 as her final radio link was revealed today.
Long, who was the first regular female presenter on Top Of The Pops, enjoyed a 40-year career in broadcasting, hosting shows on television and radio.
The presenter’s agent Nigel Forsyth confirmed in a statement that the mother of-two died at home after suffering from pneumonia that led to multiple organ failure.
It came as family and friends paid tribute to the ‘loving’ and ‘inspirational’ BBC radio presenter.
Today, the final radio link delivered by the iconic radio presenter on BBC Radio Wales was revealed by BBC reporter Tom Hourigan.
Mr Hourigan wrote on Twitter: ‘At the start of my radio career, reading travel news down an ISDN line for countless presenters, there were only a handful interested in knowing you and making you part of the show. Janice Long was one of them. This is what turned out to be her very last link a few weeks ago.’
During the clip, Long is heard saying: ‘That’s it, you look after yourselves. Take care and I’ll see you the week after next, hopefully. Lots of love.’
Friends and family have been tribute to the trailblazing radio presenter Janice Long who died on Christmas Day at the age of 66
The 66-year-old (pictured in 1985) enjoyed a 40-year career in broadcasting, hosting shows on television and radio
The final radio link delivered by the iconic radio presenter on BBC Radio Wales was revealed by BBC reporter Tom Hourigan
Social media users paid tribute to the pioneering radio presenter after her last link was revealed
The radio presenter’s final broadcast comes as her husband Paul Berry described how he had ‘lost the love of his life’.
He said: ‘I’ve lost the love of my life and I’m going to spend the rest of it half a person.
‘She had my back from the day we met, you couldn’t possibly ask for more love and loyalty from a wife.’
And her daughter Blue praised her mother for forging a path for women in the media industry, saying: ‘Mum I love you. You paved the way for me to have an incredible life.
‘You were a trailblazer for so many women to go conquer and succeed.
‘The first woman to host Top of the Pops and the first woman to have her own daily show on Radio 1.
‘You have shown me that anything is possible and to never stop fighting for what you want and deserve.’
While her son Fred referred to his mother as an ‘absolute G’, adding: ‘She wasn’t only a mum to me but a whole bunch of my friends that she took in and cared for and I’ll never forget everything she has done for me.
‘She inspired me to be what I want and told me never to settle for anything less.’
BBC radio DJs Greg James and Adele Roberts were also among the figures from the worlds of music and broadcasting sharing tributes.
James described Long as a ‘truly brilliant radio person’.
He added: ‘She was so kind and sweet to me when I was on earlies on R1 and she was on R2 nights at the same time.
‘She picked the greats and got them in session before other DJs had even heard of them. She was such a laugh as well.’
Roberts hailed Long for pathing the way for female presenters like herself, saying: ‘RIP Janice Long.
Long pictured with her brother Keith Chegwin, who was also involved in radio as well as television presenting and acting
Long grew up in Liverpool, and was the older sister of late entertainer Keith Chegwin (right)
Long (pictured in 1986) was the first woman to have her own daily radio show and was also the first woman to present Top of the Pops, which she did for five years
During a 40-year career, Long hosted shows across flagship BBC stations including Radio 1, as well as the breakfast show on Greater London Radio and XFM. Pictured appearing on Lorraine in 2018
‘Thank you for everything you did to inspire others and open doors for other women and radio presenters to prosper.’
TV personality Carol Vorderman wrote: ‘Rest In Music lovely vibrant trailblazer Janice Long, Janice is a huge star in our @BBCRadioWales tight knit family.
‘As a woman in the industry, I truly admired her as the first woman ever to have a daily show on Radio One. We’re in a state of disbelief to be honest.’
And Radio DJ Jo Whiley wrote: ‘Janice was a trail blazer and role model for all women broadcasters and her passion for music was unrivaled. I loved her Radio 1 show with a passion . Condolences to her family.’
Musician Midge Ure said on Twitter: ‘Dreadful news. Janice stood with us on the pitch at Wembley Stadium as we announced Live Aid. A broadcast legend and absolute music lover.’
BBC director-general Tim Davie said the ‘stellar presenter’ was ‘loved and respected across the industry’. He added: ‘Her passing is a huge loss to music, broadcasting and the BBC.’
Ian McCulloch, of Liverpool band Echo and the Bunnymen, described Ms Long as a ‘Liverpool legend and dear friend’. He added: ‘I am so sad to hear the devastating news of her passing.’
While comedian Les Dennis said he would ‘miss our chats’, adding that Ms Long was a ‘shining and innovative talent’.
Friends paid tribute to the trailblazing radio presenter who died after suffering from pneumonia that led to multiple organ failure
Veteran radio DJ Tony Blackburn also paid tribute, writing on Twitter: ‘So sorry to hear the Janice Long has passed away.
‘She was the sister of my great friend Keith Chegwin who passed away a few years ago now. On the few times I met her she was always fun to be with. RIP Janice.’
Tim Burgess, from band The Charlatans, praised Ms Long’s support of fledgling bands, describing her as a ‘mentor’.
He added: ‘To hear our records on her show was always the biggest thrill – her enthusiasm and love shone through. One of a kind. Safe travels, we’ll miss ya.’
And Merseyside band The Coral said: ‘She was great to us and like the best broadcasters, talking to her was always easy, like catching up with a friend. RIP Janice.’
Peter Hook, of Joy Division and New Order, also paid tribute, saying she was ‘always a great friend and a great supporter of our music… she was a lovely lady and a pleasure to be around’.
Long grew up in Liverpool and was the older sister of late entertainer Keith Chegwin.
After working as cabin crew and in telesales, she started her broadcasting career as a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in Liverpool in 1979.
She became well known after joining Radio 1 in 1983, becoming the first female to have her own daily show on the station.
Long later became the first woman to be a regular presenter of Top Of The Pops where she hosted the show for five years, and was one of the main presenters of the Live Aid concert in 1985.
The radio presenter was an early supporter of future stars such as The Smiths, Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Primal Scream, Adele, Amy Macdonald and Winehouse, and was awarded a Basca gold badge of merit for her outstanding contribution to music, a forerunner of The Ivors Academy.
Since 2017, she had hosted the evening show on BBC Radio Wales and she also presented on Greatest Hits Radio for a Saturday afternoon slot.
Her agent Nigel Forsyth said in a statement: ‘Janice was a wonderful, warm human being and exceptional broadcaster.
‘She told a brilliant story and always made you roar with laughter with her sharp wit.
‘She will leave behind her husband Paul and two children, who she thought the world of.
‘Janice loved the BBC and started her career as a station assistant at BBC Radio Merseyside in 1979, to complete it with the magnificent people at BBC Radio Wales.
‘Janice wanted it known she was so thankful to the NHS and all who looked after her there.’
Tributes pour in for radio presenter Janice Long