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Janice Long: BBC DJ and radio presenter dies aged 66

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  • Janice Long
    British radio broadcaster and disc jockey

BBC radio presenter Janice Long has died aged 66.

Long – who was best known as a presenter on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and Top of the Pops – died at home on Christmas Day (25 December) with her family.

She died following a short illness, her agent confirmed to the BBC.

Tim Davie, the BBC’s director general, described her as a “stellar presenter” who was loved across the industry.

Long’s career spanned five decades. She has hosted the evening show on BBC Radio Wales since 2017.

Long became a national broadcaster when she joined BBC Radio 1 in 1983. She was the first woman to have her own daily show on the radio station.

That same year, she became the first female presenter on Top of the Pops. She was also one of the main presenters of the Live Aid charity concert in 1985.

Long was known for her extensive knowledge of music and her ability to engage audiences.

The Liverpool-born presenter also had an ear for identifying future stars. Long notably gave the late Amy Winehouse her first radio session.

Other artists and bands to whom she has given a first break include Adele, The Smiths, Richard Hawley, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and Scouting for Girls.

During her career, Long was a judge for the Mercury Music Awards as well as a patron of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, which was founded by Sir Paul McCartney.

Long had also pursued acting in her early life. She was a member of Merseyside Youth Drama and starred in lead roles opposite Sue Jenkins and Dean Sullivan.

Musicians, colleagues and fans have paid tribute to Long on social media following the news of her death.

Scottish singer-songwriter Midge Ure wrote: “Dreadful news. Janice stood with us on the pitch at Wembley Stadium as we announced Live Aid. A broadcast legend and absolute music lover.”

The bassist of Joy Division, Peter Hook, added: “Such sad news about Janice Long. She was always a great friend and a great supporter of our music.

“She was a lovely lady and a pleasure to be around. RIP.”

BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Shaun Keaveny called Long “a passionate music broadcaster”.

In a touching tribute, Long’s colleague at BBC Radio Wales, Adam Walton, added: “Janice is one of the best friends I’ve ever had. I love her. I love her family & I am absolutely devastated.

“All my love and empathy to her family, friends, all of the artists she celebrated & her listeners.”

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