Jeremy Vine and Greg James lead tributes to ‘legendary’ radio DJ Janice Long

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File photo dated 18/10/18 of Janice Long arriving at the The Audio and Radio Industry Awards (ARIAS) at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. BBC radio presenter Janice Long, who was the first regular female presenter on Top Of The Pops, has died at the age of 66. Issue date: Sunday December 26, 2021. (PA Wire)
File photo dated 18/10/18 of Janice Long arriving at the The Audio and Radio Industry Awards (ARIAS) at the First Direct Arena in Leeds. BBC radio presenter Janice Long, who was the first regular female presenter on Top Of The Pops, has died at the age of 66. Issue date: Sunday December 26, 2021. (PA Wire)

Jeremy Vine Greg James and Jo Whiley have led tributes to “legendary” BBC radio presenter Janice Long following her death aged 66.

The radio DJ, who became a “trailblazer” as the first woman to have her own daily show on Radio 1 and the first regular female presenter on Top Of The Pops, died at home on Christmas Day following a short illness, her agent said.

During her 40-year career, she helped launch the careers of future stars including Amy Winehouse, Adele and The Smiths, and led coverage of major music events such as Live Aid.

Broadcaster Vine shared a photo of Long at her radio booth to Twitter and wrote: “Going to miss you, #janicelong.

He also posted an image of Long with her brother, the late entertainer Keith Chegwin adding: “Brother and sister, both left us far too young, at 60 and 66.”

BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg 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.”

BBC Radio 2 presenter Jo Whiley hailed Long a “trailblazer and role model for all women broadcasters”.

She added: “Her passion for music was unrivalled. I loved her Radio 1 show with a passion. Condolences to her family”

Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts agreed, writing on Twitter: “Thank you for everything you did to inspire others and open doors for other women and radio presenters to prosper.”

BBC Radio Wales, where Long had hosted an evening show since 2017, aired a tribute show to her on Boxing Day afternoon hosted by presenter Mal Pope and featuring some of her favourite songs.

Greatest Hits Radio, who she presented for on a Saturday afternoon, also celebrated the life and work of Long with a show on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the station said: “She was one-of-a-kind and will be greatly missed by all of us and her treasured listeners.”

Comedian Paul O’Grady also said he was “gutted” to hear of the radio DJ’s death as he posted a post of her smiling to Instagram.

He wrote: “She was the first woman to present Top of the Pops and a legendary presenter on Radio, a medium that she was passionate about.

“I used to love listening to her on late night Radio 2 particularly when I was writing books as she was such good company and kept me going.”

Scottish singer Midge Ure, who co-organised Live Aid with Bob Geldof, also reflected on memories with Long at the benefit concert.

He said: “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 Radio 2’s Ken Bruce recalled having “such a laugh” with Long while filming Antiques Roadtrip together” and added that she was a “great broadcaster” and “always terrific company”.

Peter Hook of Joy Division and New Order and The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess also shared tributes.

Hook said she was “always a great friend and a great supporter of our music” and added: “She was a lovely lady and a pleasure to be around. RIP.”

Burgess, from The Charlatans, praised Long for her support of fledgling bands.

He said on Twitter: “Janice Long was a supporter and mentor for so many bands.

“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.”

Pop band Frankie Goes To Hollywood said Long “always had their backs” and credited her with being the first presenter to play and interview the band on the radio.

The Pet Shop Boys also reflected on Long’s early support for their band and said they were “very sad” to hear of her death.

Rock band Doves, singer Billy Bragg and Reverend Richard Coles, who was part of the pop duo the Communards, also remembered the radio DJ for helping to launch their music careers.

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.”

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